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Google Pixel 3 XL vs. Google Pixel XL: Should you upgrade?

Androidcentral 2018-10-11 16:30:02

Latest and greatest

Outdated by comparison

The Pixel 3 XL is Google's best phone to date. With a huge 6.3-inch screen backed by stereo speakers, the phone offers considerable upgrades from the first-gen Pixel. But where the Pixel 3 XL truly shines is in the camera department — simply put, it has the best cameras you'll find on a phone today.

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  • Stunning cameras.
  • Fantastic OLED display.
  • Wireless charging.
  • Stereo speakers.


  • Sizeable notch.
  • No headphone jack.

The Pixel XL is now starting to show its age, particularly when it comes to the design side of things. The 16:9 display looks ancient in 2018, and although the Pixel 3 XL sports a notch, it offers a significantly larger screen in a chassis that isn't all that bigger than the Pixel XL.

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  • Great camera.
  • 3.5mm jack.


  • Huge bezels.
  • No waterproofing.
  • No wireless charging.

The Pixel line always stood out for its great cameras, and with the Pixel 3 XL, Google is introducing a slate of new features that allow the phone to stand out. Chief among them is the upgrades to the camera, and the switch to the 19:9 form factor means you get a larger screen in roughly the same size.

Reasons to upgrade to the Pixel 3 XL

The Pixel 3 XL is Google's best showing yet in the smartphone segment. The phone has Gorilla Glass 5-backed glass at the front and back, but the back has an etched texture that's designed to mimic a matte metallic finish.

It feels like the phone is made out of polycarbonate when you first pick it up, and the unique texture allows the Pixel 3 XL to stand out in a sea of glass-backed devices. The metallic chassis of the Pixel XL is much more durable, but the Pixel 3 XL definitely looks more premium.

Category Pixel 3 XL Pixel XL
Operating system Android 9 Pie Android 9 Pie
Display 6.3-inch OLED
2960x1440 (18.5:9)
Gorilla Glass 5
5.5-inch AMOLED
2560x1440 (16:9)
Gorilla Glass 4
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Pixel Visual Core
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Storage 64/128GB 32/128GB
Expandable No No
Rear camera 12.2MP, 1.4-micron, PDAF
f/1.8, OIS
12.3MP, 1.55-micron, PDAF
f/2.0, EIS
Front camera 1 8MP, auto focus
f/1.8, 75-degree lens
8MP, f/2.4, 1.4-micron
Front camera 2 8MP, fixed focus
f/2.2, 97-degree lens
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS
Audio Stereo speakers
Mono speaker
3.5mm jack
Battery 3430mAh
Charging 18W USB-C PD
Qi wireless
Water resistance IP68 No
Security Fingerprint sensor Fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 158.0 x 76.7 x 7.9mm
154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5mm
Colors Just Black, Very White, Not Pink Quite Black, Very Silver, Really Blue

With Google switching to an 18.5:9 form factor, the Pixel 3 XL offers a 6.3-inch display in a chassis that's not noticeably larger than that of the Pixel XL. The downside is that the phone has an ungainly notch; even by Android standards, the display cutout on the Pixel 3 XL is hideous. That's the tradeoff for the dual front cameras and stereo sound.

If you're rocking the Pixel XL, it's time for an upgrade.

The Pixel 3 XL is leagues ahead of the first-gen Pixel when it comes to the camera side of things. Google crammed a ton of camera features on the phone, including a Night Sight feature that lets you capture drastically better photos in low-light conditions, and you can interact with more AR-themed effects.

Some of the new camera features will be making their way to the Pixel XL, but the 3 XL has an upper hand thanks to the dedicated Pixel Visual Core chip. And while there isn't a headphone jack, Google is including a pair of USB-C earbuds in the box with every Pixel 3 XL.

Latest and greatest

A true flagship with the best cameras on Android today.

The Pixel 3 XL features an OLED panel that is easily the best Google put on a phone to date. You also get the latest software features, wireless charging, and a chassis that's resistant to the elements. Combine that with the best cameras on a phone today and you get quite a potent package.

Outdated by comparison

The two-year-old Pixel XL is showing its age.

The Pixel XL is still a great device in its own right, but the 16:9 display looks dated in 2018, and you're getting vastly superior cameras with the Pixel 3 XL. Now is the time to upgrade to Google's latest.

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