Google Pixel 3 vs. Google Pixel 2: Should you upgrade?

Google Pixel 3

Pixel 3

Google hasn't changed a lot of hardware elements on the Pixel 3, opting instead to focus its attention on improving the camera. The main difference from an aesthetic standpoint is the switch to an 18:9 screen, which allows the phone to pack in a larger 5.5-inch display while retaining the same size.

Google Pixel 3

Compact powerhouse

Fantastic cameras
Gorgeous OLED display
Wireless charging
No headphone jack
Average battery life

Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2

A year on, the Pixel 2 is going strong. It's running Pie, and while some of the software features may be missing from the Pixel 3, Google is working toward bringing a lot of the latest camera tweaks to the phone. Design is one area where the Pixel 2 hasn't aged well, however, as those bezels look huge in 2018.

Google Pixel 2

Still great

Robust hardware
Same software as Pixel 3
Huge bezels
No headphone jack
Battery doesn't last an entire day

The Pixel 2 has plenty going for it in 2018. The phone continues to be one of the first to receive software updates, and Google has mentioned that new camera features that debuted on the Pixel 3 — like Night Sight — will be coming to the Pixel 2. So should you upgrade to the Pixel 3 or pick up last year's phone? It's time to find out.

Should you upgrade from a Pixel 2 to a Pixel 3?

Right now, the main reason to upgrade to the Pixel 3 from last year's phone is the bezels. Google finally made the switch to an 18:9 form factor with the Pixel 3, resulting in a larger 5.5-inch display while retaining the same dimensions.

Get the Pixel 3 if you don't like the bezels on your Pixel 2.

If anything, the Pixel 3 is 0.1mm shorter and 1.5mm narrower than the Pixel 2, so if you were worried that the larger screen would increase the size of the phone, that isn't the case.

The reduced bezels makes the Pixel 3 look much more modern, and Google hasn't sacrificed the stereo speakers up front either. You still get great sound from the Pixel 3, and it also has two cameras up front, with the primary shooter joined by a wide-angle lens.

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CategoryGoogle Pixel 3Google Pixel 2
Operating systemAndroid 9 PieAndroid 9 Pie
Display5.5-inch OLED2160x1080 (18:9)Gorilla Glass 55.0-inch AMOLED1920x1080 (16:9)Gorilla Glass 5
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845Pixel Visual CoreQualcomm Snapdragon 835Pixel Visual Core
MicroSD SlotNoNo
Rear camera12.2MP, 1.4-micron, PDAFf/1.8, OIS12.2MP, 1.4-micron, PDAFf/1.8, OIS
Front camera 18MP, auto focusf/1.8, 75-degree lens8MP, f/2.4, fixed focus
Front camera 28MP, fixed focusf/2.2, 97-degree lensNA
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPSWi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS
AudioStereo speakersUSB-CStereo speakersUSB-C
Charging18W USB-C PDQi wireless18W USB-C PD
Water resistanceIP68IP67
SecurityFingerprint sensorFingerprint sensor
Dimensions145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm148g145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8mm143g
ColorsJust Black, Very White, Not PinkJust Black, Clearly White, Kinda Blue

Even though the Pixel 2 comes with last year's Snapdragon 835, there's no noticeable difference in performance next to the Pixel 3. Both phones have 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and 18W fast charging. The Pixel 3 does come with wireless charging as well, and there's a $79 Pixel Stand that unlocks new functionality.

The Pixel 2 will get a lot of the latest camera features that debuted on the Pixel 3.

The Pixel 2 is also slated to pick up a lot of the new camera features that were introduced on the Pixel 3. Night Sight will be coming to the device, along with the new augmented reality features — including the Marvel and Childish Gambino partnerships.

The Pixel 2 didn't suffer from any of the screen issues that plagued its larger sibling, so there really isn't a reason to upgrade to the Pixel 3. The Pixel 3 has significantly thinner bezels and much better front cameras, but that isn't enough to justify making the switch.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.