- Review: Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
- Possibly the best camera, but probably the largest notch
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In other words, it's the smartphone that will remind you of the very first time you used a smartphone and all the fascination and promise that came with it. Now that the Pixel 4 is launched, stock of the Pixel 3 is dwindling. That means you'll have to look elsewhere to nab last year's model at a good price.
Still, if you can track down a bargain, the Pixel 3 remains a compelling value. Update Nov.
Review: Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
It's the finest deal on a high-end smartphone we've seen yet this week, though that could change as we get closer to the weekend, so keep it locked on Tom's Guide's Black Friday deals hub for the latest. When the Pixel originally came out in the fall of , you had limited options for where you could grab a Pixel 3. Cellular and follows a pay-what-you-use approach.
You could buy the phone unlocked from Google as well. Later, the Pixel 3 made it to more carriers. T-Mobile offers just the 3 XL alongside the two cheaper 3a models. On the Pixel 3, I can effortlessly reach all corners of the screen without involving a second hand. That, in and of itself, is a distinctly antiquated feeling among smartphones today. But it also perfectly symbolizes why Google's relatively tiny flagship is so special.
Possibly the best camera, but probably the largest notch
You won't find any Galaxy S9 -style sloping Infinity edges here. There's just an display flanked by two reasonably sized bezels housing a pair of booming front-facing speakers. Personally, I'm not bothered by the forehead and chin, as they serve a purpose, though it would have been nice to see Google trim them down a bit more. The design philosophy here is minimalist and unassuming, though I wouldn't necessarily call it boring.
There's a charm to the way the Pixel 3 fits snugly in the palm of your hand and how little attention it draws to itself. I've been carrying the Clearly White model for about a week now, and I can't get enough of its mint power button. This adds just the right dash of personality to an otherwise-tastefully restrained handset. Simplicity is very much the operative word here.
Google Pixel 3a review: The phone made for everyone - Android Authority
Google's attention to detail extends to the Pixel 3's all-glass construction — a noteworthy departure from this phone's predecessors, which fused aluminum and glass. Now clad in Gorilla Glass 5 all around, the newest Pixels can finally charge wirelessly. Wireless charging is all well and good, but Google's a bit late to the party. After all, my 5-year-old Nexus 4 drew power from induction pads, at the expense of a fragile, wafer-thin glass back that shattered at the faintest gust of wind. The Pixel 3, on the other hand, incorporates glass in a way it's never been used before in a phone.
One of Google's iconic design cues is the so-nicknamed "Pixel Window": that square of glass that made up the upper third of the Pixel 2's backside, while the rest of the chassis was crafted from metal.
But because the Pixel 3 is shrouded in a single sheet of glass, Google had to develop a new etching process to deliver that signature glossy-meets-matte effect. This matte surface blankets most of the Pixel 3. It certainly won't fool anyone into thinking they're touching metal, but it repels fingerprints admirably and presents a thoughtful approach of freshening up plain old glass — both in aesthetics and feel. To keep things consistent, the phone's aluminum frame has been finished with the same shine as the glossy portions of the back. I'm not a fan of this decision — it feels a little chintzy and doesn't lend the same sense of quality as the Pixel 2's distinctive powder coating.
But this is a nitpick, and you can rest assured that there's nothing chintzy about the phone's durability. The Pixel 3 is rated IP68 water resistant, meaning it should withstand up to 5 feet of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. MORE: Pixel 3 vs. Oh, and one more thing: The haptics are fantastic. They don't feel terribly different in the Pixel 3 compared to the Pixel 2, but typing in particular is rich and satisfying, where tapping keys produces precise pops rather than jarring buzzes.
Other Android phone makers should take note. Say hello to the first Pixel with dual-lens imaging.
