(Pocket-lint) - There are plenty of smartphones to choose from. Some have a fast processor, others have long-lasting batteries and some make great cameras.

But few manage all those things at the same time and, if they do, they cost a lot. Here are five key reasons why the Google Pixel 3a stands out from the crowd.

1. It has a great camera

Google Pixel phones have had consistently strong cameras, and the one here is tremendous. It's actually the same sensor and lens as on the much pricier Pixel 3, capable of great effects. So you can create portraits where your subject is in perfect focus but the background is blurred.

Most phones need two cameras to achieve this effect but the Pixel 3a does it with one lens and some exceptional software. It also has a great Night Sight feature where you can shoot in near pitch darkness and the camera will brighten the scene while still maintaining detail. 

2. The software is pure Android, with extra benefits

Pixel phones get the latest Android software before other devices, so you're always at the forefront for innovative features. Like the new, cool Google Maps AR feature which appeared first on the Pixel 3a. It works by showing what the phone camera sees as you hold the Pixel up. When you're walking somewhere, it'll give you directions by showing large arrows which seem to float in the air in front of you.

No more squinting at the map and guessing which way you have to head first. When the next major software release - Android Q - rolls out in the coming weeks, Pixel phones will the ones that get it first, guaranteed.


3. Headphone jack

You'll have noticed a trend in smartphones in recent years: the lack of a headphone jack. It's especially true in higher-end phones, where manufacturers have other priorities, or expect you to have Bluetooth headphones. But Google has included a headphone jack here so you can use your favourite headphones with the Pixel 3a.

There's an extra benefit here, too: phones with no traditional jack come supplied with headphones that fit the phone's USB-C socket. Which means that you can't recharge the phone and plug in headphones to listen to music at the same time. With the Pixel 3a, you can.

4. Battery life

As smartphones grow more sophisticated, the demand on the battery becomes greater. So, even on the most expensive phones, battery life can be disappointing. But the Pixel 3a just goes on and on.

Many phones promise all-day battery life but turn out to be flagging by the early evening. With the Pixel 3a, battery expectancy really is all day long. You will still need nightly charges, but in between, it'll serve you well for hours on end.

5. It's outstanding value

There's really no other phone that comes close to offering the value of the Pixel 3a. From the camera to the processor, every aspect of the phone looks like it should be on something much pricier.

One real standout is the display - an OLED screen is almost unheard of on a phone at this price. That's because OLED is expensive, thanks to its sumptuous clarity and faithful colours. Which is exactly what the Pixel 3a offers.