“Leaks” is probably the first word that comes to your mind while hearing the name Pixel 3 (or Pixel 3XL for that matter). Although the younger brother of Pixel 3XL had fewer issues with leaks, It had its fair share of troubles.
You might be wondering, hey! I know pretty much all there’s to know about this phone from the leaks. Why would I even bother reading this version of Google Pixel 3 review? To answer that my friend, I’d say you most certainly do not know everything there’s to know about.
Trust me this is not a gimmick. The Pixel 3 is probably the most important phone of this year (Thanks to the leaks, people might think otherwise).
Why? Because it brings some dynamics to the one-handed phone genre. We usually expect a phone to be less powerful when it’s considered as a compact smartphone. Google pixel 3 however, is totally opposite of the norm here.
Let’s see why I think that in the Google pixel 3 review (also, for this instance, let’s forget about all the leaks and judge the phone by its merits).
Judging Google Pixel 3 by My Standards: It’s no Slouch
As always, I’ll judge this phone by the following 7 factors. This is pretty much a standard these days.
- Build quality.
- Security and Biometrics.
- OS and timely updates.
If a phone does well in the above-mentioned criteria, chances of that phone being great go skyrocket. So, let’s see If Google pixel 3 can hold its own.
Google Pixel 3 Specifications: Can it compete with the flagships of 2018?
Google pixel 3 specs are in no shape or form less than amazing. It comes with all the bells and whistles that you’d expect from a 2018 smartphone. Best available SoC, 4 GB of RAM, up to 128 GB of storage are just some of them. The following table should give you a decent idea on how this phone looks on paper.
|Areas to Look at||Specs at a Glance|
|Smartphone Dimensions||145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9 mm|
|Overall Build||Front/back glass (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame|
|Display Type||5.5 inches P OLED (from Samsung)|
|Dust and Water Resistance Rating||IP68 rated dust and water resistant|
|Display resolution||1080 x 2160 pixels|
|Protection||Gorilla Glass 5|
|Chipset Version||Qualcomm SDM845|
|Internal Storage Space (ROM)||64/128 GB|
|Memory (RAM)||4 GB|
|Camera(s)||12.2 MP rare and Dual 8 MP selfie cam|
|Headphone Jack Availability||Not Available|
Impressive, right? Especially considering how it costs less than other flagship phones like note 9 or iPhone XS.
The only issue I have with the phone is the lack of a headphone jack. Well what can you do? this is how things are shaping out to be as of now. But come on Google. You could’ve easily put a 3.5mm headphone jack there.
Especially after how made fun of Apple for removing the headphone jack at the original pixel release event (that’s a bit hypocritical, you know).
Pixel 3 gets an A from me when it comes the raw specifications. The only reason why I didn’t give it A+ roots down to the headphone jack. Or the lack of it to be more precise.
Build Quality: How is Google’s Hardware team doing?
Let’s talk about how the actual hardware of the phone is. This year for the first time Google went with all glass smartphone. This allowed them to integrate “Fast Charging” for the first time.
While other phones have been kinda generic when it comes to all glass smartphone, Google did something cheeky with the back of the phone.
Following the design aesthetics of the first Google pixel phone, Google kept the two-tone look on the back of the phone this year as well.
This does bring some refreshment to the overall design language of the phone. The frosted glass on the bottom 2/3rd of the phone looks really cool and I dig that soft touch feel. However, It’s not perfect.
It gets scratch marks (not actual scratches, watch Erica Griffin’s video on youtube) way too easily. The top half of the phone is still glossy glass. This is section is what made the previous 2 Pixels receive signals easily.
The side of the phone is made of anodized aluminum. Buttons are also tactile and very satisfying to click. The overall build of the phone is very sturdy with little to no flex when bent horizontally.
It comes with a colored power button which brings some uniqueness to the phone. The color of the power button also varies with the color of the phone. However, it’s made out of plastic.
When it comes to build quality, the pixel 3 gets an A from me. This year Google’s hardware team has done a great job. This time around it’s definitely an improvement over the last two Pixel phones. Except for the notch of pixel 3XL of course.
Display: Did Google mess-up with the display this year too?
Last year’s Pixel 2 and 2XL (especially, 2XL) got a bunch of criticisms for the LG made display. It was just a bad. Color shift and burn in was the main cause of all the mayhem last year. This year things took a 180-degree turn.
Google has certainly learned from their mistakes. This year both phones come with a Samsung made panel. We all know how good Samsung is when it comes to screens.
Pixel 3 comes with a 5.5-inch flexible P-OLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio and 443 PPI density. And it’s great.
The colors are vibrant, accurate, sharp, and blacks are really black (I mean what else did you expect? It’s a Samsung panel). The only issue I’ve got with the display is how dim it is. I mean seriously, you almost cannot see anything outdoors without cranking the brightness all the way up.
If you are someone who is always outdoors, well, you better keep a power bank with you (Yeah! I also have an issue with the battery of this phone. We will take a look at that in an upcoming section).
