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Is 4GB of RAM enough for the Pixel 3?

Google officially announced the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL last Tuesday, and although hardly any specifications were mentioned during the company's keynote, it's been confirmed that both phones ship with just 4GB of RAM.

That's the same amount of RAM found in last year's Pixel 2 series, and with phones like the OnePlus 6 and Galaxy Note 9 shipping with up to 8GB, the Pixel 3's RAM count is looking pretty lackluster.

However, is 4GB of RAM really too small or is it still just fine for most people? Here's what the AC forum community has to say.

It'll be OK now, but it hardly makes the P3s future proof. It will be comparatively small and potentially inadequate well before the supported lifespan of the device ends.

Robisan

The ideal would be 6gb to more ram, but with 4gb it will survive. I'm using an og pixel XL and it has 4gb too, it isn't that bad, usually I didn't remember it is just it of ram and it is going great

Thales SF

My s8+ still runs well with 4gb of ram. I think that's fine for a smartphone right now. They're not gaming rigs after all...

TemporalBeef

It makes a huge difference how well the ram is optimized...... and Google are the Masters of software, just like Apple... which is why the top of the line iPhone also only has 4 gigs of RAM. A lot of companies toss numbers around to make sales, but huge amounts of ram aren't necessary if it's optimized properly. Remember the pixel line is designed to run Daydream, that's a pretty intensive gaming...

J Dubbs

What do you think? Is 4GB of RAM enough for the Pixel 3?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

