All the leaks and rumors have been put to rest as Google finally showcased their new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL at Made by Google event. With rumors already pointing out most of the flaws and specs about the phone, we are left with no extra surprises here. Let’s get right into the phone and see what these two offerings from Google have in its sleeves.
Firstly, let’s talk about that screen. Not to over exaggerate it but the notch on the Pixel 3 XL looks ugly. Besides that, both phones have pretty good displays to some extent. Both phones have an OLED panel with the XL model coming in at 6.3-inch offering a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixel and 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The Pixel 3, on the other hand, has a smaller 5.5-inch OLED screen resulting in a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixel resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio, without a notch.
The similarities between the two models are quite vast. Both models support HDR content, has an Always On display and a color mode to tweak the screen to your preference. Last year’s Pixel 2 XL display debacle certainly made this year’s phones to come with much more brighter and punchier color, offering the sRGB + 10%.
Likewise, the back of both phones look exactly same to last year’s model but has a full glass covering for the new wireless charging support — first time in a Google device.
Talking about the wireless charging, both phones, thankfully, supports wireless charging (duh!). However, the good thing is that the wireless charging is carried out through a 10W fast charging, topping up the 3,430mAh battery on the Pixel 3 XL and 2,915mAh battery on the Pixel 3 in no time. Both device charge even faster through wired charging, thanks to the 18W power adapter provided in the box.
Now let’s focus on the crown jewel of the phone: the camera. Last year’s Pixel had one of the best cameras in the business and looks like this year it won’t be any different. Google is so confident that they claim that the Pixel 3 and 3 XL have the best smartphone camera. Period. That’s some bold claim but probably is justified when it comes to the camera that both phones have.
While the hardware is quite similar to last year’s model, Google, this time has made some significant changes in software. To take a look, both phones have a similar 12.2MP f/1.8 lens at the back which is optically stabilized. The single lens gets the job done and probably does better than most of the dual-camera phones out there.
It’s all because of the AI from Google. The new features like Top Shot, which allows picking the best out of many shots, is awesome, while Photobooth captures images when you smile or make funny faces. And then there’s Super Res Zoom, another AI feature by Google to compensate the lack of telephoto lens by optimizing the quality of digitally zoomed images. There’s also Night Sight which captures detailed images in a low-light situation even without a flash.
Staying far far away from dual-camera [and triple-camera] jargons, Google’s Pixel Visual Core image processing co-processor handles all the HDR+ chores, merges multiple photos for zooming and low-light and picks the best from the process. This all happens offline so there’s no worry about Google taping up our personal data.
Despite all the AI goodness, both phones are still unable to capture 4K videos at 60 fps. Although it’s not a deal-breaker, it should still have been implemented, especially given the high price point.
Let’s talk about the front camera, the thing that made the notch on the 3 XL so big. Cramped along the notch [on 3 XL] at the front, the dual-camera on the phone has two 8MP sensors but different lenses — the normal one is a 75-degree lens and the second is a 97-degree wide-angle lens. The former has a f/1.8 aperture with phase detection, while the latter has a f/2.2.
Talking about the internals, most of you might pretty much know about it. There’s a Snapdragon 845 chipset with high-performing cores clocked at 2.5GHz and the low-performing one at 1.6GHz. Both cores have been downclocked a bit (0.2GHz) to save on the power but that’s not a big deal. The only bummer here is that the phone still has 4GB of RAM, which is similar to last year’s model. Google could have done much better with 6GB RAM but that’s how it is. The storage is either 64GB or 128GB one with no microSD card slot.
As far as pricing is concerned, the Pixel 3 starts at $799 and the Pixel 3 XL starts at $899. Both phones have similar color options, including Just Black, Clearly White, and the new Not Pink.