In case it didn't become clear from all the leaked Pixel 3 XL
images and even videos, Google indeed went with a notch-y design at the front, no matter all the trolling
, and it was indeed unlikely to pull a last-minute save by unveiling a completely different design.
The leaked notch-y design with big chin at the bottom has inspired many an unhappy fan in the last few weeks, but the outer appearance isn't all there is to a phone, especially one made by Google. The Pixels usually have big bragging rights in the camera department, after all, and there are plenty more new features that the Pixel 3
and 3 XL bring to the table.
OLED displays with HDR support
That's the single biggest impression that strikes you immediately are the larger Pixel 3 and 3 XL displays, both featuring flexible OLED technology this time around, meaning higher contrast, better viewing angles, and flashier colors.
The 6.3" one on the XL model is with QHD+ resolution, meaning an extra drag on the battery compared to the FHD+ resolution of the smaller Pixel 3. The new displays are certified for the all-important HDR media presentation, so you can rest assured they cover the wider DCI-P3 gamut in case you need it.
Camera "better than iPhone XS," wide-angle selfies
Computational photography that only Google can muster
Official Google Pixel 3 sample shot
How does Google make with a single 12MP camera what others can't with two or three? Well, it leverages all the Google Images algorithmic knowledge built through the years, analyzing hundreds of millions of photos to reach expert telling of a dog's ear from its nose.
We kid, but that has been the secret sauce of the Pixel phones' amazing cameras, and the new ones pump it to the extreme with a smorgasbord of new features, of which the most important is Top Shot that uses AI to help you capture the perfect photo every time, lossless zoom, and enhanced low-light shots.
The Top Shot option part starts snapping shots in HDR+, then recommends the best one where everyone is smiling and nobody blinks, even when it's not the one you took by pressing the shutter. Creepy? No, AI!
The Super Res Zoom feature takes computational photography used for astronomy and brings it down to the masses, for lossless zoom without a telephoto lens, but we'll have to see how it performs in practice.
The one that got us smiling was the Night Sight (coming at a later date), that "lets you take natural-looking photos in dark surroundings," even without a flash. the flash part should have revealed to you what Night Sight is - it simply makes the photo way brighter, but the result feels a bit unnatural, looking as if the photo was taken during the day.
Last but not least, the wide-angle 8MP camera at the front fits everyone and their pets in the shot, and you can zoom in and out while you are taking the selfie for the best fit.
The new front cameras on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL can capture wide-angle selfies
Stereo speakers tuned by a GRAMMY-winning producer
It's all about the base
The front-firing speakers of the previous Pixels were for some reason not listed "stereo" in the specs, but with the arrival of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, that injustice is straightened out, and tunes will come out through separate channels. Not only that, but those troublemakers are fine-tuned by a Grammy-award winning producer. On top of that, those who activate a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL by year-end, can get six months of free YouTube Music Premium.
This one is a side effect of having Qualcomm's fastest current chipset, the Snapdragon 845, albeit underclocked a bit to 2.5GHz. Not only does the cellular modem support a much higher number of 4G bands than before, but the Gigabit LTE part means you can download with speeds at up to 1Gbps. Even if your carrier can't offer such speeds, the real-life download speeds will be higher than on a lesser LTE category phone.
Fast wired and wireless charging
"Up to 7 hours of battery life in 15 minutes"
While the battery capacities are nothing to write home about, Google swears by its software optimization that will allow the new Pixels to last "all day."
Just to be on the safe side, though, it also outfitted the phones with a fast 18W charger that should be topping them up in less than an hour and a half for the big one.
The addition of 10W wireless charging is welcome, too, and Google provides a new Stand at an extra $79 cost that essentially turns your phone into a Home Mini while it sits there.
Higher water-resistance rating
While the Pixel 2 and its XL sidekick were listed with IP67 certification meaning that they can last half an hour in up to three feet of water, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL can endure that torment in deeper, five-feet tides.
Custom-built Titan M security chip
No fingerprint left behind
Whatever the Titan M part means, the new Pixels flaunt a one-of-a-kind encryption processor that has been purposefully designed by Google. The search giant calls the Pixel 3 "the most secure phone we've built yet." The Titan M chip stores and protects your unlocking identification manages disk encryption, safeguards the apps' data, and makes sure the overall operating system code structure is not being tampered with.
$800 is the new $600
That one isn't something to brag about with, but $800 is the new $650 with the new Google phones, as the Pixel 3 blasts off from $799, and the 3 XL from $899. Add a Benjamin for extra 64GB of storage if you dare, too. Google now has its own sweet $999 phone with the 128GB Pixel 3 XL, how trendy. Any takers?