If there’s one affair I capital from the Google Pixel 3 XL, it’s that it didn’t accomplish a echo of aftermost year. The Pixel 2 XL was an contrarily arise buzz but its awry affectation captivated it aback from greatness.
I’m blessed to say that Google’s latest alms has actually sidestepped that accurate pitfall. The problem, though, is that a from acclimation what bare to be fixed, the Pixel 3 XL is not that abundant of an advance over aftermost year’s phone. In abounding ways, it does feel like a echo of aftermost year, as if Google has bound a few problems, upped the amount and the awning size, installed new software and larboard it at that.
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Before I get advanced of myself, here’s what’s what. The Google Pixel 3 XL is the big brother to the Google Pixel 3. It has a beyond 6.3in affectation with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,960, and the amount is higher, but in best added respects the Pixel 3 XL is identical to its abate sibling.
It runs the latest Android 9 Pie software, uses the exact aforementioned 12.2-megapixel camera as the Pixel 3, the aforementioned Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and it looks about identical, too. There are some tiny differences, both concrete and achievement related, but to all intents and purposes, the Pixel 3 XL is aloof a beyond Pixel 3.
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Indeed, the bigger contrast amid the two handsets is the price, with the Google Pixel 3 XL costing £869 to the Pixel 3’s £739. That ability complete expensive, but compared to its aloft rivals, the Pixel 3 XL is not, in fact, overpriced. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is accessible now from about £899 (the S9 is £869), the Apple iPhone Xs Max costs from £1,099 and the Huawei P20 Pro is £799. The avant-garde large-screened flagship buzz about carries with it a amount tag of about £800 or more, it would seem.
Lurking in the shadows, though, is the OnePlus 6, anon to be replaced by the accessible OnePlus 6T. This is an aberrant smartphone with agnate internals to the Google Pixel XL, but which costs a lot beneath at £469.
So what’s new with the Pixel 3 XL? The bigger change is that the buzz has a larger, 6.3in affectation compared to aftermost year, now analogous the OnePlus 6 for size. It’s one of the new brand of tall, attenuated screens, so the buzz doesn’t feel actually as bulky as you ability think, although you ability appetite to account for some jeans with added pockets.
As for how it looks, at aboriginal glance it would arise that not abundant has changed. The rear is still disconnected into matte and bottle portions, with the top ablaze allotment surrounding the distinct camera and flash. The basal matte part, meanwhile, offers added anchor that you’d commonly get from a glass-backed phone.
Look anxiously admitting and you’ll see that both genitalia are now seamlessly joined. In fact, the rear console is all one allotment of glass. The fingerprint clairvoyant still resides in the centre of the rear of the device, though.
At the front, we accept that beyond 6.3in affectation which, like best of 2018’s flagship phones, has a rather cruddy cleft bistro abroad at it from the top edge. It’s an OLED display, as it was aftermost year, and it’s an edge-to-edge screen, bushing abundant of the advanced of the phone. The resolution is hardly college than HD – 1,440 x 2,960 to be precise, and the awning is topped with Gorilla Bottle 5 so it’s accessible to clean, as able-bodied as actuality blemish and blast resistant.
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Other architecture appearance account acquainted are a little beneath in your face. The coloured ability on is a nice touch, but not unusual. I’m not abiding about the adhesive green, though, on the white model. There’s IP68 waterproofing and 10W Qi wireless charging now and front-facing stereo speakers that complete appealing acceptable for a phone. If you buy one, though, please, amuse don’t use them aback you’re out in accessible to accept to Bruno Mars. From a few anxiety abroad on the bus, this buzz sounds aloof as irritatingly tinny as any other.
One decidedly nice affection is that the buzz will transform into a mini Google Home Hub aback you bead it in the £69 Pixel Stand charger. It will alike application through the video augment from your Nest Hello video doorbell (if you accept one) aback addition rings the doorbell.
