Daylight, outdoors

Remembering this is a 12.2MP Sony sensor its detail and colours are as good as others like the Nokia 7.1/Plus, LG V40 or the hoard of Chinese smartphones using this ‘industry standard’ sensor.

Daylight has the least need to add post-processing, so you get natural colours and good light balance. HDR seems to make little difference here although it could just be our test shots do not need it.

Pixel 3 XL

ISO 61, 1/4000 sec, 4.4MB

Indoors Office Light

Again, colours are natural, and details are good – as good as you need.

ISO 87, 1/100 sec 2.8MB shot

Low light

I was amazed at the detail, colour and brightness in this shot. I would rate it better than the Huawei Mate 20 Pro that will blitz the DxOMark. I have put the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy Note9 reference shots for comparison.

Pixel 3 XL ISO 69, 1/20 sec, 2.8MB
Pixel 3 XL ISO 69, 1/20 sec, 2.8MB
Pixel 3 XL
Note9
Pixel 3 XL
Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Selfie

Dual lenses mean it can take groupies but also vary the bokeh depending on distance. For example, bokeh can be a gradient (gradual out-of-focus) or a typical subject in focus and everything else out of focus.

It is evident that the post-processing has kicked in as there is massive outline sharpening giving profiles a crisp edge. Colours are good. It just edges ahead of the Note9 and is way ahead of the iPhone XS Max.

Video

The maximum is [email protected] There is [email protected] and bot have a form of image stabilisation, be it optical or electronic or a bit of both (AIS).

Audio is stereo at 192kbps/ Its pretty good but not rock concert standard as some other brands manage. There is almost no difference in [email protected] versus [email protected] colour. The first chews up 48Mbps and the latter 22Mbps.

GadgetGuy’s take

  • Features – all flagship except Miracast and micro-SD but has USB-C support for OTG
  • Battery – at least a 24-hour day and Qi and fast charge
  • Screen – superb OLED A+ rating
  • Camera – far smarter and better than the specifications would indicate, and dual/tri/quad camera makers would have you believe!
  • Android 9 – has both the new gesture mode and three years of OS and security updates
  • Power – heaps and don’t worry about 4GB/64GB

These are truly ‘Made by Google’ products – minimalist, fast, secure and a great camera.

Would I buy one?

At the beginning of this review, I went to great lengths to show whom the Pixel 3 XL appeals to – it is a niche phone. It is a thinking person’s phone who wants the security of dealing with the Android maker.

Yes, I would buy on because it now has Qi (a previous deal breaker). But I doubt Joe and Jane Average will be so analytical. They will be love the giant-killer Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Ironically you may be happier with the simplicity of the Pixel 3 or 3 XL and not suffer nagging doubts (cognitive dissonance) about did you buy the right phone. It simply is superb.

Google Pixel 3 XL is a thinking person’s flagship smartphone
If you want the best Android, go to the Android makerThe A+ screen is perfectThe camera competes well with dual and triple camerasBetter design with soft-touch grippy rear Gorilla GlassFast and Qi charging
Mediocre battery life – yes, it a full day phoneNo face unlocking (damn as I just got used to that as a must-have)3.5mm audio jack missing (but USB-C adaptor and buds supplied)No memory expansion slot (but free Google Photo and OTG support)Chromecast onlyIt is the Cyrano de Bergerac of notches - huge
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of use
Design
4.3Overall Score
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