The Pixel 4a is Google's newest budget hotness, but the year-old 3a is still a great little phone. It's been officially discontinued, but it's still getting software support — and will until at least spring of 2022. And right now, you can get it for an exceedingly fair price: just $239 for the standard model or $299 for the 3a XL.
November updates are rolling out now for Google's Pixels, and that includes the brand-new Pixel 5 and 4a 5G. Functional patch notes mention a whole pile of fixes for both new phones, as well as older Pixels. That includes fixes for the screen waking at certain times when it shouldn't, inadvertently hidden system navigation during full-screen playback, issues with ringer audio for starred contacts in DND mode, and resolutions for a handful of Android Auto bugs. As expected, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL have no update this month.
Portrait Light was announced along with the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. It's one more neat Pixel camera feature that lets you manually control light in portrait pics and adjust face brightness as you see fit, either for a more dramatic and contrasting effect or to balance things out in poorly-lit photos. The feature was said to be coming to older Pixels too, and now it's there on the Pixel 2, 3, and 4.
Google tends to play it safe when it comes to the design of its Pixel lineup, but that doesn't mean Pixel owners have to settle for a boring look. While most folks wouldn't consider Google's hardware design very exciting, there's no denying that the company's official fabric cases look a lot more fetching. And right now, the Google Store is offering 50% off Pixel 4 and Pixel 3a fabric cases, dropping the price to just $20.
Like clockwork, Google has just released its monthly Pixel updates, delivering both security enhancements as well as bug fixes and other improvements. This month, we have seven changes noted in the so-called "functional patch" notes, including auto-rotation improvements, automatic brightness fixes for the Pixel 4a, a bootloop fix, and a handful of other changes. Sadly, this month also marks the end of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL's stated support lifetime. Google has since confirmed to us that the phones will only get one more update after this in December.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM for Android devices, bringing new OS versions to phones and tablets that have long since been unsupported. The Pixel lineup has mostly been ignored by the project, outside of the original models, but now nearly every Google-made phone is receiving official builds of LineageOS.
Android 11 is here, and we're sure you want to try it out — the only issue is it being limited to the Pixel series and a few beta releases right now. What if you don't have one of those? Well, if the Pixel 4a is still out of your price range, or you're looking for a phone with a bigger screen, you're in luck: Woot has the Pixel 3a XL on sale for just $300.
Lost in yesterday's Android 11 hullabaloo was another bit of news: Security patches for Google's Pixel series were released together as part of the Android 11 update. This month's security-oriented fixes are more numerous than usual, with plenty of "high" and "critical" vulnerabilities included, so be sure to install the Android 11 update sooner rather than later.