Google Pixel 3 XL Review

Google Pixel 3 XL is currently Google’s top Android smartphone of the year 2018 and it features the all-new Android 9.0 Pie out-of-the-box. Aside from the new Android software, the phone offers a camera that’s almost unbeatable in its class, dual selfie cameras, a new glass design with wireless charging support, and is powered by the flagship chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. Here’s our Google Pixel 3 XL review.

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What’s in the box

  • Google Pixel 3 XL with built-in battery
  • Fast Charger (12V, 1.5A)
  • USB Cable (Type-C To Type-C)
  • User Manuals & Warranty Card
  • SIM Tray Ejector Pin
  • Earphones

Google Pixel 3 XL Specifications

  • Display: 6.3-inch flexible OLED display, Quad HD+ resolution (2880 x 1440 pixels, 523 ppi), 18.5:9 aspect ratio, 100,000:1 super contrast ratio, Full 24-bit depth or 16.77 million colors, True black level, HDR support (UHDA certification), Always-on Display, Now Playing, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie, 3 years of Android updates and security patches, Google Assistant
  • Protection: IP68 certified – dust and water resistant
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, at the back
  • CPU: Up to 2.8 GHz octa-core Kryo 385 processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, 10nm LPP FinFET, 64-bit, Pixel Visual Core, Titan M security module
  • GPU: Adreno 630
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM, LPDDR4X
  • Storage: 64 GB OR 128 GB internal, UFS 2.1, Unlimited Google Photos storage (~3 Years), no microSD support
  • Main Camera: 12.2 MP, 1.4 μm, Autofocus + dual pixel phase detection, OIS + EIS, Spectral + flicker sensor, f/1.8 aperture, 76-degree FOV, Top Shot, Night Sight, Playground (AR Stickers), Portrait mode, Google Lens, LED flash, up to 4K @30fps, 1080p @120fps, 720p @240fps
  • Selfie Camera: Dual 8 MP f/2.2 + 8 MP f/1.8 (wide-angle 107-degree FOV + telephoto 75-degree FOV), Group Selfie Cam, up to 1080p @30fps
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C, no 3.5 mm jack (via Type-C adapter), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, single nano SIM (GSM), VoLTE-enabled
  • Battery: 3,430 mAh, wireless charging (Qi)
  • Colors: Just Black, Clearly White, Not Pink
  • Price: Rs 83,000 (64 GB), Rs 92,000 (128 GB)

Design, Build, & Ergonomics

Google continues to maintain the same style of design, the design of the Pixel 3 XL is clean, light-weight, and uses a glass back, although the bad news is that it’s also plagued by the infamous notch and it’s huge. You will have the option to hide the notch if you don’t like one. The back has been changed from its predecessor, it is now moved from the metallic design to glass body eventually supporting the wireless charging.

Google keeps the same style with two finishes, the top is glossy while the bottom is matte finish crystal glass. The feeling in hand is excellent, especially in the matt area that feels very soft to the touch, fingerprints are hardly visible. In addition, it’s IP68 certified that means the Pixel 3 XL is still water-resistant and dust resistant.

The back has a single camera setup in the upper right corner, the physical buttons also remain in the same position on the right side with the power button marked in Green color.

The bottom comes with a USB Type-C port but no 3.5 mm audio jack, Pixel 3 XL offers you an adapter that converts the USB Type-C port to 3.5 mm. Sadly, the phone is still in a single SIM variant, no dual SIM options, the bottom carries a single SIM tray with no microSD card support.

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The Long Notch
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Dual Loudspeakers

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Single SIM, No MicroSD

Display

The Pixel 3 XL is a larger 6.3-inch OLED using the Quad HD+ resolution with 18.5:9 aspect ratio while the Pixel 3 comes with a 5.5-inch with Full HD+ resolution. The display is bright, the colors are vivid they do not saturate, the contrast is high, content is crisp, and the display offers great viewing angles.

Google hasn’t done anything innovative in the display department, you will see a notch like how others are doing. The notch is certainly not one you want, phones like Vivo NEX offers notch-less screen and Vivo V11 Pro with a water-drop notch.

Being a pure Android smartphone, you won’t find many customizations in the display settings, you can change the color from the presets, enable the Ambient display, and Night Light. If you want to hide the notch, you will have to enter the developer settings and find the option to hide the notch. Here’s a guide that will explain how to hide the notch on Google Pixel 3/ Pixel 3 XL.

