GOOGLE Pixel 3 XL Review

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In this article, I give you my Google Pixel 3 XL review with specs included. New Pixel phones are up to the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL from Google. This is the XL model that I’m going to be using in this review.

The Google Pixel 3 XL offers a larger 6.3-inch display compared to its sibling, the Pixel 3, and while the specs remain largely consistent between the two models, the absence of a notch on the smaller Pixel 3 distinguishes it visually from its XL counterpart.

The Pixel 3 XL’s expansive display is characteristic of premium smartphones, typically associated with a higher price tag. With the base model priced at $899 and an additional $100 for the 128GB storage variant, the device enters the realm of flagship pricing, raising eyebrows among potential buyers.

Google Pixel 3 XL Colors
Google Pixel 3 XL Colors

Sold unlocked by Google, the Pixel 3 XL is compatible with most carriers, supporting both GSM and CDMA networks. While Verizon serves as the official partner for Google and offers the device, buyers should exercise caution, as activating the device with a Verizon SIM card may be required to unlock it for use with other carriers. This stipulation has led to confusion among consumers, particularly those who rushed to purchase the Verizon variant at launch.

Alternatively, the Pixel 3 XL is available through Google’s Project Fi, offering the same hardware specifications. However, the Verizon model features a locked bootloader, limiting customization options for enthusiasts who prefer to install alternative ROMs. Despite its unassuming appearance in photographs, the device exudes elegance in person, boasting a quality look and feel attributed to its two-tone glass-back finish.

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Available in white, black, or “not pink” color options, the Pixel 3 XL’s aesthetics are complemented by its frosted glass back, which offers improved grip and mitigates concerns of slipperiness. While some users worry about potential scratches, the device’s durability is evident, with minor blemishes easily wiped away. Moreover, the nearly edge-to-edge display enhances the device’s modern aesthetic, albeit accompanied by a controversially tall notch.

Equipped with a widescreen aspect ratio OLED display, the Pixel 3 XL represents a significant improvement over its predecessors, featuring vibrant colors and enhanced clarity. Three color settings cater to different preferences, with the adaptive mode serving as the default option, while the boosted color mode and sRGB mode offer additional customization. While the display may lack the exaggerated vibrancy of Samsung devices, Google prioritizes color accuracy and visual comfort, reminiscent of Apple’s approach.

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However, the device falls short in terms of brightness, with a maximum output of 400-450 nits, making outdoor visibility challenging, especially in bright sunlight. Despite this limitation, the Pixel 3 XL aligns with flagship expectations by incorporating features like wireless charging and IP68 water resistance. The inclusion of wireless charging, facilitated by the device’s glass back, expands its functionality and compatibility with accessories like the Pixel Stand, which transforms it into a Google Home device.

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The Google Pixel 3 XL offers a compelling blend of aesthetics, functionality, and performance, albeit at a premium price point. Its elegant design, vibrant display, and robust feature set position it as a worthy contender in the flagship smartphone market. While some may question its pricing relative to its competitors, the Pixel 3 XL’s unique offerings, such as its clean Android experience and integration with Google services, appeal to users seeking a premium Android experience.

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Once again, Google introduces the Pixel 3 XL with a unique feature set and upgrades, including the incorporation of two front-facing cameras: an eight-megapixel single lens and a group lens. Upon inspection, it appears that the device applies some facial smoothing, resulting in enhanced self-portraits, albeit with limited effects on non-human subjects like pets.

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Continuing the trend from its predecessor, the Pixel 3 XL retains its formidable 12-megapixel rear camera, renowned for its exceptional performance in low-light conditions. Despite minimal changes to the camera hardware, Google has implemented a new sensor, enhancing image quality and contributing to the device’s reputation as a photography powerhouse. Notably, the Pixel 3 XL excels in dimly lit environments, outperforming competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Note 9 series and even surpassing the iPhone in bright outdoor settings. Leveraging computational photography, the device delivers impressive results, although some users may lament the absence of a dedicated portrait lens found in other flagship smartphones.

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Inherited from its HTC lineage, the Pixel 3 XL features the “Active Edge” functionality, allowing users to trigger Google Assistant by squeezing the device’s sides. Additionally, the introduction of “Digital Wellbeing” serves as a proactive measure to mitigate smartphone addiction, offering insights into screen time usage and providing tools to promote a healthier relationship with technology. Notably, features like “Call Screen” enable users to screen incoming calls by providing transcripts, offering greater control over communication interactions.

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The device’s Ambient Display feature provides users with at-a-glance notifications and essential information while maintaining privacy. However, its reliance on a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication may deter users accustomed to front-facing alternatives or facial recognition technology. Nevertheless, the absence of expandable storage via microSD cards aligns with Google’s historical stance on storage expansion, underscoring the importance of selecting an appropriate storage capacity at the point of purchase.

Regrettably, the Pixel 3 XL follows the industry trend of abandoning the headphone jack in favor of USB-C connectivity. Although Google includes a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter and a pair of wired earbuds with the device, some users may find the omission of the headphone jack disappointing. Similarly, the front-facing stereo speakers, while a nod to HTC’s audio heritage, fail to deliver the exceptional sound quality associated with HTC’s BoomSound technology, indicating the potential need for software optimizations.

On the video front, the Pixel 3 XL’s microphone recording capabilities have faced criticism, particularly regarding audio quality during video recording. While the device captures clear visuals in 4K resolution, audio recordings may exhibit a degree of distortion or lack of clarity, highlighting an area for potential improvement through software updates.

Overall, the Google Pixel 3 XL maintains its reputation as a premium smartphone offering cutting-edge features and impressive camera capabilities. Despite its shortcomings, including the absence of expandable storage and the removal of the headphone jack, the device’s innovative software features and commitment to delivering a superior user experience reaffirm its position as a flagship contender in the competitive smartphone market.

The Google Pixel 3 XL boasts flagship specifications, featuring the powerful Snapdragon 845 processor and running on the latest Android 9.0 Pie operating system. With Google’s signature clean build, the phone delivers a fast and responsive user experience, although it may not achieve the highest benchmark scores compared to some competitors. However, one of the key selling points of a Google phone is the prompt and extended software updates, ensuring users receive the latest features and security patches in a timely manner.

Equipped with four gigabytes of RAM, the Pixel 3 XL offers adequate performance for everyday tasks and multitasking. While it may not lead the pack in terms of RAM capacity, it remains sufficient for most users’ needs.

When it comes to battery life, the Pixel 3 XL delivers average performance, falling short of the remarkable longevity seen in devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which boasts a larger battery capacity. The device’s battery life is affected by factors such as screen brightness, with higher brightness settings resulting in reduced runtime. On average, users can expect around three and a half to four hours of screen-on time, which may not impress those seeking exceptional endurance from their smartphone.

However, beyond raw specifications, the appeal of the Pixel line lies in its commitment to a pure Android experience. Designed for Android purists who prioritize Google’s vision of the operating system over manufacturer overlays found in devices from Samsung, LG, and others, the Pixel 3 XL offers a smooth and reliable user experience. Unlike some competing devices, Pixel phones tend to maintain consistent performance over time, without the gradual slowdown often associated with other Android handsets.

Furthermore, the promise of swift software updates distinguishes the Pixel 3 XL from its rivals. While users of devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9 may still be awaiting the Android Pie update, Pixel owners can enjoy the latest features and improvements without delay. This commitment to timely updates ensures that Pixel users remain at the forefront of Android innovation, with access to new functionalities as soon as they are released.

Despite the allure of the Pixel 3 XL, there are affordable alternatives on the market that offer compelling features. Devices like the Essential Phone provide a clean Android experience and rapid software updates at a lower price point. Additionally, the OnePlus 6 and its successor, the OnePlus 6T, offer competitive specifications and performance, catering to users on GSM networks with the potential for broader compatibility across carriers, including CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint.

While the Google Pixel 3 XL offers a premium smartphone experience with its flagship specifications and commitment to a pure Android experience, consumers have a variety of alternatives to consider. From budget-friendly options like the Essential Phone to the high-performance OnePlus 6T, the Android smartphone market offers a diverse range of choices to suit every preference and budget.

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