Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Review Roundup: A Big Notch and a Fantastic Camera

The Verge reviews the Pixel 3

With the launch of the original Pixel smartphone, Google planted a flag in the ground and told the world it was going to have a smartphone with a ridiculously good camera in it. And so far, the company’s claim to fame is holding true.

That appears to be the case with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, both of which have their key differences (specifically in the display size), but keep the single 12-megapixel camera on the back of each. And while most companies out there are putting two, three, and sometimes even four camera on the back of their phones, Google’s single-camera effort still manages to retain some of the highest praise out there for smartphone cameras.

The reviews are in for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL and as you can imagine there is a lot of praise for Google’s camera system yet again. And there is plenty of talk about the big notch that digs into the Pixel 3 XL’s display, a bit of a hot topic as the notch gets widely adopted across smartphone lineups.

So, how does the Pixel 3 stack up? Great, it turns out, which is to be expected. We have compiled several snippets from the reviews out there, which you can read below.

The Verge

“So, did Google justify the notch? Sure, I suppose. But maybe not its huge size. Face ID on the iPhone seems like a better trade-off to me, but I’m not mad about the notch; the notch is fine. (It actually is, and not in a This Is Fine kind of way.) If you truly hate the notch, you can turn it off in developer settings, and Google has suggested a less-complicated setting may come in the future.

In any given photo, you might prefer another phone, but on the whole, I’m finding that the Pixel 3 is just more consistent. It gets confused by complicated lighting less often and puts more detail into the shot without overdoing it on HDR effects. Most of all: I trust the Pixel 3 more. The Pixel 2 was the best phone camera for all of last year, and it seems like the Pixel 3 will be the best camera for all of this year.”


Google Pixel 3 review from SlashGear

“Make no mistake, if you’re an Android user then there needs to be a very good reason not to have the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL at the top of your upgrade list in 2018. Indeed the biggest decision is figuring out whether the Pixel 3 XL’s notch is as much of a deal-breaker as some say it is. That comes down to personal opinion, as does whether you prefer the more hand-friendly scale of the Pixel 3 or its expansive bigger sibling.

What isn’t up for question is how polished the overall experience is for both devices. Last year’s Google phones showed us just what the company could do with software. Now, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL wrap that in a far more premium-feeling design, and feel all the more cohesive as a result.”


TechCrunch's review of the Pixel 3 XL

“Up front, you’ll find that word of the Pixel 3 XL’s notch was, in fact, not exaggerated. It’s the stuff of legend. Turns out this is because of those dual front-facing cameras. Google is really committed to helping users up their selfie game here. At least that’s the immediate impact of that decision.

Dual cameras could have other benefits down the road, including depth sensing for things like augmented reality and, perhaps, face unlock. For now, however, it means taking pictures of yourself and friends at a semi-pro level.”


WIRED reviews the Google Pixel 3 XL

“The Pixel 3 phone, more than any other Google-designed phone before it, is an example of what sophisticated software can do when the hardware it runs on is incrementally improved. It’s not perfect, but that’s the thing about a phone that’s driven by its software: it will change and get better over time, even as the glass-slab-and-guts part of it stays the same.”


Google Pixel 3 XL review from CNET

“One other thing I noticed is that while both Pixels have an OLED screen, colors on the Pixel 3 XL’s display appear to be just a tad “cooler” than the Pixel 3. When holding it up to the Pixel 3 side-by-side, the Pixel 3 has punchier reds and purer whites compared to the 3 XL. I’d never notice this on its own, and in and of itself, the 3 XL still has a bright and vibrant display.

As for the notch, I ended up not minding it as much as I thought I would. It’s undoubtedly the thickest notch I’ve seen, but seeing how wide the iPhone X’s notch is, the black tabs look to be about equal in size. Plus, a deeper notch (rather than a wider one) allows for more room on either side for notification icons. If you absolutely hate it though, Google is working on an update to allow you to blacken the sides of the screen and “hide” the notch, similar to how you can do it on the LG G7 ThinQ and Huawei P20.”

The general consensus here is that Google has made yet another fantastic pair of smartphones, building upon what it learned from the year prior and improving in the areas it needed. Considering Google hiked up the price for this year’s models, it sounds like they aimed to justify that price (even if it wasn’t their primary concern) and may have done just that.