Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL: What’s the difference between the two new Google phones?

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL: What’s the difference between the two new Google phones?

Google’s latest product showcase has just wrapped up and we’ve seen the search engine giant unveil a plethora of new tech. Headlining the selection is a duo of new phones, both of which have been heavily leaked in recent months.

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are Google’s new flagship devices, replacing the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, offering up enticing new competition against the iPhone XS, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and upcoming Huawei Mate 20 and OnePlus 6T.

But what’s different between the two phones? Let’s compare and have an in-depth look.

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL – Do they look the same?

No, these two phones do not look alike. Unlike the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the two versions of Google’s flagship look noticeably different.

The Pixel 3 XL mimics the iPhone XS and Huawei P20 Pro by having a notch at the top of the display. The notch here houses the front speaker and twin front cameras, however, it certainly seems larger than other notches we’ve seen. It dips down quite far into the display and we can see this being disruptive if you use your phone a lot for video. It does, however, allow the bezel to be much thinner around the rest of the device.

google pixel 3 xl leak

Below the screen, on the Pixel 3 XL you’ll find a small chin housing the second front speaker.

Switch over to the Pixel 3, though, and you’ll find a phone that looks a lot more like the Pixel 2 XL from last year. It ditches the 16:9 display of the Pixel 2 for an 18:9 one, reducing the bezel in the process. It looks a lot more modern and will likely appeal to those put off by the notch on the XL version.

Flip the phones over and they look a lot more alike. Both have glass backs with a slight two-tone colouring and a fingerprint sensor in the middle. Neither boast headphone jacks, though – something that’s hardly a surprise after the Pixel 2 ditched it last year. New for these phones though is an included pair of USB–C headphones.

Both phones are IP68 rated and support wireless charging through the Qi standard.

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL – Which one is more powerful?

These two phones look quite different from one another, however on the inside they’re very similar. This is an approach we like as you’re not sacrificing too much if you prefer smaller or larger phones.

Both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with 4GB RAM. Considering the majority of other Android flagship phones are now boasting either 6GB RAM or 8GB RAM it does seem odd Google is sticking with 4GB. It seemed fine and fast during our initial play with – but we’ll need to spend more time with it to judge it properly.

Storage starts at 64GB, with a 128GB option too, and there remains no microSD card. Choose your storage wisely when you buy this phone. The only additional storage given is free uploads of your photos and videos through the Google Photos app.

Other specs include a 6.3-inch, 2960 x 1440 OLED display on the Pixel 3 XL, and a 5.5-inch FHD+ OLED on the regular Pixel 3. Both displays support HDR – a first for the Pixel series.

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Pixel 2 camera

Credit: Max Parker – Trusted Reviews

Battery sizing differs between the two phones, however, due to the higher-res display on the Pixel 3 XL it’ll be interesting to see how much longer it lasts. The Pixel 3 XL packs a 3430mAh cell with the Pixel 3 boasting 2915mAh. Wireless Qi charging is included for the first time in a Pixel phone and there’s fast charging too.

Android 9 Pie is the software of choice here and, as this is a Google phone, you’ll be first in line for updates down the line. The version of Pie shipping here includes the new Digital Wellbeing features, updated gesture navigation and streamlined notifications.

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL – What’s the camera like?

The reason we’ve loved the previous Pixel phones so much is their excellent cameras. Even though they have never packed the biggest megapixel sensors or widest apertures, they’ve managed to take exceptional snaps. A lot of this comes from Google’s tremendous auto-HDR feature and the way it uses computational photography to combine multiple shots together.

For the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 Google is once again focussing on software rather than hardware. Both phones boast a 12-megapixel sensor on the back – this remains a single sensor – with an f/1.8 aperture.

Google showed off some sample images during its presentation and they looked stunning. We can’t wait to start shooting with this phone and to see how it compares to the Pixel 2.

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Google’s redesigned the camera app too, making it easier to flick between differing modes.

On the front of both phones, you’ve got dual 8-megapixel sensors: one is a standard sensor and the other wide-angle. Switching to this wider camera allows you to cram more faces into your selfies.

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL – How much do they cost?

The Pixel 3 starts at £739/$799 and the 3 XL costs £869/$899, with an additional £100/$100 added onto each for the larger internal storage options, making these pricier Pixels at launch compared to last year’s duo.

Best Google Pixel 3 Deals

Google Pixel 3 – 15GB of data on O2

A decent amount of data for moderate users. A low upfront and monthly cost brings the TCO down to just £991.

Google Pixel 3 – 100GB of data on Vodafone (cashback deal)

Perfect for heavy data users, especially with absolutely nothing to pay upfront. It's worth noting that this is a cashback deal, so the monthly cost is based on once you've redeemed.

Best Google Pixel 3 XL Deals

Google Pixel 3 XL – 4GB of data on Vodafone

If you don't need a lot of data each month, this is the deal for you. While you have to pay an upfront cost, it helps take your monthly payment down considerably, which reduces the total cost of ownership.

Google Pixel 3 XL – 50GB of data on O2

For the heavy data users, this is a great choice. There's only a small upfront cost and the monthly payment is very reasonable considering the amount of data you're getting.

Google Pixel 3 XL – 100GB of data on O2 (cashback deal)

This is a great choice if you need a lot of data and don't want to pay anything up front. This is a cashback deal, however, so you're paying the equivalent of £50 a month once you've redeemed.

Early Verdict

Even though they’ve only just been announced, Google’s new phones have been leaked so heavily they both feel very familiar.

The larger XL phone benefits from a sharper display and a bigger battery, however that notch and the unconventional shape it brings is likely to irk many people. For those folks, the smaller Pixel 3 offers the same camera and software benefits in a more traditional package.

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