Review: Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL are the best smartphones you can buy right now
- The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones are the best smartphones you can buy right now - they're even better than Apple's iPhone XS and XS Max.
- Google makes up for mediocre hardware with an amazing camera and a pure Android software experience.
- In the video above, Business Insider's Antonio Villas-Boas shares his thoughts on Google's latest smartphones.
Following is a transcript of the video.
In a lot of respects, the Pixel 3 phones are kind of generic. You know, they don't have an S Pen stylus, they don't have three lenses on the back. It doesn't have any crazy outstanding features. It's just a smartphone, but I would say, currently it is the best smartphone.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, they both have the main ingredients and the foundation for a great smartphone. So, that's a really good screen, that's good battery life, that's a great camera and water resistance, but with the Pixel phones the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, they have a little extra to them that kind of just makes them shine brighter than the rest.So one of the places where the Google Pixel phones shine is with the software. It's not so much the hardware, but it's what you see on the screen itself. That means Android for one, and it's a pure expression of Google's Android. There's no extra stuff in there, no bloatware. It's really clean. It's really simple. It's fluid. It feels reliable. It's just a really solid version of Android that I just tend to prefer over the extra stuff that you'll find on, like, Samsung phones or LG phones. You just get a pure vision of what Android is meant to be and it's a better phone for it.
So one of the biggest reasons people buy the Pixel phones is because of the camera, and the Pixel 3 XL is absolutely no exception. It's unreal how good these cameras are. There's something that Google does with its software that just makes the photos look really natural and yet there's a ton of processing going into it. It's largely software based. You can really get a sense of place and location when you're looking at a photo from a Pixel 3 phone.
One thing that you may have noticed, is that the Pixel 3 phones still have a single lens camera system. Google can do with software what others, you know, can only dream of. One of the things that's amazing that the Pixel 3s can do is having a really, really good portrait mode with a single lens rear camera and then Google made, sort of the fake sort of digital zoom that you see on other phones, but they made it better. It's almost to the level of an actual zoom lens on a phone and later down the line we're expecting the new Night Sight feature, which will again be a software update and it'll make the Pixel 3 cameras really good in low light situations, at least that's what we were shown and told at a Pixel event. Obviously we're gonna need to test those claims.
The Top Shot feature is pretty cool too. So what it does, is it basically takes a bunch of photos, just in case, maybe that moment where you press the shutter button, something with the photo went wrong, or the subject blinked. I think it's a fantastic little feature. So Google did add a little extra lens there, but on the selfie side of things. Google had to add an extra lens for the ultra-wide angle selfies. Now, this is meaningful, and I kind of wish Google put an ultra-wide lens on the back of the phone too because ultra-wide is kind of good and it's really good to have on phones like the LG V40. It's so meaningful for a selfie and for selfie-takers too because it means you get more people in the shot, more of your location and surroundings in the shot. These are features that can totally be used all the time without you really even thinking about it. You just, kind of just use it.
These Pixel 3 displays look really, really good. Now one thing that is specific to the 3 XL is the notch, but hey, you know what, I've been using the phone for about a week and I've kind of forgotten about the notch. It's really not a problem. It doesn't interfere with the way I use the phone. I just really hope that you don't base your next smartphone buying decision on how the phone looks, because I would imagine that you go walk into a store and you see the notch on the Pixel 3 XL and you'd be like, well that's a pass, move on. Thing is, you'd be missing out on a really, really, really good phone. You just gotta look past that notch.
So it's running in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, which is the latest chip. The Pixel 3 has been totally fine and seamless, fluid and smooth and stable and no problems whatsoever, with the Snapdragon 845 and the 4 gigs of RAM. I would not be worried about that at all. And it's kind of like Apple. So you get the Google phone made to run with Google software and they're made to run perfectly.Of course, the Pixel 3 is running Google's Android 9.0, Android Pie, I really like it. I think it's fantastic. Took me some getting used to a little bit for sure, having to sort of swipe a little bit on the home button to multitask and that kind of thing and different gestures. They feel really smooth. They feel responsive and it's actually been an improvement of how I use the phone.
Build quality, this was an improvement, absolutely over the original Pixel, but also over the Pixel 2. The Pixel 3 has a really, super nice two-tone glass back and now the bottom half is also glass, but sort of has this frosted texture and it feels really, really nice. I really don't like putting a case on it.
As you would expect, with Android phones, especially the high-end stuff, you get a fast charger in the box, right? I'm talking to you Apple. Yeah, you get a nice USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C charging brick and it fast charges the phone. And you now have a new choice of how to charge your phone, right, we got wireless charging finally, right? On days when I am using the phone heavily, a lot of screen time, a lot of apps, watching videos too. You know it's, by the end of the day, it's probably about 35-ish percent I'd say, so no problems there, but nothing special either.
I would say the Pixel 3 phones are also the Android device that you should check out if you're an iPhone user. Now I know, yes, you're being like, "Oh my God, iPhone users would never switch to Android." Well you know sometimes, people like to switch it up a little bit. Maybe if you had the iPhone since the very first iPhone and you kind of, like, want to see what else is out there but if you do make the switch to Android, 100% it's got to be Pixel. It just gives you the most pure expression of Google and Android. Its simplicity, how well it works, its performance, its reliability, it is the best reference for Android that you're going to get. They have lots of meaningful features that you may not even really notice are happening, like every time I put my SIM card back in the Pixel phones I'm just like, ah, this is the way it's meant to be.
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