The last big smartphone reveal of 2018 has come and gone, and in its wake we have (after many leaks) the Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL. The neat thing about Google’s new flagship smartphones is that they boast some pretty serious internal and physical upgrades from the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL – they look different – which is nice to see considering both Samsung’s and Apple’s new smartphones look nearly identical to last year’s models. That said, the Pixel and its “surfboard” body also had the most room for improvement in the design department.
At this year’s event, Google’s senior vice president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, emphasized that Google is more than just a hardware and software company: it’s a bonafide design company. And we can’t really argue with this. The industrial design of all its Home products is pretty darn impressive (and soft and colorful). And now with the Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL, they actually look and feel like worthy competitors to the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9. Both new phones now have a full-screen display. And notch. But the Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL also have a ton of new features that every other flagship smartphone lack, including a handful of features stemming from Google’s impressive machine learning software. They also have an improved camera that’s even better than the Pixel 2’s still best-in-class camera, and it can do some pretty impressive things.
Here’s the five biggest takeaways from Google’s Pixel 3 reveal.
The Pixel 3 Might Be the Best Small-Screen Smartphone
The Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL are obviously different sizes – the Google Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch display while the Google Pixel 3 XL has a 6.3-inch display – but other than that Google’s new flagships are virtually identical and capable of the exact same things. Both have edge-to-edge OLED displays, which is a first for a Pixel smartphone, and they both have a iPhone X-esque notch. Both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL’s are larger yet feel smaller in hand than last year’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. If you like small-screen smartphones because they don’t take up too much room in your picket, or you don’t need a bigger screen to watch videos, the Pixel 3 feels like it might be the new best small smartphone on the market.
The Pixel 3’s Camera Knows a Good Photo When It Sees It
Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone still relies on a single rear-lens camera system, unlike all other flagship smartphones, but that didn’t stop last year’s Pixel 2 from still being this year’s best smartphone camera. And the Pixel 3’s camera looks to be a big improvement over the Pixel 2 thanks to its really impressive AI and smart features. One of these features is Top Shot, which allows the camera to capture a burst of frames right before and after you click the shutter button. Basically, you’re then able to circle back and pick which of the photos is best, in case you’re blinking, or not looking at the camera or something is blurred. It’s a neat feature to ensure that you never miss a “moment” that you want to capture. It also benefits photographers with a fast trigger.
The Best Smartphone Camera for Low-Light Photography
The Pixel 3 also has a feature called Night Sight, that enables photographers to take great low-light photos. Google claims that “you’ll never have to use the flash again.” The Night Sight feature takes several long exposure photos and combines them together. The result is a beautiful low-light photo that, at first comparison, puts the iPhone XS to shame. Google claims that the Pixel 3 is “the best end-to-end photography experience on a smartphone.”
The Pixel 3 Can Answer Telemarketers So You Don’t Have To
That’s right, if you don’t recognize the number that’s calling you, you can have the Pixel 3 screen spam calls. The feature is called Call Screen and when you receive a call from an unknown caller, you can have Google Assistant ask who the caller is and what they want, and it will send you a real-time transcription of what was said. Then you can decide if you want to answer the call or not, or give them a call back. It’s helpful, and Google claims you’ll never get fooled by a spam call again.
Turn the Pixel 3 Over And It Mutes Itself
That’s right, no more dealing with notification centers or flicking a physical button. When you turn the Pixel 3 upside down so that’s facing downwards, the phone will automatically mute notifications. This could instantly come in handy if you’re out to dinner or somewhere else that you don’t want to be disturbed.
Get More In That Selfie Shot
There’s a frustrating moment that everyone who’s taken a selfie with a group can identify with. Everyone is shifting around, craning their neck and ducking down to try to get into the frame. To solve this problem, Google added the Group Selfie camera, which captures 184% percent more of a scene than the iPhone XS. It’s incredibly wide, and makes taking a selfie with the whole family easy.
The Pixel 3 and 3 XL are available for preorder from Google’s store now and will ship by October 17.
Display: 5.5-inch OLED (Pixel 3), 6.3-inch OLED (Pixel 3 XL)
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Rear camera: 12.2MP dual-pixel (f/1.8)
Dual front cameras: 8MP wide-angle and normal FoV cameras (f/1.8, normal; f/2.2, wide)
Memory: 4GB (Pixel 3), up to 6GB (Pixel 3 XL)
Battery: 2915 mAh, supports Qi-wireless charging