Google Pixel 3 takes great shots and drops telemarketers dead

Google showed off a handful of new hardware today, and the headline act was the long-rumored and much-leaked Pixel 3 duo of phones. Judging by the presentation, you could be forgiven for thinking that all the focus was on the Pixel 3's software. We'll be taking a good look at the handset's hardware first, though.

Pixel 3 XL

The Pixel 3's face is a 5.5" 2160×1080 AMOLED display, a resolution that works out to 443 PPI. Meanwhile, the bigger Pixel 3 XL has a 6.3" screen with a resolution of 2960×1440, or 523 PPI. According to Anandtech, the bigger phone has an OLED panel in it, too. Google says that the displays are covered in sheets of Gorilla Glass 5 and certified by the UHD Alliance for HDR content. The smaller Pixel 3 continues to use a rounded-rectangle screen design with bezels at the top and bottom, while the Pixel 3 XL embraces the notch.

Below the screen, Google stuffs 4 GB of RAM next to a Snapdragon 845 SoC. That chip's faster cores tick away at 2.5 GHz, and the power-sipping units labor at 1.6 GHz. A Pixel Visual Core chip handles image processing duties, while a Titan M security chip offers Apple Secure Enclave-like security for cryptographic keys and other sensitive information. As a welcome move, the Pixel 3 has a finely textured glass cover over most of its surface, something that should help prevent accidental drops and general feelings of stickiness.

The rear camera on both phones is a 12.2-MP dual-pixel unit with an aperture of f/1.8 and a 76° field of view (FoV). It can shoot 1920×1080 video at up to 120 FPS and 4K at 30 FPS. There are two cameras on the phone's face: a wide-angle, 97° f/2.2 snapper and a f/1.8 shooter with a phone-standard 75° FoV. Going by Anandtech's report, the camera hardware itself is little changed from last year's Pixel 2, but that's OK—those phones already had what was widely considered to be the best image-capture system on the market.

Google ships an 18-W charger with the Pixel handsets and says that 15 minute's worth of cable-delivered juice is enough for seven hours of usage. The Pixel 3 has a 2915-mAh battery and weighs 5.2 oz (148 g). The bigger brother Pixel 3 XL uses a 3430-mAh juice pack and is just a tad heavier at 6.5 oz (184 g).

The search titan discussed the Pixel 3's software features at length, particularly concerning the handset's neural-network-powered camera smarts. Top Shot automatically takes HDR several pictures for you and suggests the one where it recognizes open eyes and smiles, in a bid to prevent shots where people look like they've had too many. 

Photobooth is a similar feature that automatically snaps a selfie when it recognizes you smiling or making a "funny expression" (caveat emptor), while Super Res Zoom takes multiple shots and combines them for a higher-resolution image. At least judging by Google's demo, the Pixel 3's camera performance in low light seems rather impressive, too. People with kids, a sense of humor, or both, can make effective use of Playground, a feature that adds characters and objects to pictures in a manner not unlike augmented-reality applications.

We've saved what we think is the best feature for last. In a move that's certain to be loved by telemarketers worldwide, you can have your Pixel 3 automatically answer a call for you. It'll talk to the person on the line and automatically show you a transcript of the conversation. You'll have the option to insert premade replies mid-call, too. The caller will know they're talking to an automated system, which is respectful but also kind of a shame.

The Pixel 3 can be ordered unlocked or through Verizon Wireless or Project Fi in the United States. The price for the 64 GB model is set at $799, and going up to 128 GB of storage will set buyers back $899. Both the size and the price are bigger for the Pixel 3 XL, at $899 for the 64-GB version and $999 for 128 GB. All Pixel 3 handsets can be had in black, white, or "not pink," and will arrive in U.S. customers' hands on October 18.

Comments closed
    • joselillo_25
    • 11 months ago

    Virtually all the phones I had got problems with the headphone jack and/or mini usb charger, the same all laptops at the end had problem with the ac input solder. This connector were not created for a mobile phone so is a good thing see them removed and changed do this new type of connectors.

