Google’s Pixel 3 XL demonstrates capability of achieving good quality night shots with a combination of hardware and software through machine learning. Sometimes I wonder why some manufacturers are promoting as much as 4 rear cameras (I can understand that software do have it’s limitation, e.g. wide angle without wide angle lens). With one rear camera and good software, Pixel 3 XL is able to achieve amazing digital zoom, bokeh effect without the need of a secondary or tertiary camera.
Seriously, I am not a selfie fan. The wide angle camera fronting the device is not that useful to me. Perhaps the next version could integrate a telephoto + wide angle as back camera with software to achieve low and wide angle shots.
Similar to the Pixel 2 XL, the Pixel 3 XL lacks a manual mode option in the software. If you love doing light painting, you may be disappointed as there are no manual adjustments to ISO and exposure available in the camera app. Third party applications may help have such options.
Video shooting is greatly enhanced with the optical and electronic image stabiliser. You can now record in full stereo as recording was mono on the Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 3 XL front facing speakers are loud and reminds me of the Boom Sound on LG G7+ ThinQ.
When it comes to a smartphone, battery life is utmost importance. I don’t understand why Google chose to use a 2915 mAH battery instead. In our test, a full charge took around 1 hr 40 mins. In contrast, the OnePlus 6 took just over an hour to do a full charge.
Can the battery last for a day ? The battery was fully charged up to 100% yesterday from 1350 hrs to 1530 hrs. It was used to play YouTube, online radio, running benchmarks, snapping photos. The battery indicator indicated a 11% left at 2:26pm today (leaving the phone on overnight). That means, a full charge can last you around 24 to 26 hours of usage without a recharge.
If you are a frequent traveller, you might be disappointed the Pixel 3 XL only has a single SIM slot. Personally, I prefer physical dual sim slot. If there are any issues, you can simply replace it with a prepaid card. If you are on eSIM, how are you going to contact your service provider if you are out in the wild without a data sim ? From the package, it looks like you can have 2 networks (one SIM and one eSIM). The eSIM network can be added via QR code in the settings. It is unclear if local telcos will launch plans with eSIM for the Pixel 3 / XL on 1st Nov 2018.
One of the nicest feature of Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL is the Call Screening function. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work here in Singapore as it only works in US, English language (changing the assistant language doesn’t work, I tried it!).
In Conclusion, Pixel 3 XL has made a smartphone that continues to take the best pictures regardless of the lighting conditions. Be it Portrait or night shots, the image quality is superb. Looks like it will score at least 100 in DXOMark.
In addition, Google will be improving the Pixel 3 XL with more features like Driving mode which automatically detects driving using signals like audio detection, Fast Pair 2.0 for secure connection to bluetooth and a Night Sight which uses computational and AI to capture vibrant and detailed photos in low light without flash.
Google Assistant can now understand and speaks Mandarin on PIxel 3 and Pixel 3 XL (only).
Google Pixel 3 XL accessories can be bought at Amazon.
- Night photography
- Google Assistant
- Front facing stereo speakers
- Water and Dust Resistance
- 2915 mAh battery
- Wide angle lens only for selfie (front)