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Otherwise, the buzz is appealing abundant as it was before. It still has “ActiveEdge” sensors congenital into the anatomy of the buzz so you can actuate Google Assistant with a clasp (no-one uses this feature, though, let’s be honest). There’s still no microSD agenda amplification and the ons are in about the aforementioned place: the ability on sits aloft the aggregate rocker on the appropriate bend of the phone, the tray for the nano SIM agenda is on the basal bend aing to the USB Type-C atrium and there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack. Bad Google. Bad, bad Google.
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Inside, the Google Pixel 3 XL has a 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with 4GB of RAM to aback it up and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. As with every added buzz I’ve acclimated with the Snapdragon 845 on board, this is a quick buzz and I’ve had actually no affair with it whatsoever.
It’s a quick and acknowledging phone, in actuality with Android 9 Pie on lath the Pixel 3 XL is apparently the slickest, best acknowledging buzz I’ve anytime used. And it benchmarks actual well, too.
Battery activity is somewhat beneath impressive, with the Pixel 3 XL abiding a rather underwhelming 13hrs 8mins in our video briefing test, which is best than the abate Pixel 3, but able-bodied abaft all of its rivals.
To be honest, I wasn’t assured abundant from the 3,430mAh battery, but it’s still far from ideal and alike lags abaft the iPhone Xs Max and Huawei P20 Pro.
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Last, but by no agency least, to the display, which is fantastic. Peak accurateness isn’t the best – at 393cd/m2 you ability attempt to apprehend your letters on a ablaze brilliant summer day – but colour accurateness is fantastic. Measured with the phone’s “Natural” colour contour enabled its boilerplate Delta E account is 1.21, which is as acceptable as smartphones get, essentially.
The awning is HDR certified, too, so you can be abiding Netflix movies and TV shows attending their complete best. If you adopt a added active or aerial look, the Pixel 3 XL has three colour profiles to accept from: Accustomed is, effectively, sRGB; Boosted is sRGB “ 10%”; and Adaptive is the best active and aing to the DCI-P3 colour gamut.
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Perhaps the best hasty affair about the Google Pixel 3 XL is that it arrives with alone a distinct camera at the rear with blueprint that, to be brutal, don’t attending to accept afflicted a jot from aftermost year. Resolution charcoal at 12.2 megapixels with 1.4um pixels and a 1/2.55in sensor, the breach is still f/1.8, and the buzz is able with OIS (optical angel stabilisation) and bifold pixel autofocus as the Pixel 2 XL was.
Look anxiously at the breadth amid the camera and the beam and you’ll see a baby dot. That, I’m appealing sure, is the spectral/flicker sensor which is new and should acquiesce for added complete white antithesis settings.
With every added aloft smartphone architect on the planet opting for dual- and, in some cases, triple-camera and quadruple setups, Google charge accept affluence of aplomb that its HDR algorithm will be able to bear the appurtenances already again, because it hasn’t afflicted abundant actuality either. The buzz uses Google’s custom Visual Core ISP dent to action eight frames every time the bang on is pressed, the aforementioned cardinal as aftermost year and, although the after-effects are impressive, the antagonism is communicable up. Apple’s Smart HDR algorithm additionally captures eight frames, although I still adopt the way the Pixel renders colours.
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I’ll get assimilate angel affection lower down. For now, though, I’m activity to focus on the accoutrement Google has added to the camera this time around. It’s a bit of a mix. Aboriginal on the account is the new Top Shots mode. This works aback Motion shots are enabled: the camera captures a alternation of shots afore and afterwards you hit the bang on and, if the software thinks a bigger attempt is available, it’ll advance an alternative. Advantageous if your account accountable blinks or moves aloof as you booty your photograph. The automated suggestions don’t consistently work, though, and it’s account noting, too, that Top Shots doesn’t assignment in HDR added mode, either.
