Google Pixel 3 XL

Best answer: The Pixel 3 XL has excellent hardware, easy-to-use software, and one of the best cameras of any smartphone available today, but you're probably better off buying the Pixel 3a XL or waiting for the heavily-teased Pixel 4 XL unless you catch the Pixel 3 XL on sale.

A great phone that can't quite justify its price right now

It should come as little surprise that Google makes an amazing Android smartphone. The Pixel 3 XL sticks with the same proven formula of focusing on simplicity, speed, and useful features paired up with astonishing camera quality.

The software is far more appealing to use and experience than it is to read about.

The Pixel is able to produce amazing photos in all types of conditions, from bright sunny days to dim indoor settings, all with a single rear camera. With a standalone image processor, the Pixel Visual Core, you can take multiple frames simultaneously with the phone and output one wonderful photo every time you press the shutter button. Add in extras like enhanced digital zooming with minimal quality loss and the Night Sight super-low-light mode, and you have a camera that can match or beat almost any other.

A pair of front-facing cameras take exceptional selfies, whether you use the Portrait Mode for yourself or the wide-angle shooter for a group. Plus, you get unlimited full-quality backup of your Pixel photos to Google Photos — that's a treat.

All that said, howevr, the Pixel 3 XL hasn't seen many price cuts in nine months outside limited events like the Prime Day sales. Before you shell out $800 bucks for this phone, there's two others you need to consider: the Pixel 3a XL and the upcoming Google Pixel 4 XL.

The Pixel 4 XL is coming

Google itself has been teasing the Pixel 4 and 4 XL more than any flagship maker has in recent years. We're still likely two months out from the official announcement of the Pixel 4 XL, but we already have a mostly complete picture of what the phone looks like and what it can do, namely that it's going to have a Soli sensor and robust IR sensors for Motion Sense facial recognition and air gestures.

If you're going to pay $800-$900 for a Pixel, wait a couple months for the Pixel 4 XL. The only reasons not to wait for the Pixel 4 right now would be either "I broke my phone and need a new one right now", which we'll address in a moment, or "I prefer a phone with a fingerprint sensor", as the Pixel 4 XL likely won't have one.

If you need a good Pixel experience today

If your phone is broken or you just can't take it anymore and want to upgrade, you should save yourself hundreds of dollars and opt for the Google Pixel 3a XL. The 3a XL has the same photographic prowess of the Pixel 3 XL — though it doesn't have that same ultra-wide selfie camera — and has the same slick design style, clean software, and consistent updates. The Pixel 3a XL also has a headphone jack, something the 3 XL does not, and the Purple-ish color looks way better than "Not Pink".

Long story short: for most of us, the Pixel 3a XL gives us everything we'd want in a Pixel without having to fork over a whole paycheck for a phone. If you want a stronger processor and a glass phone rather than a plastic one, you could wait for the Pixel 3 XL to get another sale like the Prime Day one, or wait for it to get discounted when the Pixel 4 comes out.

Better value

Google Pixel 3a XL

Get the Pixel 3 Xl's camera and style for less

The hardware is decent enough for everyday tasks, but the camera is head and shoulders above anything else you'll find in this segment. Combine that with guaranteed security and platform updates for three years and you get one of the best mid-range phones of 2019.

Get it on sale

Google Pixel 3 XL

A simple, powerful phone with a superb camera.

The Pixel 3 XL's hardware offers everything you could need and is backed up by powerful and simple software that's truly greater than the sum of its features. It's punctuated by cameras — back and front — that are some of the best in the business. It's a wonderful phone to use.

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