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Google has finally put rest to all the rumors by unveiling the 2018 Pixel smartphones at an event in New York. The third generation Pixel smartphones bring better cameras, improved display and design, latest Android OS and secure ecosystem. Importantly, the new Pixel smartphones put machine learning to a good use to improve the end-user mobile experience.
I was disappointed at first as pretty much everything related to third-generation Pixel devices were leaked in the last few weeks; however, after using the smartphone for a couple of hours, I can say that the new Pixel device is a pretty good upgrade. Google Pixel 3 devices will be available in two sizes; the regular Pixel 3 will boast a 5.5-inch screen whereas the Pixel 3 XL will sport a 6.3-inch display. Google sent us the Clearly White Pixel 3 XL handset with 64GB in-built storage and here's what our initial usage translates to in words.
Noticeable design refinements with new color schemes
Google has made some noticeable refinements to the design of the 3rd generation Pixel smartphones. While the overall look remains the same, the new Pixel 3 smartphones feel slightly premium than last year Pixel handsets. Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are crafted using Pixel's iconic two-tone design, which now uses a soft-touch glass back protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Pixel 3 XL is slightly heavier than the Pixel 2 XL but feels more ergonomic in hands.
As the handset comes with matte-glass back panel, you also get wireless charging. Google has also unveiled a new wireless charger that will be sold separately at Rs. 6,900. The company has announced the new Pixel smartphones in three different color variants. You will have the option to choose from-Just Black, Clearly White, and Not Pink color schemes. The smartphones are IP68 rated for water-dust resistant.
Bigger OLED display with an ugly notch
Putting an end to the controversial pOLED displays, the new Pixel smartphones boast Quad HD+ OLED panels. The Pixel 3 XL flaunts a 6.3-inch screen with 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The display is vibrant and feels super responsive. It is also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 coating. The default color tone is now set to a new "Adaptive" mode, which punches out vibrant color tones.
Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are also certified by the UHDA as Premium HDR devices to offer better color accuracy and improved brightness levels. The contrast ratio is rated at 100,000:1, and pixel density rests at 523ppi. We did not get much time to test the handset outdoors so stay tuned on our verdict on the sunlight visibility of the new OLED panel on Pixel 3 XL. Overall, the new Pixel 3 smartphones offer better displays but the big and ugly ‘Notch' at the top is a bummer.
12.2 MP single lens rear camera
Contrary to dual-lens camera setups, the 3rd generation Pixel smartphones still flaunt a 12.2MP single-lens camera setup at the rear panel. During our short stint with the Pixel 3 XL, we noticed some noticeable improvements in the picture quality and in the functionality of the camera app. The 12.2 MP rear camera works on F/1.8 aperture and supports both optical and electronic image stabilization.
The HDR+ mode is still ruling the charts here and will capture up to 8 frames and merge them together for impressive photos in any light, with zero shutter lag. The picture quality is amazing and the camera app also gets some new cool features like Top shot, Super Res. Zoom that adds additional resolution to zoomed shots. Google also showcased a new mode- Night Sight photo to improve the low-light camera performance. The particular camera mode will be added to the camera interface in the coming month.
Dual 8MP Selfie cameras
Google has done some massive changes in the front-facing camera department. The new Pixel 3 XL comes with a dual-lens selfie camera. The big notch at front houses two 8MP cameras; wide-angle lens that works on F/2.2 aperture and standard lens that works on F/1.8 aperture value. The 8MP wide-angle lens offers a good 97 degree field-of-view to let you capture group selfies.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU, 4GB RAM and stock Android 9.0
As far as hardware is concerned, the new Pixel smartphones are backed by the Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 845 CPU and Adreno 630 GPU. Sadly, Google is only offering 4GB RAM with the new handsets but as they run on stock Android 9, the performance is smooth and lag-free. We will put the new Pixel 3 XL to the extreme test in the coming week to evaluate the real-life performance. It is also worth mentioning that the new Pixel smartphones are protected by Titan Security chip, which as per Google makes the new devices the most secure phone ever built by Google.
Battery capacity maxes out at 3,450 mAh
Pixel 3 XL is backed by a 3,450 mAh battery unit, which is certainly not the best-in-class battery cell on a flagship handset; however, Google says that the machine learning algorithms will ensure a long-lasting battery performance. Both the Pixel 3 variants come with the new Pixel USB-C earbuds, 18W fast charger and a USB-C Digital to 3.5 mm headphone adapter in the box.
Pricing and Verdict
The 3rd generation Pixel devices offer better cameras and improved displays. The design has also been given a certain degree of refinements and the new smartphones are better at securing your on-device data.
Google is charging a hefty amount for new Pixel handsets. The 64GB storage variant of Pixel 3 XL will sell at Rs. 82,000 and the flagship 128GB variant is priced at a massive Rs. 92,000 in the Indian market. For the smaller Pixel 3, you have to spend Rs. 71,000 for 64GB variant. The 128GB Pixel 3 will sell at Rs. 80,000. The smartphones will be made available on Flipkart, Airtel's online store and Google's offline sale partners including Reliance Digital, Croma and other leading stores across India. Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be available for sale both online and in retail stores from 1st November 2018. Stay tuned for our comprehensive review of Pixel 3 XL.