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Software & User Interface

The Google Pixel 3 XL runs on the Android 9.0 Pie with Google Assistant which can be triggered by the squeezing the phone i.e. via Active Edge feature. When it comes to the latest software and updates, the Google Pixel smartphones are on top of every Android phone.

The new features include Navigation gestures, Dashboard, Adaptive Battery optimizations, App Slices, and the all-new material design. The settings have added colored icons, the notification panel has a new look, the overall software performance is very fast and fluidic.

Want to know what’s new in the Android 9 Pie, here are the top 5 features of the Android 9.0 Pie.

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Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

The Pixel 3 XL sports the Qualcomm’s flagship chip Snapdragon 845 with support for the Pixel Visual Core, Titan M security module security features. Google launches the Pixel smartphones each year with top-notch hardware, build, and quality cameras.

The Snapdragon 845 is paired along with 4 GB LPDDR4X RAM and up to 128 GB UFS internal storage, but with no microSD support. Our review unit has a 64 GB internal storage which seems to be quite average, it may fall short if you snap images often. Plus, the 4 GB RAM sound too weak when you have phones with 8 GB RAM with half its price.

Google Pixel 3 XL Key Specifications

  • Display: 6.3-inch flexible OLED display, Quad HD+ resolution (2880 x 1440 pixels, 523 ppi), 18.5:9 aspect ratio, 100,000:1 super contrast ratio, Full 24-bit depth or 16.77 million colors, True black level, HDR support (UHDA certification), Always-on Display, Now Playing, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie, 3 years of Android updates and security patches, Google Assistant
  • CPU: Up to 2.8 GHz octa-core Kryo 385 processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, 10nm LPP FinFET, 64-bit, Pixel Visual Core, Titan M security module
  • GPU: Adreno 630
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM, LPDDR4X
  • Storage: 64 GB UFS 2.1 internal, Unlimited Google Photos Storage, no microSD support
  • Battery: 3,430 mAh with 15W TurboPower Charging

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The benchmarks indicate the Pixel 3 XL is as fast, thanks to the Snapdragon 845 CPU. Smartphones with lower price can achieve the similar numbers, and if you are just looking for performance, you have better options in lower price range. Check out the benchmarks below.

AnTuTu Benchmark

  • 259,033 points

Geekbench

  • 2,371 points (Single CPU)
  • 8,313 points (Multi CPU)
  • 13,696 points (GPU)

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CPU Throttling App

Gaming on the phone is also one of the best, the larger screen offers better gaming experience, the notch can be a problem but can be hidden as said before. Adreno 630 is currently one of the best mobile GPUs for gaming. While gaming the phone remains to the on the cooler side, the temperature is under 40 degrees. Slight heating may occur when you use the phone’s camera in Playground mode, it reaches up to 44 degrees.

Games Tested on Google Pixel 3 XL

  • PUBG MOBILE
  • Asphalt 9: Legends
  • DEAD TRIGGER 2 – Zombie Survival Shooter
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Asphalt 9: Legends
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PUBG Mobile

Storage & Memory Performance

The Google Pixel 3 XL starts with 64 GB storage variant and comes in 128 GB in its top variant. You won’t get the option to expand it further, there is no microSD card slot available on the phone, however, you will get unlimited Google Photos cloud storage for around 3 years. Google says “Free, unlimited, online, original-quality storage for all photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos from Pixel 3 (or Pixel 3 XL) until 31/1/2022.” Our unit shows 2/1/22 expiry date.

The storage performance is at the same level the Snapdragon 845 powered phones have, however, the benchmarks indicate that the numbers are underwhelming, A1 SD Bench somehow shows inferior results as compared to the top phones like Samsung Galaxy S9+, OnePlus 6, ASUS ZenFone 5Z. There could be a problem with the benchmarking apps due to the new OS, the AndroBench results are close to the ones we just mentioned.

