Google threw a few punches at Apple, claiming that its brand new flagship mobile phones – the 5.5-inch Pixel 3 and 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL – are much better than the iPhone Xs series – at least when it comes to taking photos. (See #2: Never use a flash again?)

“We took the world’s best camera and put it on the world’s most helpful phone,” Google said at yesterday’s launching event. 

When Google introduced ‘zero shutter lag’ HDR-plus in the first Pixel back in 2016, it blew away traditional HDR methods. Google is still the only one in the market to use this method. When you press the shutter, the Pixel captures a burst of several exposures. The images are then combined algorithmically to create an image that is brighter, more detailed and more colourful.

According to Google, this technology is still generations away than any other smartphone. 


ModelPixel 3Pixel 3 XL
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Screen5.5-inch OLED6.3-inch OLED
CamerasRear: 12.2MP f/1.8 aperture with OIS and EIS

Front:  Wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, second lens with f/1.8 aperture

Rear: 12.2MP f/1.8 aperture with OIS and EIS

Front:  Wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, second lens with f/1.8 aperture

2,915 mAh battery, with 18-watt fast charging and Qi wireless charging3,430 mAh battery, with 18-watt fast charging and Qi wireless charging
Storage64GB or 128GB64GB or 128GB
Damage ProtectionIPX8IPX8
2 front-firing stereo speakers2 front-firing stereo speakers
Android 9 PieAndroid 9 Pie
Bluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Special Features
Wireless chargingWireless charging
Resolution2,160 x 1,0802,960 x 1,440
ColoursClearly White, Just Black, Not PinkClearly White, Just Black, Not Pink
Weight5.2 ounces6.5 ounces
Size5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches6.2 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches

Er … ok. But what does all this mean? Essentially, the Pixel 3 has all of the same internals as the larger version, aside from battery and screen size.

Neue will be cutting through all the tech jargon to give you a rundown of what you can look forward to if you are thinking of getting yourself a Pixel 3. Neue has also included bits that caught our attention during the keynote address.

#1. Better display

One of the biggest controversies that cropped up last year for the larger Pixel 2 XL was its poor display.

According to a report, Google’s then 2017 top-of-the-line phone – the Pixel 2 XL – was a fantastic phone overall. However it was dogged by questions about its plastic-OLED (“POLED”) screen since it was first released. On some initial models, the Pixel 2 XL exhibited faint outlines of images that “burn-in” to the screen.

POLED is another kind of AMOLED. Instead of the glass substrate used in typical AMOLED displays, POLED uses a plastic substrate. One advantage of plastic is flexibility, something Samsung and LG, another maker of OLED screens, have demonstrated before. The smaller Pixel 2’s AMOLED screen was made by Samsung, while the larger Pixel 2 XL’s POLED screen was made by LG.

With the Pixel 3, Google has cut the bezels down, enabling it to pack a 5.5-inch OLED screen into a body that’s actually a hair smaller than its predecessor’s. Not only has the screen size jumped by half an inch, but it’s also sharper, with a 2,160 x 1,080-pixel resolution that scores it a respectable 443 pixels-per-inch (ppi). As for the Pixel XL, the display sports a resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 pixels, which translates to a sharp 523 ppi.

#2. Never use a flash again?

One of the highlights of Google’s upgraded camera system is ‘Night Sight’. When you select the ‘Night Sight’ mode, the camera will adjust its capture and processing to make the most out of any available light to process multiple frames while focusing on brightness rather than pure dynamic range as HDR+ normally does. In layman’s terms, you’ll be able to make sense of what you’re taking in ridiculously dark places. (Hopefully, no ghost sightings!)

One of the samples that Google shared during yesterday’s launching ceremony can be seen in a Twitter post:

Google showed this off with an extreme low-light photo shot on Apple’s new iPhone Xs and an almost identical one shot on the upcoming Pixel 3. It was tricky to see the people in the iPhone Xs photo, but the whole scene was easy to see on the Pixel 3 photo.