    If you change your phone every year probably never notice this but is a real pain in the ass.

      • f0d
      • 11 months ago

      Micro USB yes
      But headphone jack? Never had a problem with any of them and I keep my phone’s 2+ years easily

      Odds are you had Bluetooth on your phone’s anyways so why remove the headphone jack?
      Removing it just takes away an option

    • albundy
    • 11 months ago

    so instead of real improvements and new features, we get nothing. now that’s worth $1000! hopefully the pixel 4 will cost even more with much less features! well done!

      • DeadOfKnight
      • 11 months ago

      Not all of us are on a 1-year upgrade cycle. This looks like a decent upgrade from the original Pixel. Minus the lack of a headphone jack, of course.

        • DancinJack
        • 11 months ago

        The whole attitude of people in which they proclaim that because the stuff they want isn’t in a new device, be it a phone or computer or whatever, it sucks and must suck for everyone is crazy.

        These look like good phones. I don’t love the notch, but it is what it is. Jealous of the cameras (and I even have a Pixel 2 XL!).

    • DoomGuy64
    • 11 months ago

    When it comes to telemarketers, there are two things you can already do.
    1. Sign up on the do not call registry.
    2. Download an anti-telemarketer app that blocks them.

    Having your own answering service is kinda neat, but it doesn’t outright block telemarketers like the aforementioned methods. edit: I would probably get more use of this service by using it to screen people I already know when it isn’t convenient to talk.

      • not_a_gerbil
      • 11 months ago

      Neither 1) nor 2) do anything. I’m on the do not call registry. I have an anti-telemarketer app running.

      The do not call registry does nothing because the scammers are already breaking the law so don’t care about calling people on the registry.

      The anti telemarketer apps don’t work because the scammers spoof the Caller-ID so that it’s a different number every time. You can’t block every area code and prefix because they spoof your own prefix.

        • kvndoom
        • 11 months ago

        I’ve literally had them [i<]spoof my own phone number to call me[/i<]. Some might remember the big stink right after the DNC registry was created. It was given to telemarketers with instructions not to call these numbers. The telemarketers were thrilled because the US Government had just handed them millions of good residential phone numbers. And the wording of the law prohibits telemarketing calls to mobile phones. So these scum obviously don't give half a sh1t about the legality of their action. So yeah, the telcos are knowingly facilitating illegal activity. Hit them in the financial nutsack and see what happens.

    • BillyBuerger
    • 11 months ago

    I like the screen changes to the normal Pixel. Same overall size but with smaller top/bottom bezels so larger overall screen. That’s not enough to make me spend $800 when my Pixel 1 is still working fine. But if there’s a deal on one of these in the future, it would be a nice upgrade.

    • leor
    • 11 months ago

    My first thought was surprise at the notch.

    My second thought was surprise at the depth of the notch.

    I have an iPhone X, and I am ambivalent about the notch, but at least it’s wide and doesn’t bite into the screen too much. Why did google make the choice to take less horizontal space, but more vertical space???

    I never would have thought Google would not only copy Apple in it’s flagship phone, but actually do a worse job on top of that. I know it’s not a big deal overall, but if someone offered me good money to take a bet that Google’s next flagship would have a massive notch, I would have turned it down without a second thought.

    Your design team can design any solution for your new flagship, and you copy the feature Android users have been making fun of for the last year???

    • rnalsation
    • 11 months ago

    There’s no way to disable Android Pie’s gesture-based navigation on the Pixel 3.

    [url<]https://twitter.com/madebygoogle/status/1049735680925073408[/url<]

      • Ethyriel
      • 11 months ago

      I just wish they’d fix it so swiping up from the app dock would open the app drawer directly, instead of going through the recent apps first. I thought I would hate the gestures, but that’s really the only issue I have. It requires a really long swipe to get all the way to the drawer, and most of the time I drop it and it takes a second swipe.

