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Google Pixel 3 – First Impressions, Specifications, Verdict & Price

With the great design that feels & exudes the premium flagship style – one could never keep the Pixel smartphones down without admiring the beauty.

The Google Pixel lineup is no doubt, one of the most successful smartphone range in the market right now.

With the great design that feels & exudes the premium flagship style – one could never keep the Pixel smartphones down without admiring the beauty. To top it off – it’s made by Google so latest Android updates arrive as and when they’re released.

Moving on to the third generation Pixel lineup we have the new Google Pixel 3 – featuring a 5.5 inch Always ON display commonly found in todays flagships. We’ll be going through the features now.

Design

The display in Pixel 3 has rounded corners compared to Pixel 2 which had sharp corners. Also the screen size is bumped up to 5.5 inches from the 5 inches we’ve seen in Pixel 2. ( We’re not at all talking about the XL variants in here ). The Display is an OLED panel made by LG & not by Samsung which manufactured display for Pixel 2.

pixel 3

There is less wasted on top & bottom of display & that makes Pixel 3 the first one to have a better Screen-To-Body Ratio than older generation devices. The top bezel has the usual stuff – two cameras, the earpiece & no notification light.

The Rear is the usual two color finish that we love, and that’s what makes Pixel devices stay unique & maintain a playful cool look.

The frame itself is pressure sensitive, and it can react to a squeeze by launching the Google Assistant as well as silencing incoming alerts and alarms. The feature’s called Active Edge, its sensitivity is customisable & could be turned off in case you are not a big fan of this.

There’s a USB-C port for everything from charging to listening music ( no headphone jack ) & a Nano SIM card tray at the bottom. No MicroSD slot though. We wouldn’t be surprised anyway.

Camera

If there’s one thing that Pixel devices do far better than the rest of the flagships – its the camera. It’s surprising that despite sticking to their single primary camera policy – Pixel devices always stay in par with the dual & triple camera ( Huawei ) setups found in competing flagships.

The dynamic range of the shots & sharpness is mind blowing & even if it doesn’t always beat the OnePlus 6T’s image quality, the images look exceedingly on par.

But then Google has its own thing on the software side and it has machine-learned to somehow make better use of this hardware than others. There’s image stacking going on for HDR, the camera is taking shots before you hit the shutter so it has the necessary frames for when you actually do decide to tap.

Pixel 3 does have a new feature up its sleeve – The NIGHT SIGHT.

  • Night Sight takes multiple photos (up to 15, according to Google) and then combines them into one image. It feels like an enhanced version of HDR, which uses a similar technique.
  • The number of photos it takes in the mode is dictated by the level of darkness in the space you’re taking it.
  • When taking a Night Sight photo, you need to keep the phone as stable as possible to get the best results. If you’re moving around too much, there’s a good chance the image will be blurry.
  • If you have the camera in automatic mode, the app will recommend you activate night mode to get more light in the shot, especially when it is too dark.

 

google pixel 3 night sight
   Without NightSight (L) & With NightSight (R) Source: 9to5google

Hardware & Battery Life

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is what powers the new Pixel 3 & is paired up with Adreno 630 graphics chipset. Pixel 3 comes in two storage variants 64GB & 128GB with no expansion facility – so choose wisely.

As for the RAM – nothing’s changed. While other OEMs go from 6GBs to 8GBs ( Recently Xiaomi announced that it’s newest flagship gonna sport 10 gigabytes of RAM ) Google’s still sticking on to its 4GB limit. And this is where better optimisation & memory management wins over increase in amount of memory.

For charging, Pixel 3 supports the Power Delivery standard, just like every Pixel before it. It comes with an 18W charger in the box that takes it from flat to full in 1:42h which isn’t bad. At the 30-minute mark you’d be looking at a 45% charge.

pixel 3 stand

The Pixel Stand is an optional wireless charger for the Pixel 3. It will itself only work with a Power Delivery adapter, and there’s one in the box. The Stand offers wireless charging at up to 10W (and as of now is the only wireless charger that can go this high with the Pixel 3), takes about 2:25h for a full charge from zero. That is, if you’re not using the Pixel’s Assistant in the meantime.

Android 9 Pie

Pixel 3 comes pre-loaded with Android Pie out-of-the-box. It’s no surprise that Google always prefers Pixel devices to get updates first.

The Pixel launcher is all gestures, by the way. Tapping on the Pill button (that what Google calls it) takes us to home screen. Flick Right to switch between two of the most recent apps, Swipe Up from bottom to reveal the task switcher ( you can also access multi window via this ), and a longer swipe up leads to the All Apps Drawer.

There’s a Digital Wellbeing feature that lets you monitor the amount time you spent on your smartphone, count the number of times you unlocked your phone etc.

Just in case the phone usage gets too high you can set limits for using each app & you’ll be notified upon the limit. A neat feature.

Titan M Security Chip

The chip is a security module that was made by Google itself, and it works to protect the Pixel 3 + 3 XL against all sorts of potential threats. Since Titan M is a physical piece of tech, it’ll help protect against hardware-specific exploits such as Spectre, Meltdown, and Rowhammer much more efficiently than phones without it. On the technical side of things, Google explains the following:

Including Titan M in Pixel 3 devices substantially reduces the attack surface. Because Titan M is a separate chip, the physical isolation mitigates against entire classes of hardware-level exploits such as Rowhammer, Spectre, and Meltdown. Titan M’s processor, caches, memory, and persistent storage are not shared with the rest of the phone’s system, so side channel attacks like these—which rely on subtle, unplanned interactions between internal circuits of a single component—are nearly impossible. In addition to its physical isolation, the Titan M chip contains many defenses to protect against external attacks.

Verdict

The Pixel 3 is a device which you buy without regret, and Google’s ecosystem & deep integration of its services cement down this point. Pixel 3 will be the one to receive updates first & Google releases update patches & new features time to time. The support is also pretty awesome.

But while devices at this price range are offering a bigger battery & presence of dual cameras, that missing feeling is surely here to stay. But the optimisations done to software does address these issues to a large extent.

The price starts at $899 for 64GB model to $999 for the 128GB one.

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