Friday , November 16 2018
Home / Phone / Pixel 3 Review Roundup: Incredible Camera, So-So Hardware Design

Pixel 3 Review Roundup: Incredible Camera, So-So Hardware Design

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have both released, and if the early data is any indication both phones are a robust successor to the Pixel 2 — but not without a few caveats attached. We’ve rounded up reviews from PCMagThe Verge, CNBC, Mashable, Wired, and Ars Technica, so let’s see what the overall opinion is on Google’s latest flagship.

If you’re looking for a high-end Android device, it’s clear the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL should be clear contenders for the job. Both devices have been universally acclaimed for their software implementation and optimization. The OLED displays are reportedly much-improved from the Pixel 2, with the Verge reporting that “The Pixel 3 XL’s screen is vibrant and bright with colors that pop at any viewing angle.” The Verge also notes that the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9 both have an edge in brightness and contrast, but that Google has finally created a phone “worthy of the high prices that Pixel phones command.”

If there’s one feature of the device being hailed as a standout success, it’s the camera. CNBC’s Todd Haselton posted the following shot of his dog Mabel to highlight how the Pixel 3 simulates depth with a single camera (the iPhone and other Android devices sometimes use two cameras to create depth in photos) as well as to highlight how much detail it can handle.

I have a soft spot for dachshunds and that’s a damn good camera. Credit: Todd Haselton/CNBC

Over at Mashable, there’s an extensive set of photos, including this comparison below between the Pixel 3 and the iPhone XS that highlights just how differently the two devices handle fine detail work in close-up shots. While which image you prefer is a matter of personal preference, the Pixel 3 clearly retains much more detail than the iPhone XS does.

Mashable Pixel 3

Credit: Raymond Wong/Mashable

All of the reviews above have their own camera evaluations, and given that the camera is one of the most-discussed aspects to the phone, there’s good reason to parse through more than one. But the general opinion of the reviewers is that the Pixel 3 has one of the best, if not the best cameras on the market today. The wide-angle selfie camera is a bit hit or miss — some reviewers like it, some don’t — but everyone agrees that the photo quality is good. Google’s various AI enhancements, filters, and new capabilities are also praised. All reviews agree that the software is a device strong point.

Mixed Opinions on Hardware

On hardware, there’s a split opinion between Ars Technica and everyone else. All of the reviews take note of two issues specifically: The matte glass back on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and the unusually large notch on the Pixel 3 XL, which is twice as tall as competing notches from other companies. The back of the Pixel 3 XL is made out of a material Google calls “Soft Touch Glass,” and which is apparently very easy to scratch (very light scratches may buff out, but multiple reviews report that having any other object in one’s pockets can scratch this part of the back). The notch, and the associated question of whether you find it insanely irritating is a personal one.

Ars found both of these issues to be larger problems than other publications did and the reviewer, Ron Amadeo, did not care for the hand feel of Google’s Soft Touch glass at all. He also calls out associated limits on the Pixel 3 XL’s storage capacity that aren’t similarly limited on flagship devices from other companies, writing:

This is the fastest Android phone on Earth and the best smartphone camera ever, but it’s paired with ugly, dated hardware that soaks up oil and is really slippery.

Google is turning in a really unimpressive spec package. There’s only 4GB of RAM when many competing phones have 6 or 8GB. There’s only a 64 and 128GB storage tier and no SD card, when competing devices go to 512GB. There’s only a 3430mAh battery on the Pixel 3 XL—that’s smaller than the Pixel 2 XL—and the Galaxy Note 9 fits a 4000mAh battery with a big plastic pen in about the same size body. Again, the general theme of this device is that Google software makes up for the deficiencies in Google’s hardware, so the phone runs fast and battery life is great.

This is a departure from the conclusions of other reviews. The Verge writes “For the first time, Pixel phones feel like a thousand bucks.” CNBC states “Until now, I thought the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 were the best Android phones you could buy, depending on how much you wanted to spend. I think the Pixel 3 XL wins out now, with a much faster camera and interface and software features that add to the experience.” Mashable declares the Pixel 3 / Pixel 3 XL to be the default choices for anyone not waiting for a OnePlus 6T or iPhone XR, given that “Google finally checked off all the boxes.” PCMag’s review claims “For pure Google, however, you can’t beat the Pixel 3 XL.” Wired, meanwhile, more-or-less dismisses the hardware platform as irrelevant, writing: “It turns out, as we spend each autumn examining and comparing specs on these new rectangular pieces of hardware, the thing that matters most is the software running on them. And that’s likely to be the case for the foreseeable future.”

Credit: Zlata Ivleva/PCMag

Each review weights these issues differently, with Wired putting the most emphasis on software and Ars putting the largest focus on hardware. (Note: “focus” in this case refers to the relative weight of the category, not the amount of review text devoted to the topic or the depth of the review itself).

The general reviewer consensus is that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are excellent devices with a few quirks (the Pixel 3 is significantly faster than the Pixel 3 XL in some benchmarks for reasons that aren’t clear), and a few design decisions (relatively low RAM, large notch, Soft Touch glass) that some reviewers found more annoying than others. The camera and software are universally acclaimed and reviewers generally had little trouble with the price, though some did remark on how smartphones have moved, inexorably, in the direction of more expensive devices.

One last thing to remember: Verizon is the exclusive carrier of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in the US. That’s not a change from previous years, but it’s something to be aware of if you like the device but have a different carrier (meaning: Buy the unlocked version).

Now Read: The Pixel 3 Cameras Are a Showcase for Google’s AI, Google Unveils Pixel 3 Phones, Pixel Slate, and Home Hub, and Google’s Unannounced Pixel 3 XL Just Leaked

Top photo credit: Zlata Ivleva/PCMag


Source link

About allyenx

Check Also

Google Assistant Gets Clock App Integration, Broadcast Replies, and More

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *