At $400 and $480 respectively, they bring high-end features to smartphones that cost about half the price of rival flagship devices. They retain many of the Pixel 3's best features, such as its impressive camera, and offer long battery life as well as a sharp OLED screen. And yes, they also have a headphone jack. The only difference between the two devices is in their sizes: the Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch screen, while the XL model has a 6-inch display.
Google compromises in a few small areas to keep the price low. For example, the two phones lack wireless charging and run on a lower-end processor than the pricier Pixel 3. They're also made of a cheaper polycarbonate material rather than metal and glass like more expensive alternatives.
Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus
With its triple camera, gorgeous curved screens, and elegant design, the $900 Galaxy S10 and its larger, $1,000 companion are top-notch picks, regardless of whether you're looking for a phone with a headphone jack or not.
Unlike most modern smartphones, Samsung managed to bring an edge-to-edge screen to its Galaxy S10 family without giving it a "notch" at the top. Instead, it carved out a hole near the top of the display for the camera, which is much less intrusive than the notch found on its rivals. Plus, the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus also have an ultra-wide camera, making it possible to capture a much wider field of view than most competing phones.
But keep in mind that the in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor isn't always as reliable as it should be.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Don't underestimate Galaxy S10's smaller sibling, the $750 Galaxy S10e.
With a more compact design that some may find easier to hold and many of the same features as the S10 — including its wide-angle camera, hole-punch display, and, of course, the headphone jack — the S10e is an excellent choice for those looking for a less expensive, more portable alternative.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung's line of Galaxy Note smartphones have always impressed with their large, colorful screens, fast performance, and high-quality cameras, and the $800 Note 9 is no different. Like previous Galaxy Note devices, it comes with Samsung's S Pen stylus for jotting down hand-written notes and doodling.
And Samsung's software comes loaded with perks that let you take advantage of that stylus and the phone's giant 6.4-inch screen. You can, for example, open more than one app at a time and scribble notes on screen, even when the display is turned off.
However, now that it's common for flagship smartphones to have larger screens, Samsung will likely have to do more to differentiate its Note line from its Galaxy S family moving forward. Samsung also typically unveils its new Galaxy Note phones in August or September, so it might be worth holding out to see what improvements the next-generation model will bring.
Motorola's Moto G7 is further proof that quality smartphones don't have to be expensive. The $270 device comes with a nearly borderless display and a glass rear panel like most premium smartphones and a dual-camera setup that includes a 12-megapixel lens and a 5-megapixel lens.
Given their low price, Motorola's previous Moto G phones have lacked when it comes to camera quality, but the company claims this phone uses new camera software that can help sharpen zoomed images.
The Moto 7 also has a few features that are difficult to find on modern high-end phones, such as a headphone jack and a microSD card slot for additional storage.