Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Unveiled, and It's All About the Cameras

Editor in Chief
Updated

Editors' Note: We've gotten to spend some time with Google's new phones. You can read our hands-on impressions of both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

After months of rumors and countless leaks, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are finally official. And, just as we expected, these flagship phones are all about AI and the cameras.Credit: GoogleCredit: GoogleGoogle's Rick Osterloh, the company's senior vice president of hardware, says that Google "took the world's best camera and put it in a phone." The phones are available to pre-order today.

The Pixel 3 starts at $799 and will be available Oct. 18. The Pixel 3 XL starts at $899.

Google Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3XL


Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3 XL
Price
$799
$899
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Screen
5.5-inch
6.3-inch
Cameras
Rear: 12.2MP lens with f/1.8 aperture with OIS and EIS

Front:  8MP Wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, second 8MP lens with f/1.8 aperture
Rear: 12.2MP lens with f/1.8 aperture with OIS and EIS

Front:  8MP Wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, second 8MP lens with f/1.8 aperture
Battery
2915 mAh battery, with 18-watt fast charging and Qi wireless charging3430 mAh battery, with 18-watt fast charging and Qi wireless charging
Memory
4GB
4GB
Storage
64GB or 128GB
64GB or 128GB
Damage Protection
IPX8
IPX8
Audio
2 front-firing stereo speakers
2 front-firing stereo speakers
Software
Android 9 Pie
Android 9 Pie
Bluetooth
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth 5.0
Special Features
Wireless charging, up to 10 watts
Wireless charging, up to 10 watts
Materials
Aluminum frame, hybrid coating
Aluminum frame, hybrid coating   
ColorsClearly White, Just Black, Not Pink
Clearly White, Just Black, Not Pink
Weight
5.2 ounces
6.5 ounces
Size
5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches
6.2 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches
SIM
Single Nano SIM, eSIM
Single Nano SIM, eSIM

Killer Cameras

The rear of the devices feature a single-lens camera, unlike many other flagship phones that opt for dual rear shooters or even three. Google is so confident in its camera that it is partnering with Annie Leibovitz for a series of portraits.

MORE: Pixel 3 XL Hands-On Review: The New Camera Phone King

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer an improved version of HDR+ to deliver more details in the shadows, thanks to a custom-designed imaging chip. There's also a new AI feature called Top Shot that automatically captures multiple images and recommends the best shot using machine learning. So, for example, you should see more smiles and less closed eyes. You can also scroll through the alternates.

There's also Super Res Zoom, which frames a zoom shot without having to use a telephoto lens. It all happens in software. Night Sight, which is coming next month to Pixel 3, is designed to snap nighttime photos without using the flash. Google showed side-by-side images with the iPhone XS, and Apple's phone looks like it was in the dark by comparison.

Motion Auto Focus is another highlight, as you can tap on a moving subject and it should ideally stay in focus.

According to The Verge, the Pixel 3 XL sports a 6.3-inch display (it was 6 inches on the 2 XL, while the Pixel 3 features a 5.5-inch display (up from 5 inches).

Up front, both phones offer dual cameras, and one of them is a wide-angle lens for squeezing more people into your selfies. Google says the phones capture 184 percent more of the scene compared to the iPhone XS.

Google Lens

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL also leverage Google Lens, AI and augmented reality. So, for example, you can point the camera at a pair of sunglasses you might like and then buy them from the same screen.

Google Lens is now built directly into the camera, so you don't have to use a separate app.

MORE: Google Pixel 3 Hands-On Review: Just Right

AI and Call Screen

A very handy new call screen feature will have the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL screen calls for you and trascribe the calls in real time. This way you won't have to interact with telemarketers.

Design and Wireless Charging with Pixel Stand

The phone comes in Just White, Clearly Black and Not Pink and the glass back offers a first-of-its-kind matte finish.

The front-firing speakers are 40 percent louder on each phone, according to Google. And the phones comes with YouTube Music for 6 months.

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL both support wireless charging at 10 watts, so you should be able to juice up fast. And, as was rumored, Google will be offering its own wireless charging stand accessory.

The Pixel Stand isn't just a charger, though. It turns your handset into a mini Google Home. It gently wakes you up, and you can use it as a Google Assistant Hub and for playing music across the room.

Pricing and Availability

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were impressive phones, but they had limited distribution because of an exclusive agreement with Verizon. And it looks like that exclusive will remain. However, you'll be able to buy the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL directly from Google as well and use them on the company's Project Fi service.

The Pixel 3 starts at $799 and is available on October 18. The Pixel 3 XL jumps up to $899.