Indeed, this was a direct jab to Apple. Is this a good enough reason for you to get a Pixel 3? Do tell us in the comments section below.

According to a report, the ‘Night Sight’ will arrive on the Pixel 3 “next month” i.e. November 2018 and that Google would be adding ‘Night Sight’ to older Pixel phones, too.

#3. Camera tricks

With the Pixel 3, Google introduces ‘Top Shot’ mode. With ‘Top Shot’ enabled, the Pixel 3 compares a burst set of images taken in rapid succession and automatically detects the best shot using machine learning. The idea is that the camera can screen out any photos in which a subject might have their eyes closed or be making a weird face unintentionally, and offering the user the best of the batch.

Another interesting trick up Pixel’s sleeves is ‘Super Res Zoom’. With the ‘Super Res Zoom’ enabled, the camera will be able to take a burst of photos and then leverages the fact that each image is very slightly different due to minute hand movements, combining those images together to recreate detail “without grain” — or so Google claims. Because smartphone cameras are limited due to their lack of optical zoom, ‘Super Res Zoom’ employs burst shooting and a merging algorithm to compensate for detail at a distance, merging slightly different photos into one higher resolution photo.

Meanwhile, the ‘Photo Booth’ mode will automatically snap photos with a smile or when you make a funny face. No shutter button needed!

With ‘Motion Autofocus’, all you have to do is tap on people, pets or anything else that won’t hold still and they’ll stay in focus as they move around the frame.

Enhancements have also been made to the ‘Portrait Mode’, you will be able to edit the depth of field in the portrait. You can also change the focal subject of the photo or make the colour pop.

#4. Leave that selfie-stick at home

To help give the best selfie experience, the added camera captures “184% more in your selfies than the new iPhone Xs”, according to Google, making group shots a lot more manageable. Now you can fit everyone in the shot without a selfie stick or having unusually long arms. All you have to do is to zoom out.

#5. Titan security

Google custom-developed a new security chip called the Titan M for the Pixel 3 smartphones. This helps secure the OS and protects credentials and data within the phone apps. The Pixel 2 series also had an on-board security module, but the Titan M is based on Google’s Titan security technology that it uses to safeguard its own data centres.

#6. Flip your phone to go hush

When you get that call and you can’t (or don’t want to pick up), just tap the screen call button and your phone will answer for you and ask who’s calling and why. We all know what it’s like to be overwhelmed by notifications so Google has developed a feature called “Flip To Shush” – an easy gesture to minimise distractions. All you have to do is turn your phone upside down on the table, and your Pixel will take the hint and mute the sounds and notifications so you can have a quiet dinner with friends or spend some time with your family.

#7. Cool colours

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are available in three colours: Just Black, Clearly White, and Not Pink. The Not Pink colour replaces a blue option that was available in the previous two generations of Pixel phones.

#8. Unlimited cloud storage

One of the best aspects of the Pixel 3 is free unlimited storage at original quality. Yep! You read that right … UNLIMITED. Take a minute or two to let that sink into your head! Think about it … You’ll never have to worry about storing, syncing or finding your photos.

#9. Playground full of Augmented Reality (AR) characters

Now you can hang out with Iron Man (Image courtesy of Google)

Google has evolved its AR stickers, which is now called ‘Playground’. Both sit into both the front and rear cameras. Characters can now also respond to your actions and facial expressions. They now really do look like they’re really in the scene with you enabling you to have even more playful photos and videos.

#10. Harnessing power of Google Lens

This year, Google integrated Google Lens – an image recognition mobile app – directly into the Pixel 3 camera. What can you do with this? Why not point your Pixel 3 at a takeout menu and let the lens pull out the phone number for your to call? Or point it at a movie poster to click through to the URL.

Have your say!

What are your thoughts on Google’s new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Would you consider them as iPhone killers? Drop us a line in the comments section below or reach out to Neue via its social media channels on Facebook or Instagram.