Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL: Which One Should You Buy?

Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have officially arrived, and they’re packed with advanced features, including cameras with super-smart photography tools that could slay the competition.

Google launched its new Pixels at an event in New York Oct. 9.

Google launched its new Pixels at an event in New York Oct. 9.

Both phones are available to pre-order today (Oct. 9) and go on sale Oct. 19. But which one should you buy? The 3 and 3 XL look similar at first glance, but there are some key differences to consider.

Design and Size

Placed face down, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are almost identical. Both phones have two-tone matte and glossy glass backs that come in three hues: Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink (which is, in fact, pink). Both still sport fingerprint sensors for easy unlocking. And both have a single rear lens, which is a rarity in 2018 when every flagship has at least two lenses (if not three).

MORE: Pixel 3 Hands-On: Just Right

The XL is 6.2 inches long and 3 inches wide, compared to the 5.7 x 2.7-inch Pixel 3. Both phones are ultra-slim at 0.3 inches. The XL is heavier than its little sibling at 6.5 ounces to 5.2 ounces.

But when you turn the phones over to admire their screens, you’ll notice a few big differences.

Google Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3XL: Specs Compared


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

Display

With the Pixel 3 XL, Google has embraced the notch. (Samsung is now the lone hold-out.) The 6.3-inch display extends nearly to the edges of the larger phone’s frame, though there is still a small bezel along the chin. 

The smaller Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch display, which is a big improvement over last year’s 5-inch Pixel 2. It doesn’t have a notch; Google kept bezels at both the top and bottom of the display. This is an interesting move, given that this year’s iPhone lineup is practically bezel-free.

The Pixel 3 XL’s larger display makes its aspect ratio larger for enjoying video clips on an 18.5:9 wide-screen display. The smaller Pixel’s display is 18:9. Both phones have OLED panels, though the XL’s screen is quad-HD with 523 pixels-per-inch (ppi) compared the Pixel 3’s full-HD screen with 443 ppi.

Battery

Along with a larger, higher-res screen, the Pixel 3 XL also has a larger battery than the smaller Pixel. The XL’s 3,430-mAh pack should outlast the smaller Pixel 3’s 2,915-mAh battery on the Tom’s Guide Battery Test, if last year's results from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are any indication.

Google hasn’t said how long the new Pixels are expected to last according to the company’s internal testing.

Price

A bigger screen and bigger battery come at a premium: The Pixel 3 XL is $899, $100 more than the $799 Pixel 3. Both phones come in two storage variants, 64GB and 128GB, but just one 4GB RAM option.

Bottom Line

The Pixel 3 XL looks more like a flagship smartphone circa 2018 than the Pixel 3 does, with an (almost) bezel-free display and, of course, a notch.

The Pixel 3’s design is slightly stale, with thicker bezels and a smaller screen than we’ve come to expect from a premium Android device. But few companies are making 5.5-inch smartphones anymore, so the Pixel 3 could appeal to buyers who want the smarts and cameras you can buy in the XL version but in a smaller size for a lower price.

Stay tuned for our full review of both Pixels to see which one is worth your money.