    • psuedonymous
    • 11 months ago

    The return of wireless charging (finally!) alone is tempting to switch form the 2XL.

      • Ethyriel
      • 11 months ago

      I’m really tempted to go from my Pixel 2 to a Xperia XZ2 Compact, but wireless charging is giving me doubts. I’ll probably wait for the XZ4 Compact and see if they manage to add it to the smaller model.

    • godforsaken
    • 11 months ago

    That’s all well and good, but my problem with robocalls isn’t that I have to listen to them for 2 seconds, notice it’s a recording, and then hang up, it’s that my phone rings at all for a spoofed number… 70-90+% of my incoming calls are spoofed robocalls (I don’t use my phone much, once every few days to weeks, so my ratio is made worse by that)

    A lot of people don’t answer there phone for numbers that they don’t recognize.. it’s getting out of hand.. blah blah blah.. preaching to the choir.. most people on here already know this, and also know how hard and long the process would be to implement a fix.. but it needs to be fixed…

      • kvndoom
      • 11 months ago

      If telephone companies were legally (and financially) liable for letting their clients spoof outgoing calls, the problem would cease practically overnight…

      The one and only reason this nuisance epidemic will see no end is that call centers generate line access fees for telcos.

        • Captain Ned
        • 11 months ago

        Can’t be fixed. The spoofing flaw is built into SS7 (which was written when it was still Ma Bell, so no thought of external vulnerabilities) and can’t be eliminated until SS7 is ripped out and replaced globally.

          • godforsaken
          • 11 months ago

          His point isn’t invalid though.. if cable companies can be sued for consumers downloading torrent files through their network.. Could there be a major class action suit against the major phone companies for the willful allowance of these spoofed calls on their network, which are subverting the FCC mandated do not call list? Long shot, obviously, but.. if it works, it may be the push they need to fix holes in the system, or likely replace the system altogether… just a thought…

            • oldog
            • 11 months ago

            I guess I’m old enough to remember when elected representatives made changes to the law rather than the judiciary.

            Sad. Just sad.

          • not_a_gerbil
          • 11 months ago

          Re: can’t be fixed.

          That’s not true. Spoofing can be stopped. CallerID is not how the telcos track the actual source of all calls because they bill based on calls put through. They have the actual source phone number. They know who to bill.

          Stopping spoofing would be an annoyance for many businesses that hide their internal lines behind a corporate number to not cause consumer confusion or forward numbers for things like work from home.

          But that consumer confusion over the source of a call from a legitimate business is now trivial compared to the confusion caused by scammers spoofing.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 11 months ago

    This phone is still missing some basic hardware features, like a headphone jack & microSD card slot. So no sale here. Plus it has that ugly notch. Why Android phone makers are copying Apple on this boggles my mind, especially since the best selling Android flagship, the Galaxy S & Note line, [i<]doesn't[/i<] do that silliness.

      • BabelHuber
      • 11 months ago

      You can hide the notch, then it looks almost like a Pixel 2 XL. I’m also no fan of this huge notch which can be viewed from low earth orbit, but still…

      [url<]https://thenextweb.com/plugged/2018/10/10/heres-how-to-hide-the-pixel-3-xls-giant-notch/[/url<] Regarding the headphone jack, I never ever have used it on any phone, since I don't use headphones at all. But I can see that heavy headphone users have a different opinion... The missing SD card slot is bad, but after using a Pixel 2 XL for almost a year now I can say that I value Google's software much more than Samsung's SD card support. It's the first Android phone I ever had where I don't see the need to install a custom ROM, no comparison to the bloated Samsung and LG crap I had before.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 months ago

      The thing about notches is that the area of the screen that’s notched is generally empty anyway. Wasted pixels to draw the center of the notification area. There could potentially have been an issue with full-screen content like video, but the extra-wide aspect ratio means 16:9 video fits in the rectangular area.

