With holidays right around the corner, it’s that time of the year, when most of the smartphone manufacturers release their best offerings, and tech freaks like me are eager to rub their hands together to get a good hands on experience on these top-“notch” devices.
After a lot of leaks and rumors, we can agree with the fact that this year’s Pixel was THE MOST leaked Pixel ever. With rumors of someone leaving their Pixel 3 in an Uber to claims that Google is taking us for a ride and the news of leaking a fake phone; it’s been a roller coaster. Google calmed us all down by finally releasing it, although there was no surprise element in it. There was barely any “awe” moment because the same exact phone, especially the XL model, was leaked in its full glory several months before the official release.
This year too as expected Google gave us two phones, a smaller and a bigger version. Powering these new devices are the latest and greatest specifications in the Android world. A 10nm Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4 gigs of RAM, and an Adreno 630 GPU. The 4 gigs of ram might seem to be petty for some people, since nowadays 6gb and 8gb Android phones are kind of like the gold standard. While this may upset some people, in real world it really doesn’t matter, as it all boils down to optimization. Remember the time when iPhones with 2GB RAM used to smoke out Android flagships with 4GB? Well Androids have come a long way now and with many manufacturers promoting stock android as their UI, the change has been nothing but pleasant.
There was also a time when iPhones were the king of cameras in the smartphone world; the position which was overthrown when the Pixel 2 came out. All of Googles software prowess was put into making the camera the best piece of hardware in the phone, and it worked wonders for them. Having a dedicated Pixel Visual Core Image Processing Chip and a bunch of HDR+ improvements has made the image quality even sharper and better than last years’ Pixel 2, at least that’s what Google claims. I think the reason why I am talking about the cameras first is because Camera is really the sharpest arrow the Pixel has in its quiver. This year Google has carried forward their 12.2mp sensor for the rear facing camera with improved aperture and a dual camera 8mp setup at the front, one being a wide angle lens, one excuse Google gave for the obnoxiously big notch; another one being front facing stereo speakers.
The rest of the hardware has taken a small step up too, with the introduction of a notch, dual front facing cameras on the bigger device, wireless charging and a bigger and brighter screen(something the earlier Pixels were facing problems with, remember blue shift?), it is definitely an upgrade from last year; but, isn’t Google a little late to the party? A 5.5” display on the smaller Pixel 3 and a much bigger 6.3” display on the XL model, both with a high resolution OLED display, don’t really seem to be raising any ears now in 2018. In a time where bezels are shrinking with every new phone, the Pixel 3 has one which looks like a Nexus 5 from 2013 and the big, ugly notch on the Pixel 3 XL doesn’t help it either. Well, aesthetics were never really Google’s forte anyways, let’s leave that to Apple.
One more good thing that Google has done this year is include USB-C earphones in the box, instead of forcing customers to buy their wireless Pixel buds which were a huge flop apparently and that may be the reason why we did not see a version 2.0 of the same.
The rest is the same, IP68 water resistance, fast charging, no headphone jack, 3 color options with a contrasting power button and a rear mounted fingerprint scanner. There is no face recognition technology, something that would’ve been a better excuse for the big notch.
To sum it up, this year’s Pixel lineup seems like a trivial upgrade to last years’, similar to what Apple does with its S models. It does not change the phone drastically but does improve on the small niggles of the previous phone. One thing it does for sure is ask a lot of money for it, the new Pixels start at a price of $799, undercutting the iPhone XS by $200( not comparing the entry level XR). And the top tier Pixel 3 XL has an asking price of close to $1000, which for the android world is too much to ask for when you can get a phone which does most of these things at half the price and also give you near to stock android experience with the same if not better hardware *coughs One plus*. For a $1000, in the premium category, the Galaxy Note 9 offers much more VFM and the premium oomph factor, which I feel is missing on the new Pixels. And obviously the more logical decision, the One Plus 6 offers total bang for buck with a slick UI, face recognition with fingerprint scanner, a headphone jack, smaller notch, better customizations with Oxygen OS, and also timely updates and support for older devices.
Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Google_Pixel_and_Pixel_XL_smartphones_(30155272575).jpg