Google Pixel 3 XL Quick Review

Google Pixel 3 XL

Google’s pixel 3 XL is currently the most expensive android phone in the Indian market. And yes, but the price of rupees 80,000, this will compete with the Apple iPhone XS max. But this is not a phone about the specifications and rather about software improvements. So does Google finally get it right with the pixel 3 XL, let’s find out in our Google Pixel 3 XL Review.

Design


From a design perspective, the pixel 3 XL is heavier and more slippery than last year’s phone, which I use for a significant amount of time now, but this phone, what you’re getting is a complete glass pack, it has a half matte finish, which is very unique to the pixel series.

The other big change in the pixel 3 XL is the display, which is now 6.3 inches. And yes, it does have a notch. Now my major complaint with the pixel two XL was the quality of the display. But thankfully, this one is a dramatic improvement with the pixel 3 XL.

I would say the blacks are much deeper, the OLED quality has definitely improved and video watching on this is much better experience. However, you do have to live with a notch, which is intrusive, and does cause apps like Instagram or WhatsApp stories to look a bit weird. The notch is a feature that’s 
here to stay, and you’d have to make your peace with it.

Performance

Let’s quickly talk about the performance of the pixel 3 XL, I’ve had no cause for complaints. There are no app crashes, the camera app hasn’t crashed for me or some users have reported. And overall it’s been a smooth sailing so far.

My only major concern for right now is the overheating of the device. Especially when I’m charging or if I use the camera for too long a period. But as I said before, this phone is really about software, which changes how you interact with the phone, how you deal with the notifications.

Camera

So let’s start with the camera, which is the biggest hype about the pixel 3 series, Google is relying on software wizardry for the camera. And with the pixel 3 XL it gets mostly right. The photos are fantastic. No matter what the lighting conditions, there are enough details on the photos. And it requires minimal effort 
on part of the user, which is what you really want in a smartphone camera.

So I use the pixel three XL camera at a family wedding and the portrait shots a simply stunning I feel it a bit sharper than what I used to get with, say, the pixel 2 XL.

But the quality of details is very impressive. For instance, when I zoom in on some of the selfie photos that I’ve taken in portrait mode, you can see smile lines, the pores. Now ideally you would want that to be hidden. But this camera is not hiding any details and is capturing all of them. Which is very impressive.

The one new feature on the pixel 3 XL, which is the super zoom, pictures I took from say, four feet away, five feet away, even on the other side of the road had enough details. And then really super zoom is something that no other phone is achieving, at least on the digital side of things.

However, in some photos with super zoom, I noticed that the photos were a  bit smudgy and the details were not so clear.

Now one part of the pixel 3 XL camera that is yet to make an appearance is the night sight feature, it claims to drastically improve low light performance. And I’m waiting to see how it will improve the already excellent  camera.

The other aspect of the UI is how the software has changed. The pixel 3 XL, of course, runs the latest Android pie. And it does come with some AI driven features. For instance, the notifications are much smarter, they can figure out which notifications I tend to dismiss. And it will ask you, if it should permanently turn them off and you can just swipe on the fingerprint sensor to show the notifications shade, I can just double twist in the camera app and the selfie camera will automatically open for you.

The phone is also bundled with pixel but type C USB headphones inside the box. And those are loaded with the Google Assistant. As to as you plug in, the Google Assistant comes on. You can even ask the google assistant to  read out your notifications. It will tell you the time, weather etc,. And it is pretty interesting.
Then there’s the adaptive display which will learn to understand your surroundings and adjust the brightness of the screen accordingly. In the app drawer you can see your most used app right on top. There’s also the smart compose feature on the Gmail app, which is for now restricted to the pixel 3 phones. And it will tell you what to type next in your emails to some of you might really find it annoying.

So overall my experience with the software, I would say that this is designed to help the user, it’s designed to give you the best experience of Android.

Now one thing that does concern me about the pixel 3 XL is the battery. Yes, it does come with an adaptive battery feature which is supposed to allow AI to improve battery performance. However, I feel it’s just the most lasting same as the pixel 2 XL and it could do a lot better even with minimal usage, I noticed that the battery would drain faster. However, it does come with fast charging. Perhaps the most important software addition is the new digital wellbeing feature. And this is similar to how Apple has done screen time on iOS. What I like here is that I can set a timer for each individual app, it’s a good way to regain some control over your smartphone life. And I feel at blocking on access for some apps does help you cut down on usage.

Another interesting feature is DND (Do Not Disturb) and wind down, the DND and wind down features are very useful and they will make sure that you don’t spend all your time staring at the screen in the middle of the night.

So if the pixel 3 XL worth considering at Rupees at 83000, this is the expensive Android phone. And if you want 128 GB storage space, you have to pay Rupees 92,000. That’s almost as close to the iPhone XS and there’s no micro SD slot either. However, Google is giving you unlimited storage space on Google Photos at full resolution. What I do find disappointing is that Google hasn’t launched a 256 GB storage variant.

The lack of a 256 GB storage variant at this price point is very disappointing. Still, Google Pixel 3 XL is about offering a premium Android experience with a camera that is unmatched, especially for those who don’t want the jazz of three or four sensors at the back. It is about showcasing the power of Android and Google software other than the battery which I feel could be better, the pixel 3 XL is an excellent premium device. However, the hardware might not impress all.
 
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