Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 XL: full review and full specifications

Review Smartphone

The new series of Google Pixels inevitably passes for what is the vision of the future of Google. The Mountain View Company creates services and we know well how this is definitely capable of doing it. The new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL do nothing more than put into practice what Big has done over the last few years between automatic learning of user habits to improve digital well being.

The will to do it with hardware “Made in Google” is no longer a novelty. But, it is clear how users are determined to buy a Smartphone. This is not only for the vision of the future by Google but also on the battery and performance.

This is exactly what Google has been working on, managing to offer on the market two smartphones capable of surpassing themselves once again with respect to the previous generation in all their aspects. The new Pixel 3 and 3 XL are quality phones created around software that is increasingly mature. And, it is able to stand the pace of the competition especially in this “stock” version. And, that undoubtedly makes the difference with many other contenders. But let’s see in detail what has improved. And, what is yet to improve Google, in our review of the Google Pixel 3 XL.

DESIGN: finally ”premium” without fear

Let’s start from the aesthetic aspect of this new generation of Google Pixels. Our trial version is the “bigger” size, i.e. the 3XL Pixel which sees a dimensionally larger body but also with a feature that cannot go unnoticed: the notch on the top of the display.

The new Pixel 3 XL is an evolution and not a revolution. The new Smartphone is a phone that does not change its size. But, instead changes, its appearance especially in materials that are now really optimized and improved. Finally, you have a Pixel with a premium quality. Lightweight aluminum cover that made the phone plastic is just a memory. With the Pixel 3 XL, we have a back completely in glass and not only because that sort of double band between the top and bottom has remained and indeed was made with a matte texture etched on the glass really nice to the touch and beautiful to see too.

The joints between the glass and the aluminum but also the curved corners of the display or even the sensor for fingerprints at the rear are combinations of many small things that allow the Pixel 3 XL to offer its audience as a real “premium” phone. Three different versions are offered to users and these differ in their color. Google seems to have also thought of the female world and in addition to the classic Black and White has decided to offer a Pixel 3 XL also in Pink. As always Google takes its details and the new Pixel 3 and 3 XL the on / off buttons are colored to contrast the shade of the body and the frame. Here is that on the white version the button is green while on the orange rose.

The rest is a minimalist design that somehow picks up the second generation but going to file some aspects that now make the Pixel 3 XL even more fascinating. On the right side of the smartphone is the on / off button, colored, followed below by the volume bar that is unique. On the opposite side, the frame is completely smooth, while on the lower part there is the microphone hole, the USB Type-C port as well as the trolley for the unique nanoSIM and without memory expansion.

The front part is certainly the most chatted because of the large bezel on the top of the display. Many have criticized it since Apple made it appear in their iPhone X last year, from that moment, however, all the major manufacturers have included in their devices, those who drop, those who expand and who shrinking.

Here Google decided to “exaggerate” by introducing a double front photosensor and this did not allow to easily reduce the notch that is evident and in some ways not exactly beautiful aesthetically speaking. In fact, however, somehow you get used to this and after a few days of use is an integral part of the Pixel 3 XL and almost, almost again, no longer notice its presence mainly because Android 9.0 Pie allows you to view notifications also on the side screen spaces to the notch.

DISPLAY: the past is only a memory

Now let’s talk about the display because together with the camera and the software certainly turns out to be the focus of this new Pixel 3 XL and above all because in the past generation had created many disagreements for a quality that for most users was not excellent. Forget everything because in the new Pixel 3 and 3 XL the displays are really of another level and quality is really excellent.

Technically, we are dealing with a 6.3-inch OLED matrix display with 18.5: 9 form factors and above all with a Quad HD + resolution of 2.960×1.440 pixels. We are facing a competitive display with deep blacks, reduced power consumption, and rounded corners. But not only because the display this year is vibrant and very bright with colors that can always remain faithful and homogeneous in any angle of vision. Google has worked really hard to improve the quality of its displays and certainly, the first impression is to have in our hands a panel of quality but above all also long-lived, accurate in color and brightness.

Present thanks to the new Android 9.0 Pie the brightness “adaptive” that allows you to automatically adjust to the algorithm of Google brightness according to the environment and the activities that are carried out by the user. Clearly, it is possible to manually modify this bar in order to store the user’s preferences to the smartphone. Not only because it will also be possible to change the colors of the display thanks to three different presets: “Natural”, “Enhanced” and “Adaptive” allowing the smartphone to adapt to the best user’s prerogatives.

Inevitably not to mention the notch. Yes, because that big bezel is there at the top of the screen and designed by Google with this size to allow users to have a larger surface of the screen but also the presence of a wide-angle dual-sensor camera as well as a headset capsule that guarantees a stereo speaker.

What one wonders is if we actually needed these characteristics to justify a notch so obvious. The answer is in part, yes, that is, the presence of stereo speakers in the front part allows you to have an improved audio of 40%, according to Google. Indeed what we have found is a really high sound with all kinds of music or even with notifications. The display has increased in its surface, but maintaining a body size similar to that of the Pixel 2 XL and with the notifications always ready to be displayed just on the sides of the notch. Not to mention the double wide-angle front cam which is more than valid in the shots although we will talk later about this.

All these peculiarities, however, do not seem to fully justify the somewhat gruff and not very precise aspect of the bezel, which partially reverses the design of the previously decanted Pixel 3 XL. Curves too extreme, important thickness and a combination of components that almost seems to become a smiley face when you look at it. As mentioned earlier in the use of every day and after some time but almost no longer pay attention to the fact that yes, it remains there but can also be eliminated by software making dark the entire upper frame losing a few pixels but the screen.

HARDWARE

On a performance level, the new Google Pixel 3 XL really does its job as a real top of the range and it also does it very well. Numbers in hand we are in the presence of a device with Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, which is pushed up to a clock of 2.5 GHz, which are flanked by 4GB of RAM and an Adreno 630 graphics card. The behavior in the tests is virtually identical to that of its competitors and even if the Mountain View Company has decided to lower a 0.2 GHz in the CPU clocks all this does not compromise in any way the fluidity of the system and the phone.

GOOGLE Pixel 3 GOOGLE Pixel 3 XL
OS (at launch)
Android 9.0 Pie
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
4 x Kryo 385 GOld @ 2.5 GHz
4 x Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.6 GHz
RAM
4 GB LPDDR4X
Display OLED 5.5 “(18: 9, 443 PPI) OLED 6.3 “(18.5: 9, 523 PPI)
Resolution 2160 x 1080 2960 x 1440
Storage 64 GB – 128 GB 64 GB – 128 GB
Cameras Rear :
12.2 MPx f / 1.8 – 28 mm
Flash Dual-LED
Video 4K @ 30 fpsFront :
8 MPx f / 1.8 Wide – 28 mm
8 MPx f / 2.2 – 19 mm
Video Full HD @ 30 fps
Rear :
12.2 MPx f / 1.8 – 28 mm
Flash Dual-LED
Video 4K @ 30 fpsFront :
8 MPx f / 1.8 Wide – 28 mm
8 MPx f / 2.2 – 19 mm
Video Full HD @ 30 fps
Extra 4G LTE Cat.16 (1 Gbps / 75 Mbps)
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
Fingerprint sensor on the back
Single SIM
4G LTE Cat.16 (1 Gbps / 75 Mbps)
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
Fingerprint sensor on the back
Single SIM
Ports
USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1
Battery
2.915 mAh
Quick
Charge Wireless Recharge Qi
3.430 mAh
Quick
Charge Wireless Recharge Qi
dimensions 145.6 x 68.9 x 7.9 mm 158 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight 148 gr 184 gr

The Google Pixel 3 XL always moves smoothly, immediately, snappy and without any clash or delay. The time when users had to wait a few seconds too long to access an application. Here is all happening immediately and Android 9.0 Pie seems to have reached its full maturity in this respect.

All the latest generation of top-of-the-line smartphones usually have 6 or 8 GB of RAM and maybe I would have preferred that even the Pixel 3 XL was supplied especially for a longevity issue. Google, however, is committed to supporting this new generation of Pixel with future updates for at least 3 years regardless and we hope that everything is respected especially with future operating systems increasingly less demanding at the hardware level.

GRAPHIC INTERFACE: the best Android ever

Google released android 9.0 Pie in early August and we saw it on the second-generation Pixels as well as on Essential and OnePlus 6. Now it also lands on the third-generation Pixels. And, substantially does not bring changes compared to what was announced at the end of summer from Big. The new version of the operating system of the green robot is really optimal. And it is a fundamental part of the renewal of this new Pixel 3 XL in the futuristic vision of Google.

Much news that the company has introduced with Android 9.0 Pie and that concern first the use of the smartphone that is now controlled with gestures. Via the on-screen buttons that are now replaced by the swipe to the left or right in the bottom bar to switch from one application to another or swipe up to open multitasking or go to the app drawer. There is still the button to go back as well as the central button that allows you to call the Home or to access Google Assistant by holding it down.

The new Android also passes and above all for the new suite of features that Google calls Digital Wellness. We speak of a real “dashboard” able to provide specific information on the phone. And, the use that the user has made with applications during the day. The smartphone studies the user in his actions, habits, app. That he uses and much more and through the machine learning can adapt. On the home screen of the suite, you can see a real cake with the hours and minutes of use of the device.

Android 9.0 foot is also predictive intelligence. For example, with the adaptive battery that gives priority to the use of the battery in the most used applications. Or even the advance of actions that the user is about to suggest. Finally, many small additions are ready to help those who use the smartphone in daily activities. And, in this case, we talk about the way that allows you to rotate with the screen looking to the surface to put everything automatically in mode ” Do not Disturb “.

The graphical interface is pleasant, soft, round at the right point. With typical colors of the Material Design and with many levels of opacity that give pleasant situations in the menus and more. An operating system that is easy to understand. And, that is easy to use with a meticulous integration of Google services. And, precious gifts such as the possibility to have unlimited space for storing photos and videos on the cloud in original quality until January 2022.

In a sales package then Google has decided to put its beloved Pixel EarBuds or the cable version of the wireless earphones that will be on sale soon also in Europe. Comfortable, beautiful to look at but also modern, the headphones are a major plus of these times when manufacturers increasingly tend to eliminate accessories from sales packs. In addition, here we have headphones of good quality audio with the presence as well as the microphone for calls also a call button of Google Assistant with which you can easily dialogue.

The virtual assistant will be able to read notifications as well as let you have information about the weather or traffic or anything else that comes to mind. And that’s not all, because using Google Translate, the Mountain View Company’s headphones will allow simultaneous translation from another language. Just keep the button pressed and the translation, once the conversation is started, will take place immediately.

CAMERA: better alone than badly accompanied

Experts and the public have mentioned the second generation Pixels as smartphones with the best camera ever. Difficult to do better and yet Google has succeeded, keeping in an anachronistic way a photographic sensor at the rear. On a technical level, the new Pixel 3 XL has a single 12.2 MPx rear cam with a focal aperture of f / 1.8, optical image stabilization and linked to the Pixel Visual Core chip updated for the occasion for an elaboration better than images.

What really changes in the new generation of Pixel 3 is software. In this case, Google continues to use the “trick” of the HDR + that is, to take multiple photos and combine them to create a single image. All this seems ridiculous and yet the results that can be achieved with the new smartphone are of the highest level.

You can easily see how the new Pixel 3 XL manages to pull out a lot of details also and above all in shadow situations. That is with light not directly on the subject or on the scene. Precisely on this Google seems to have worked hard: on the ability to shoot in any situation without thinking about the present light or the situation of the environment. The colors are pleasant, real and with an excellent dynamic range and high contrasts. Really low noise in shots in optimal light conditions and good even in situations of lower light intensity. In addition, it will be interesting to use the “Night Shot” mode that Google will implement in the future in the coming weeks and that seems to light up day shots with low brightness.

