If summer has you looking for a new phone, and you just can’t wait for the new arrivals coming up this year, now is a great time to talk about Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Since it was launched last fall, I’ve spent nine months using the Pixel 3, and I still love the phone, from the UX and design, to the accessories and software.
And while there are some good reasons to consider cheaper alternatives, like the new, cheaper, Pixel 3A, I’d suggest the original Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL are hard to top.
Where other devices have busted out an array of cameras for your photographic heavy lifting, the Pixel 3 has a single rear camera and it accomplishes a lot of the hard work with software and processing power. And in many cases, it does it better than other phones.
Often, processing can only take you so far, but the Pixel 3 proves what Google does so well, and that’s algorithmic-magic. With the phone’s 12.2 MP dual-pixel camera, and the f/1.8 aperture, Google processes the images to create striking results are really impressive. Other phones have some good blurring tricks, to give images a sense of depth and focus, but Google is still the best at this trick.
Portraits look incredible and all you need to do is point and click. The photo app doesn’t provide a lot of options–and there is no pro mode for custom settings like shutter speed–but you can do a lot with the simple interface.
Plus, with the Pixel 3, Google backs up your full-size photos to the cloud for free, and you don’t get that deal with the Pixel 3A.
As well, the front-facing selfie camera is 8 MP, which is average, but it offers an exceptional wide-angle lens for very impressive photos. Check out my selfie below, and some other images from the phone, for examples of what it can do.
Simplicity & Speed
If you love simplicity, the Pixel 3 is like no other phone. I love the Samsung Galaxy S10‘s speedy, slick user experience and user interface, but the Pixel 3 is cleaner, simpler, and more straight-forward.
With the Snapdragon 845 processor, and 4 GB of RAM–which is comparable to a number of other devices right now–the Pixel 3 also handles any app that you want to throw at it. I’ve been gaming with the phone, flying my drone, editing videos, and it just works well in every case.
But coming back to that first point, I think my favourite part of the phone is just the beautiful simplicity. Other phones are dressing up the Android interface with their own variations, and for the most part they’re all good, but Android on its own is a great experience.
Finally, the two sizes of the device–Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL–offer nearly identical features. The only major difference are the sizes and the battery. For anyone who wants a smaller phone, the Pixel 3 is wonderfully compact, while the Pixel 3 XL offers more space for bigger fingers, or just more screen size for watching your favourite shows or videos.
The Pixel 3 offers a nice little 5.5″ screen, that I kind of love for being smaller than most devices, while the Pixel 3 XL has a nice, big 6.3″ screen.
Accessories & Pixel Stand
First off, there’s the Pixel 3 cases by Google, which are some of the best looking, and nicest cases around because they’re made with a fabric. For $50, the case is strong, it protects your phone from a lot of incidents, and I love that it lifts the phone’s camera lens up enough so it won’t get scratched or messed up when you put it down. The cases also come in four fabric colours and they last well and feel premium.
The other reason to buy the Pixel 3 though is the Pixel Stand. The stand offers fast wireless charging, and also opens up a number of features on the phone to turn the Pixel into a smart speaker, photo slideshow, and alarm clock with ambient lighting.
While I love the Google Nest Hub, which is a smart speaker that has a built-in screen, the Pixel Stand makes a little more sense for some people and does almost the same thing. The only difference is that the Nest Hub has special on-screen actions that are simplified and the speaker is better than the Pixel 3.
Google’s Pixel 3 is priced at $999, and the Pixel 3 XL is $1,129. Have questions or comments? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you.