Google Pixel 3 XL: First Impressions Point Towards Greatness

Google Pixel 3 XL: First Impressions Point Towards Greatness

The smartphone, which undoubtedly consumed Google’s attention more than any other, is now official. Google launched the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL today, yet the event lacked the anticipated excitement, despite Google’s efforts to suggest otherwise.

Despite numerous leaks dampening our anticipation, the Google Pixel 3 XL remains one of this year’s most compelling phones, primarily due to the significant advancements in Google’s software capabilities over the past year. Moreover, noticeable changes can be seen on the hardware front, notably the introduction of the notch.

Pixel 3 lineup arrives in India on November 1, and we received the Pixel 3 XL from Google. With limited time before Google’s official unveiling, I explored its features. While impressed by many aspects, certain elements didn’t resonate with me. Keep in mind, this is a preliminary impression based on brief usage, not a comprehensive review. Here’s my take on the Pixel 3 XL.

Design & Build

From the moment you lift it, the Pixel 3 XL feels like a piece of post-modern art. It exudes a premium feel with its soft, silky back material combined with glass, resulting in a satisfying tactile experience. Google claims it utilized a special etching process to perfectly align the two surfaces.

It’s unmistakably a Google Pixel, tailored for 2018.

On the front, there’s a 6.3-inch QHD+ panel, widely criticized for its notch. Google stated at the event that the notch is wider because the display extends to the top edge, providing users with more screen area. This reasoning may not be entirely convincing, but our review will shed light on the actual impact.

Thanks to the larger screen-to-body ratio, the Pixel 3 XL feels more comfortable to hold compared to the Pixel 2 XL.

This year, Google opted for rounded edges over the flat sides of the Pixel 2 XL. The polished aluminum resembles ceramic.

Google Pixel now has IP68 rating

The button placement mirrors last year’s Pixel. I often hit the volume rocker instead of the power button but with practice, this becomes less of an issue. The Google Pixel 3 now boasts an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, allowing for brief swims or occasional rinses.


Google Pixel 3 XL: First Impressions Point Towards Greatness

The Pixel 3 XL’s display sparked controversy upon its initial leak. The 6.3-inch screen boasts a native resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels, yielding a pixel density of 523ppi.Google appears to have enhanced the color reproduction of the flexible P-OLED display, eliminating the blue shifting issue seen on the Pixel 2 XL. Further testing in varied conditions will confirm its quality.While the display extends to the upper edge as Google stated, noticeable bezels remain. The bottom chin contributes to an incongruous appearance, disrupting symmetry. It’s an unusual look that may require some adjustment.


The Pixel 3 XL’s cameras remain the focal point, as in previous generations. Despite industry trends, it sticks to a single rear shooter. However, it’s among the best smartphone cameras globally, possibly surpassing the iPhone XS.

The 12.2MP rear camera is accompanied by a pair of 8MP front cameras. Contrary to initial assumptions about its purpose for face unlock, the second front camera is dedicated to capturing super wide-angle selfies, boasting a 184% increase in coverage compared to the iPhone XS and surpassing other smartphone cameras. Additionally, the primary front sensor features auto-focus.

Google showcased a range of AI-driven features and modes, with HDR+ leading the pack. This feature captures a sequence of images and overlays them to enhance the image’s dynamic range. Pixel users are accustomed to this technology, and Google has further refined its performance, promising notably improved Portrait mode photos on the Pixel 3.

The Pixel’s Portrait mode receives enhancements and exciting new features.

The Pixel 3 will now include Top Shot, utilizing machine learning to capture optimal moments through a series of shots, allowing you to select the best one. This feature helps prevent closed-eye shots and reduces the likelihood of photobombing.

Google has refined the portrait mode further, enabling post-capture adjustment of background blur intensity. Users can now selectively blur the subject while maintaining background focus, or apply a ‘Color Pop’ effect to render the background monochrome.

Google has incorporated image stabilization features into the Pixel 3 XL’s camera, including Super Res Zoom to mitigate image shakiness when zooming. The camera app also introduces Photobooth mode, allowing users to capture pictures simply by smiling.

Moreover, the Playground feature enables users to add AR characters and objects directly through the camera. Currently, available characters include Iron Man from Marvel Studios, common characters from Star Wars, and some generic options.

After a brief trial with the camera, we’ve grown to appreciate what we see. The swift image processing and added features like Top Shot and the nearly flawless portrait mode render the Pixel 3 just as captivating as its predecessor.

Pixel 3 Camera Samples

We’re not prepared to discuss any Pixel 3 XL pictures at this time. Here are some unedited photos directly from the phone.