The perfect upgrade

Google Pixel 3

Comes up short

Google Pixel

If you're still using the first-gen Pixel, the Pixel 3 is the ideal upgrade. The phone has a much more modern 18:9 display and the cameras are the best you'll find on an Android phone today. Factor in the stereo speakers, wireless charging, and the all-new OLED panel, and you have a phone that edges out the Pixel in almost every category.

$799 at Google Store

Pros

  • Compact form factor
  • Fantastic cameras
  • Excellent OLED display
  • Stereo speakers
  • Wireless charging

Cons

  • No headphone jack

The first-gen Pixel still has a lot going for it, but the design just doesn't hold up in 2018. While the phone is slated to pick up a few camera features from the latest Pixels, it isn't likely to receive new platform updates. With the Pixel 3 sporting a larger screen and a retooled camera, it's time to consider an upgrade.

$355 at Amazon

Pros

  • Great camera
  • 3.5mm jack

Cons

  • Huge bezels
  • No waterproofing
  • No wireless charging
  • Inferior front camera

The Pixel became a fan-favorite for its compact size and unchanged hardware from its larger sibling. The Pixel 3 retains all of that while managing to offer a significantly larger screen and vastly upgraded cameras.

Reasons to upgrade to the Pixel 3

Pixel 3

The smartphone industry has moved to taller 18:9 displays over the course of the last 18 months, and with phones in general getting bigger, there's a noticeable shortage of compact devices. That's where the Pixel 3 comes in. Although the phone comes with a larger 5.5-inch display, the overall dimensions aren't all that different from the first-gen Pixel.

That makes the Pixel 3 ideal for one-handed use, and the switch to the 18:9 form factor has allowed Google to trim the bezels while offering stereo speakers and dual front cameras. The Pixel 3 has all the trimmings of its larger sibling but in a much more compact form factor, making it the perfect upgrade from your Pixel or even the Pixel 2.

Category Google Pixel 3 Google Pixel
Operating system Android 9 Pie Android 9 Pie
Display 5.5-inch OLED
2160x1080 (18:9)
Gorilla Glass 5
5.0-inch AMOLED
1920x1080 (16:9)
Gorilla Glass 4
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Pixel Visual Core
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM 4GB 4GB
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
NA
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
USB-C
Mono speaker
3.5mm jack
Battery 2915mAh
Non-removable
2770mAh
Non-removable
Charging 18W USB-C PD
Qi wireless
18W USB-C
Water resistance IP68 No
Security Fingerprint sensor Fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm
148g
143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5mm
143 g
Colors Just Black, Very White, Not Pink Quite Black, Very Silver, Really Blue

The design at the back has also been updated, and while it feels like metal to the touch, it is in fact Gorilla Glass 5 with a finish that's designed to mimic a metallic back. The glass back facilitates wireless charging, and Google's $79 Pixel Stand accessory unlocks new functionality. Elsewhere, the Pixel 3 comes with IP68 dust and water resistance. And while there isn't a headphone jack, Google is including a pair of USB-C earbuds in the box with every Pixel 3.

The Pixel 3 is a considerable upgrade from the Pixel in almost every category.

The camera always dominates the conversation when talking about new Pixels, and it's astounding what Google has managed to achieve with computational photography. The Pixel 3 has a single rear camera with an imaging sensor that's unchanged from last year, but Google's advances in image processing mean the phone is able to take better photos.

It's up front where we see most of the changes in this area. The Pixel 3 has dual 8MP + 8MP cameras at the front, with the secondary sensor enabling wide-angle selfies. The front shooter on the Pixel 2 was already the best in the business, and with the addition of the wide-angle lens the Pixel 3 solidifies its position at the summit.

The perfect upgrade

Google Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 delivers upgrades in all the right areas.

Google hasn't altered the formula too much with the Pixel 3. You're still getting a phone with a compact size, but the switch to an 18:9 form factor facilitates a larger display, and unlike the Pixel 3 XL, there's no annoying notch to deal with. Couple that with the fantastic cameras on offer, and the Pixel 3 is an easy sell.

Comes up short

Google Pixel

It's time to make the switch to the Pixel 3.

The Pixel has plenty going for it, but it just doesn't hold up next to the Pixel 3. If you're rocking the Pixel, the Pixel 3 is the upgrade you've been waiting for.

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