Google Pixel 3 XL vs Google Pixel 2 XL full review

Google launched the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL earlier this week. We managed to get our hands on it, so if you want an overview of the phone then look no further than our hands-on preview here.

Take a look at our comprehensive reviews of both the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 2 XL.

As with every new phone launch, the big questions are how well it stacks up to the immediate competition and perhaps more importantly, how well does it compare to the previous version? We’re going to break down the features of the Pixel 3 XL, and compare it against its little brother, the Pixel 2 XL.

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone then do make sure you check out our take on the best smartphones of 2018.

Price and Availability

The Google Pixel 3 XL will retail at £869 for the 64GB model, stretching up to £969 for the 128GB variant. While this is certainly not a cheap phone, it does make it cheaper than the Galaxy S9 and iPhone XS range.

The lack of storage isn’t as much of an issue here because of Google’s unlimited photo service, which means photos you take can be stored on the cloud for free – so they won’t be taking up precious space on your phone.

The Google Pixel 2 has very recently seen a reduction in price down to £599/$699 for the 64GB model, and jumping up to the 128GB model will set you back £699/$799 which is still a whole lot cheaper than its bigger brother.

Design and Build

Pixel 3 XL

Looking strictly as the design of the two phones, the Pixel 3 XL looks similar to its predecessor. The design language used is obviously the same as the two-tone design on the rear is back, although the glass back is a new addition to support wireless charging.

The Pixel 3 XL does a much better job of hiding its bezels, however, but does include a notch at the top of the screen and it’s not a shy notch either, it houses the two front-facing cameras and the earpiece. The important fact to keep in mind is that the 3 XL is pretty much the same size as the 2XL, but has a larger display and an extra camera.

The other benefit of the notch is that allows the phone to house dual front-facing speakers which Google claims allows it to be 40% louder and richer than the Pixel 2.

The centre of the back of the phones sees a fingerprint sensor but sadly no headphone jack – although there is an adapter in the box.

The display was a fairly obvious point of contention for the Pixel 2 as the colour calibration was a little off, particularly when viewing the screen at an angle. We’re seeing none of these issues with the Pixel 3 XL you’ll be glad to hear, as the screen looks fantastic at every angle.

Features and Specs

We've got a full breakdown of the specifications of both phones below.

Specifications Google Pixel 3 XL Google Pixel 2 XL
Operating System Android Pie Android Oreo
Display 6.3in (2960x1440) 19:9 P-OLED display 5.99in Quad-HD (2880x1440), 18:9, always-on display
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 64GB/128GB 64GB/128GB
Rear camera 12.2Mp f/1.8 12.2Mp Single lens, dual-LED flash
Front camera Dual 8Mp 8Mp
Wireless charging Yes No
Waterproofing IP67 IP67

Cameras

The Pixel 2 phones are widely regarded as having the best rear cameras of any smartphone to one date – and all of this is achieved with only a single lens. This all comes down to Google’s incredibly advanced post-processing techniques which may as well be witchcraft as far as we’re concerned.

Pixel 3 XL

Google is seeking to build on this already outstanding feature with the Pixel 3. Other phones attempt to capture more detail in each image through the use of several lenses, but Google captures several layers of an image with a single lens and use software to join them together for a better result.

The new Top Shot feature on the 3 XL helps to select the best picture from a burst of several taken, and with Super Res Zoom, Night Sight using machine learning to boost picture quality in low light conditions – which is also coming to older Pixel phones.

The two lenses on the front allow for a wider angle shot for those group selfies we all love, too.

Software

Pixel 3 XL

The Pixel 3 XL comes with Android Pie installed, whereas previous models had to upgrade to it. It also features gesture controls or nothing so you’ll have to spend some time getting used to this new way of navigating your phone, over the standard Android triple button setup.

The array of Google services across their ecosystem are widely available for all Android phones, and Google is quick to highlight that this is something they’re planning on expanding and refining. However, it’s true that they’re certainly implemented and available much more readily on the Pixel phones.

The Pixel 3 XL is suitably different to recommend over the Pixel 2. It has improvements above the inherent ones you would expect over a newer generation of phone and feels like it has taken a general step up to a more premium status to be compared with a Galaxy or iPhone. Google phones really are the home of Android too, so if you’re looking for the most cohesive Android experience then you’re likely to find it here.

Google Pixel 3 XL: Specs

  • Android 9 Pie
  • 6.3in 2960 x 1440 19:9 P-OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64/128GB non-expandable storage
  • 12.2Mp f/1.8 rear camera: Dual 8Mp front facing cameras
  • 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
  • 4G LTE
  • Nano-SIM
  • GPS NFC
  • 3430mAh battery
  • 158 x 76.6 x 7.9 mm
  • Android 9 Pie
  • 6.3in 2960 x 1440 19:9 P-OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64/128GB non-expandable storage
  • 12.2Mp f/1.8 rear camera: Dual 8Mp front facing cameras
  • 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
  • 4G LTE
  • Nano-SIM
  • GPS NFC
  • 3430mAh battery
  • 158 x 76.6 x 7.9 mm

Best prices today: Google Pixel 3 XL

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