Pixel 3 Review: Google’s Best Phone Yet

Damien McFerran

09/11/2018 – 11:58am

But one that is not with out its faults


Following the death of the Nexus circle of relatives of telephones, Google’s Pixel line has turn out to be the actual reference level for the corporate’s imaginative and prescient for its Android OS; those units get the most recent variations of the running device sooner than any different, and generally show off hardware and device inventions that then trickle all the way down to different Android-based telephones. It’s simple to look why the release of recent Pixel handsets is one of these large deal within the eyes of Google’s maximum faithful fanatics, and this yr the divulge was once ruined slightly by way of the truth that each the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL had been matter to leaks which mainly advised us the entirety we had to learn about each telephones sooner than they had been even formally introduced.

Despite this, the coming of the Pixel 3 is a big tournament on the earth of smartphones – however how does the usual style evaluate to its opponents, the obvious of which is the similarly-priced iPhone XR?

Pixel 3 Review: Design

In an international the place the typical smartphone has a minimum of a 6-inch display screen, the Pixel 3 is one thing of an anomaly. It’s one of the smallest handsets we have noticed in reasonably a while, however that is a favorable fairly than a detrimental. With Apple ‘going large’ in 2018, there at the moment are even fewer choices for the ones folks who don’t need a gargantuan ‘phablet’ in our pocket, so it is great to look Google cater for this sector of the marketplace with a telephone this is completely pocket-sized.

In conserving with the typical theme of maximum 2018 flagship telephones, the Pixel 3 has a steel body sandwiched between subtle glass (a case is a should, as in case you wanted telling). The rear panel of the instrument has a novel two-tone texture to it; nearly all of the rear is roofed by way of a matte-feel coating which aids grip, whilst the higher phase – which properties the digicam – is glossy glass. We’ve noticed stories that the matte texture scratches too simply however if truth be told, you’ll be able to merely rub away the marks together with your finger. You’ll additionally in finding the fingerprint scanner at the again of the telephone, and it is super-fast and extremely dependable; we’ve not had a failed liberate try but.

On the right-hand facet of the telephone you have got the ability button and quantity rocker, whilst the left-hand edge is completely blank. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, and the Nano SIM tray – which handiest has area for a unmarried SIM – is at the backside fringe of the Pixel 3, subsequent to the USB Type-C port. The telephone boasts IP68 coverage in opposition to water and dirt, so it’s going to fortunately continue to exist an unplanned drop right into a frame of water.

The Pixel 3 is to be had in three colors: black, white and what Google is looking “Not Pink”, although it more or less is. We’ve handiest had probability to look the black model within the flesh, and we are a bit jealous of the colored buttons at the different fashions. It’s additionally a disgrace that Google did not carry again the cool ‘Stormtrooper’ black and white scheme it used for 2017’s Pixel 2 XL, however in the end, that is one good-looking telephone.

Pixel 3 Review: Display

The Pixel 3 sports activities a 5.5-inch, 1080×2160 pixel OLED show which is has huge bezels on the most sensible and backside. After those noticed at the Pixel 2 it was once first of all a little bit of a sadness to look them go back – albeit smaller – at the 2018 style, however we were given used to them briefly. The upshot of such huge bezels is a suite of tough stereo audio system, which might be nice if you find yourself staring at films for your telephone. The display screen itself is shiny, punchy and vibrant, and whilst we have noticed upper pixel counts on different 2018 flagships, 1080p is the very best solution for a show which is beneath 6-inches. Another large first for this yr’s Pixels is they each improve HDR content material, which seems to be completely surprising.

There’s on large drawback with this show regardless that, and it is a repeat of the problem Google had final yr with its Pixel units – smartly, nearly. In 2017, LG produced the OLED panel within the Pixel 2 XL whilst Samsung – arguably the grasp of this actual display screen tech – treated the show of the smaller Pixel 2. LG merely is not as excellent at making this sort of display screen, and in consequence, many Pixel 2 XL homeowners ended up complaining as a result of their telephones exhibited ‘color shift’ – a state of affairs the place portions of the show perceived to have a special color to the others, with crimson being the commonest color.

