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Tech Review: Google Pixel 3

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My phone contract was coming to a close and my old phone (the original Google XL) was slowing down and needed to be kept being plugged in to keep it alive. So I decided to upgrade to the Google Pixel 3 XL. While only having the Pixel 3 XL, it is the same phone as the regular sized Pixel 3 with the only differences being the battery and the screen size. Here are my thoughts on the device after five weeks.

What I liked

Camera

Just like its predecessors, the Pixel 3’s camera is brilliant. The portrait mode does a good job of applying focus and blurring out the background. There are two front-facing cameras, one of which gives a really wide angle, allowing you to capture more in the frame. The Pixel 3’s camera performs well in low light conditions and has a special Night Sight mode. See below for pictures taken on the Pixel.

Image Credit: George Simister

Wide angle front camera. Image Credit: George Simister

Portrait Mode. Image Credit: George Simister

Image Credit: George Simister

Image Credit: George Simister

Image Credit: George Simister

Screen

It offers a huge 6.3-inch screen, which covers the front of the device apart from the notch at the top. Personally, I do not mind the notch at the top of the screen, however, for some people it may be an issue. Though notches may not be around for much longer with some companies, such as Samsung, already releasing phones with just a cut out for the camera instead of a full-blown notch.

Software

Google’s phones already have the best software experience you can get for an Android phone. The software runs smoothly with no lag and offers no bloatware (unnecessary pre-installed apps). Just like all Google phones, the Pixel 3 will be one of the first to experience the latest features and Android updates directly from Google.

At the unveiling, the Pixel 3 was used to showcase Google’s latest feature, Google Duplex, which allows the device to make phone calls and do things such as book haircut appointments. If you have an incoming number that looks like spam, you can let the Google Assistant take the call for you, which will in real time transcribe the conversation between the Assistant and caller. You also have the option to take over the call or hang up. This feature is not yet available in the UK, so I am unable to comment on how well it works. 

Speakers

The Pixel 3 has dual front-facing speakers, which are clear and get loud enough before you get to the point where you would want to connect a speaker.

What could be improved

Lack of headphone jack

Following in the footsteps of other flagships this year, the Google Pixel 3 has no headphone audio jack. Despite coming with a USB C to headphone jack dongle in the box and the fact that it does the job nevertheless, at the end of the day it's something which can be lost, damaged or forgotten. The box does include a nice pair of wired Pixel Buds with USB C connectivity, which are above average for earphones that are included with smartphones.

Battery

Battery life is again average. It does get me through the day with my typical usage being around three and a half hours to four hours screen on time. Sadly this is where the Pixel 3 can fall short when compared to other phones - such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which can do two days on a single charge. This issue is helped, though, by the convenience of its wireless charging and quick charging functionality.

Cost

This is by no means a cheap phone, and this single element alone may be enough to put a lot of people of buying the Pixel 3/ 3 XL - especially when compared to other similar phones, such as the OnePlus 6T, which starts at £499.99 compared to the Pixel 3's £739.

To conclude, the Pixel 3 is a great phone, with the best camera on the market. If you can get past the average battery life and can afford to spend the extra cash, then this is a phone I can recommend to you.

If you want to buy the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL you can do so here.

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