Elsewhere, there’s a new approach alleged Night Sight, which illuminates low-light shots about as if you’d acclimated a flash. This affection wasn’t accessible for me to analysis initially, though; it’s advancing in a approaching update. There’s additionally “Motion auto-focus”, which gives you article tracking. Keen photographers can now save images in RAW and JPEG while Playground adds AR capabilities to the camera, acceptance you to add asinine 3D abstracts and stickers to scenes.
The best actively advantageous new feature, though, is Super Res Zoom. This aims to abode the actuality that the camera doesn’t accept a additional telephoto lens by application the accustomed motion of your easily as you abduction added images to ample in absent detail in zoomed shots. It seems to assignment able-bodied but it’s not actually a bout for the optical 2x telephoto zoom on the iPhone Xs Max or the 3x and 5x zoom on the Huawei P20 Pro.
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Nor is the video approach the best I’ve appear across. It has a new “fused” stabilisation address that combines OIS and EIS, which works well, but it doesn’t almanac 4K video at 60fps. Alike the OnePlus 6 can do that.
The aftermost new camera affection is the bifold advanced camera. One is advanced bend – acceptance you to abduction groups of accompany or a broader appearance of the mural abaft you – the added captures at a approved bend for, um, approved selfies. Both front-facing camera abduction at 8 megapixels: the wide-angle camera has an breach of f/2.2 and is a anchored focus camera; the accustomed camera has an breach of f/1.8 and uses appearance ascertain autofocus.
The affection is, in a word, stunning. The Pixel 3 XL’s camera’s still photographs are as acceptable as any from its big rivals, abnormally in scenarios area HDR is required. Ablaze lights and sky are captured with alarming levels of accurateness and amazing abyss of colour.
My alone complaint, perhaps, is that occasionally the white antithesis in calm shots is a little off-kilter – beneath appointment band lights it errs a little too abundant on the air-conditioned ancillary for my affection – but that absolutely is the aboriginal of baby complaints.
It’s a abundant camera. Its bigger problems are the ones I’ve accent already: a abridgement of optical zoom and 60fps 4K video capture, both appearance that the iPhone Xs Max and OnePlus 6 offer.
When it comes to software, already again, there’s annihilation hasty here. The Google Pixel 3 XL runs Android 9 Pie and it brings with it a hatful of new features, not atomic a affecting amend of the way the app drawer and contempo apps awning is accessed.
I’m abiding I’ll get acclimated to this but a bash up with the deride no best gets you appropriate into the app drawer; instead it pulls up the Contempo apps view. To get to the app drawer you accept to now bifold bash or accumulate your deride activated to the awning and accumulate going.
Android 9 Pie additionally introduces a brace of added new abyssal gestures, not all of which I’m abiding I’m activity to use. Bash appropriate on the home on and you’ll bound get to the antecedent app. Bash and authority the home on and the Pixel 3 XL will boring annal you through all your contempo apps.
Other absorbing new appearance accommodate Google Duo video calling affiliation aural the dialler and Gmail Smart Compose, which endeavours to accomplish autograph emails quicker and easier by suggesting accepted completed sentences.
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It apparently shouldn’t abruptness you to ascertain that the Google Pixel 3 XL is a abundant phone. It’s a admirable affair to use, has a aces camera and looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s the quickest, slickest buzz I’ve anytime acclimated and is after a austere flaw. Considering how poor the Pixel 2 XL’s affectation was aftermost year, that was never a given. Ultimately, the Pixel 3 XL is the buzz the Pixel 2 XL should accept been.
What’s hasty about the Pixel 3 XL is how underwhelmed I feel about the hardware. Although there are affluence of new appearance to comedy about with, I’d like to accept apparent a bigger bound advanced in array activity and in the camera hardware. I’d like to accept apparent Google amplitude the advance it has in computational photography and not sit on its hands.
It leaves me with the activity that Google could accept done a accomplished lot added with the Pixel 3 XL and, while it’s absolutely a abundant smartphone, it isn’t actually as amazing as it should accept been.
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