The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Review: Industry-Leading Camera

The third-generation Pixel smartphones have vastly improved display panels, an industry-topping camera, and an all-new glass finish. Once again, there are two display sizes to pick from.

Google Pixel 3 promo
Google

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Key Specs

• Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset
• 5.5-inch FHD+ (2,160 by 1,080 pixels) OLED display with HDR compatibility (Pixel 3)
• 6.3-inch QHD+ (2,960 by 1,440) OLED display with HDR compatibility (Pixel 3 XL)
• 4 GB of RAM; 64/128 GB of storage
• 12 MP main camera; Dual selfie camera with 8 MP sensors
• Built-in stereo speakers
• Fast wired and wireless charging
• IP68 rating for water resistance

Wondering what makes The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL worth an upgrade? They have familiar design, all-new glass build, and new hardware features their predecessors lacked. Compared to the outgoing Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, the tech giant’s latest smartphones have bigger screens, too. The Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch display, while the Pixel 3 XL sports a 6.3-inch panel with a notch (up from 5- and 6-inch respectively in the previous generation).

Like all Google-made smartphones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are about a lot more than specs. Powered by the latest version of Android, the two phones seamlessly integrate the Google Assistant and its vast AI powers to deliver a feature-packed, yet incredibly fluid user experience that’s unlike any other.

Elegant Design

We really like the new glass back with dual finish of the Pixel 3 duo. It consists of glossy and matte elements, which have enabled Google to retain the signature Pixel design language that debuted with the first generation, yet still make the newcomers compatible with wireless charging. Google offers the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in a trio of colors — Just Black, Clearly White, and Not Pink.

Google

Design-wise, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are separated by a notch on the latter’s display. Arguably the most ostentatious of its kind, the design solution might not be to everyone’s taste.

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It’s difficult to ignore while you are browsing the web or interacting with apps that use a light background, so we suggest you see it in person before ordering the bigger phone.

Because it lacks a display notch, the smaller Pixel 3 looks more polished than its larger sibling, as well as refreshingly compact by today’s smartphone standards. It’s easy to handle with one hand, unlike many top-shelf Android phones.

The sharp and vibrant OLED display panel of both Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL has taken a massive leap in quality over the previous generation of screens. It’s also HDR-compatible for an enhanced viewing experience.

Performance

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are as powerful as any other high-end Android smartphone today, thanks to the range-topping Snapdragon 845 chipset by Qualcomm. You will not be lacking in processing power regardless of the task at hand.

Both phones have upgraded stereo speakers compared to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. They deliver noticeably fuller sound with better dynamic range than the previous generations’.

During our testing, we easily got a full day of use from both the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. The phones have fast wired and wireless charging tech on board, so replenishing their batteries is a speedy affair.

The Pixel Stand wireless charger that Google introduced alongside its latest smartphones is an awesome accessory that we highly recommend. In addition to being capable of rapidly charging the phones, the gadget brings a number of handy, exclusive Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL features while charging. They include instant access to the Google Assistant, the ability to see your favorite images while charging, and a cool sunrise alarm that gradually increases the phone screen's brightness to gently wake you up without sound, among others.

Fantastic Camera

We had sky-high expectations for the camera performance of the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, since the Pixel 2 captured industry-leading images and video. After days of testing, we were pleased to find out that the Pixel 3 camera lives up to our high expectations, thanks to a combination of high-quality hardware and Google’s computational photography prowess.

Google

The latest Pixel phones capture fantastic photos regardless of the lighting. The images impress with accurate colors, superbly balanced dynamic range, and flawless processing. This is an amazing feat for a device with a single main camera — all of today’s top-shelf smartphones come packed with a multitude of sensors to help them capture more imaging data.

Having two front-facing cameras allows you to capture wider selfies with excellent quality, which is incredibly handy for capturing groups of people.

Unsurprisingly, there is a plethora of camera modes to help you make the most of the hardware’s capability. They include an all-new feature, dubbed Super Res Zoom. It enables the Pixel 3 camera to zoom in on objects without a telephoto lens.

Best of all, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer free unlimited cloud storage for full-resolution photos and videos you capture with them. This is a handy feature and will ease your potential storage anxiety.

Android Pie

The latest iteration of Google’s mobile platform is defined by minimalistic interface with slick gesture controls, which we really like. Of course, you have the option to summon the Google Assistant in a multitude of ways. They include long-pressing the home button, using your voice, or gently squeezing the sides of the Pixel 3.

Most importantly, owning a Pixel phone will guarantee you timely Android and security updates, as well as access to the latest Android features ahead of everyone else. When it comes to update support, Google’s own smartphones are truly in a league of their own. This alone is a major reason why you should consider the Pixel phones ahead of all their Android rivals.

Wrap Up

Like all Google phones that came before them, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer an experience that goes well beyond hardware specs. The phones sit on the cutting edge of the Android platform, and represent Google’s vision about the present and future of its own mobile ecosystem. If you are shopping for a new Android phone, you need to have these two on your shortlist of options.

Google

Crucially, unlike their predecessors, the Pixel 3 duo won’t require you to make any hardware compromises to get the best Android experience.

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Last year’s Pixel 2 lineup took plenty of flak for having average displays and no wireless charging.

Google has priced the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL at $799 and $899 respectively. Upgrading their storage from 64 GB to 128 GB will cost you extra $100. Once again, you can order the phones from the Google store or through Verizon.

We tip our hat to Google for resisting the urge to slap a $1,000 starting price tag of its latest smartphones. The addition of wired Pixel earbuds and a USB-C-to-3.5-millimeter headphone adapter is also praiseworthy.

Read More:

The Best Wireless Earbuds for Your New Phone

Our Favorite Wireless Headphones of 2018

Wireless Chargers for Your New Pixel

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