Some say it’s too small. Some say it looks boring. Some say it’s too expensive. And some even say, if it’s big, it’s better. Well, it’s all a matter of perspective, my friend.
The Google Pixel 3 isn’t as tall and as controversial (that notch) as its bigger brother, but it’s still rocking the freshest piece of Pie and the sharpest of cameras, all packed up in an ideal size.
The question is - “Is the Pixel 3 worth splashing my cash on when I can spend on something cheaper like the OnePlus 6T or Samsung’s Galaxy S9 or even Huawei’s juicy Mate 20 Pro?” And that’s exactly what we’re about to discuss.
Let’s begin, shall we? *rubs hands ferociously*
Design: Sophisticated Premium
While everyone’s stretching screens and trimming notch sizes, Google keeps things simple by shrinking bezels and squeezes in a juicy 5.5in pOLED screen, without a notch. It’s super fun to hold and doesn’t bulge out of tight pockets. Eeks. Take it out to quickly, single-handedly swipe messages while texting and then gently slip it back into your skinny jeans pocket without any fuss.
Keep it simple they say. Well, Google’s sure listening. It maintains its simple and minimalistic design with an all-glass body and aluminum sides for a premium feel and wireless charging. Google got rid of the dual-tone panda look and instead, mixed two kinds of textures at the back. The bottom half feels like soft talcum powder and the upper side feels smooth and glossy.
If you’re looking for something cute, special and premium, the Pixel 3 ticks them all. If you’ve ever held one in your hand, you already know what we’re talking about. Don’t like the Clearly White with a mint power button? There’s Just Black and Not Pink with an orange power button.
Take out a Pixel amongst common folk and friends and we’re sure it’ll stir an aura around the room and immediately set itself apart from the Apples and Samsungs.
Display: Stare at me
Google plonked in a very pretty 5.5in FHD+ (2160 x 1080) pOLED display which is now much better than the Pixel 2’s buggy display. It’s got three screen modes to choose from - Adaptive for higher vibrancy, Boosted for slightly muted colours and Natural. We preferred using the Natural mode because icon colours seemed a little artificial in the Adaptive mode.
The Always On display comes in handy if you’re lazy to unlock the phone. Just one glance and that’s all you need. It shows you stats like - time, weather, alarm, notifications, charging speed and the song’s playing nearby (thanks to Now Playing). The phone also automatically switches modes from Light to Dark depending on the time of the day. Can the iPhone do all this? No chance.
Camera - Low light genius
The Pixel has a great camera. There, we said it before you read why. And because it’s so darn good, it’s provoked our inner shutterbug and we just can’t stop clicking. Double tap the power button and ready your finger at the volume rocker to begin firing away through its single lens (12MP) camera. You can search for #TeamPixel posts on Instagram if you’re not convinced already.
The Pixel 3’s camera does not just bring out excellent detail, but it also keeps the picture very natural instead of bumping up the saturation like other AI enabled cameras. The HDR+ mode uses Google’s ultimate software to bring out the best of photos making all other photos look crummy. Need to zoom in? Use its ‘SuperRes Zoom’ to shoot subjects far off and still manage to squeeze in a good image.
Portrait mode does not have any kind of studio lighting or cartoon-like filters, but hey, it’s got a sharp eye to finely cut out the face (objects too) and adds a lot of blur in the background. All that with a single lens. What!
You think your iPhone can click better selfies? Hold my beer and watch me click the best selfie using its 8MP front camera. Call in a few friends into the frame and pinch out so you can all fit in using its wide-angle secondary front camera. Don’t be surprised if they all want more pictures. Introduce your girlfriends to Photobooth and watch them pose for ‘candid’ like shots without stretching out for the shutter button. How? The camera uses AI to understand your selfie face or pout and automatically takes the picture when it thinks you’re ready. Cool, ain’t it?
The Pixel 3 is our new low light genius, all thanks to Night Sight. This mode does not support flash, but it’s not needed. Why? Because it basically puts on night vision goggles to click super-dim shots or night-like scenarios or make your day-light shots even prettier. All it needs is a pinch of lighting and a stable hand. It’s like black magic if you think of it. What surprises, even more, is the lack of grain or noise in pictures shot in the dark. Can you pose with ghosts? Nope, not yet...
Shoot a lot of videos? The Pixel shoots 4K videos in 30fps and 1080p at 120fps with gimbal like stabilization. The audio and video quality is not the best, but it’ll do just fine if you’re creating daily vlogs or chasing your dog in your backyard. Before you do that, remember to turn on ‘Motion Auto Focus’ so your dog isn’t out of focus whilst he’s having fun.
Although, it’s still not the perfect camera. There’s also no time-lapse mode and no manual mode for edit junkies. But you can click in RAW+JPEG and edit the picture later on. Light up that Insta page!
Don’t worry about storage, Google Photos saves unlimited photos and videos. Say what, iCloud?
Performance: Snappy bugger
Multitasking, loading apps and creating animations is no problem, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. It’s not blazing fast like the OnePlus 6T or the Galaxy Note 9, but it’s enough to keep things lag free. Now, before you start questioning its 4GB RAM, let’s explain why it’s enough for geeks like us. Thanks to stock Android and Google’s software optimization, it’s able to keep hardware and software in good terms, just like Apple’s iOS. There’s enough room for hardcore multitasking and you can keep your apps running all day long without the need for killing them every now and then.
Playing games like Clash Royale, Faraway, Alto’s Odyssey was a pleasure and didn’t feel the need for a bigger screen or more power. Although, Player Unknown Battlegrounds ran fine and was fun to play, but it did slightly heat the device whilst playing on high graphics mode. The device also tends to heat up during video calls too. Google, please take note.
The Pixel 3 is also Google’s first phone to sport the Titan M security chip making it hard for snoopers and viruses to make their way through.
Battery: Need more juice
Its 2915mAh battery is an increment from the Pixel 2’s 2700mAh and slightly less than the Galaxy S9. But for some reason, it drained the battery faster than usual. Multitaskers, frequent travellers and full-time gamers might need to consider easing the usage or carry a charger/portable battery pack just in case.
Nevertheless, if you are just an above-average user then you have nothing to worry. The phone can easily last the entire day (about 12-14hrs) till you hit the bed. Fast charge it through its Fast Charger or buy the Pixel Stand in case you need to wirelessly rapid charge it. The Pixel Stand also comes in handy as a notification dock and as a secondary screen if it’s placed on your desk.
OS: Gestures is the future
Arriving in hot, fresh and organic Pie, the Pixel delivers the best Android experience amongst Androids and it’s certainly the cherry on top for absolute purists. The capsule-like home button for multitasking on Android Pie was a bit weird, but once we got the hang of it, using virtual buttons felt ancient.
Google’s Digital Wellbeing feature makes sure you’re keeping sane before you end up throwing the phone out of the window. Dashboard helps keep tabs on the apps you’ve used the most and the how much time you’ve spent on it. You can set timers on individual apps in case you’ve gotten on an endless loop of scrolling through 9GAG or Instagram. The Wind Down mode turns the phone into Grayscale (helps saving battery) and switches on DND so no one’s disturbing you while you’re busy meditating.
Have a random question? Squeeze the phone to summon the Google Assistant and ask away. Set routines, tell jokes, summarise your day, keep track of things and other basic stuff you’d want from a virtual assistant.
If you’re tired of being loyal to Apple’s iOS and wanting to switch over to Android (‘cos why not?), we’d recommend you to climb on to Google’s Android bandwagon and experience the purest form of Android using the Pixel. Enjoy monthly security updates and queue up first in line to taste Android’s next-in-line Q, R and S upgrades before it rolls out to the entire world. What joy!
Google Pixel 3 Verdict
Here’s your answer. Yes, the Pixel is worth splashing your hard earned cash on. It packs in a lot for its price and we’re sure Android purists and shutterbugs have started saving up already. We agree, it’s a little expensive compared to premium flagships like the Galaxy S9, Mate 20 and the OnePlus 6T. But c’mon, isn’t it the cutest of them all?
We believe, you’re paying for uncompromised quality instead of piles of hardware and number-crunching specs. The Pixel 3 may not have that glam or flaunt new tech, but it boasts the best Android experience. It’s got an eye for rich and detailed photos, loud front-facing stereo speakers are a boon and it feels ideal in an average human palm. Have bigger hands? Consider the Pixel 3 XL.