OK, let's not sugar-coat it: Having been released back in 2018, the Google Pixel 3 XL is a pretty old phone. But in late 2021, it's a better buy at just under $200 than most super-budget Android handsets, especially if you just need a device to tide you over the next year or so.
For Cyber Monday, B&H still has the Pixel 3 XL available for $199 with free expedited shipping. The deal is marked as being the "T-Mobile variant" of the phone. However, the spec sheet lists it as an unlocked model, which can be used with other carriers. Regardless, the software experience you get should be the same as any other unlocked Pixel.
The Pixel 3 XL is currently up to date on the latest Android 12 and will be receiving a final security and bug fix update in early 2022. No more platform-level updates are coming after that, but this Pixel still stands up favorably next to budget handsets in terms of security and polish.
Compare that to some much more recent budget phones from the likes of OnePlus, whose Nord N10 and N100 have already received their first and only Android platform update, leaving them on Android 11.
An older flagship for next to nothing
Google Pixel 3 XL
Google's three-year-old flagship has an excellent camera even by 2021 standards, including a fantastic wide-angle selfie shooter. And you'll also enjoy the same Android 12-based Pixel UI, as much newer Google phones like the Pixel 6 series.
With up-to-date software -- well, at least for now -- the Pixel 3 XL still holds its own at this heavily discounted price. The Pixel's camera setup, featuring a 12-megapixel rear shooter backed up by Google's HDR+ processing and Night Sight capabilities, packs the same photographic punch as more recent Pixels like the 4a, 5, and 5a. And while you'll have that infamous double-width notch to contend with, you'll also benefit from the impressive ultrawide selfie shooter housed within.
Plus, being a premium Pixel, the 3 XL offers extra niceties like water resistance, wireless charging, and a neat dual-tone glass-backed chassis. Higher-end Pixels often retain trade-in value better than budget phones from lesser-known brands. Samsung, for instance, still offers $50 credit for the Pixel 2 XL, which is a year older than the 3 XL.
While the Pixel 3 XL won't be getting any more OS-level security updates after early 2022, existing security protections built into Android should continue to provide a decent level of security. If you're only planning on using this phone for a year or so, while you wait for the next big thing, that's a reasonable trade-off.
Upgrade to the latest budget Pixel
Google Pixel 5a
Google's latest mid-priced Pixel is more expensive than the super-cheap 3 XL. Still, you'll enjoy a longer software update lifespan, better battery life, and a dual-camera setup featuring ultrawide capabilities.
That said, if you don't mind spending a bit more, the Google Store is offering $50 off the Pixel 4a and 5a, which will be supported for longer than the 3 XL, though with other trade-offs around performance, and feature set. (The Pixel A-series' lacks wireless charging, and the 4a isn't water-resistant.)
Whichever Pixel you're tempted by, it's worth checking out our roundup of the best Google phone deals for Cyber Monday, highlights of which include the cheapest price yet for the new Pixel 6 phones.
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