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Google Pixel 3 review

8.7/10 AVG.
RATING



8.7/10
Informr score
The Google Pixel 3 currently has an Informr score of 8.7 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 57 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

The Pixel 3 offers a refined, premium Android experience with a camera that competes with -- if not beats -- the best mobile cameras on offer to date. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, powerful Android phone, it’s sure to please.

What's good

  • Colorful, detailed display
  • Plenty of storage
  • Blazing performance
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • Three years of updates
  • Class-leading camera
  • Wireless and fast charging
  • Stereo speakers

What's bad

  • No microSD support
  • Slightly dim display
  • So-so battery life during heavy use

With the release of the Pixel 3, Google hopes to compete with the top-tier phones from other manufacturers and claim a spot at the top of the mobile photography charts. The phone is also one of the first to sport Android’s latest software release -- Android 9.0 Pie. But with a price near some of the best-rated phones on the market, does it compete in terms of value?

The Pixel 3 looks like a premium phone with its curved corners, aluminum chassis, and glass rear panel. It also includes the same IP68 water resistance rating as many competing models. The lower portion of the rear panel includes a matte finish that reviewers found reduced fingerprints and added reassuring grip. 

Lastly, there’s a round fingerprint scanner in the middle of the panel. Reviewers had no issues with response times and found it easy to hit without having to think about where to place your finger.

Around front, you’re greeted by a 5.5-inch FullHD+ P-OLED display with HDR support. Reviewers found contrast excellent and color reproduction on par with leading options from other manufacturers. Adjustable color profiles make it easy to match the display to your preferences.

Some reviewers questioned the screen’s brightness, with outdoor use often requiring setting the display to 100% to make out images and text at a glance. Otherwise, clarity, color, and detail appear to be excellent.

Google choose 2.5Ghz octa-core Snapdragon 845 processor and 4GB of RAM to power the phone. Reviewers found using the phone one of the most fluid and snappy Android experiences to date. However, many worried that 4GB of RAM would slow the phone down in the future as apps continue to require more power and memory to run.

Unlike many Android phones, the Pixel 3 does not allow you to expand the storage on the phone using a microSD card. Despite this, 64 or 128GB of internal storage should suffice for most users.

The phone is one of the first to ship with Android 9.0 Pie. The included 3 years of guaranteed OS and security updates also ensure your phone stays up to date.

One of the biggest additions in Android Pie is a new set of “Digital Wellbeing” settings to make mindful phone use easier and help avoid distractions when you should be sleeping, working, or otherwise not using your phone.

Many reviewers noted that the automation and improvements in Android made it feel much more like Apple’s iOS. But they were quick to point out they didn’t feel that this was a bad thing. There’s still plenty of ways to tweak settings and personalize your experience but the essentials are easier.

Unlike many of its competitors, the Pixel 3 uses a single-lens rear camera. 

Rated at 12.2MP, the camera uses software to accomplish many of the advanced features found on other phones. However, reviewers found the camera more than up to snapping clear action shots, detailed night shots, and up-close macro shots. In fact, The Guardian declared, “It is safe to say the Pixel 3 has one of the best, if not the best cameras available today.”

Around front, you’ll find a dual-lens 8MP camera with a wide-angle option to help get more friends or scenery into the frame. Reviewers loved the detail on offer and found the camera did not apply excessive beautification effects or change the appearance of pictures.

Both cameras can use a range of software features to help take better shots without having to dive into manual settings. Reviewers praised the camera for its simple use and found that the recommended settings often produced outstanding images in a variety of settings and situations.

Battery life concerned some reviewers. The phone includes a 2915mAh battery good for 3.5 to 5 hours of screen-on time. While this will last the full day with typical use, heavy phone users will need to keep a charger handy. 

Fortunately, the Pixel 3 supports both USB Type-C fast charging or wireless Qi charging. Google includes a 15W wired charger with the phone but they do not include a wireless charger. Reviewers found a full wired charge with the included charger took just under 2 hours.