The dangerous information is that Google hasn’t learnt its lesson in 2018 and has as soon as once more divided display screen provide tasks between Samsung and LG, the important thing distinction is that their roles are reversed – LG is dealing with the smaller Pixel whilst Samsung makes the show for the XL version. Very early stories seem to suggest that LG’s manufacturing procedure hasn’t advanced prior to now 12 months, as we have noticed quite a lot of examples of crimson gradients on Pixel 3 panels – our personal evaluation unit suffered from this factor, as you’ll be able to see within the comparability picture underneath (that is a Galaxy S9+ at the appropriate, by way of the best way). Both of those telephones are exhibiting the similar white JPEG symbol with evening mode enabled and brightness set to minimal; you’ll be able to obviously see the crimson gradient on the most sensible of the display screen.

It appears to be very a lot the good fortune of draw on the subject of this factor, however it is being worried that such a lot of of those telephones are passing Google’s QA exams when there may be obviously color shift on a part of the display screen. It’s value stressing that the majority of Pixel 3 handsets can have easiest monitors, however the huge quantity of drawback units coming to mild this quickly after liberate is being worried nevertheless.

Pixel 3 Review: Software & Performance

Thankfully, issues are much more certain on the subject of the Pixel 3’s device. Android P is soft, slick and actually refreshing; whilst there are some who dislike the brand new multitasking mode (you slide your finger up from the ground of the display screen, iOS-style), we truly favored the extra herbal, gesture-based navigation. After the usage of the iPhone XR for some time we have come to the realization that gesture-based controls are a ways awesome to mounted on-screen buttons, so optimistically, Google will make a choice to issue in additional swipe-based instructions as Android continues to mature.

As you are expecting from a Pixel telephone, this handset comes mild on pre-installed device, with handiest Google’s core apps making the minimize – there is no useless duplication of capability as you regularly get on telephones from Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi. “Stock” Android has additionally come on leaps and boundaries prior to now few years and whilst it could be a bit too fundamental for some when it comes to design, it seems to be blank and feels extremely snappy and responsive. There’s the temptation to mention this annually, however that is without problems the most efficient model of natural Android we have noticed thus far, and contours like the power to display screen (and robotically reject) unsolicited mail telephone calls and make notice of your display screen time are very welcome.

Much of the Pixel 3’s slickness comes from the truth that it is the usage of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chipset – which has been noticed in just about each and every Android flagship telephone this yr. It’s a effective piece of silicon and it is unusual to look the instrument combat or stutter; the one fly within the ointment is that Google opted for 4GB of RAM, because of this that apps don’t remain open in reminiscence for terribly lengthy. The corporate has famous that the telephone is dangerous at protecting energetic apps and has mentioned it’s going to factor a repair later this yr, however while you believe that some 2018 telephones have 8GB of RAM inside of, it kind of feels fairly short-sighted of Google to incorporate one of these small quantity. Now, you might want to argue that 4GB of RAM is greater than sufficient for a smartphone (the silky-smooth iPhone XR has 3GB) however Android is famously hungry on the subject of RAM, and with Google promising to provide OS updates to the instrument till 2021, we dread to assume how it’s going to cope in three years time, when the typical flagship instrument can even include three occasions that a lot reminiscence. Eek.

Pixel 3 Review: Battery & Memory

With some telephones boasting batteries which can be 4000 mAh in capability, the Pixel 3’s 2900 mAh cellular turns out a little bit weedy. Even while you remember the fact that the instrument has a smaller display screen than a few of its opponents, it nonetheless feels just like the Pixel 3 is a little bit of a letdown on the subject of natural stamina. It’s completely in a position to getting you thru a whole day in case you are cautious with what you do, however there have been a couple of occasions once we walked in the course of the door on the shut of a hectic day to search out that it was once all the way down to its final 10 % of juice. The indisputable fact that it helps quick-charging mitigates this drawback, however the ones of you making plans to take the wi-fi charging course will wish to make investments £70 within the Pixel Stand, which is lately the one wi-fi charger that can quick-charge the instrument (we attempted the usage of the Samsung charging stand we use on our Galaxy S9+ and it might handiest most sensible up at 5W, regardless of the telephone pronouncing it was once ‘charging all of a sudden’).

