'Do Google Pixel phones have a headphone jack?': Here's what you need to know about each model, including the new Pixel 3a

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderWhile the Google Pixel 2 and 3 models had no headphone jack, the new Pixel 3a follows the original Pixel in featuring one.
  • While the original Google Pixel had a headphone jack, neither the Pixel 2 nor the Pixel 3 have one.
  • The new Google Pixel 3a phones follow the original Pixel in again featuring a headphone jack, however.
  • Both the Pixel 2 and 3 models come with an adaptor that allows users to use standard headphones, connected through the charging port.
  • Wireless headphones provide an alternative for those times when the device’s charging port is already in use.
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The tech world has a way of cannibalising itself: Trends become standards, and progress is made. Apple was the first to announce that it would forego the headphone jack in favour of a wireless future – despite pushback from iPhone users due to the ubiquity of the jack and the fact that removing it entirely meant removing their ability to choose what sort of headphones to use.

Apple’s announcement came months before the original Google Pixel, which features a standard headphone jack, made its debut on the phone market in October 2016. Samsung responded to Apple’s move with criticism – before doing a sharp course-correction and removing the jack from some of their phone models as well.

So what about Google’s newer phones? While the Pixel 2 and 3 notably lacked a headphone jack, the newly announced Google Pixel 3a phones follow in the path of the original Pixel by featuring one.

The new Google Pixel 3a phones have a headphone jack

5ccc61f3021b4c102d1ec573 960 480Antonio Villas-Boas/Business InsiderThe Pixel 3a XL with a headphone jack (left) and the Pixel 3 XL without a headphone jack (right).

In contrast to the Google Pixel 2 and 3, which lacked a headphone jack, the newly announced Google Pixel 3a features a headphone jack on top of the phone.

That means Pixel 3a owners, like owners of the original Pixel, will be able to use wired headphones without the go-between of a USB-C dongle adaptor, as depicted below for the Pixel 2 and 3.

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Google Pixel 2 and 3 models do not have a headphone jack

In keeping with the industry trend at the time, both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 foregoed the headphone jack that the original Pixel featured, instead featuring a single USB-C audio port. The phones do, however, also come with a 3.55mm headphone jack adaptor, or dongle, which fits most existing headphones. The adaptor itself is about 3.5 inches long, which can make use a bit awkward.

Google Pixel 2 Dongle 3Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderGoogle offers multiple dongles to help connect your headphones to the Pixel phone.

If for some reason you don’t have the adaptor, Google sells the piece for $US12, and you can find other options online. But, if you have a Pixel 2, be sure to get an adaptor with a built-in Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC), otherwise it may not work properly.

Compared to the Pixel 2, the third generation does make strides toward a better headphone situation for users: The Pixel 3 comes with a pair of compatible (though not wireless) earbuds, removing the issue of the dongle when in use. So Google may be learning from the backlash it faced in the move to eliminate the headphone jack and is even taking steps to minimise it – even as it continually lurches forward.

Google Pixel 2 3Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderThe Pixel’s dongles connect through the charging port.

Alternative options for Pixel 2 and 3 phones

If you aren’t interested in the more cumbersome adaptor setup, or you just want a way to be able to listen to your phone while it’s hooked up to the charger, you can opt to use wireless headphones instead.

The Pixel 2 and 3 are both compatible with bluetooth-enabled devices, so it would simply be a matter of pairing the headphones with your phone.

One wireless-headphone option is Google’s own Pixel Buds, which cost $US159 when bought through the company, although cheaper options can easily be found elsewhere. Or, if you prefer a wired-in situation, sans dongle, you could instead buy headphones with a USB-C port-compatible hookup.

Google Pixel BudsHollis JohnsonThe Pixel Buds are Google’s official wireless headphones.

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