After a lackluster reception, it appears Google isn't done with phone releases. A little over a month after the Pixel 3 and 3 XL released, we heard rumblings of two budget versions of the Pixel lineup. The devices will be known as Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite, and based on rumors, might be the first budget Pixels.
Let's start by saying we're still a little skeptical about these devices. Such a release would be highly unusual for Google, based on recent history. First, it would be the only time Google released four phones in one cycle, and second, Google hasn't released a budget device since the Nexus 5X. But with the recent wave of leaks, it appears this device may come to fruition, and it is interesting, to say the least.
Based on early rumors, the Pixel 3 Lite is a budget version of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Lite are the budget versions of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. They have similar display sizes and the same rear camera as the Pixel 3 lineup. However, both will have an all-plastic build and remove some features, allowing them to achieve a price about half the cost of a Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL.
The Pixel 3 Lite is rumored to use a 5.56-inch display. Unlike the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, it will use an IPS LCD panel. It has a resolution of 2160 x 1080, which equates to a pixel density of 434 PPI. It borrows the same design language of the Pixel 3 and has no display notch. It has a symmetrical forehead and chin, which are appropriately the same size.
The Pixel 3 XL Lite is rumored to have the same resolution as the 3 Lite and use the same IPS LCD panel to save cost. However, since it is the budget version of the 3 XL, it has a bigger screen (roughly six inches). Unlike the 3 XL, it doesn't have a display notch. Instead, it uses a symmetrical forehead and chin similar to the 3 and 3 Lite.
- Screen Size: 5.56 inches (Pixel 3 Lite), 6 inches (Pixel 3 XL Lite)
- Panel Type: IPS LCD
- Resolution: 2160 x 1080
- Pixel Density: 434 ppi (Pixel 3 Lite), 411 ppi (Pixel 3 XL Lite)
- Display Notch: no (both)
- Screen-to-Body Ratio: Unknown
Rumors indicate both devices will use the same 12.2 MP camera found in the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. If this is true, this would be the main selling point of the phone: the best smartphone camera at a budget price. Based on leaked samples, it uses a similar process to its more expensive siblings, allowing it to achieve virtually the same picture quality.
- Resolution: 12.2 MP
- Aperture: f/1.8
- Pixel Size: 1.4 µm
- Sensor Size: 1/2.55 in.
- Camera Model: Unknown
- Flash: yes, dual LED
- Image Stabilization: OIS
To keep the price down, it appears the Pixel 3 Lite and 3 XL Lite will remove one of the front-facing cameras. Instead of dual 8 MP front-facing cameras, the Pixel 3 Lite has only one. We speculate it uses the wide-angle lens since that was a big selling point for the premium models.
- Resolution: 8 MP
- Aperture: Unknown
- Pixel Size: Unknown
- Sensor Size: Unknown
- Camera Model: Unknown
- LED Flash: no
Powering the Pixel 3 Lite is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670. This system-on-a-chip shares many similarities with the newly released Snapdragon 710, the first SoC in the 700 series and SoC of choice for the Pixel 3 XL Lite. They both use the same Kryo 360 cores, Image Signal Processor, and Digital signal processor.
The main differences are the Snapdragon 670's lower clock speed on its Gold cores (2.0 GHz vs. 2.2 GHz) and use of a somewhat weaker Adreno 615 (instead of the Snapdragon 710's Adreno 616). While each SoC uses a different modem, the Snapdragon 670's X12 modem and Snapdragon 710's X15 offer the same speeds with a theoretical max download speed of 600 Mbps (Cat. 15) and a theoretical max upload speed of 150 Mbps (Cat. 13). Both chips use the 10nm process, the same as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.
- SoC:Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (Pixel 3 Lite), Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 (Pixel 3 XL Lite)
- GPU: Adreno 615 (Pixel 3 Lite), Adreno 616 (Pixel 3 XL Lite)
- Cores: 8 Cores (2 Gold Cores, 6 Silver Cores)
- Modem: Snapdragon X12 (Category 15/13) (Pixel 3 Lite), Snapdragon X15 (Category 15/13) (Pixel 3 XL Lite)
Falling in line with the other Pixel phones, the Pixel 3 Lite contains 4 GB of RAM. A Geekbench listing emerged recently for a device named "Foxconn Pixel 3 XL" with Qualcomm Snapdragon 710. Because the Pixel 3 XL Lite is rumored to use this chipset and we already know the Google Pixel 3 XL doesn't use this SoC, we believe this to be the first leak benchmark for the Google Pixel 3 XL Lite. If this happens to be true, we have also learned an interesting difference between the Pixel 3 Lite and its bigger brother — the XL Lite will have 6 GB of RAM.
At 6 GB, it would have more RAM than the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL and help with one of the biggest problems of Pixel 3 lineup's initial launch, memory management. If this is true, it would make the Pixel 3 XL Lite the best value in the lineup thanks to the Snapdragon 710 being paired with 6 GB of RAM. As for storage, it is rumored to include 32 GB. There is no microSD slot card just like the Pixel 3 and 3 XL.
However, there are some conflicting reports. Another Geekbench listing leaked for a device identified as "Google Pixel 3a XL," and according to this benchmark, it only has 4 GB of RAM. This also appears to be the Google Pixel 3 XL Lite as it seems the SoC is also the Snapdragon 710. The "a" could mean a different variant or that Google is still deciding on how much RAM to include. For now, we are listing the Pixel 3 XL Lite as having 6 GB, as the first listing had the correct name, but we'll keep you updated if anything changes.
- RAM: 4 GB (Pixel 3 Lite), 6 GB (Pixel 3 XL Lite)
- Storage: 32 GB
As for audio, there is some good news and some bad news. The good news, for the first time since the Pixel and Pixel XL, the headphone jack makes a return. This would be one of the few times an OEM brought back the port that the industry is trying to destroy. The bad news is dual front-facing speakers are gone. Instead, there is a single speaker along the forehead and cutouts for what appears to be a second speaker along the bottom edge. This would mean it retains stereo speakers, just not in the preferred position.
- Stereo Speakers: yes, one front- and one bottom-firing
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: yes
The Pixel 3 Lite has the same battery as the Pixel 3 at 2,915 mAh. With a much more power efficient SoC, this should translate to much better battery life. It is also rumored to support USB Power Delivery (like the Pixel 3 and 3 XL) as well as Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+, a fast charge technology which combines the features of USB Power Delivery with Qualcomm Charge.
- Capacity: 2,915 mAh (Pixel 3 Lite), Unknown (Pixel 3 XL Lite)
- Removable Battery: no
- Fast Charging: Quick Charge 4+,USB PD
Gone is the glass back for wireless charging. Instead, the entire body material is made of plastic. More than likely, this was done to keep pricing as low as it is rumored to be.
- Material: Plastic
Just like all Pixel phones, this will be running the latest version of stock Android. There is no skin, although the same enhancements found in the Pixel 3 are still present. We expect that, as with all Pixel devices, it will get at least three years of full OS updates, including Android 10, and 11.
- OS: Android 9.0 Pie
According to Rozetked, the Pixel 3 Lite is suppose to retail around $400–$500. This would be the cheapest price tag for a phone in the Pixel/Nexus lineup since the Nexus 5X.
- Price: $400–$500 (Pixel 3), Unknown (Pixel 3 XL Lite)
According to Rozetked, the Pixel 3 Lite will available either by the end of 2018 or the first quarter of 2019.
- Announcement Date: Q4 2018 or Q1 2019