Our evaluation unit got here with 64GB of garage, which is beginning to really feel like too little nowadays; 128GB seems to be the ‘access degree’ quantity in 2018, and Xiaomi has simply introduced that its Mi 8 Pro will hit the United Kingdom with 128GB of garage (and can price greater than £200 not up to the Pixel 3). You can not upload extra reminiscence at the Pixel 3 as there is no MicroSD card slot, however at the plus facet, any pictures taken may also be robotically uploaded to Google Photos the place they do not depend in opposition to your garage quota.

Pixel 3 Review: Camera

Google has all the time made a gigantic deal concerning the cameras on its Pixel telephones and this yr’s style is not any exception; the corporate has integrated a raft of recent options that deal with the Pixel’s standing because the quantity one handset for individuals who wish to take the most efficient snaps conceivable with their smartphone.

Amazingly, Google has accomplished all of this with out coming into the tiresome ‘digicam fight’ that appears to be raging in other places within the . There’s nonetheless just a unmarried sensor at the again of the telephone – a 12.2-megapixel variant with a f/1.8 aperture – and it is the device facet of items the place the magic occurs. The Pixel 3 takes herbal and detailed photographs which, whilst having a look a bit darkish when in comparison to pictures taken by way of the Galaxy S9+ and that iPhone XR, are a greater game of the real-world scene, with colors showing convincing fairly than overblown.

Dynamic vary may be superb, and the inclusion of the ‘Top Shot’ truly makes a distinction; with this selection, the telephone takes photographs sooner than and after you will have pressed the button, after which makes use of gadget finding out to make a choice the most efficient symbol. If you might be endlessly cursing the truth that circle of relatives portraits are ruined by way of any person now not smiling or final their eyes on the flawed second, this can be a genuine godsend.

The Pixel 3’s digicam may be superb at low-light taking pictures, taking pictures the adaptation between mild and darkish spaces with out making issues glance unnatural. The easiest factor about that is that Google hasn’t even enabled the telephone’s ‘Night Sight’ mode but, which can beef up this facet much more.

On the entrance of the telephone there are two selfie cams, one of which gives a wide-angle view so you’ll be able to cram extra other folks into a bunch shot. We can not say this might be crucial however it is a great characteristic to have nevertheless.

Pixel 3 Review: Conclusion

In phrases of natural specifications, you could take one have a look at the Pixel 3 and beauty precisely what the fuss is ready. It arguably does not problem the most efficient Android telephones of 2018 whatsoever on the subject of natural generation or options, and with the ones huge bezels, it seems like a telephone from final yr, regardless of boasting an admittedly interesting total design.

However, numbers on a web page do not inform the entire tale with this telephone. With natural Android, it is one of probably the most pleasing reviews you’ll be able to have with Google’s cellular OS; there is no tense bloat to sluggish issues down or befuddle you with a couple of sign-ins to services and products which in the end do the similar factor – that is a lot nearer to the Apple means of doing issues. You handiest want your Google account, and as soon as you will have signed into that, the entirety is just about seamless. And it is going with out pronouncing that the Pixel 3 might be getting the most recent updates to Android sooner than the majority of rival units, so in case you like being up-to-date, then it is a cast selection.

Add to this an industry-leading digicam and you have got one hell of a smartphone; the pictures and video captured by way of this instrument are implausible. Waterproofing, speedy charging and improve for HDR video content material are the icing at the cake.

However, the elephant within the room stays Google’s reliance on LG to provide shows. The Korean company remains to be enjoying catch-up with Samsung, and in consequence, the display screen at the smaller Pixel 3 may also be inconsistent on the subject of color steadiness. Our unit had a crimson gradient working from the highest of the display screen to a couple of 3rd of the best way down, and there are a large number of stories of alternative Pixel 3 homeowners having the similar factor. If this appears like it is going to hassle you, then chances are you’ll wish to keep away from this smaller model and as a substitute pony up the extra money for the Pixel 3 XL, which boasts a Samsung-made OLED display screen.

That apart, this can be a genuine great thing about a handset which dials again the gimmicks and gifts a slick enjoy which is subsidized up by way of some tough photographic abilities.

Thanks to Mobile Fun for supplying the Pixel 3 used on this evaluation.