“The Pixel 3 brings both software and hardware upgrades over its predecessor to convince buyers to upgrade”

The Google Pixel 3 has been officially unveiled by the Mountain View-based company, bringing in a new challenger to the iPhone XS (first impressions), Samsung Galaxy S9 (review), and other premium smartphones. The new Pixel 3 also brings several upgrades over its predecessor, the Pixel 2. A bigger display, faster processor, bigger battery, and a new colour option are among the key upgrades that Pixel 3 offers compared to the Pixel 2, but that’s not all. We take a look at the differences between the two smartphones in our detailed comparison to help you figure out whether the new model is worth the upgrade. 

Design and display

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The new Pixel 3 retains the dual-tone design of its predecessors and adds a Not Pink hue to the mix, alongside the Just Black and Clearly White options. The material of choice this time is an aluminium frame with hybrid coating, topped by glass reinforced with Gorilla Glass 5. The Pixel 2, on the other hand, sports a metallic back with a matte finish on the bottom third, while the top third has a glossy look. Both devices have front-firing speakers. Also, the new model has IP68 certification for dust- and water-resistance (up to 1.5m for 30 minutes), while the Pixel 2 has IP67 certification (up to 1m for 30 minutes). 

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The Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch OLED screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio and full HD+ resolution, along with HDR support. This is in contrast to the Pixel 2’s 5-inch full HD AMOLED panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Both smartphones feature the Always-On display functionality as well as Gorilla Glass 5 protection for the display.

Performance, storage, and software

The Pixel 3 is powered by the flagship Snapdragon 845 processor, an upgrade over the Snapdragon 835 SoC on the Pixel 2. The 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC (2.5GHz + 1.6GHz) of the new model is backed by the Adreno 630 GPU. It is paired with 4GB of RAM, the same amount that was found in last year’s model. Both the models come in two storage variants, 64GB and 128GB. Neither device gets a microSD card slot for storage expansion. 

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The Pixel 3 runs Android 9.0 Pie out-of-the-box with Google Lens integration, both of which are also available for the Pixel 2. However, the former will get the major Android updates for the coming three years, while the latter will receive the same for two more years. The Titan M Security module has been integrated into the new model for greater security.

Camera, battery, and connectivity

The camera setup on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 2 are pretty much the same, though there are upgrades to take better photos. That means the single 12.2MP rear camera (f/1.8 aperture, 1.4-micron, 76-degree field of view) has been retained, along with Dual Pixel autofocus, LED flash, and optical and electronic image stabilisation. The selfie camera has received an upgrade, with the 8MP sensor on the Pixel 2 replaced by twin 8MP shooters on the Pixel 3, with one having a wide-angle lens. 

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However, the Pixel 3 comes with a few new camera modes to provide better photos. The first is Top Shot that uses machine learning to select the best photos from a bunch of frames once you hit the shutter button. The Super Res Zoom mode makes sure the images capture and retain enough details when you zoom into a photo, and does not gloss over them. Photobooth Mode can recognise smiles, lighting, motion, funny faces, etc and capture a shot, all without pressing the capture button. Motion Focus is a feature that automatically tracks the subject in the video. There is a Group Selfie mode for wide-angle selfies. You will be able to save photos you take in RAW format. Google is also including Playground AR stickers on the Pixel 3, and this feature will be rolled out to the Pixel 2 later.

The battery capacity on the Pixel 3 is 2,915mAh with 18W fast-charging, slightly bigger than the 2,700mAh battery of its predecessor. The connectivity features on the two handsets are pretty much the same: 4G, dual-band Wi-Fi, USB Type-C 3.1, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and GPS. However, the new model comes with eSIM support as well to make it a dual-SIM device, just like the iPhone XS and XS Max. 

Closing thoughts 

Google Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2

If you’ve been following the comparison closely, it’s clear that the Pixel 3 is an iterative upgrade over the Pixel 2 as it brings forth a bezel-less display, latest-and-greatest processor and a slightly bigger battery. The biggest improvement comes in the imaging department as the newer model ships with dual selfie cameras, and the rear shooter also offers a slew of interesting functionality. That said, the pricing of the Pixel 3 starts at Rs 71,000, which makes it significantly higher than the launch price of the Pixel 2 (Rs 61,000) for the base 64GB edition. We’ll be surely putting the latest handset from Google’s stables through its paces to see how it fares in the real life, so stay tuned.