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Google Pixel 3 XL review

Introduction

The Pixel 3 XL is Google’s latest flagship smartphone. It promises to bring everything we have come to expect with the Pixel brand, including a clean build of Android, fast performance, quality camera and some cool software tricks that only Google can come up with.

Google Pixel 3 XL review

This year’s launch has been mired in controversy. While the Pixel devices are no strangers to controversy, the Pixel 3 XL got its fair share even before the device was launched. Much of it had to do with the design of the phone, which, admittedly, isn’t Google’s finest work.

Google Pixel 3 XL specs:
Design: Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, IP68-rating
Display: 6.3-inch, 2960×1440, 18.5:9, OLED, HDR-10
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, octa-core (4×2.5 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.6 GHz Kryo 385 Silver) CPU, Adreno 630 GPU, Pixel Visual Core, Titan M security module
Memory: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM, 64/128GB storage
Connectivity: 4G-LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou, NFC, USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
Rear Camera: 12.2MP f1.8 dual-pixel PDAF, OIS, dual LED flash, 720p240/1080p120/4K30 video
Front Camera: 8MP f1.8 telephoto, 8MP f2.2 wide-angle, 1080p30 video
Battery: 3430mAh, 18W charger, Qi wireless charging support
OS: Android 9 Pie
Misc: Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, front facing stereo speakers, Active Edge squeeze sensors

Apart from that, we don’t see a lot to complain about. On paper, the Pixel 3 XL comes across as a proper flagship smartphone. There are a few things that bother us, such as the 4GB memory and storage options that max out at 128GB, but we will have to wait and see if those present any issues later.

Overall, though, we are looking forward to diving into this phone. Pixel phones are always exciting, as they are a lot more than just hardware specifications, and Google is big on using software to work smarter, not harder. But, it’s 2018, and you need both good software and hardware if you need to stand out. And considering the price Google charges for these things, we hope the Pixel 3 XL blows us away on both fronts.

Anyway, enough introductions. It’s time to take it up a notch (sorry, we had to).

Unboxing

The Pixel 3 XL packaging comes with all the essentials, and a few extras. Apart from the phone, you get an 18W fast charger that supports USB Power Delivery standard. The cable uses a USB-C connector on both ends, so you might need to buy a separate cable for connecting to a computer. In fact, we recommend you do so, as the cable Google provides is only USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 cable will let you get the highest file transfer speeds that the phone is capable of.

Google Pixel 3 XL review

Apart from those, the phone also comes with a pair of USB-C earbuds, and Google also throws in a USB to 3.5mm audio adapter, considering there isn’t a headphone jack on the phone. You also get a USB-C to USB-A adapter, which is primarily meant to plug in other phones into the Pixel to transfer files but can also be used as an OTG adapter for other accessories.

Lastly, there are Google and #teampixel stickers also in the package, along with the usual set of manuals.

Disclaimer: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn’t include some of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our office and test lab. Still, we think we’ve captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that’s become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!