The new Pixel 3 phones are official. We’ve been waiting for the new Pixel duo that we believe is making a statement in several ways. We’re expecting innovation from Google’s 2018 Android 9 Pie flagships but we’re not sure others will find them exciting. The cameras are particularly interesting to us because both now have dual selfie cameras. There’s also the Pixel Visual Core chip that allows HDR+ and Top Shot. No doubt, these new Pixel 3 series is a big leap from last year’s Pixel 2 phones.
Let’s start with the specs. We’ve probably heard about them several times already but we can now confirm the information. The Google Pixel 3 comes equipped with the following: a 5.5-inch rectangular OLED screen, 2280 x 1080 pixel resolution, 18:9 ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, Always-on display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB or 128GB onboard storage, and a 2915 mAh battery. There is NO notch, NO headphone jack, and NO memory card slot.
The bigger variant, Pixel 3 XL, has a larger 6.3-inch OLED screen with 2960 x 1440 resolution. The rest of the specs are same as with the Pixel 3 including the IP68 dust/water resistant rating and the absence of a memory card slot and headphone jack. This one though has a wide notch on top when the two front-facing cameras are placed. The battery is bigger at 3430mAh.
The smartphones run on the latest Android 9.0 Pie that brings many features. Both Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL can screen calls that may be spam. A real-time transcript can be provided as well if calls are routed to voicemail.
The phones are wrapped in glass and metal but the rear panel is glass. There is no on-screen fingerprint sensor. The old round fingerprint reader has been retained. The Active Edge is still available so you can squeeze the Pixels to launch services or mobile apps. Two common features that can be activated with a squee are the camera and the Google Assistant.
This is the first time Google is implementing a notched design. We’re not surprised about the decision as most OEMs are really vying for bigger and better screen real estates. We can’t say the displays are entirely bezel-less because the Pixel 3 still has a large forehead and chin. The Pixel 3 XL’s notch is wide with the upper part of the display stretching to the top edge. However, the chin is still wide.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL now offer support for 10 watts of wireless charging as made possible by the glass back. With this technology, Google also brings the Pixel Stand. It’s mainly a wireless charging dock that works with the Pixel 3 and other Qi-compatible products. It even works as a smart speaker that allows voice control with the Google Assistant function.
Both devices boast dual selfie shooters. They come with the same 8MP with f/1.8 aperture and PDAF plus 8 MP with f/2.2 (no AF). The single 12.2MP rear camera with f/1.8 optics is still a fixture as Google believes one is enough. There’s the software anyway that makes the adjustments.
Pixel Visual Core
The Pixel Visual Core chip allows many mobile photography features including Top Shot and HDR+. Top Shot captures several frames so you can select the best image. The Super Res Zoom takes multiple images to achieve a better-quality zoomed photo. Note the Pixel 3 phones don’t come with an optical zoom lens so we’ll have to rely on the software. For low-light conditions, the Night Sight can be reliable even without having to use an LED flash. Pixel Visual Core chip enables such quality images as it balances and brightens low-light photos.
With the arrival of the Pixel 3 phones, Google promises YouTube Music Premium and Unlimited Photo Storage. There are still limits though. Not everyone can take advantage of the offer. Only those in the United States can enjoy the 6-month extended free trial. The phone must be activated before December 31 and redeemed before January 31, 2019 if you want to enjoy free YouTube Music streaming. If you’ve already availed of previous free trials from Google, sorry, you can no longer avail of this offer.
The free unlimited online storage of photos and videos apply only to files uploaded up to January 31, 2022. According to Google: Free unlimited online original-quality storage for all photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos from Pixel 3 through 1/31/2022. Photos and videos uploaded before 1/31/2022 will remain free at original-quality. Requires Google Account. Data rates may apply.
Google will be releasing the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in three colors: Clearly White, Just Black, and Not Pink. There is no Mint Pixel 3 but we’re happy with the coral version which we first thought was Peach.
The Pixel 3 64GB model costs $799 while the 128GB Pixel 3 is $899. The larger Pixel 3 XL starts at $899 for the 64GB version while the 128GB model costs $999. The Pixel Stand is sold separately for $79.
Release Date and Availability
Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be released in the market starting October 19. Verizon is the official mobile carrier in the United States but the tech giant will also offer both flagship phones on Project Fi later.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Android smartphones will also roll out in the following countries: Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, India, and Australia.
Check out the Google Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 hands-on photos below: