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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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.