Should You Buy the Pixel 3?

Google’s new phone was released on October 18. Here’s a rundown of its features.

New phones come out every year. Some offer terrific new features, while others are basically like the phone you already have.

The latest release: Google’s Pixel 3 and 3 XL. I sat down and tested out the Pixel 3 to see if it’s worth upgrading. Here’s a rundown of some of the phone’s new features, what I liked, and what I didn’t.

Design

The Pixel 3 looks pretty similar to the Pixel 2, but there are some key differences:

  • The Pixel 3 has a glass back, which helps with cell reception, so you’ll probably see better call and data signals.
  • The Pixel 3 XL has a notch at the top of the screen to fit the front facing camera and other sensors.
  • It has the highest waterproof rating on the market.

Selfie Camera

On the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, the camera gets an upgrade. While both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 have one front facing 8MP camera, the Pixel 3 has a dual lens, which means that you can fit almost 25 percent more into your selfies.

Digital Zoom

The rear-facing camera on the Pixel 3 remains mostly unchanged, but you’ll notice a few new features. Improved image stabilization means you can get a clearer picture even if your subject is moving. You’ll also see an improvement in clarity when you zoom in and take photos in low-light situations.

Call Screening

A new feature on Pixel devices with Android Pie 9.0 is Call Screening. When a call comes in, you can press “Screen Call,” and an automated message will ask the caller who they are and what they’re calling about. That message is dictated by Google Assistant, and you can decide if you want to answer, ask for more information, or ask the caller to repeat their message.

Dual Front Speakers

The Pixel 3 has two front-facing speakers. While this makes audio much louder, it also causes the phone to vibrate when you’re playing music or taking a call on speakerphone. After reading a report from BGR, we were able to recreate the issue and confirm that the vibration is significant even at low volumes.

Titan M Security Chip

Another noteworthy addition to the Pixel 3 and 3 XL is the Titan M security chip. This helps keep your Pixel safe from security threats or malware attacks. If you’re interested, the Android Developers Blog has a great breakdown of how the Titan M works.

The Verdict

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL are impressive phones that compete with other top-tier devices (and are several hundred dollars cheaper). But it’s probably not worth it to buy the new model if you already own a Pixel 2. Unless you’re really craving those camera features, you might as well wait for next year’s model.

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