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No, not for the rear camera — that's still a Rather, the Pixel 3 packs a pair of 8-MP front-facing cameras, one with a wide-angle perspective and another that's more conventional. Of course, those selfie cameras are notable in their own right, but the Pixel 3's crown jewel is that lone rear lens. That said, the Pixel 3 does meet a formidable opponent in the iPhone XS.
Both phones were used to capture this evening scene as the sun was going down just outside New York's Herald Square. Google's device notably blows out the light collected by the corner of the Macy's building. However, it paints the storefronts and street signs with increased sharpness and steers clear of the hazy warmth that pervades the iPhone's rendition.
The iPhone looks to have the edge here, though, thanks to more-even overall exposure and better white balance, which cuts down on the slight reddish tint in the Pixel's shots.
Google Pixel 4 XL review: A perfectly disappointing phone
Also, the design on the ceiling is much more noticeable through the lens of Apple's handset. One of the Pixel 3 camera's new features, it combines multiple frames to fill in detail when you're using digital zoom. In this particular example, it's astonishing to see Google's handset deliver an image through software that's every bit as sharp as what the iPhone XS was able to pull off with its 2x optical zoom. However, Super Res Zoom favors certain scenarios more than others.
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Outside, on a breezy fall morning in Bryant Park, the Galaxy Note 9 's optical zoom produced a sharper, punchier shot of some plants at the base of a statue. While the Pixel 3's attempt is by no means poor, beating better optics with software is a tall task. Additionally, the Note 9 benefited from its Scene Optimizer tech, which recognized that the phone was shooting greenery and so tuned the exposure appropriately. When things get really dark, though, the Pixel 3 falters.
The Pixel 3's dingy, noisy exposure lacks all of the color and detail that Samsung's phablet provides. However, our initial low-light tests were conducted before we were able to try Night Sight — a mode that recently launched on the Pixel 3 in November. Night Sight is a real game changer, turning out phenomenal results by blending a succession of frames together to emulate a long exposure time, and using AI to infer the colors and gaps in detail.
Because the Pixel 3 doesn't require a second lens to determine depth, it can perform Portrait Mode bokeh-style shots through its single rear-facing camera. Once again, the results are impressive; there's stronger color and contrast from Google's device, and the fabric in my colleague Caitlin's sweater is more in focus. However, the iPhone XS navigates the boundaries of the foreground better, which leads to less of the artifacting around Caitlin's hair that the Pixel 3 unfortunately left in.
How does the Pixel 3 hold up against a more recently released camera like the triple lens setup on the back of the new Galaxy S10 Plus? We still think the Pixel comes out on top, but Samsung's camera gives the Google phone a run for its money, particularly in outdoor shots like the one above featuring hats. Zoom in, and the S10 Plus does a better job with finer details, even if the Pixel's shot produces more vivid colors.
In other areas, though, the Pixel 3 maintains an edge despite the improvements Samsung made to the Galaxy S10's cameras. A portrait mode shot with bokeh effects displays more natural color on the Pixel 3, while Samsung's new phone blows out the subjects a little bit. Assistant for Android. AA Mobile. Help you easily and efficiently manage for your android smartphones and tablets.
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Average specs, incredible speeds
Automatic file sync and backup tool for Google Drive cloud storage. Which is either the problem, or the reasons to seriously consider buying in - depending on how you look at it. In line with trends, the new Pixel 3 XL updates the traditional aspect ratio, larger bezels and cheaper make of its predecessors for double-glass and a notched display. Thankfully, Google have used a matte finish to maintain the two-tone look found in previous Pixel devices.
That switch to glass and the slightly wider notch aside, both of this year's devices look about as similar to last year's models as the iPhone XS and XS Max do to last year's iPhones. However, not all of that familiarity is necessarily bad. Yes, if you want the larger display, you'll have to go for the XL. However, as far as the camera and software go, you get the same experience across both devices. If you're a fan of smaller flagship phones, that's a really cool pitch that you won't necessarily find anywhere outside of Apple's own expensive flagship lineup.