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Google Pixel 3 XL First Impressions: New Android software on familiar hardware

The Pixel 3 XL is here.

google-pixel-3-xl-bgr-2

Image: BGR India


It’s finally here. In the weeks preceding today, we saw numerous leaks online of how the Google Pixel devices for 2018 would look like. It turns out, those leaks were true. It’s time we made peace with the fact that not much was left to the imagination. Ever since a Pixel 3 XL handset was left in a Lyft cab weeks ago, the leaks kept getting frequent. Very close to the launch event today, we did wonder if all of these leaks were ‘too true to be real.’ What if they were an intentional prank? We wondered, there just might be a surprise thrown in. We’re now certain. They were true.

The package

In the box, you’d find the obvious Pixel 3 XL. In addition, there’s a 9V/2A (18W) charger, a USB type-C to type-C cable to go with it, a quick switch adapter in case you need to connect a standard USB cable. Besides this, there’s a USB type-C to 3.5mm audio adapter because this year, Google realized, there’s no harm in ditching the standard 3.5mm audio jack that ruled the world for years. Also included in the box is an impressive pair of type-C digital audio earbuds. The world of smartphones is changing. Audio is shifting to digital.

The Pixel vibes

Image: BGR India

Whether or not it created any noticeable dent in the smartphone market, the Pixel has managed to craft an identity for itself. Among the various attributes are the best Android experience, unlimited storage for photos with Google Photos, and of course, a design with an interesting two-tone texture. A minimalist design language with a pleasant white space that’s refreshing. The device itself is surprisingly light to hold in your palm despite the vast screen size.

What’s new

Image: BGR India

The Pixel 3 XL revealed its noticeable notch on the front through the initial leaks online from weeks ago. But I learnt that having a large blob on the front of your flagship smartphone doesn’t necessarily mean it has face unlock features. But then, it offers a fingerprint scanner at the back. If we can give Apple the leeway to decide for us the best experience, why not Google? With the Pixel 3 XL, Google has decided to offer two front camera modules, and while it doesn’t offer face unlock, it offers some impressive portrait shots that will satiate your appetite for great photos and Instagram.

At its Cloud Next summit in July, Google announced the Titan Security for its Cloud customers to ensure enhanced security. With a new Titan Module on chip, Google seems to have incorporated enhanced security features with the possibility to authenticate logins and data via a Bluetooth and physical key which it sells separately. This would come in handy for users (individual and corporate) who work with very critical and sensitive information.

Adding muscle to the Pixel 3 XL is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, which is an upgrade over the 835 that powered last year’s Pixel 2. However, it follows a list of devices such as the OnePlus 6, Asus Zenfone 5Z, Oppo Find X and the Vivo NEX among others.

The display and Camera

Image: BGR India

A large 6.3-inch OLED screen offering 523ppi will capture your attention. It has an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. In addition, its 100,000:1 Super Contrast ratio and True Black does come across as impressive. Though we’d have a better idea through a more in-depth review on BGR India.

Image: BGR India

On the front, are two 8-megapixel camera modules (wide angle and normal) that work together to give some impressive results with portrait and selfies even in challenging lighting conditions. On the rear is a dual-pixel 12.2-megapixel camera with optical and electronic image stabilization.

Battery

The Pixel 3 XL comes with a 3,430mAh battery (slightly smaller than the 3,520mAh on the Pixel 2 XL). Google claims the Pixel 3 XL offers seven hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charge. It claims 14 days of LTE standby time, up to 18 hours of 3G talktime, and up to 11 hours of video playback time.

Initial impressions

Considering that the strengths of the Pixel range of smartphones lie in its software, a more detailed opinion of the device would be formed once we use it for a prolonged period. For the same reasons, we wouldn’t judge the Pixel 3 XL for the incremental hardware update, because the device has the potential of pulling off surprises with its optimized and tuned software. However, the lack of face unlock does strike you, especially with a prominent notch on ‘the flagship’ Android smartphone. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of the Pixel 3 XL on BGR India.

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  • Published Date: October 9, 2018 10:10 PM IST