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- Excellent build quality
- Excellent display
- Supports wireless charging
- No expandable memory
- Software elaboration cannot replace a hardware zoom or a wide-angle lens
This is a smartphone ($464.00) that can be the reference for Android software and that fully represents the essence of Google and its services. It is also the dream come true of many users less interested in the world of technology. Something that reflects what is iPhone for Apple, but for Android. An essential phone, with no bells and whistles, but that simply works well. Let’s find out more.
The package contains a welcome novelty: the USB-C wired stereo headphones with controls on the wire and that integrate the Google Assistant. A long press of the button will allow you to ask and instantly receive all the information you need in your headphones, including the instant translation that made the Pixel Buds so popular. Then we find the 18W power adapter, a USB-C cable and a USB to USB-C adapter.
Build and Ergonomics
Although the overall design has remained the same, there have been some interesting changes. The smartphone has a glass back, but with a dual finish: matte and rough on the bottom, and glossy smooth at the top. In hand the feeling is extremely premium, and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful smartphones. The edges are more rounded, and the ergonomics are quite good, considering the size of the device. It is still quite thin (7.9mm), and now dust and water resistant according to the IP68 standard.
We have a 2.5GHz octa core Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of non-expandable fast internal memory. There is also a 128GB version. Connectivity is excellent with LTE up to 1000Mbps, NFC, Wi-Fi ac dual band, Bluetooth 5.0 and GPS assisted by GLONASS-Galileo. The FM radio and the 3.5mm audio jack are missing. The haptic feedback is fantastic. Last but not least, the front stereo audio is even more powerful and undoubtedly good.
The camera at least on paper, is very similar to that of the previous model, an optically stabilized 12.2 megapixel ƒ/1.8 sensor. The idea behind this implementation is clear: Google wants to demonstrate that you can have a top single sensor camera with the aid of software and artificial intelligence. The results are great, but not surprising, considering how great was the same camera on the Pixel 2 XL ($253.95). The app is fast, the focus is accurate and the images are perfectly balanced. The consistency of Pixel 3 images is amazing. Taking a bad picture is practically impossible.
The big surprise was the dual front facing camera module: it consists of an 8 megapixel ƒ/1.8 sensor and an 8 megapixel ƒ/2.2 wide-angle sensor. The photos are very good and are a nice step forward. The videos are also excellent and are stabilized both optically and electronically up to 4K resolution (and 30fps). In Full HD resolution the stabilization is even more noticeable.
The Google Pixel 3 XL is equipped with a 6.3-inch P-OLED display with QHD+ resolution, (1440×2960 pixels). Although the size of this smartphone is identical to the Pixel 2 XL, the display is even larger, given the narrower edges and the notch. It’s big and ugly, but I have to admit that despite my initial adversity you get used to it pretty quickly. This is one of the most beautiful displays in circulation at the moment.
The user experience is so good that it is difficult to describe in words and similar to that of Apple products. The whole system is lightning-fast and buttery smooth and we can now understand why Google decided not to increase the RAM, and clock the processor at a lower frequency.
The user experience is enriched with various goodies. Just to name a few we have gestures on the fingerprint reader, intelligent storage that makes gallery back-ups to the cloud, auto mode that recognizes if you are in the car and automatically starts Android Auto and digital well-being that monitors your usage habits and helps you detox from your smartphone. In addition, we have music recognition on the locked screen, flip to mute and the ability to activate the voice assistant by simply squeezing the smartphone.
The battery takes a step backwards to 3430mAh. The reason is that this phones also sports fast wireless charging. The battery will last you a whole day even with intense use.
The Pixel 3 XL costs ($464.00). This is undoubtedly high, but in line with the competition. Looking at the spec sheet it may seem too much, but if you consider the software integration it is a bargain.
The Google Pixel 3 XL has improved on the Pixel 2 XL ($253.95) much more than what the spec sheet reveals. However it is a product that for many will be difficult to understand. That is until you use it for the first time… there are no other Android phones that can match what is on offer here.
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