Google Pixel 3 XL Review-in-Progress – Beautifully Built 8.0/10
Mobile phones are in our hands 70-80 percent of the day, so more and more companies are looking to create phones that look as good as they run. The Google Pixel 3 is no different than other smartphones, with a unique design that denotes that you are indeed using a Google product.
The phone itself is glass backed, with a unique 2 tone design. A finger print scanner is placed similar to the Google Pixel 2, which will allow your index finger to comfortably rest there to unlock your phone whenever you pick it up. Above and to the right of the scanner is the single camera and flash. The bottom of the device is where you’ll find the USB C charging port, and the connection spot for your USB C headphones which are included in the box.
On the right side of the phone you will find the standard power button, as well as the volume up and volume down keys. Depending on which of the three colours you opt for, your power button might be orange, green, or black. The left side of the device is clean and smooth, without anything of importance to note.
On the front side of the device you get a beautiful OLED screen on both the standard Google Pixel 3 and the XL model, both of which are a major improvement over the somewhat disappointing screens on the Google Pixel 2. The 6.3 inch XL and the slightly smaller regular version have very small bezels, which again is an improvement over last years device. The notch on the Google Pixel 3 XL is quite large – and has been a major discussion point since Google unveiled the device – but is this way to accommodate the two front facing ‘selfie’ cameras, and of course the front facing stereo speakers. Like the device before it, both the standard and XL version of the Pixel 3 do have that dual speaker system, which is fantastic for watching movies and playing games.
THe large notch is more of a cosmetic issue, rather than one that causes any serious issue viewing the display, although I’ve noticed that less notifications show in my top toolbar on account of the notch, as opposed to the standard Pixel 3 which removes the notch in favour of a large bezel. If having notifications in the upper bar is important to you, the standard version of the Google Pixel 3 might be a better option.
The beautiful glass back and metal frame does have it’s issues, however, as both are susceptible to scratching. Although I’ve personally kept my device in the official Google Pixel 3 XL case sent to us by Google, friends and colleagues who are also looking at Google’s phones have shown me theirs, and after only a few days of what I would deem regular use, the glass backs have significant scratch marks. Ultimately, scratching on the backside of a phone isn’t a major issue for myself, but could be problematic for some individuals, so it’s definitely worth noting.
Included in the box is the standard Google USB-C charging cable, USB-C charging wall block, and new to this years model, a pair of USB-C headphones. As you might have noticed, there was no mention of a headphone jack on the Google Pixel 3, and that is because it is non-existent. While this is becoming standard across the industry, I personally prefer a jack, and find that a big misstep by Google. While I appreciate the USB-C headphones packed in the box, it pails in comparison to some of the high end headphone review units I have laying around my house that would give me a much better audio experience.
The Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL have both made major improvements in the build, design, and feel of their newest devices, and if you had issues with the Google Pixel 2, there is a good chance that has been rectified with the Pixel 3. If you plan to use without a case, however, be prepared to see scratches along the backside of your device, and also don’t expect to hook up your favourite headphones or earbuds without using the (included) USB-C adapter. It’s great that it is included, but ultimately its just another item to worry about keeping with you, and not losing.