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Google Pixel 3 preview: Everything we know so far

UPDATED: What's this about a Pixel 3 Mini?

Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL built upon the solid foundation of their predecessors, with the Pixel 2 XL being particularly impressive. Will the third time be the charm for Google in delivering the definitive Android experience?

Rumours are swirling ahead of an expected autumn launch for the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, both of which might come with significant new designs in tow. We’ve already seen a fair number of purported leaks and reports about the phones, and the rumour mill will only churn more and more as the expected release nears.

What will we see from the Pixel 3 line? Here’s what we’ve heard so far.

When will the Google Pixel 3 be out?

GOOGLE PIXEL 2 XL VERDICT

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (shown) were both announced and released in October 2017. Unsurprisingly, Google seems set to stay the course with its release cycle.

Google has sent out press invitiations for a 9 October event in New York City, and has been teasing new Pixel handsets since them. Additionally, promotional emails suggest that Pixel 3 pre-orders will begin immediately after the event, so there’s little reason to believe that people will have to wait long to wield a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL.

Fact or fiction?

Looks like we’ll see the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in a matter of days.

How much will the Google Pixel 3 cost?

We haven’t heard any especially firm rumours about the Pixel 3’s price point, but let’s look back on where Google started the last time around.

The Pixel 2 debuted at £629 while the Pixel 2 XL sold for £799. While there might be a slight bump on both fronts, we’re not expecting dramatic price leaps here.

Fact or fiction?

We’re just speculating for now, but something around £649-669 for the Pixel 3 and as much as £849 for the Pixel 3 XL makes a lot of sense to us.

What will the Google Pixel 3 look like?

What will the Google Pixel 3 look like?

What you’re looking at above is reportedly a leaked Pixel 3 XL, showcasing a deep notch up top and a rather large chin at the bottom. The leak came from Russian blog Rozetked in late August, and matches up with another recent leak of the purported finished product, not to mention earlier prototype leaks.

It’s not significantly unlike competing handsets like the OnePlus 6 and LG G7 ThinQ, but the slight differences stand out. As with the Pixel 2 XL, it looks like Google hasn’t put quite enough focus into trimming down extraneous bezel.

On the back, it almost seems like the two-tone approach is gone, but upon closer inspection, it’s just a very subtle difference between the two materials. Maybe other models will offer a more striking pairing, because this looks almost all-white in the photos. And it’s apparently glass on the back, with wireless charging finally arriving on Pixel phones as a result.

And here, amazingly enough, is an unboxing video of one of the leaked Pixel 3 XL handsets. It seemingly shows the incoming smartphone in incredible detail, highlighting every curve along with the lime-green power button, and showcasing some selfie shots along the way.

Meanwhile, the standard Pixel 3 is expected to skip the notch. Leaks suggested that the base Pixel 3 moves further away from the original iPhone influence and takes on a bit more of a Galaxy S9 look…

…and here it is, above. These leaked photos, acquired by 9to5Google, perfectly match the earlier leaks and speculative renders, showing a device that looks a lot like last year’s Pixel 2 XL and lacks the notch of the Pixel 3 XL.

And what you’re seeing at the top of the page are purported leaked renders of both the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, posted by Chinese retailer JD.com. They have several images like this, which are look pretty authentic but could also be strong facsimiles based on the many, many leaks to date.

Google’s own Japanese coming-soon site for the Pixel 3 also seems to be teasing potential colours (click the G logo on the handset silhouette). It shows black and white editions, but also a light green variety. And some digging through the code revealed an apparent fourth option: pink.

What you’re seeing above is a leak from Android Headlines that seems to show the real pink model, which they believe will be called "Sand."

Finally, there’s been a bit of speculation about a smaller Google Pixel 3 Mini, but since Google has already openly poked fun at the concept, we’re guessing that it’s not really happening.

Fact or fiction?

We believe the leaks. After everything that’s emerged so far, we think that those photos show the real-deal Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

What about the Google Pixel 3’s screen?

What about the Google Pixel 3

The myriad leaks suggest a 6.2in notched OLED Quad HD display on the Pixel 3 XL, while the Pixel 3 screen appears to come in at 5.5in and 1080p. It’s not clear yet what kind of panel the Pixel 3 has, but LCD has been rumoured.

