The Pixel 3 and 3 XL — not a complete disappointment

5 min read

After months of leaks, the Made by Google event has come and gone leaving a trail of new and improved devices behind. The highly anticipated release of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL brought about the expected new screen sizes and design changes, with prices ranging from $799-$999, depending on model and storage. There weren’t any additional cosmetic changes that we weren’t already expecting, but they did do a great job of captivating our attention for the entire event with the myriad of other releases, including the Google Home Hub and the Pixel Slate.

So what’s new with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL? Inspired by the desire to make technology almost invisible amongst the rest of the parts of our lives, VP of hardware design at Google Ivy Ross wanted the Pixel to be something more natural and familiar. The phone itself, including its accompanying accessories, centralize around soft circles and curves, making the transition in your life something “smooth and beautiful.” With the inclusion of matte and glossy textures with the new etching process, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL have a more comfortable feel. It’s aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing moderness or the basic industrialism that encompasses Google’s typical style with features designed to make life simpler, not more complicated.

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL now have larger displays at 5.5 and 6.3 inches, respectively, and come in three colors: Just Black, Clearly White, and Not Pink. These are the only three colors released, despite the leak that hinted at a Pixel 3 in the shade of Maybe Mint.

What’s more, Google is giving away six months of Youtube Music with your purchase. This gives you the perfect opportunity to test out one of the most debated features of the phone itself: the front firing speakers. They account for 40% louder and richer audio than the Pixel 2, but are to blame for the much-debated chin/bezel at the bottom of the screen where the speaker is housed. From a cosmetic standpoint, it doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal as it was hyped to be, especially with an increased display from the previous model.

Arguably the most talked about feature of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL is the much-improved camera. It’s remarkable what Google has been able to achieve with a single lens. Think about that for a moment. We live in a day and age where a multi-lens camera is the norm i.e the 16 lens Light L 16 (absolute madness). Google’s intention was to take the standard and not only do it better but simplify it too. They’ve done that by keeping the single lens while massively improving the features. They took it upon themselves to solve the common issues we all face when using our phone’s camera.

Camera Features:
12.2MP rear camera
8MP dual front camera (with normal and wide-angle capabilities)

Top shot — smart enough to know a good photo when it sees it, as it should be. Top shot helps capture “smiles instead of sneezes” and the rest of the perfect moments. It automatically captures multiple photos and offers you the option of choosing the best one. Gone are the days of ruined photos; you choose the best one.

Super Res Zoom – Google made a bold claim that this is the same feature that what was used for capturing the surface of Mars. Super Res Zoom enables the camera to take a burst of photos and then combines the images together to recreate detail — essentially creating a bigger picture from a series of smaller photos.

Night Sight — given the Pixel’s ability to shoot incredible footage in low light situations, this feature seems like it will live up to the name. Night Sight helps you capture low light footage without needing to use flash.

Group Selfie Camera — “184% more in your selfies.” This feature lets you zoom out to capture a wider range, including everyone in the shot, no selfie stick (or long arm) needed.

Playground — effectively rebranding “AR stickers,” Playground gives you the opportunity to interact with the stickers. They respond to your facial expressions and movements, so the overall effect is interesting, to say the least. The most exciting feature of Playground is Google’s collaboration with Marvel, featuring Avenger stickers to mark the MCU’s 10 year anniversary of record-breaking films. Another exciting collaboration with Childish Gambino will also be released in Playground, adding to the anticipation of even more incredible partnerships in the future.

Portrait Mode — portrait mode has been improved to allow you to choose what you want the focal point to be, as well as focus the color saturation or increase the background blur factor.

All these features can be accessed directly from the camera app which can be accessed by selecting the app or double tapping the power button to go straight there.

Plus, Google Lens has been built directly into the Pixel 3 and 3 XL cameras, giving you the ability to scan a menu or a URL and access it immediately.

Google also announced FREE unlimited storage (maintaining original quality) for users up until 2022, something that is a game changer for people who take a lot of photos with their smartphone but don’t necessarily want to pay extra for the 128GB storage option.

Another featured that had been partially leaked was the Call Screening feature. This allows you to screen scam calls by allowing an automated system answer for you and transcribe the conversation on your home screen in real time. In a time when scam calls seem to be at an all-time high, this feature can not only save you time, but also the headache of having to answer every one of these calls.

Additionally, each phone comes with the Titan M Security chip, meant to safeguard the security of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL from potential threats. It creates a closed loop to ensure the ultimate safety of your personal information. This is a big step forward and may be the reassurance many needed after the controversy surrounding the Google+ privacy leaks.

The goal that Google mentioned continuously throughout the event was that they wanted an “end to end approach to consumer tech”. Did they achieve that with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL? With price points $50-$150 higher than last year it’s hard to tell if it’s worth the splurge just yet. What did you think about the release? Let us know in the comments or on social media!