Google Pixel 3 XL First Impressions

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 great phone with an attractive design from several angles, but wow. This notch. It is different from the notch of the iPhone XS and many other Android phones because it is 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’ll need to put $ 999 for the 128GB variant. This means that Google has almost reached the $1,000 mark, which is becoming more and 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

The Pixel 3 XL has the same features as Pixel 3, a strategy launched by Google with previous Pixel and Apple phones copied for iPhone XS and XS Max. This does not mean that they are identical. 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 aspect 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 glass bottom dull so that it is not as slippery as other phones and it hides better fingerprints. However, the Pixel 3 XL is less attractive than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 or Apple’s iPhone XS.

Display

The 6.3-inch OLED screen offers a resolution of 2,960 x 1,440, and it’s fantastic. The 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 was 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 must disaggregate them. In my opinion, Google presents the drawing of the ugliest cup of the year.

Camera

The main camera of Google Pixel 3 XL is 12.2 megapixels on the back of the phone, instead of the dual configuration (and even triple), currently used on the backside. 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 ensure that the “Motion” function is enabled. 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 gallery’s best photo – and during our brief stint with the handset, it worked well. You can change the depth of field (background blur) in a portrait. You can also opt for an explosion of colors that makes the background black and white while keeping the subject in color for a more striking shot. Google Pixel 3 XL has only one rear camera, the background effect is applied digitally by 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 leaves you more room for more landscapes and/or your friends. An on-screen zoom slider lets you easily switch between lenses.

Battery

The Google Pixel 3 XL has a battery of 3,430 mAh, a little less than the 3,020 mAh pack of Pixel 2 XL. However, the improved 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).

Special Feature On The Edges

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 to allow you to open the wizard while the device is still in your pocket. Apparently, it is still not possible to assign another function to the function.

Software & Performance

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, due to a lack of Google optimization and bloatware. 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 fairly 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 safe bet for a phone, especially when Google also offers a mass of free cloud storage.

Wid-Angle Selfies

Google is not the first to do it, but I like 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.

Verdict

Overall, Google Pixel 3 XL is not an incremental upgrade to 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 while it will not dazzle you with cool features, it will delight you with its overall performance and solid camera offering.

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