We saw a 6in Quad HD OLED display on the Pixel 2 XL and a 5in 1080p LCD on the Pixel 2, so both screens gain a bit of size here… and a notch, in the case of the Pixel 3 XL.

Fact or fiction?

We wouldn’t be surprised to see Google stick with its OLED and LCD split with the Pixel 3.

Also ReadOnePlus 6 review

How much power will the Google Pixel 3 pack?

How much power will the Google Pixel 3 pack?

Google has been rocking the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with each Pixel, using the Snapdragon 835 last year, and that approach should stay the same.

Many 2018 flagship phones are turning to the slightly more powerful Snapdragon 845, and we fully expect that to be the case with the Pixel 3 phones as well. A report from WinFuture certainly lines up with that, with a decent 4GB RAM rumoured to support it. The Rozetked leak also affirms the use of the Snapdragon 845.

And both Pixel 3 phones will run the new Android 9 Pie out of the box, of course.

(Speculative render via Phone Arena)

Fact or fiction?

We fully expect to see the Snapdragon 845 inside both Pixel 3 handsets.

What kind of camera will the Google Pixel 3 have?

Google famously defied the dual-camera trend with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and ended up packing the most powerful camera on the market in late 2017 and early this year.

That’s no longer the case, as the triple-camera Huawei P20 Pro is our new camera champ. What about the Pixel 3, then? Believe it or not, both phones stick with just the one main camera on the back. It’s said to be a 12.2-megapixel shooter.

And while the Pixel 3 XL obviously has two front cameras within the notch, the standard Pixel 3 also seems to be hiding two 8-megapixel shooters in the top bezel. That’s according to the 9to5Google leak, which includes screenshots of the settings screen.

Meanwhile, the leaked videos above – seemingly pulled out of a Pixel Tips app – shows off some of the UI tweaks on the Pixel 3, including within the camera app.

Fact or fiction?

One back camera worked wonders on the Pixel 2, but we’ll see whether Google can retake the camera crown from Huawei.

Is there anything else I should know about the Google Pixel 3?

Is there anything else I should know about the Google Pixel 3?

Google acquired most of HTC’s smartphone team at the start of the year, and Bloomberg reports that they’ve been hard at work on both the hardware and software of the Pixel 3 phones.

Furthermore, the Pixel 3 may be manufactured by Apple favorite, Foxconn, which will hopefully help them avoid any shortages should they come in high demand.

Lastly, we haven’t heard anything about the return of the squeezable sides from the Pixel 2, which let you access the Google Assistant in a hurry, but we’d be surprised if Google axes that feature after one generation. After all, the new HTC U12+ still packs it in, and those acquired HTC engineers are probably pretty keen on the feature.

Also, the Pixel 3 XL appears to come with a new wired version of Google’s Pixel Buds, as seen above from the Rozetked leak as well as the unboxing video.

9to5Google’s leak suggests a 2,915mAh battery pack on the standard Pixel 3, which is a bump up from 2,700mAh on the Pixel 2, yet falls below a lot of the flagship competition. Will it be enough to keep the Pixel 3 humming into the night?

What you’re seeing above is purportedly the Pixel Stand, a new peripheral that Google plans to introduce alongside the new Pixel 3 phones. This image comes from animation files found in the latest Google app APK (via 9to5Google), and matches up with previous leaks about a dock-like device.

Although we can’t tell for sure, the Pixel Stand is expected to be a wireless charging device, with the reported glass backing of the Pixel 3 finally allowing for that.

And it’s not just an upright charger, either: leaks (including this one) suggest that the Google Assistant will take on a different interface once it’s in the dock, allowing for quick access to tasks like playing music, setting timers, placing calls, and more. It will also allow for slideshow-like photo presentations, apparently.

And here’s another look at the Pixel Stand, with a leaked render courtesy of MySmartPrice.

Fact or fiction?

All of this points to a pair of compelling, and now highly differentiated Google handsets. But can either top the ever-improving Android competition, let alone Apple’s new iPhones? That remains to be seen.