Google today unveiled the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Despite trying its best to suggest that it had something else up its sleeve through its social media profiles, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have turned out to be exactly what we saw in numerous leaks.
In terms of design and build, both phones are modest upgrades over their predecessor, with major changes reserved for the internals.
At the rear, the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 now entirely features a glass back with a two-tone finish. The top part of the glass is left untouched and has a look similar to previous Pixels, but the rest of the glass has a metallic finish which Google says is the first of its kind. This will lead many people to think that the devices don’t actually feature a glass rear.
At the front, the Pixel 3 XL features a 6.3-inch 19:9 notched P-OLED QHD+ display. Google has switched to the notched display design on the Pixel 3 XL after poking fun at Apple for including it on the iPhone X last year. The notch is actually extremely thick and it is actually double the width of the notch that you’d find in other Android devices. All that space is wisely used by Google though as it houses dual front-facing cameras and a speaker. As for the smaller Pixel, it features a 5.45-inch 18:9 FHD+ OLED display. It does not feature a notch and its bezels are notably smaller than the Pixel 2 from last year.
Other than the display size, the exterior design of both devices are the same. The fingerprint scanner is located at the rear, there’s no headphone jack, stereo front-facing speakers which is up to 40 percent louder, and the USB-C port is located at the bottom. Both devices will be available in Clearly White, Just Black, and Not Pink colors.
Internally again, both devices are the same. They feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chipset running at 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM, and 64/128GB of storage space. The bigger Pixel 3 XL comes with a 3430mAh battery, while the smaller Pixel 3 has to do with 2915mAh battery. They both feature USB-C Power Delivery and come bundled with an 18W USB-C charger for fast charging. They also feature 10W Qi wireless charging.
The squeeze feature from the Pixel 2 is making a return here as well which will allow one to quickly access Google Assistant. A new gesture on the Pixel 3 series is to put the device face down to automatically silence all notifications.
Talking about the cameras which undoubtedly become the highlight of Google’s Pixel lineup, the rear camera setup remains largely the same as the Pixel 2. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL feature a 12.2MP rear shooter with 1.4um large pixel, f/1.8 aperture, and OIS. However, Google has further improved its HDR+ algorithm which will allow the devices to capture even better photos. Google’s custom Pixel Visual Core is doing all the heavy lifting here which makes all the HDR+ processing notably faster.
At the front, there are dual 8MP shooters. One of them is a regular selfie shooter, while the second one has a wide angle lens for groupfies which Google says can capture 184 percent more selfies than the iPhone XS.
Google has revamped the camera app on the Pixel 3 and made it easier to use. It is now faster to open and use, with the process of switching between different modes being significantly faster thanks to a new swipe-based UI. The new app has plenty of AI-features like Top Shot which ensures you always get the best photo. So, if you take a group photo and someone closes their eye, you can actually use Top Shot to select a photo when their eyes were not closed.
There’s also Night Sight which uses machine learning to greatly improve the overall quality of low-light photos. The feature will be coming to the Pixel 3 and other Pixel devices next month. Google’s AR Stickers has now been renamed to Playground and it now contains plenty of new AR characters that you can add to your photos and videos.
On the software front, the new Pixels are running on Android 9.0 Pie. This means all the Pie goodness like redesigned Quick Settings, Material Design 2 themed System UI, enhanced notifications, navigation gestures, and more are all present here. All the Digital Wellbeing features which did not initially launch with Android 9.0 Pie are also present and fully working on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. For improved security, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL come with a custom Titan M security chip. There’s also an exclusive Call screening feature which will automatically answer suspected spam calls and ask the caller who they are and transcribe the call, all without requiring an internet connection.
In the United States, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be available exclusively on Verizon. However, interested customers can buy the device unlocked directly from Google or through Project Fi. The Pixel 3 (64GB) is priced at $799, while the 128GB variant is priced at $899. The bigger Pixel 3 XL starts from $899 and goes up to $999 for the 128GB variant. The handsets will arrive in the United States on October 18, with availability expanding to 12 other countries on November 1.