Lots of shooting modes and features that Google has decided to add in this new generation of Pixels. All with individual peculiarities and above all excellent shooting companions. Very interesting the “Best Shooting” feature that will automatically suggest the best shot between the different sequences of shots made on the same scene before and after the original shot.

Even more interesting is the “High Definition Zoom” that is nothing but the Google software response to the absence of a telephoto sensor present in other dual cam devices. Here the work that the company has been able to carry out above all on the storage of extra data is impressive, in order to enlarge the shot with quality. It is not a simple crop of the image but a real processing in retrospect that guarantees excellent results.

Like last year also the “Portrait” feature ready to blur the shots like a real SLR. In this case, Google seems to have also improved this mode and the results are good with an excellent work on the hair, in the case of a human subject, but also in the case of objects or other. In this case, it is possible to adjust the amount of background blur.

Previously Google decided to implement a dual camera. Technically we speak of two 8 MPx sensors, one with a wide-angle feature and a focal aperture of f / 2.2 while the other classic but with a focal aperture of f / 1.8. Here we face with an improvement over the previous generation not only for the increase in the number of sensors but especially for the quality of shooting. Auto focusing is of great help to the user and shots can reproduce a huge amount of detail.

Here too various modes from that guarantee the user to make self-portraits without having to tap the shutter button. The Pixel 3 XL will, in fact, recognize the best moment when the subject or the subjects are on the scene and will automatically tend to take the picture. Also the possibility, thanks to the wide-angle sensor, to make group selfie with a large number of people.

Videos always keep the smartphone level high with optimal stabilization even in 4K resolution at 30 fps. Good colors that remain real, as well as high, are the contrasts and the dynamic range of the shot. The possibility here to use the focus in motion that will ensure to follow a certain subject even in motion without losing sight of it.

AUTONOMY: the Pixel Stand is convenient

The new Google Pixel 3 XL has a battery of 3,430 mAh. And, that is a quantity greater than 17% compared to that of the last generation. The use that I usually do with the smartphone is to work daily under the Wi-Fi network or often under the 4G network. Listen to music both in streaming and offline with Bluetooth headphones. And, also, use its GPS and applications navigation.

Well, Google Pixel 3 XL managed to arrive in the evening without problems just like many other competitors. The use of the Ambient Display for notifications does not decrease the battery of the smartphone that in stand-by finally does not get drastic Cali symptom that Android 9.0 Pie is able to suppress consumption.

Very interesting the possibility to recharge the new Pixel 3 XL with the Pixel Stand or the wireless base created ad hoc with this series by Google. Selling it separately but certainly the convenience is absolute . And, moreover, in this case, the Mountain View Company wanted to put their personalizing user experience. Yes, because just put the Pixel 3 XL to activate various modes in which the Google Assistant will be at your fingertips. Where you will have a carousel of the images on the device clearly chosen by the user. Or even, the alarm with gradual light in which the smartphone will tend, at a set time, to increase the brightness of the screen.

Do not forget also the fast charge with both the cable and the power supply supplied with the Pixel Stand that allows the 5W and is also compatible with other smartphones supporting the Qi standard.

CONCLUSIONS

Google has done a meticulous job in the search for what was wrong with Pixel 2 XL trying to buffer and correct errors or shortcomings. The display is finally a quality panel with two thin frames and two frames much thicker.

The camera remains single at the rear while doubles at the front and in both cases reach a level of prestige by being able to contend once again the scepter of the best camera phone of the moment. Android 9.0 Pie is increasingly mature software with lots of useful features at any time of the day. An operating system is aware of wanting to help the user. And, above all, make the users life not only more productive but also well-being by removing it as far as possible from the smartphone addiction.

Selling price of Google Pixel 3 XL is  999 €, perhaps too much, but in line with other contenders. This year the quality of the flagship smartphone is there. And, I advise anyone to go beyond the notch that unfortunately does nothing but spoil how much of Google has done with the rest of the device. The company of Mountain View will amaze you with its user experience. And, that especially favors those who really live the smartphone. And if you want to have the best Android experience with the best camera you cannot take this Pixel 3 XL today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *