The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL were unveiled a week ago in Google’s third attempt at establishing itself as a serious player in the premium smartphone segment. There really weren’t many surprises to be had on the hardware front, as all the leaks and rumours we’d seen in the months leading up to the event turned out to be spot on.
It’s no secret that Google has been struggling to get its Pixel brand into the hearts and minds of the masses last year’s foibles with the Pixel 2 (Review) and Pixel 2 XL (Review) didn’t help its cause either. Despite its struggles, the company managed to ship nearly twice as many smartphone units in 2017 as compared to the year before, according to a senior research director at IDC. While this is still a tiny drop in the ocean compared to the volumes Apple and Samsung ship every year, it’s progress nonetheless.
The Pixel 3 is an important phone for Google as we finally get to see if that $1.1 billion deal with HTC was indeed a worthwhile investment. It’s another step forward in having better control over the hardware and software integration in its products, something Apple has mastered over the years. Google is confident that its Pixel 3 is every bit as premium as Apple’s new iPhone models, and they have the steep price to go with it. But can it instil that same confidence in the end user? It’s time to put Google’s claims to the test and see if the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are really better.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL design
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL iterate on last year’s design. Despite that, the most immediate change you’ll notice is the way they look and feel is an improvement over the Pixel 2 series, which now feel bland in comparison. It’s a welcome change as the design feels modern and fresh. Both phones now have a taller aspect ratios, with the 18.5:9 Pixel 3 XL being slightly more so at 18.5:9 due to the presence of a notch.
The Pixel 3 series still use an aluminium frame but rather than giving it a matte finish, Google has used a glossy coating for the side frame and the back is now glass. It’s gone a step further and added a frosted look to three-fourths of the glass back, which is achieved through an etching process. This lends continuity to the design language of the Pixel line, while adding a bit of style along the way. It also feels really good when you hold the phone. The sides now blend more seamlessly with the front and back Gorilla Glass, so you don’t feel any rough edges.
Both phones have glass backs and support Qi wireless charging