      No argument that the lack of SD and headphone jack hurts it, though. Samsung is the top Android maker in the world and they include both on their top-end devices.

        • moose17145
        • 11 months ago

        Too bad they don’t include user removable and replacable battery. If they did I might actually consider one of their top end phones again.

        Till then I guess I will just keep holding onto my Galaxy S5

      • gmskking
      • 11 months ago

      I like the Notch. The deal breaker is the absence of an SD card slot.

    • Kretschmer
    • 11 months ago

    So it’s 125% of a Nokia for 350% of the price? Pass.

      • Kretschmer
      • 11 months ago

      (I have a Pixel 2. It’s nice, but not $600 nice).

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 11 months ago

    $900 for a phone…I guess Google isn’t too fussed with Pocophones, Mis and Mates.

      • Vhalidictes
      • 11 months ago

      At this rate, Nokia (sorry, HMD) might end up working its way back to 70% marketshare again. The more things change…

      • thedosbox
      • 11 months ago

      In the US? They don’t need to be given those phones don’t support most NA LTE bands.

    • Chrispy_
    • 11 months ago

    Google stepping in where the world’s telecom regulators and legal systems have utterly failed.

    This is great for Google, and end-users.

    It is also INCREDIBLY DEPRESSING. How have things become so bad that this is even a selling point? :\

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 months ago

      It’s an unwinnable war. This is just the next shot fired. After that, they’ll devise a way to trick you into answering. Your mom has been in an accident, or your brother is stranded. It doesn’t have to work all the time to be effective.

      Edit: typos

        • Pulsar_the_Spacenerd
        • 11 months ago

        This is an improvement. For a significant while neither the government nor anyone else has fired any shots, except telemarketers or scammers. An arms race is better than our opponents winning.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 months ago

          That’s fair. And I agree with Chrispy, it’s depressing that Google is the one taking the first step. Thing is, any laws are unenforceable with how easy it is to just dupe the telecom system.

            • Chrispy_
            • 11 months ago

            Aye.

            The solution is to give the telecoms regulators some actual teeth. Let them enforce more easily and with larger fines. Allow a percentage of those fines to pay for the telecoms regulators operational costs, allowing them to expand.

            In a utopian and open political climate, the size and power of the telecoms regulators would reach funding equilibrium with the income from fines, and the problem would be 99% solved, which is 98% better than it is today and 99% better than it was before this cool new thing that the Pixel 3 has.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 11 months ago

            The irony of it all is that there’s a good chance these calls are originating with Google Voice, and Google is “fixing” it with more Google services.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 11 months ago

      Sadly, the problem is the offenders are a) almost never in your jurisdiction, so your regulator would have to work with overseas law enforcement, and b) even if they do catch the perp, typically it’s a small time operator so even if they do get taken out of circulation it doesn’t make much of a dent in the overall problem, not to mention c) the penalties aren’t going to be very large (fraud of a few thousand bucks at most).

      So basically it’s much more expensive for enforcement to find and stop them than it is for them to operate.

        • Chrispy_
        • 11 months ago

        Interesting. Most of the spammers I get are from the country I’m in, but I’m sure they are operated by foreigners a lot of the time.

        Google has an advantage over goverments in this instance because, unlike them, it has multinational control. That, in itself, is actually scary.

      • ch┬Áck
      • 11 months ago

      it was also recently leaked that they have begun censoring the internet
      of course it had been suspected for a long time, but now there’s proof

      • ptsant
      • 11 months ago

      Google stepping in another form of advertising. They don’t intervene because they want convenience for the user, they intervene because they want to have their hand into all kinds of marketing. We’ll see how this plays out, but I would expect *more* targeted calls, not *less*.

      Think about it.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 months ago

        That’s interesting. You’re suggesting (I think) that more calls will make it to people because they’ll send it to the GAssistant and read the transcript, vs just blocking the number? Maybe in the short term.

