Google’s new smartphones are up for pre-order today. The Google Pixel 3 features a 5.5 inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a starting price of $799, while the Pixel 3 XL has a 6.3 inch display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, a notch, and an $899 starting price.

A series of leaks in recent months mean that Google didn’t have many surprises to reveal today. But the company did unveil a few new software features that will be coming first to the new phones.

It turns out that like the Google Pixel Slate, the new Pixel 3 smartphones also feature Google’s new Titan Security chip for better protection of user data. It’s used for disk encryption, lockscreen security, and protection of operating system integrity.

In the past few years Google’s phones have had two key selling points for me. First, they’re among the first to get feature and security updates from Google. Second, they have some of the best camera features available on any smartphone.

While the image sensors, lenses, and other hardware play a role, Google also uses software to enhance the images you shoot with a Pixel camera. And the company seems to be kicking things up a notch with the Pixel 3 Series.

Among other improvements, the company is adding “Night Sight,” for taking bright photos in dimly lit settings, “Super Res Zoom” which uses computational photography techniques to reduce the grainy, pixelizated look you usually get when using digital zoom, and a “Top Shot” feature that captures multiple HDR+ shots when Motion Photos is enabled, and chooses the one where you aren’t blinking automatically.

There’s a Group Selfie feature for wide-angle shots from the front-facing cameras on the new phones, adjustable blur for Portrait Mode photos, and a “Playground” feature that lets you add animated characters, stickers, and captions to photos and videos. (If Playground looks familiar, that’s because it’s basically an updated version of last year’s AR Stickers)

A new “Motion Auto Focus” feature will also help you keep videos in focus and the front cameras now support video stabilization as well.

Both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL feature a 12.2MP dual-pixel rear camera with optical +electronic image stabilization, a 76 degree field of view, and dual pixel phase detection.

You can shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second, 1080p video at up to 120 frames per second, and 720p video at up to 240 frames per second using the rear camera.

On the front of the phones there are two 8MP cameras: a wide-angle 97 degree camera and a standard camera with a 75 degree field of view. They can shoot video at up to 1080p/30fps.

Other new software features include a “Flip to Shh” mode that silences notifications and mutes the phone when you place it face down on a table and a new “Call Screen” feature that can allow you to automatically respond to telemarketers with a message asking to be removed from their contact list.

It’s based on similar technology to Google’s Duplex, which allows your phone to place calls to local businesses on your behalf to make appointments or ask about hours. Google showed off the feature at Google I/O earlier this year and the company says it’s launching in November.

As for hardware and design, the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have stereo front-facing speakers that the company says are 40 percent louder than those on the Pixel 2, Active Edge sensors that allow you to squeeze the phone to trigger Google Assistant, and the phones come in a choice of three colors, which it’s calling “clearly white,” “just black,” and “not pink.”

Both phones feature Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processors, 4GB of RAM, 64GB to 128GB of storage, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and USB 3.1 Type-C ports (with no microSD card slots).

The phones both have aluminum frames, Corning Gorilla Glass covers, and IPX8 water and dust resistance. They come with an 18W fast charger that Google says offers up to 7 hours of battery life from a 15 minute charge. Or you can use them with the optional $79 Pixel Stand 10W fast wireless charger.

When you buy either phone you’ll also get a set of USB-C earbuds (also available separately for $30), and a 6-month subscription to YouTube Music.

Overall, there are so few differences between the larger and smaller versions of the Pixel 3, that I saved them for the end. Here’s a quick run-down:

Google Pixel 3

  • 5.5 inch, FHD+ flexible OLED display (443 ppi)
  • 5.7″ x 2.7″ x 0.3″
  • 2.915 mAh battery
  • 148 grams / 5.2 ounces

Google Pixel 3 XL

  • 6.3 inch, QHD+ flexible OLED display (523 ppi)
  • 6.2″ x 3″ x 0.3
  • 3,430 mAh battery
  • 184 grams / 6.5 ounces

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9 replies on “Google launches Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL for $799 and up”

  1. Definition of stupid: Having an expensive TV with a blacked out portion of the screen aka notch in the middle of what you’re watching. That’s just stupid and nobody on earth would consider that beneficial or a great user experience. Nice screen, but why is it blacked out at the top? That’s the discussion point on what I saw in the event today. They showed a demo of a slide show, and yes, that notch blocking out your slideshow. It’s blocking out a portion of the photo! Sure, this isn’t news. But consider why you wouldn’t have the software make the blackened part of the screen across the entire top, and thus NO INTERFERENCE with the damn image/video. Beyond stupid. Take the logic to a TV because most people can relate. The software and or aspect ratio needs to be able to shift content down so that the notch doesn’t sit on top of what you are viewing like a photo or video. Maybe settings exist, but for Google to showcase these products with a stupid black notch covering up photo and video details shows how stupid many book smart people really are. So smart they don’t understand stupid when they see it.

    Brad, with all due respect, does a comment section like this need (read more)? Real estate at the bottom of the page is meaningless and I get YouTube likes to chop off comments, but does every site need this? Most people are lazy and don’t click comments hiding behind a link to activate. It would be nice to have that Twitter type warning when you “go over” the allotted text permitted. In this case, you never know at what point your “point” will be cutoff. You can do better than this.

      1. With so many phone makers adopting the notch, it would have been silly for Google not to at least ensure that Android was compatible with it… and so it makes sense that the company would offer at last one phone with a notch. I agree, the software could be better optimized.

        But the good news is that the smaller Pixel 3 is notch-free, so Google is one of the only companies offering customers a choice of notch or bezel. Most of the phone’s specs are the same on both models, so there’s really not much reason I can see to opt for the larger phone unless you really want a 6.3 inch screen.

        1. If these guys write the software? (they do) Then they can showcase “the notch” without having photo slide shows being blocked out. They can demonstrate video without a “notch” covering up video. Since they didn’t, then I suppose this is how everyone is supposed to see the world. They present the notch over top of photos as being showcase worthy. In my books? That’s stupidity. Demonstrate a notch that doesn’t have to cover up photo/video.

          1. Phone software is smart enough to know when you flip from portrait to landscape and can adjust content accordingly. If Google wanted to duplicate v1.0 of the notch that can’t adapt to content, then that’s my issue. I’m sure there are settings or will be. However, their new flagship should show off uncompromised photo/video demonstrations. A notch on home screen? No problem. The phone should have an aspect ration to hide the notch depending on what you’re doing. Unless blocking content is the desired outcome…

        2. Notch phones need two measurements. One for the entire screen diagonal and another for the unobstructed view diagonal. When is a 6.3″ phone not 6.3″? When it has a notch.

          That’s why it’s not surprising that we don’t see a side-by-side comparison in the PR images above. We only see the back of the “smaller” phone. We may actually be comparing 5.5″ viewable vs 5.9″ (unobstructed) viewable (on a narrower phone).

          1. Not to overkill my point, but imagine a beautiful cloud, bird, or aspect of a photo that is literally obstructed by a $1000+ phone display. Text of a photographed document that you must navigate in order to see what’s behind the notch. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Asus has a notch but made the software adapt so that the notch doesn’t obscure content. Their aspect ratio allowed for it. I don’t own the 5Z so I may stand corrected on it. My main beef is that Google runs Android and for their expensive 2018 flagship to have what appears to be the Apple v1.0 of the notch seems asinine to me. The idea of a notch isn’t bothersome, but it’s the accepting of blocking content that is just senseless. Homescreen and some other instances, fine, I can accept it. Google is supposed to set the standard. In that case, this is a fail.

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