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Opinion 5 min read 3 comments

48 hours with the Pixel 3 (XL) : the beginning of a love story

The new Google Pixel phones have arrived at the AndroidPIT editorial office. We will be taking our time to thoroughly examine and review the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, but for now here are our first impressions of both smartphones after using them for a weekend.

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are the newest smartphones from Google. As passionate users of the Pixel 2 XL, Luca and I will be taking a closer look at them and comparing them to their predecessor. But first, these are our thoughts after our weekend adventure with the phones. Luca was on the road with Pixel 3 XL, while I grabbed Pixel 3.

A great camera on a great phone

Let's get started with what is probably the most discussed feature of the new Google smartphones. Do the Pixel 3 and 3 XL cameras live up to the previous Pixel generation and outperform the competition? Even though we need more time for a conclusive answer, our first impressions are more than excellent.

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A rare sight: only one camera / © AndroidPIT

The dynamic range shows significant improvement compared to the Pixel 2 XL, along with the detail reproduction. Unfortunately, we don't have the latest software and therefore couldn't test the Night-Sight mode yet, which should be introduced in an update shortly. The front cameras of both phones are fantastic and capture a lot of detail.

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We are more than impressed with the Pixel camera so far / © AndroidPIT

The wide-angle lens is a fun feature for selfies, and the option to select an alternative image if someone blinks in a photo is another great addition. If you want to know how the photo box mode works, you can simply download the Google app Selfissimo, which photo box is based on.

You can form your own opinion on the picture quality by checking out our Pixel 3 (XL) photo album. We will continue to upload new photos while working on our full review:

Great sound all-around

We were both impressed by the loudspeakers, which, as promised by Google, are significantly louder than that of its predecessor. They are not only loud, but the sound is well-balanced and clear. At full volume, the phone’s strong bass causes it to vibrate slightly, which I find a bit annoying. Luca, on the other hand, enjoys it and says it reminds him of the boombox speakers of the LG G7, the difference being that the Pixel speakers are dual, front-facing and louder.

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The quality of the speakers and battery life seem convincing after a weekend. / © AndroidPIT

When it comes to the Pixel 3 and 3 XL battery life, we can’t really make a definitive statement after using the phones for such a short amount of time. We can tell you, however, that they both lasted up to 6 hours in onscreen mode. Yet, even if we only actively used the devices for 2 hours: at the end of the day, both Pixels needed charging. But we never had to worry about the battery not lasting throughout the day.

Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: something for everyone

Chris: Pixel 3 takes some time getting used to

When I found out that the Pixel 3 will have a 5.5-inch display, I was pleasantly surprised - it looked like a smaller version of the Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2, in comparison, was too old-fashioned for my taste, so I was happy to finally get my hands on a smartphone with a more modern design that I can still hold in one hand. However, after using the Pixel 3 for a weekend, I find it takes time getting used to typing with two hands on a device with such narrow bezels. Let’s see if it gets better in a week.

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Two Pixel fanboys in their natural habitat / © AndroidPIT

Other than that, I think the Pixel 3 is a great smartphone overall. The craftsmanship is excellent - the notch-less design looks much better, the side buttons have precise pressure points, the fingerprint sensor is quick and the vibration motor of the phone gives great feedback when typing: probably the best after that of Apple iPhones.

Luca: the notch is not that bad

I feel like Chris but with some minor differences in opinion. Again, I was really pleased to see that the Pixel 3 XL has an even bigger display than its predecessor without the case getting any bigger. Nevertheless, there are some consequences - the Pixel 3 XL, in my opinion, feels more like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 than the Pixel 2 XL when holding it in one hand.

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Luca: "I barely notice the notch anymore" / © AndroidPIT

The notch really isn't as bad as it looks in photos, and when you use your smartphone daily you get used to it so quickly that you hardly notice it anymore. However, there are situations in which it can be really annoying, for example when watching/streaming video.

This was our weekend with the Pixel 3 (XL) and the beginning of a love story (which we hope to continue with the Pixel 4). Contrary to the pictures, we didn't spend the weekend together. 😉

Do you have any specific questions you would like us to answer or anything you want us to have a closer look at in upcoming tests? Let us know in the comment section.

3 comments

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  • I went to Verizon and played with the 3XL. I was viewing video's in landscape mode & you guessed it the notch was very distracting. I like the regular one much better. With 4gb's & 64gb's of storage seems a bit skimpy for late 2018. The stereo speakers sounded very nice & finally wireless. The smaller pixal is 150.00 dollars more than last years model. All in all there very good phones but the pricing & what's offered seems a bit much. The 128gb model XL is over a thousand. For myself, it's alittle too much!


  • Sorin 4 weeks ago Link to comment

    "A great camera," but not "The best camera", or at such a price should have been much more.


  • Aswin 1 month ago Link to comment

    I'll be waiting for the comparison with the Oneplus 6T

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