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Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Google Announcement Will Make Samsung Sweat

by Brandon Russell | October 9, 2018October 9, 2018 8:15 am PDT

Google on Tuesday officially unveiled the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 Xl, which weren’t exactly secret leading up to today’s event. Now, however, we finally have official confirmation straight from Google, including information about the Pixel 3’s exciting new camera features.

Similar to last year, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL sport different designs, taking the opposite approach compared to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The Pixel 3 features a 5.5-inch display and looks more like last year’s Pixel 2 XL, just miniaturized. Meanwhile, the Pixel 3 XL features a 6.3-inch screen with minimized bezels and an over-sized notch.

Google is well aware of the repeated criticism lobbed at the Pixel 3 XL’s large notch. But the company is hoping the new features offered by the device are enough to help you forget it’s there in the first place. You get the same excellent front-facing speakers from last year, as well as advanced selfie camera functionality, which we’ll talk about in a second.

The design looks more refined this year, with a more elegant two-tone aesthetic that’s patently Google. Google is keeping the front-facing speakers around, while the rear-facing fingerprint sensor remains, which means Google hasn’t quite gone full Apple and ditched fingerprint biometrics just yet.

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Inside, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chop, 4GB of RAM, and 64 and 128GB storage options. As you’d expect, both Google phones feature Android 9 Pie, which is the latest version available right now. And for the first time ever in a Pixel phone, Google has added wireless charging, which will work with a new accessory called Pixel Stand ($79).

Google is once again relying on a single camera, a 12.2MP sensor driven by the company’s terrific Software. The Pixel 2 still features arguably the market’s best mobile camera, so we’re expecting big things from the new shooter, which now supports several new features.

One of the new features is called Top Shot, capturing frames before and after an image is shot to combine them into the best shot. Along with Google’s Visual Core, Google’s machine learning will then create the best image possible, taking into account smile, eyes, and more. If you want to change the image manually, you can easily do that.

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL will also support subject tracking auto focus, super res zoom, and photobooth, using Google’s algorithms to snap hands-free pictures when it recognizing users are smiling, making a funny face, and even winking.

Google also talked about Night Sight, which is a new feature designed for low light photos. According to Google, it will produce pictures that will trump anything on the market, essentially negating the need for a flash.

Google also highlighting the Pixel 3 and 3 XL’s front-facing camera, which features both telephoto and wide-angle lenses, allowing users to more easily take portrait photos and group selfies.

The camera app itself also features a redesign with an interface that allows users to more easily switch between different shooting modes. Before, Google required users to jump into a menu to access other shooting modes. It was a more cumbersome solution compared to today’s redesign.

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Finally, Google is adding a really interesting calling feature that will make it really easy to screen calls, like when an automated telemarketing service calls. When you get a call from a number you don’t recognize, the phone can answer the call and provide real-time transcription of the conversation. You can then choose to pick up or just ignore it altogether.

You can pre-order the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL starting today, with prices starting at $799 for the Pixel 3 with 64GB of storage. The Pixel 3 XL starts at $899. Shipping starts on October 17.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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