The Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL have won many plaudits with their photography capabilities and smooth operating system, and now it’s the turn of the Google Pixel 3a. Despite being Google’s mid-range offering, the Pixel 3a comes with a host of features that are usually reserved for much more expensive devices. But is the Google Pixel 3a water resistant?
The Google Pixel 3a is not ‘officially’ water resistant and does not come with a certified IP rating. That said, it is coated in DragonTail glass; a toughened glass that provides an extra layer of protection.
What is Dragontail glass, and does it help with water resistance?
Despite not having an official IP rating, the Google Pixel 3a does have a Dragontail Glass covering.
Dragontail Glass is an alkali-aluminosilicate sheet glass engineered for a combination of thinness, lightness and damage-resistance.
This is created by a so-called float process, in which liquid glass is sent over a furnace of molten tin. Particles are then added for strengthening before the glass is quickly cooled and sent for cutting.
Consequently, Dragontail glass is extremely strong, highly resistant to scratching and hard. Indeed, a small, millimetre-thin sample is claimed to be able to withstand 60 kilos of weight, by bending before it breaks.
As such, whilst not being produced to be water resistant, this essentially provides your smartphone device with a thin extra layer which is durable and resilient. When you think about it as an extra layer of protection to your device, you get a rough idea of how this might work in the face of small drops of water such as light rain.
We certainly wouldn’t advise taking the Google Pixel 3a swimming with you, but it should be able to cope with light rain. It’s always best to avoid this where possible and act with due care and diligence.
What is an IP rating and is it important?
An IP rating is an international standard that is used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies (such as dirt and dust) and moisture.
An IP rating is presented in the form of ‘IP’ (Ingress Protection) followed by two numbers.
The first of these numbers refers to the protection provided against solids. This number ranges from 1 to 6 and the higher the number, the better the protection. For example, 1 promises protection against solid objects over 50mm, whilst a 6 rating indicates that a device is dust tight.
The second number then, refers to protection from liquids and ranges from 1 to 8. In this instance, a ‘1’ rating describes the protection against vertically falling drops of water (such as rain), whilst a top-of-the-class ‘8’ rating promises protection against the effects of long periods of immersion in water, usually outlined by the manufacturer.
As such, an IP68 rating is currently the best certification that can be ascribed to a smartphone device, however it’s important to remember that the relevant testing is only performed using fresh water. Subsequently, you may experience an extremely different outcome in the face of salt water and other liquids such as spilt drinks.
Why is the Google Pixel 3a not IP certified?
One of the key reasons why many devices do not come with a certified IP rating is due to the extra costs that this entails.
In this case, the Google Pixel 3a is considered to be the so-called ‘budget’ variant of the Pixel 3 family. The Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL both come with a top-of-the-class IP68 rating. Generally, the further up a line you go and the more you pay, the greater the water resistance that is offered.
The Google Pixel 3a is a mid-range and affordable variant of the device and if waterproofing were brought into this, then costs would rise significantly.
Are there any other ways to protect the Google Pixel 3a from water?
Whilst the Google Pixel 3a does not come with certified waterproofing, there are a number of ways in which you can protect your device from water.
The best of these is by purchasing a waterproof case for your device.
The DiCAPac Action Universal Case is perfect for wet scenarios and provides all of the protection that you need to be more adventurous with your smartphone device in tandem. As well as coming with the highest grade JIS IPX8 waterproof rating, the window on the front is crystal clear so that you can easily see the screen on your phone and still use all of the features that you need.
Indeed, you are still able to make full use of the touchscreen whilst it’s in the case and make calls. The case also protects again dust and other particles, as well as water.
Is the Google Pixel 3a worth it?
Google has become synonymous with providing an exceptional photography experience to their smartphones, and the Google Pixel 3a is certainly no different.
A 12.2MP dual-pixel lens features on the rear, with an f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilisation. Instead of utilising multiple lenses, Google relies on its exceptional software and the Pixel 3a comes with the same Night Sight mode that has won plaudits on the Pixel 3.
As well as in impressive 8MP front camera, other notable features include Portrait Mode with depth editor and Colour Pop, which isolates a subject by softening the background in black and white. Plus, unlimited storage in high quality with Google Photos means that you can capture it all.
A 3000mAh battery lasts up to 30 hours, aided by Adaptive Battery which learns your favourite apps and reduces to power to those that you rarely use. Further, an 18W adaptor is included in the box, providing up to 7 hours of use on a single 15-minute charge.
Google Pixel 3a Key Features
- 6-inch Full HD+ OLED display
- Android 9.0 Pie
- 2MP dual-pixel, f/1.8 rear camera
- Unlimited Google Photos storage
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
- 3000mAh battery
- 18W Fast Charging
- 64GB / 4GB RAM