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Bluetooth 5.0 offers multi-point connectivity for up to eight devices using the same stream.

Sound

Sound 3.5mm audio jack
Dual stereo front-firing speakers with 2x2W amplifiers far better for Google Daydream
ANC dual mics
32-bit/384kHz high res DAC

Qualcomm’s Aqstic technology is pretty good supporting hi-res audio.

Google claims a 40% improvement over Pixel 2 in volume and sound depth. Pixel 3 XL has about the same ringer loudness (80db) and music/voice loudness (71/77dB).

Sound signature favours a pure ‘mid’ – bass recessed, mids booted and treble recessed. That is fine for voice and Skype but a little bland for music or movies. Using the USB-C headset gave better bass and treble.

We tried the Pixel 3 XL with a pair of Sony WH-100XM2 headphones that support Hi-Res aptX HD. I expected a little more from aptX HD. Yes, the frequency response was good – 20Hz-20kHz but sound lacked upper-end sparkle.

I re-tested with SBC codec (standard) output, and it really was not much better. That is unusual for the Qualcomm 845 audio, so I suspect a firmware update can fix this.

Other

Other Fingerprint sensor
GPS and e-compass
Duplex and Titan M Security

Titan M is part of the boot process and manages screen-locking, as well as many other aspects of security. Developers can use Titan M StrongBox KeyStore APIs for applications like e-voting and P2P money transfers to authenticate transactions.

What it means is that malware can’t root the device as it will not boot.

Battery

Battery XL: 3,340mAh
3: 2915mAh
Qualcomm Quick charge 4.0 rated
15 minutes for seven hours use
Charger 18W USB-C charger 5V/3A and 9V/2A
Qi Qi 10W with an optional charge pad

Our FHD video loop at 50% brightness in aeroplane mode ran for 11 hours.

Like all fast charge, it uses the 9V/2A to fast charge to about 60%, 5V/3A to about 80% and 5V/2A to 100%. A full charge takes about 1.75-hours  with 80-90% at 1.5-hours.

Pixel Stand is a $119 portrait or landscape 10W Qi fast charger that also enables ‘Personalised experiences’, Google Assistant routines, photo frame and more. It also has a Qualcomm 4.0 wall charger – a great spare. Full charging takes about 2.5 hours.

4G/LTE

LTE Cat 16 (1Gbps/75Mbps) with 5 CA, 4×4 MIMO, 256-QAM (depends on operator)
Bands include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30,  38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 66 and 71 – it is a true world modem.
Sim Single although there is an eSIM as well that is not activated here
Other VoLTE and VoWiFi depends on the carrier

I really like Qualcomm’s X20 modem as it is a true 4G world modem. The single sim does not offer the flexibility of dual sim, but we understand there is an eSIM inside that may be activated later (depends on carrier).

Operating system

OS Android 9 with three years OS and security updates
Pixel Launcher (optional skin)
Google Assistant

There is everything Android Pie offers including Google Assistant.

Android Pie is all gesture now, and that means relearning.

  • Back button: Return to the previous screen.
  • Flick right: Switch to last used app.
  • Long press: Summon Google Assistant.
  • Long swipe up: Open app drawer.
  • Swipe left: Nothing.
  • Tap: Go to the home screen
  • Swipe right: Browse recently opened apps.
  • Swipe up: Enter Overview screen.

All the apps are pure Google, so we need not go there. Pixel 3 XL is risking losing some identity to other Android One phones that all have the same interface – well then you could say that about Windows PCs as well.