So what grade does the Google Pixel 3 Display gets from me? A very graceful A-. As I’m always using my phone outdoors, it’s really annoying for me that I need to use the phone on full brightness. Even on full brightness, sometimes it can be very hard to see things properly.
Camera: Crowned as KING with the power of software!
Remember in my article on Pixel 3 VS. Samsung Galaxy S9 Comparison about the Google Pixel 3 Camera in much details?
Well, as promised here’s your treat.
I’m positive by now you already know a lot about the Pixel 3 camera. With all the other companies are stacking multiple cameras, Google still sticks with a single lens camera system (And beats every single one of them). The Pixel 3 comes with a single 12.2 MP rare camera and 8 MP dual selfie cam.
This is the camera I trust. While for most other phones you’d have to worry about lighting, stability and other variables, with the Pixel 3 you can forget about all that. This is the best example of what and point and shoot camera should be. 9 times out of 10 the pixel 3 takes better photos than any other.
Google has gotten so much better with their machine learning capabilities that this single lens camera phone beats other phones with multiple lenses.
The photos taken with Pixel 3 will awe you when it comes to sharpness and color accuracy (there are some exceptions).
If you are wondering about portrait mode, it’s still here and still better than every other dual lens phone.
Let’s now talk about how it performs under low light settings.
Pixel 3 was already great with the default setup. But now that night sight is released, it is just incredible. Seriously, nothing can compete with night sight. Just look at the following images and you be the judge.
Pixel 3 camera without a hint of doubt gets an easy A+ from me.
It is by far, the best camera on a smartphone to date. The only phone that even competes with the Pixel 3 is the $1000 iPhone XS. I do plan on making a separate post comparing both phones’ cameras. Let’s see how things turn up.
Battery: Average In My Opinion
Okay, allow me to make one thing straight as an arrow, I’m not a huge fan of this phone when it comes to battery life. Pixel 3 comes with a 2915 mAh non-removable Li-ion battery.
The battery life on this phone is just average. I believe this is because of the display as I have to use my phone on high brightness all day. Still, this can’t possibly be an excuse.
With my day to day use, I get around 4.5 hours of screen on time. Meaning if I don’t charge the phone overnight or don’t keep a power bank with me all the time, I’m screwed for the next day.
The wireless charging does help a little and it’s fairly fast. But I cannot express how disappointed I am with the battery life of Pixel 3.
This is a flagship phone that costs a premium sum of money. I do not expect a flagship phone to have average battery life. Sure, if it cost me $500 or less, I’d be completely okay with the battery life. But costs almost 1.5 times than a oneplus 6t. Heck, even oneplus 6t has a bigger battery than Pixel 3.
This is totally not acceptable Google.
In this section of Google Pixel 3 Review, it gets a B – From me. If you have extra cash laying around and do prefer longer battery life, Go for the Pixel 3 XL.
Security and Biometrics: Only the Essentials
Google, after all the fiasco that happened with Google plus, has included a dedicated security chip inside. The titan security chip adds a new layer of safety on top of Android P.
This definitely gets a thumbs up of approval from me. I just feel like it’s a little too late as people are already slamming Google for the security vulnerability of Android. Let’s just hope nothing fishy happens again.
When it comes to biometrics, I feel like Google followed the easy way out. It only comes with a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. No facial recognition or iris scanner or under glass fingerprint sensor for you.
Now don’t get me wrong. The fingerprint sensor is accurate and fast. It works perfectly. But it is simply not as secure as an iris scanner or face recognizer that Apple includes with their flagship phones.
This is kinda dumb especially considering the huge size of the forehead and the chin. Sure, they’ve included stereo speakers there. But I just think they could’ve easily added another biometric sensor in the front of the phone.
Pixel 3 gets an A- from me. I hope Google will add more unlocking methods in their next flagship phone.
OS and Timely Updates: You as They Give
Aside from getting the best camera on a smartphone, People usually buy Pixel phones for the purpose of getting stock OS and timely updates. It is really frustrating that Android is still super fragmented. If you run any other phone than Google Pixel or Nexus, you know the pain.
You have to wait weeks (sometimes months) just to get a security patch, let alone a new OS update. This OEM dependency is what makes Android the most fragmented OS of all time.
I don’t like waiting for my OEM for updates. That’s why I prefer Pixel over any other phones when it comes to timely updates. Moreover, OMEs tend to slow down the OS with redundant features and heavy skin.
Things in the Android world is getting a little better with project treble. In case you don’t know what project treble is, read this article.
Final Words From Me
This brings me to the end of my Google Pixel 3 review. This is the part where I usually recommend things for people. So here you go –
Buy Google Pixel 3 if: You take a lot of photos with your phone, love stock android, need stereo speakers, and most importantly love compact phones.
Don’t buy if: You prefer phones with larger display, love skin on top of Android, use phone outdoors most of the time and of course love those precious battery juice.
So, what are your thoughts on the new Google Pixel 3? Have you already bought it? If so, how does it stack up to you? Do you also have battery life issue? Feel free to let me know your answers in the comment section below.