      • Oem
      • 11 months ago

      I accidentally stumbled upon a partial solution to spam callers, that probably won’t work for most people without some effort. My mobile area code is 3,000 miles displaced from my geographical area, since I switched coasts many years ago. ALL spam calls are spoofed from my origin area (to make it seem like they are local), and almost all legitimate calls use my geographic area’s codes. Just by looking at the number I instantly know whether it is a legit call or not. Of course, if what bothers you is the ring itself, this helps you not at all…

    • enixenigma
    • 11 months ago

    As someone who picked up a Pixel 2 XL three months ago, I’m happy that this announcement isn’t making me feel the urge to upgrade. The camera is as excellent as ever and the screen call function is probably the most useful new feature I’ve seen in a phone this year, but…I’m just not personally finding much else to be compelling. Certainly not $800+ worth of compelling, at least.

    • DPete27
    • 11 months ago

    I’m just happy the price isn’t >$1,000

      • Derfer
      • 11 months ago

      After tax it’s pretty close.

        • Pwnstar
        • 11 months ago

        Not if you live in a state that doesn’t charge sales tax.

      • Vhalidictes
      • 11 months ago

      Well, to be fair these phones have stronger hardware than a 8-year-old laptop, so the pricing kind of makes sense… assuming whatever Android app you’re running can actually use that much CPU.

      • PrincipalSkinner
      • 11 months ago

      I’m just happy the price is < $900.

        • Phr3dly
        • 11 months ago

        I’m unhappy that the price is >$400. I miss the Nexus.

          • DancinJack
          • 11 months ago

          A Nexus device hasn’t been <400 since the Nexus 5. I don’t wanna go back to that time.

            • Spunjji
            • 11 months ago

            I was about to protest and note that I loved my Nexus 5, but then I remembered how fast the battery went down the toilet and all the other weird problems… still, $600 is a fixed point in my head for “expensive phone”. I ended up with a Oneplus 6 which seems to functionally be the new Nexus.

            • DancinJack
            • 11 months ago

            Also, the build quality was very mediocre and the camera was straight up trash. Just trash. I’m glad Google went premium. I know everyone else isn’t, but that’s the way it is. Time to get over it.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 months ago

    It ain’t never going to replace my big camera, but I like that Google is going all-out on the camera AI stuff to try to make for better photos. But if they keep it a Verizon carrier exclusive in the US, it just won’t succeed. Most people aren’t going to buy a phone directly from Google. They’re going to buy whatever is being pimped out at the carrier store. So unless your carrier is Verizon you’ll probably never hear about Pixel and it won’t likely sell all that well.

    [quote<]The Pixel 3 can be ordered unlocked from or through Verizon or Project Fi in the United States.[/quote<] I think you accidentally a word.

      • Chrispy_
      • 11 months ago

      I like the idea of “from or through Verizon…” though.

      You can order it from Verizon, and they send it to you.
      You can order it from someone else and on its way here, it punctures Verizon like a rifle bullet.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 11 months ago

        Can it make a detour to Canada and get Rogers and Bell while it’s at it?

          • Chrispy_
          • 11 months ago

          LOL, are they the Verizon equivalent as #1 public enemy north of the US border?

      • BIF
      • 11 months ago

      Big cameras need tracking capability. My phone can be tracked if stolen. Why don’t camera makers do this? It would almost eliminate the incentive to steal cameras.

      Oh, but then we need harsher penalties for stealing. That’s next on my list.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 months ago

        The difference is that cameras aren’t always on, and they don’t have cellular or GPS capabilities. That always-on thing is the biggest part of the deal, I think. You could put in some sort of “auto-join all unprotected networks” feature but that would require the camera to be on near an unprotected Wi-Fi network in order to broadcast its location, and it’d be far less accurate.

        Biometric unlocking on cameras would be cool, or some sort of secure PIN system. Then you couldn’t use it unless you could unlock it.

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