Pixel 3a is basically the iPhone SE 2 Apple won’t give us

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Pixel 3a
The Pixel 3a looks amazing.
Photo: Google

Google is bucking the trend of expensive flagship smartphones with its new Pixel 3a phone that debuted at Google I/O this morning.

The new Pixel 3a looks a lot like the Pixel 3 that debuted last year. It has some of the Pixel 3’s best features, like its fantastic camera, only its made with the budget-conscious consumer in mind.

Google’s new phone comes in two sizes: Pixel 3a ($399) and Pixel 3a XL ($479). Both devices have an OLED display. Google was able to shrink the devices’ price points by switching to a plastic back, cheaper processor, removing wireless charging and water resistance and switching to a single front camera. The end result is a device that still looks fantastic and has solid performance with a few feature compromises.

If Apple made an iPhone SE 2 like this we’d be covered in drool. Instead, Apple’s cheapest new phone costs nearly twice as much as the Pixel 3a and has a worse camera.

The camera on the Pixel 3a is perhaps its best feature. It packs the same sensor as the one on the back of the Pixel 3. The only difference is Pixel 3a doesn’t have a Pixel Visual Core processor so that software runs on the CPU and GPU, causing photos to take a little longer to save.

Night Sight, Top Shot, Time Lapse and AR cartoons are all available on the Pixel 3a. Google made sure to take a few shots at the iPhone X’s lowlight shooting capabilities in its ads too. Early reviews for the Pixel 3a are raving about the camera and say that photos from it are practically indistinguishable from the Pixel 3.

Google partnered with more carriers than ever before on the Pixel 3a launch. You can buy one from Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint starting today. It comes in the usual black and white color options, plus a new “purple-ish” option that will probably be the most popular. Considering how cheap it is with a killer camera, it looks like Pixel 3a could be the first Google phone to give iPhone some serious competition.