Compact yet powerful

Google Pixel 3

True flagship

Google Pixel 3 XL

It's a relatively small phone, but the Pixel 3 has all of the same features and power of the larger 3 XL. The 5.5-inch 18:9 display looks great, and makes the phone compact enough for anyone to use with one hand. The only potential downside here is a smaller-than-average 2915mAh battery.

$799 at Google Store

Pros

  • Easily usable in one hand
  • Stereo speakers
  • Wireless charging

Cons

  • Weak battery life
  • No headphone jack

Google took the Pixel 2 XL's body and fit a much larger 6.3-inch 18.5:9 display — and it's not all about size, the display is dramatically better as well. The rest of the phone builds on all of Google's strengths: simple hardware, capable specs, smooth software and an amazing camera experience front and back. It even has a sizable 3430mAh battery inside.

$899 at Google Store

Pros

  • Huge screen
  • Stereo speakers
  • Wireless charging
  • Sizable battery

Cons

  • Very large display notch
  • No headphone jack

Google does a great job of offering a high-end smartphone experience in two different sizes with very few compromises. That philosophy carries into the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, which are identical aside from the chances necessitated by their size differences.

What's the difference between the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL?

The best way to start off this comparison is to talk about everything that's shared between these phones — and thankfully for potential Pixel 3 and 3 XL buyers, most of the experience is identical. Both have identical internal specs, anchored by a Snapdragon 845, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The cameras, too, are shared, including the dual front-facing shooters. Both have stereo speakers, and both miss out on a headphone jack. The hardware is absolutely the same from top to bottom — without a reference for size, you can't tell the difference between the two in a photo. And they even come in the same three color choices: black, white and "not pink."

Category Pixel 3 Pixel 3 XL
Operating system Android 9 Pie Android 9 Pie
Display 5.5-inch OLED
2160x1080 (18:9)
Gorilla Glass 5
6.3-inch OLED
2960x1440 (18.5:9)
Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Pixel Visual Core
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Pixel Visual Core
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 64/128GB 64/128GB
Expandable No No
Rear camera 12.2MP, 1.4-micron, PDAF
f/1.8, OIS
12.2MP, 1.4-micron, PDAF
f/1.8, OIS
Front camera 1 8MP, auto focus
f/1.8, 75-degree lens
8MP, auto focus
f/1.8, 75-degree lens
Front camera 2 8MP, fixed focus
f/2.2, 97-degree lens
8MP, fixed focus
f/2.2, 97-degree lens
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS
Audio Stereo speakers
USB-C
Stereo speakers
USB-C
Battery 2915mAh
Non-removable
3430mAh
Non-removable
Charging 18W USB-C PD
Qi wireless
18W USB-C PD
Qi wireless
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Security Fingerprint sensor Fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 68.2 x 145.6 x 7.9 mm
148 g
76.7 x 158.0 x 7.9 mm
184 g
Colors Just Black, Very White, Not Pink Just Black, Very White, Not Pink

There really are just two differences to evaluate: screen size and battery. I specifically say screen size because Google worked very hard to make sure this year's phones have identical-looking displays. Whether you get the 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL or smaller 5.5-inch Pixel 3, the OLED panels have been selected and calibrated to look the same. The Pixel 3 XL also has a sizable display notch that's visually distracting for some people, and obviously cuts into the usable space of that larger panel — even still, it has a little more room than the Pixel 2 XL, and much more than the Pixel 3.

It simply comes down to screen size and battery needs.

The other necessary difference is battery — 2915 vs. 3430mAh. With a 17% larger battery, the Pixel 3 XL has noticeably longer battery life. The Pixel 3 can get through a day without charging, but not if you have any sort of intense usage throughout the day. Lots of time using streaming apps or games will have you looking for a charger, whereas the Pixel 3 XL can take a bit more abuse and still make it to the end of the day just fine. Some are willing to take that battery trade-off to have a phone they can easily use one-handed, but it isn't always worth it for everyone.

The screen size differences obviously lead to changes in overall phone size. The Pixel 3 is a bit of a unicorn amongst modern-day flagship phones, with a very compact case that's actually marginally smaller than the Pixel 2. It's easily manageable in one hand, and easier to slip into a pocket even with a case on it. The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, follows the flagship trend of being really large. It's about 12% wider and 8% taller than the Pixel 3, which is considerable — but of course, you get the extra screen and battery as a benefit. You just have to decide if it's worth it for your needs (and hands).

Compact yet powerful

Google Pixel 3

A proper flagship phone without the usual massive size and weight.

A smaller screen doesn't lead to compromises in features or hardware quality. The Pixel 3 has everything the XL version does, aside from battery life. You get the fantastic software, performance, camera capabilities and screen quality.

True flagship

Google Pixel 3 XL

Google's best-ever phone, with a big screen and battery to match its capabilities.

Phones are large nowadays, and Google's Pixel 3 XL is no exception. A 6.3-inch OLED screen is dramatically improved from the Pixel 2 XL, and the rest of the experience builds on Google's strengths: awesome software, great performance, innovative camera features and guaranteed updates.