When it comes to audio, the phone includes front-facing stereo speakers and Bluetooth 5.0 but no 3.5mm headphone jack. However, the box includes a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter and USB-C earphones. Reviewers found the headphones surprisingly punchy and comfortable. 

While not supported by many carriers yet, the phone also includes e-SIM support to be activated later with a software update.

Overall, reviewers loved the Pixel 3. While battery life isn’t stellar, it offers enough juice for the average person. Everything else is at the top of the charts from display quality to camera performance.

The Guardian says, “... there’s absolutely no doubt that if you don’t want an iPhone XS, the Pixel 3 is the best small smartphone going.” Android Authority states, “The Pixel 3 on Pie is the least Android-like Android phone I’ve ever seen, but it puts forth a very compelling case for why this is the way forward.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
2.5 GHz
Screen Size
5.5"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


TechRadar

Even into 2020, the Google Pixel 3 has an impressive smartphone camera. Don't let its raw specs fool you: its very ordinary sounding 12.2MP rear camera with a single lens and an f/1.8 aperture is enhanced by machine-learning software, Google’s secret sauce to making your photos better. The phone des...

- Matt Swider, TechRadar
Tech Advisor

The Pixel 3 is an uncomplicatedly brilliant phone. Tweaks such as the design might seem small but we like the new glass rear cover with its soft matt finish which in turn brings wireless charging. It does everything very well without unnecessary fanfare. Now at a lower price, it's a great bargain if...

- Chris Martin, Tech Advisor
TrustedReviews

A year on and the Pixel 3 is still a great phone. However, that's mostly down to the photos. The poor amount of RAM has reared its head and with the Pixel 3a offering just about the same camera skills in a much cheaper phone it's a hard sell. We're also eagerly awaiting the Pixel 4, which looks set...

- Max Parker, TrustedReviews
MobileTechTalk

From the bolstering camera performance to the most complete software experience any phone will ever see, it’s fantastic to see Google striving towards the brand recognition the Nexus brand never seems to get. Sure, the devices are expensive, but you’re getting the premium needed compared to your fla...

- Kurt Colbeck, MobileTechTalk
Ubergizmo

The Google Pixel 3 definitely earns its place among the high-end mobile cameras. What is most impressive is how Google’s software has improved upon the Pixel 2, while using very similar camera hardware. As such, the Pixel 3 is the best single-lens camera, and possibly the last single-lens system at...

- Hubert Nguyen, Ubergizmo


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Quick view

Screen Size
5.5"

The Google Pixel 3's screen size is 5.5 inches with 1080 x 2280 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.5 GHz

There is a Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 Octa core 2.5 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 9.0 Pie (Update Available: 10) operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
64/128 GB

Internal memory is 64/128 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
2915mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2915 mAh battery. Google's performance ratings are 1388 minutes, 616 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Pixel 3 Specs

Overview
Release date October 18, 2018
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA:
800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/2100 /800/850/900/1800/2600/2300/2500 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, 1xRTT, EV-DO, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 9.0 Pie (Update Available: 10)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 Octa core 2.5 GHz
Internal Storage 64/128 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.34 W/kg
Body: 1.34 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Headphones, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2915 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging Yes
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 661 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 616 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 588 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1388 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 14 days
Physical Characteristics
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Clearly White, Just Black, Not Pink
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.5 x 6.9 x 0.8 cm (5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 in)
Weight 148 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Water Resistant
Rugged design No
IP Rating IP 68
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology OLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 2280 pixels
Pixel density 459 pixels
Size 5.5 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Corning Gorilla Glass 5, HDR support
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX, aptX HD
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WEP/WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 1.8
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Multi-camera
Yes
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Brightness control, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer
Video Recording Formats
MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Main camera aperture f/1.8, Dual camera feature (8 MP 2nd camera, f/2.2)
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, M4A, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, FLV, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Stereo
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder No
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps
More
Additional comments

3 years of OS and security updates

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