Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review

Introduction

Notch. This is the first word that came to our mind when we used the Google Pixel 3 XL. As the name suggests, this is the largest model of the two phones that Google unveiled at its hardware event in New York. The Pixel 3 XL is a large phone with an attractive design from several angles, but wow. This notch. It’s different from the notch of the iPhone XS and many other Android phones because it’s huge. Really big.

Google offers the Pixel 3 XL in two variants and three different colors. The model with 64 GB of memory costs $899. If you need twice as much memory, you will need to put $999 for the 128 GB variant. This means that Google has almost hit the $1,000 barrier, which is becoming more common nowadays. The color variants have striking names like Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink.

The smartphone can be pre-ordered immediately and the device goes on sale at Verizon on October 18th. Otherwise, sales begin in November for the United Kingdom and India. A USB-C headset and, unlike some competitors, a fast charger is included.

Design

Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review

The Pixel 3 XL has the same features as Pixel 3, a strategy launched by Google with previous Pixel phones and Apple copied for iPhone XS and XS Max. This does not mean that they are identical, however. The Pixel 3 XL has a larger screen of 6.3 inches, offering room for more pixels and a larger battery. The only difference in design this year lies in the massive notch of the Pixel 3 XL, while the smaller Pixel 3 opts for bulky glasses around the screen.

The notch is ugly, pure and simple. It protrudes on the screen and seems distracting. We do not normally have to complain about a phone, but the Pixel 3 XL takes it a bit too far. If we get that big, it would be nice for Google to include a Face ID-esque unlocking method for the phone next to its fingerprint sensor on the back.

The two-color look of Google remains the same, but instead of mixing glass and metal, it is entirely glass in the back. Google has managed to make the bottom of glass dull so that it is not as slippery as other phones and better hides fingerprints. However, the Pixel 3 XL is less attractive than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 or Apple’s iPhone XS.

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Display

Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review

The 6.3-inch OLED screen offers a resolution of 2,960 x 1,440, and it’s fantastic. Direct sunlight shone through the windows, but we will have to look better outside. The colors are vibrant and associated with deep black levels in dark scenes. Although the phone is bulky, it did not seem too heavy to hold during the few minutes we spent with him.

This is made possible by the slightly wider bottom edge and the much thinner upper edge of the screen. And then, of course, there is the notch, the most controversial innovation of the Pixel 3 XL. And yes, it is relatively narrow and far exceeds in the display. The result is that there is enough space for the icons in the notification bar, but again, you have to disaggregate them. In my opinion, Google presents the design of the ugliest cut of the year.

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Camera

Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review

 

The main device of Google Pixel 3 XL is a simple lens offering 12.2 megapixels on the back of the phone, rather than the dual configuration (and even triple) that is popular on the headlights right now.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the unique camera on the back of the Google Pixel 2 XL was very impressive and we have high hopes for the Pixel 3 XL camera. There is also a new camera mode called Top Shot. This allows the Pixel 3 XL to automatically capture a burst of photos and choose the best of the group. You can scroll through all the photos if you want a different look.

For this to work, you must make sure that the “Motion” function is activated. This is one of the icons at the top of the screen when you are in standard camera mode. The handset then captures three seconds of video with each shot. He will then highlight what he thinks is the best shot of the gallery – and during our brief stint with the handset, it worked well.

You can change the depth of field (background blur) in a portrait shot. You can also opt for a burst of color that makes the background black and white while keeping the subject in color for a more striking shot.

Since Google Pixel 3 XL has only one rear camera, the background effect is digitally applied through the camera software and works perfectly. On the front, you will find two 8MP cameras, the second a Group Selfie camera with a wide-angle camera, which gives you more room for more landscapes and/or your friends. An on-screen zoom slider lets you easily switch between lenses.

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Battery

Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review

The Google Pixel 3 XL battery has a battery of 3430 mAh, a little less than the 3520 mAh pack of Pixel 2 XL. However, improving the efficiency provided by Android Pie will result in an overall improvement in battery performance. The Pixel 3 supports wireless charging, allowing you to charge the handset with any wireless Qi charger (sold separately).

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Special Feature On The Edges

Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review

 

Active Edge is once again part of the fun as a special feature of the Pixel 3 XL. By tapping the frame, you can open the Google Assistant or mute incoming calls. It works even when the screen is off so you can open the wizard while the device is still in your pocket. Apparently, it is still not possible to assign another function to the function.

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Software & Performance

Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review

Out of the box, the Pixel 3 XL – surprise, surprise – runs on Android 9 Pie, with the Pixel Launcher interface in the foreground. Just like the latest generation Pixels, the new phone cuts Android like a lightsaber in hand, due to a lack of bloatware and Google optimization.

The Pixel 3 XL uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845, a flagship chip for a flagship phone, and 4GB of RAM, which gives the handset more than enough grunts to perform all kinds of Android tasks.

The chipset could age quite quickly as Qualcomm is expected to unveil a new flagship SoC in early 2019, but the Snapdragon 845 is expected to continue running for a few years. The storage weighs 128 GB, which is a healthy value for a phone, especially when Google also offers a mass of free cloud storage.

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Wide-Angle Selfies

Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review

Google is not the first to do it, but I like the Pixel 3 XL double-sided cameras. The company said the wide-angle lens captured 184% of the scene more than the iPhone XS, and that a first demo looked good. The standard lens captured just about me, but the wide-angle lens captured a good deal of the background. This will also help immensely with group selfies.

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Verdict

Overall, Google Pixel 3 XL is an incremental upgrade from the Pixel 2 XL, with a slightly improved camera, display, and design, as well as new software and more power under the hood. It looks like an accomplished smartphone and, though it will not dazzle you with features that make a splash, it will delight you with its overall performance and solid offering in cameras.

Compsmag