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Should you buy a Google Pixel XL in 2019?

Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Best answer: The original Pixel XL is a fine phone if you already have one, but it isn't worth buying now in 2019. It's three years old now, and it has no software upgrade future — making it very hard to recommend in 2019. If you're chasing a Pixel experience for less, your better choice is to get a Pixel 3a or 3a XL instead.

The Pixel XL is tempting but not worth buying in 2019

The Google Pixel 3 XL is an enticing phone. It's one of our favorites here at Android Central. But not everyone is going to spend that kind of money, and so it's a perfectly reasonable question of whether the original Pixel XL is still worth a buy in 2019 at a fraction of the price. After all, you can find them refurbished online for about $200 (opens in new tab). However, come 2019, it's not a great choice even at that price.

The original Pixel still feels modern in many respects, but lacking update support really hurts its value.

There's no denying that the original Pixel XL (opens in new tab) is still a solid phone. The screen is pretty good, the hardware absolutely holds up to the test of time, and its battery life and features are great by the standard of the phones in its current price bracket. The camera is also probably the best you can buy for $200. But as we move through 2019, the Pixel XL is nearing its software sunset. Android 9 Pie is the final major software update for the first Pixels, and after October 2019 they will no longer be guaranteed to receive security patches.

Even if the Pixel's hardware and specs may hold up to phones in similar price ranges today, getting regular software updates is one of the best features of a Pixel. When you miss out on that benefit, it takes away a large portion of the appeal. The phone will continue to work, but it won't receive any features or fixes from the moment you take it out of the box.

The Pixel XL is still a very good phone as a standalone device, and some may still find it a good value for about $200 (opens in new tab). However, our recommendation for anyone who wants a Pixel for less money than the latest Pixel 3 XL is to buy the mid-range Pixel 3a or 3a XL instead (opens in new tab). The Pixel 3a and 3a XL have a guaranteed update path, a better camera and hardware that's plenty capable. It's worth the extra money to get a modern phone over a three-year-old one.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.