Google Pixel 3 and 3XL Review: Software Over Hardware

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Google aims to provide a premium experience to users with the Pixel 3 and 3XL. They have focused more on software enhancements than hardware ones. As a user of the previous Google Pixel phones, you can expect significant software changes in the series. 

Are you new to the Google Pixel series? You might have to experience the Pixel 3 and 3XL functions to know what they offer you. However, that is not always necessary if you go through the features we have listed.

The Pixel 3 and 3XL have changed the focus from hardware specifications to the software. Needless to say, this also comes at a significant price, as we shall see. 

Google Pixel 3 and 3XL: Features

The Pixel 3 and 3XL have pretty much the same features except the screen size. If you like one of them, you would probably like the other as well. Regardless of the model you choose, data loss is one of the biggest concerns you must deal with. Smart Data Recovery can help you recover all your lost data from your smartphone. 

Here are some of the noteworthy features in the Google Pixel 3 and 3XL –

Design

The all-glass back is a trend among all the prominent smartphone brands. Google has introduced this design to the Pixel series through the Pixel 3 and 3XL. So, these two models have a contemporary look, which the older ones lacked according to many people. 

Google has designed the Pixel 3 and 3XL specifically to feel good in your hand. The display features the tough Gorilla Glass 5 screen. So, it can withstand damages caused by drops of up to 1.6 metres. Despite being thinner, this glass is much stronger than its predecessors. Now, that means a much more screen damage resistance power on your Pixel device. 

The aluminium edges are yet another new addition by Google to the Pixel series. Moreover, the Pixel 3 is significantly lighter than the Pixel 2. The Pixel 3XL, on the other hand, is slightly heavier than its predecessor. 

Google has also relocated the SIM tray next to the USB-C charging port on these models. As for the colour options, you have Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink. 

Display

The Pixel 3 features a 5.5-inch Full HD + P-OLED display. So, it has a bigger and better display than its predecessor. It also has an 18:9 aspect ratio, as opposed to 16:09 on the Pixel 2. The gesture navigation feature is enabled by default on the Pixel 3. So, this model offers you an overall better visual experience than its predecessor. 

As for the Pixel 3XL, it only has a larger display than the Pixel 2XL. Other than that, it comes with the same QHD + P-OLED display. This model has a 6.3-inch screen and features quite a large notch at the top that leaves insufficient space for notification icons. There seem to be no viable solutions to that, as pushing down the icons would waste the space next to the notch. 

You might find the display brightness to be insufficient on both models. Being a little over 400 nits, you need to set it almost to a maximum while outdoors. Now, that would automatically indicate a faster battery consumption on the Pixel 3 and 3XL.

Battery

The battery life remains the downside of the series with the Pixel 3 and 3XL. However, you do get some improvements in the battery life of the Pixel. The Pixel 3 is smaller than its predecessor but has a larger battery than the latter. 

It offers you a battery life of 2,915 mAh, which means a 5-hour screen time at 50% screen brightness. Now, that is much less than what some other smartphones in the market offer you.

However, the Pixel 3 manages its battery very well as the battery level falls. The last 25% often lasts significantly longer than you might expect. You can disable all the background apps and enable dark mode using the battery saver mode. This helps you ensure that the already low battery life does last longer than expected. 

With its larger display, the Pixel 3XL uses up the battery significantly at a faster rate. As a result, it usually lasts longer than the Pixel 3. You get a screen time of up to 4.5 hours with its 3,430 mAh battery. 

Cameras

The Pixel 3 and 3XL feature one 12.2 MP camera at the back, the same as their predecessors. However, Google has added another camera at the front, apart from the existing one. So, you get two 8MP front cameras on both of these models. The regular and wide-angle lenses offer 75-degree and 97-degree views, respectively. 

Due to the superior software, the Google Pixel does not need another back camera. However, you might doubt the need for an additional front camera on the Pixel 3 and 3XL. These front cameras can offer you good-quality pictures that have high-end perfection.

All three cameras can shoot videos in 1080p resolution at a 30fps frame rate. However, only the main camera can shoot at 60fps and 120fps. You can raise the frame rate to 240fps by reducing the resolution to 720p. 

Top Shot

The Top Shot feature is available on both the front and back cameras. It records a burst of shots before and after you click the photo. You can then choose the perfect frame from your Motion Photos clip. Now, that way, you can click the perfect images with the Pixel 3 and 3XL. However, the original shot will have the highest resolution of all the shots. 

Google Lens

Google has continued the Google Lens feature on the Pixel 3 and 3XL. This feature allows visual searches from within the camera if you are new to this feature. This is a very helpful feature but is not new in the Google Pixel series. 

Performance

As mentioned earlier, Google Pixel 3 and 3XL put their primary focus on the software. So, you would expect more enhancements in the performance than anywhere else. From what it seems, Google has been more or less successful in providing you with that. The Pixel 3 and 3XL do perform better than their predecessors in many aspects. You would surely get a more speedy and optimised experience on these models. 

Google has been able to make the software and hardware work well together. You might find the Pixel 3 and 3XL running better than many of their contemporaries out there. The newer Pixel models would offer you an even better experience. 

Speed

The Pixel 3 and 3XL feature 4GB RAM and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. As proved recently, you do not need more device memory than that for a powerful performance. The powerful chip adds to that by ensuring smooth navigation through the interface. Also, you can launch the apps and boot your device more quickly now.

RAM Management

The Pixel 3 and 3XL also offer you great performance regarding RAM management. You can run multiple apps in the background without your device shutting them down. 

Cooling

The cooling performance is crucial as overheating can affect the user experience. However, the Pixel 3 and 3XL are not as good at cooling as you might expect. You might find them heating up quite often, especially while using the camera and charging the device.

Pixel 3 and 3XL: What You Might Like 

The smooth performance is probably the best thing about the Pixel 3 and 3XL. Also, this is one of the main things that the manufacturers have promised you. These Pixel models are surely worth your money if you want a fast and polished experience. Most users would probably appreciate the enhanced build quality and damage-proofing.

The screen is yet another likeable feature of the Pixel 3 and 3XL. Also, these two models are the first in the series to have wireless charging. Now, that might compensate for the low screen time on them for many users. You would also get Pixel Bud-style earbuds with these Pixel models. 

Pixel 3 and 3XL: What You Might Not Like

The battery life is one of the main disadvantages of the Pixel 3 and 3XL. It makes them fall behind many of their contemporaries available in the market. The latest Pixel models, including the Pixel 6a, offer much-improved battery life. 

The screen brightness is yet another feature that most users might not like in this device. As we have seen, this is one of the aspects that affect the battery life. So, the aforementioned cons of the Pixel 3 and 3XL are interlinked. Overheating is also a noteworthy drawback of these models but does not affect the performance much.

Verdict

The Pixel 3 and 3XL are worthwhile for Pixel users who are looking for upgraded software. They can expect to get the premium experience they want from these two models. However, you have better choices if you want hardware upgrades along with these features. 

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