A1 SD Bench

  • 303.20 MB/s (Read)
  • 0.0 MB/s (Write)
  • 7,347.71 MB/s (RAM Copy)

AndroBench

  • 629.72 MB/s (Sequential Read)
  • 224.37 MB/s (Sequential Write)
  • 118.38 MB/s (Random Read)
  • 108.26 MB/s (Random Write)

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Cameras

Moving to the phone’s main feature, the cameras, the Google Pixel 3 XL relies on a single camera. Not like the ones having dual cameras, many Android smartphones nowadays are powered by dual cameras. The Google Pixel 3 XL equips a 12.2 MP f/1.8 camera with OIS support while the front surprisingly offers dual selfie cameras. There are two 8 MP + 8 MP selfie cameras out of one which is a wide angle camera for snapping wide group selfies.

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The camera interface offers pretty basic camera features, you get a handful of cool features like Playground, Top Shot, Night Sight, Panorama, Photo Sphere, Photobooth, and the popular Portrait mode that takes one of the best Portraits with its single 12.2 MP snapper.

As you can see the images, the camera quality of the Pixel 3 XL is top-notch, the Pixel 3 XL takes mind-boggling portraits and landscapes. The camera seems to be very impressive in the first place, surprising to know that it does all with just a single lens.

The Pixel 3 XL can shoot 4K videos at 30fps and 240fps slow motion at 1080p resolution. Rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S9+ can shoot 4K videos at 60 fps and 960fps slow-motion video recording which is far superior to what the Pixel 3 XL offers. The flagship killer OnePlus 6 can shoot 480p slow-motion videos and it costs almost half the price of the Pixel 3 XL.

Google Pixel 3 XL Camera Samples

Take a look at the camera samples we took from Google Pixel 3 XL.

Google Pixel 3 XL – Daylight Photos

Google Pixel 3 XL – Low-Light, Indoors, & Night Shots

Google Pixel 3 XL – Portraits & Selfies

Google Pixel 3 XL – Playground

Battery Runtime & Charging

The Pixel 3 XL has a battery of 3,430 mAh, somewhat smaller than its predecessor which added to the fact that its screen increases in size isn’t a good sign. Our tests indicate that the Pixel 3 XL delivers about 3.5 hours of screen on time on moderate usage and the battery lasts about a day. The phone can live up the next day if your usage is average.

For battery charging, the Pixel 3 XL takes over 2 hours which isn’t supposed to be slower in the first place. the OnePlus Dash charge is still the fastest charging. Even though now it supports Qi compliant wireless charger Pixel Stand which is sold separately at Rs 6,900, you will need to carry the charger or an external battery at the end of the day if your usage is heavy or intensive.

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3,430 mAh

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Takes More Than 2 Hours To Charge The Battery

Google Pixel 3 XL Battery Test Results

Apps/GamesBattery usedRuntimeBrightnessWireless
1080p Video2%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
4K Video3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
YouTube (1080p) - Wi-Fi2%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
YouTube (2K) - Wi-Fi2%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
PUBG Mobile7%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Asphalt 9: Legends6%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
DEAD TRIGGER 2 - Zombie Survival Shooter3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Music (Offline)1%1 HourScreen OffOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Music (Online) -
SoundCloud
2%30 minutesScreen OffOn (Wi-Fi)
Instagram4%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Facebook3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Tik Tok6%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)

Verdict

Google emphasizes a lot on its software features, it’s fast, clean, minimalist. Taking photos on Pixel 3 XL is a great experience, this could be your next pocket camera smartphone if you love taking photos. The base variant offers 4 GB RAM that may not sound worthy for the price it holds, it also doesn’t seem a remarkable jump from the predecessor.

That said, if you want a unique Android experience, first to get Android updates, best-in-class camera, a great design, and a larger screen, you may go with the Google Pixel 3 XL. The Pixel 3 is available for Rs 71,000 in a smaller size with almost the same features. If you have a lower budget, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ or the Samsung Galaxy Note9 with S-Pen is worth to check out.

Rivals

Strength

  • Sleek & Light Weight Design | Matte Glass Back | Solid Build Quality
  • Pure Android | Smooth UX | Faster Android Updates
  • Ming-Boggling Camera Performance | Wide-Angle Selfies
  • Unlimited Google Photos Storage (~3 Years)
  • Crisp & Bright OLED Display
  • Top-Notch Performance (Snapdragon 845)
  • Playground Is Fun To Play
  • IP68 Ratings – Dust & Water Resistant
  • Wireless Charging
  • Stereo Speakers

Weakness

  • No 4K at 60fps
  • No Dual SIM Option
  • No microSD Support