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.
- Pixel for less: Google Pixel 3a ($400 at Amazon)
- Larger for a bit more: Google Pixel 3a XL ($480 at Amazon)
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. However, come 2019, it's not a great choice even at that price.
There's no denying that the original Pixel XL 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. 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. 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.
Pixel for less
Split the difference between price and features
The Pixel 3a brings the core Pixel 3 experience down to a much more reasonable price. With solid hardware, clean software and a superb camera, it's a better choice than buying an older Pixel model.
Larger for a bit more
You can do better in 2019
If you're eyeing the Pixel 3a and can afford an extra $80, consider getting the 3a XL instead. The larger screen and bigger battery are welcomed additions to the mid-range Pixel, and you don't miss out on anything that makes the 3a a great value.
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the Android Central team.
Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.