Buy here – or you will regret it

We issue the standard warning that you must buy the genuine Model with Australian firmware as it works on all Australian Carrier LTE bands and can make a 000-emergency call without a sim.

Screen

XL is 6.3”, 2960 x 1440, 532ppi, 18.5:9, 82.8%, S-T-B-R with a fairly large notch
Flexible OLED Diamond Pentile pattern made by Samsung max 434 nits
3 is a 5.5”, 2160 x 1080, 443ppi, 18:9, 77.2%, S-T-B-R – no notch
Flexible pOLED display made by LG max 426 nits
Both: Screen protection: Gorilla Glass 5
Always-on-display
100,000:1 contrast (in reality OLED is infinite as blacks are 0 nits)
16.77 million colours
UHDA HDR certified (HDR400)
Built for VR to work with Google Daydream View headset

DisplayMate gave the Pixel 3 XL the highest A+ grading for absolute picture quality and Absolute colour accuracy. It says, “Pixel 3 XL is visually indistinguishable from perfect.” Only the Samsung Galaxy Note9 Note and Apple iPhone XS Max have a similar rating – all are screens Samsung made.

If you want to play with colours, it has Natural, Boosted and Adaptive settings. Adaptive automatically selects the best colour gamut (119% DCI-P3 for movies, sRGB or Rec 709) as well as everything in between.

It has 434 nits brightness (max). It has a low screen reflectivity of 4.3% – just under the reference Samsung Galaxy S9, making it very daylight readable.

The notch is slightly larger than others as it holds the two front-facing cameras, ambient light and proximity sensors, and ear speaker.

Android P controls the screen resolution it does not seem overly aggressive towards battery saving over brightness.

A great screen!

Performance

Processor Qualcomm 845
4×2.5 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.6 GHz Kryo 385 Silver
Hexagon 685 DSP, Qualcomm All-Ways Aware
GPU Adreno 630
OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 full, Vulkan, DX12
RAM 4GB LPDDR4-1866MHz
64 eMMC or 128GB UFS2.1
No storage expansion but free Google Photo Cloud
OTG means you can back up to external SSD, flash drives etc

Compared to last year’s flagship 835 it is about 25% faster, 30% faster graphics, better battery management, has Quick Charge 4, and a 3rd generation Hexagon DSP for advanced AI.

Performance tests Geek Bench 4:

It scored 2385/8341 single/multi-core. By comparison, a Samsung Galaxy Note9 is 3,718/9026 (Exynos version of Qualcomm 845). We do know that Google has slightly throttled the 845 to ensure the best heat management and that accounts for the difference between the HTC U12+ (not throttled) of 2,456/9,001.

Renderscript (video competency) score is 13,666 against the Note9 at 9,324 and Huawei P20 Pro at 12,713. It is fine for video games and VR.

RAM is 4GB – it was smooth and efficient in multi-tasking. It will run the next three versions of Android so no issues there.

I would be tempted to buy the 128GB version if only that it is faster UFS 2.1 over eMMC.

Google Photo cloud: The catch 22 is that in Australia mobile data is costly, so you need to ensure cloud transfer uses Wi-Fi only. But it also supports OTG which means that you can plug in an external USB-C or SSD and use Files to transfer data to that device. Considering a 128GB USB-C flash drive is about $50 it is cheap backup storage.

Comms

Comms Wi-Fi AC, Dual Band, 2×2 MU-MIMO, 256QSM
Chromecast only 0 not Miracast
Hotspot, DLNA
USB-C 3.1 gen 1 (5Gbps)
Power Delivery 2.0 (5V/3A and up to 20V/3A – 60W to power connected devices
NFC for Google Pay
Bluetooth 5.0 supports Qualcomm aptX HD codec.

Peak speed is 867Mbps, and it held that to 7 metres from our test D-Link AC5300 router. At 30 metres (the limit of 5GHzx Wi-Fi it was 280Mbps. That is good.

It lacks the new 160GHz compatibility that allows Wi-Fi aggregation to go over 1Gbps.