46 Comments
  • Enough but not ideal. Would be nice to even get a 6gb upgrade when going for a larger storage size.
  • Clearly if the chin and notch were smaller they could have fit in more RAM!!! /sarcasm
  • It's about future proof and the price. Your charging 800 for the smaller one and only providing 4gigs of ram, 64gig storage with no expandable. Not everyone wants to store on the cloud.
  • Go to Verizon's website, and the Galaxy S8, the regular Pixel's direct competitor, is $800 with 64GB if on board storage with 4GB of RAM. Yes I know, it has expandable storage, but take that away, and there's not much difference between the two. And that expandable storage isn't free either, so you're going to pay more than that $800 price anyway.
  • Isn't the direct competitor the s9?
  • It would be if the pixel was an actual competitor to the galaxy S series lol.
  • Exactly. It's a niche device
  • I just did, the S8 is $596 right now.
  • Expandable storage is free. I've had the same SD card since the G4.
  • 4gb's is ok but I would have preferred 6. This is late 2018? Plus 128gb's of storage would have been better. It kind of forces you to pay more for the 128gb model, yikes, mo money! It makes me feel Google wants you to pay more! Just saying.......
  • No, not for 800 dollhairs it's not. And while I don't really think future proofing is a thing, the fact the pixel 3 likely won't be able to run a VR game properly in 2 years is pretty insane. There's just no excuse.
  • Pixel 2's slowed down in a year and the newer phone with the same RAM will obviously face the same issue.
  • Mine's running the same as the day I got it.
  • Mine is also running the same as the day I got it. I love when people say things like this and don't seem to use the phone. It has been the best phone I have had to date. I have had a lot of them even Samsung. If you want to see a phone slow down that is one that does it. Sadly the new ones come with more memory and my pixel still out performs it. It is funny to watch users at work have to wait for something to come up or wait for the hicup to get where they were going.
  • Can't comment on the RAM efficiency because I think my OG Pixel XL performance is more impacted by the processor and software. If RAM keeps apps open long I then I don't really care as long as they open quickly. Looking forward to seeing the improvements in the Pixel 3.
  • I really like the regular pixal3 but the price is very high. The 4gb's & 64gb's of storage is slim pickens this late in the year. Plus no expandable storage, no headphone jack. Seems a bit much!
  • Seems like Google is taking a page out of Apple's book, give consumers less but charge them more.
  • There is absolutely no reason why 4 GB of RAM in a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop is not enough for the masses, all of whom do little more than watch YouTube and Netflix, spill their guts on Facebook, exchange emails with Aunt Matilda, play a little Township with the over-competitive co-op, and even view/edit a few Office documents related to the local community group. Of course more would be nice, but again, the vast majority of the masses won't notice, nor need anything more for some years to come.
  • For the price of this phone, there is no reason it has 4gb of ram. No expandable storage so you spend $1000 on the 128gb storage one.
  • 6GB would be nice since we are almost in 2019 and phone costs $800 bucks. Google pretty much gives you less then others and charges more. I get it that's it's all about software these days, that's why I buy Pixel phones but Google is being too greedy. If I had to pay $800 I would probably be pissed, but I am getting it for much less or free so I can't really complain
  • As somebody had stated earlier - For today - yes. Future proof - no. I think it's all about the efficiency of the OS and the apps you use on your phone. Proper Garbage collection is a key factor - or proper memory management... And the types of apps used - temporary - internet based - or locally stored / cached apps...
  • Nope it isn't. Especially when you factor in the price and how long people are likely to use the device.
  • I don't have the $$ to upgrade a phone every year or every other year, so longevity is a big factor. I'm still rocking a N6P, and the 3gb ram is really starting to show it's age lately. Adding a couple extra gb would have been better, especially when competitors have been able to do it for less cost.
  • How do you know it is not the processor?
  • I'm sure the processor contributes as well. But I know I can't keep Waze running in the background because it constantly gets dropped (and I have it plugged into the charger).
  • But if you recall, the SD810 & 808 processors were the worst ones Qualcomm put out, actually taking a step back instead of ahead. They were prone to overheating, but that was mitigated by some optimization by Google and Qualcomm. Look at other phones running those chips and most aren't still running (decently that is). When the 6p & 5x were launched, they were regarded as the best implementation of those chips. I have a niece that had a Droid Turbo 2, with the SD810, and it was painful to use even a couple years ago. If anything I'd say it's a testament that they're still running as well as they do. But also, keep in mind you're using a 3 year old phone.
  • Actually, I didn't know that. Thanks for the info.
  • I don't get it with the spec wars. The onus falls on the OEM to optimize the software and not cram as much horsepower under the hood while doing so. Apple has done a pretty decent job so far. 6gb now then there will be cries for 8gb. Then the whining on the $1200 plus price tags.
  • Your not understanding RAM usage and software optimisation aside, there's no reason a phone with 8 GB of RAM should cost anywhere near $1200. OnePlus for example have put out 8 GB versions of their last five phones, the 3,3T,5,5T and 6 each for less than half of that.
  • $1270 in Canada is a rediculous asking price for a 4GB RAM phone in late 2018. The Note 9 is $1380, the S9+ is $1180!
  • Funny. My Pixel 2 XL killed apps pretty frequently. I doubt the 3 is any better. I'd rather have more RAM and less app refreshes, especially for $900.
  • And less battery life
  • You can close apps manually if you need to save battery that badly (you don't, it's negligible), you can't add more RAM if you can't keep more than 1 or 2 apps awake.
  • The whole "more apps running in the background uses more battery" was debunked a long time ago. Having to reload apps constantly spools up the processor more frequently and uses more battery than loading a cached version from RAM. I dunno, maybe do some research before spouting off. There's literally no reason for a $1000 flagship to have 4gb of RAM in 2018.
  • There seriously is zero justification for 4 gigs of RAM at that price. If this was being marketed as a budget phone I would understand but in the premium space it is ridiculous.
  • Maybe if they were half the price, it'd be acceptable. But for close to a grand? They can shove them up their notch.
  • It's sufficient, but not exactly future proofed, which is unfortunate. Google is better at optimizing software than most so it may not be as big an issue as it would be for other OEMs.
  • While the Pixel 3 is a great phone, I don't think it's a $150 upgrade over the 2nd generation Pixel. Screen, processor, and second selfie camera don't add up to that much of an improvement.
  • How is this even a legitimate article??? People come here to get info, input and advice... You wrote this "piece" with a click-bate title and then instead of providing even the slightest shred of insight on the matter you just list a bunch of forum posts from random readers giving their entirely unprofessional opinions on the matter. Android Central used to be THE place to come for all things related to Android news and where to get unbiased opinions and relevant content. This website has completely devolved into nothing more than an over-produced advertisement service. You all should be ashamed for selling out like this and for your blatant disregard for maintaining the quality of your work. I will join the thousands of others who flock away from this site in search of true tech journalism related to Android. Thank you very little for wasting our time with this utterly useless article.
  • They have to save server space for more posts with affiliate links and thinly-veiled advertisements.
  • 4 Gigs is definitely not enough. I run Android Auto, Uber, Lyft and stream music. My Pixel 2XL is always freezing up. I do all this with an iPhone 7plus with no problem. If they only going to give you 4 Gigs they need way better ran management.
  • I agree. 4GB is not enough for Android phones. I've had the Pixel 2 XL for a year and it has slowed down so much I've switched to my Note 8 as my daily driver since it hasn't slowed at all.
  • Works fine for me.
  • I'll say this much on this 4 gigs of RAM issue. I just traded my Galaxy S8+ in for a Google Pixel 3XL 2 days ago and it wasn't because it was slowing down. I traded it in for the new Pixel because I truly believe in using a phone with a true Google experience the way its supposed to be from the company that actually makes it instead of probably never getting Android Pie on my Samsung phone. Keep in mind I'm a heavy user and the Galaxy S8+ also has just 4 gigs of RAM as well. I fully believe a phone without all of the bloatware and skins that every single one of the competitors in Android use will run fine for years. Like I said I'm a heavy user like a lot of you and when I check how much RAM my Pixel 3XL is using versus what my Galaxy S8+ was using to run all of the apps I do on a daily basis it's night and day. I have so many tabs of apps in my cache right now and I still have over 1.5 gigs of memory free to use and that's after you take into account the reserved RAM for the Operating System. NO PHONE IS PERFECT! No matter what phone comes out from here to eternity there will be forums and discussions just like this one because nobody is ever truly satisfied with anything. Truly speaking it isn't even mathematically possible to put every feature in a smartphone that would make everyone on earth completely happy. I have not met one person in two days that hasn't been fascinated with my Pixel 3XL. People just want to touch it and examine it and play with it nonstop and it kind of gets aggravating because I'm so scared someome will drop it lol. I'm a Proud Pixel owner and a Proud pure Android user as well. The camera on this phone is beyond anything I've ever owned before and I've had them all ranging from the first Apple iPhone to the latest Galaxy to now the Pixel. This is the first time I've used a phone this pleasant to hold, use, touch and see. If you ever get a chance go by a Best Buy or Verizon store and play with one for a while. You will not be disappointed I promise. Google knows what they are doing trust me. The last thing in their collective minds is to short change their customers or to give them subpar experiences now or in the future. The iPhone just got 4 gigs of Ram within the last year or so and all we hear is how crazy powerful theor CPU's are and how they blow Qualcomm Chips out of the water. If they could do what they do with 4 gigs of Ram or 3 gigs, which they use on most of their phones, then Google can't be so bad that they get trashed like they do for this RAM debacle.
  • 4GB is ok for a well optimisded software experience
  • I totally agree especially after using my new Pixel 3XL. Plus this phone boots up in only 8-9 seconds and I've never had a phone this quick to do that before. Literally it goes from off to being usable in well under 10 seconds, as to where my Galaxy S8+ took about 25-30 seconds to be usable from a cold boot up if not longer.