Although marked by initial scandals, many regard the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL as some of the best Android devices money can buy. With that precedent set, all Android users should be excited for whatever Google is cooking up with its third Pixel device, as their 2017 offerings have set the bar rather high.
Unfortunately for Google (but fortunate for us), the Pixel 3 is shaping up to be one of the worst secrets in Google history. Not only do we know most of the specifications for the phones, but we have high-quality photos for the final product. So while all these are technically rumors and subject to change, here is what we believe to the be Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
- OS: Android 9.0 Pie
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- GPU: Adreno 630
- RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4X
- Storage: 64 GB or 128 GB
- Display: 5.3" (Pixel 3) or 6.2" (Pixel 3 XL)
- Resolution: 2160 x 1080 (Pixel 3) and 2960 x 1440 (Pixel 3 XL)
- Display Notch: Yes (Pixel 3 XL)
- Speakers: Dual front-facing stereo
- Rear Camera: 12 MP f/1.8
- Front Cameras: 8 MP with variable aperature (f/1.8 and f/2.2) and 8 MP f/1.8
- Battery: 2,915 mAh (Pixel 3) or 3,430 mAh (Pixel 3 XL)
- Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, rear-mounted
- Misc: Active Edge, USB 3.1 Type-C
The smaller of the two appears to be getting a much bigger screen than its predecessor. Looking at a recent set of images from Redditor Pixel3Throwaway, the Pixel 3 will have a 5.5" display. We expect that like its predecessor, it will use a Samsung-created AMOLED panel.
Unlike the smaller Pixel 2 last year with its 16:9 screen, this will be an 18:9 aspect ratio panel at a resolution of 2160 x 1080. The smaller Pixel 3 won't have a display notch. It does, however, have smaller bezels than last year's Pixel 2 and 2 XL, with only the forehead and chin being a bit bigger than most flagships this year due to the returning front-facing speakers.
Battery capacity has increased by a little over 200 maH from 2,700 to 2,915 mAh. While low compared to other smartphones, is more than enough for all-day battery life thanks to the 1080p resolution and power-efficient chipset.
The Pixel 3 XL is where many fans will be upset. First, let's start with the good. Google is bringing back the higher resolution screen. The Pixel 3 XL has a resolution of 2930 x 1440. Aesthetically, it looks closer to its competition with small bezels all around, with only the chin being somewhat large due to front-facing speakers.
The screen size also increases from 6.0" to 6.2". This increase in size shouldn't increase the overall size too much (actually, according to Rozetked, the Pixel 3 XL could actually fit in a Pixel 2 XL's case) thanks to its smaller bezels.
And now what people may dislike. To get such small bezels, the Pixel 3 uses the controversial display notch. The notch houses not only the dual front-facing cameras (more on that later), but one of the speaker grills for the stereo speakers.
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For those wondering how large the notch will be, thanks to @OnLeaks, we know its dimensions. The notch is 0.94 inches horizontally and 0.32 inches vertically. It will house dual front-facing cameras, an ambient light sensor, and the top half of the front-facing stereo speakers.
According to a report from D Daily, Google will once again use the POLED display created by LG in the Pixel 3 XL. With a year to work on it and months of bad press, there is no way LG's upgraded screen will be as bad as its predecessor. However, I'm sure many out there simply prefer Samsung and didn't want to take a chance with LG after the first debacle.
Powering the Pixel 3 XL is a slightly smaller battery of 3,430 mAh. This is by no means a huge decrease (the Pixel 2 XL used a 3,520 mAh battery) but a decrease nonetheless. Google will once again leverage the power efficiency of the SoC and the battery management of the latest version of Android to maximize battery life.
Both models will use the latest SoC from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 845. This SoC is the one used by every non-Huawei Android-powered flagship smartphone officially launching in the US, so there is no surprise there. What is a surprise is the low amount of RAM Google is including.
With 6 GB becoming more common in flagships, it is surprising to see that Google will once again stick with 4 GB of RAM. While stock Android does perform well at this amount, the OS benefits greatly from additional RAM, so it is disappointing Google didn't feel it was necessary to include.
Onboard on both devices is Android 9.0 Pie. The new version of Android, which just released in early August, is already on a small handful of devices including previous Pixel models and the Essential PH-1. While it won't be the first phone to launch with Android 9.0 Pie (Sony Xperia XZ3 will beat them to the punch), it will be one of the best examples, as unlike Sony, it will use stock Android.
- Don't Miss: 44 New Changes & Features in Android 9.0 Pie
Google will also keep the camera the same once again. Both devices use a single lens (hey, if it isn't broke…) and leverage the computing power of the new Visual Core to take amazing photos. The Pixel 2 is still considered by many as the best camera on the market currently, and the Pixel 3 should be no different.
However, Google is adding a second camera to the front. According to 9to5Google, the second camera enables a new feature called "Super Selfies," which improves the quality of bokeh effect when using the front camera. The second camera is also supposed to be wide-angle, allowing users to take pictures with a group of people easily. There are rumblings about an improved facial recognition feature, but nothing concrete.
Thanks to the Snapdragon 845's new NPU, Google can now perform real-time object recognition in the Camera app of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. According to Ishan Agarwal, by placing an object of choice in the view of the lens, Pixel 3 and 3 XL will be able to analyze the object and use Google Lens to pull you toward relevant information. Check out this link by XDA for an example of how this will look.
In the audio department, the dual front-facing speakers will be making a return. The headphone jack will not be returning, though. But Google will include a pair of wired Pixels Buds which connect via USB-C for those not wanting to use wireless headphones — however, we suspect this will only be included in European models where it's required by law.
Active Edge, the feature first introduced by HTC, will make a return. No indication if it will be remappable, but the expectation is that it will by default pull up Google Assistant like its predecessor.
However, what's even more exciting is that Google is finally bringing wireless charging back to their phone after being one of the first to push the feature with the Nexus 4 in 2012. Google will also be introducing a new wireless dock known as the PixelStand which not only charges the phone, but turns your phone into a smart display. If it will have a UI similar to Google Home devices with displays (such as the Lenovo Smart Display), giving you quick at-a-glance information and larger buttons. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL will support fast wireless charging, with the PixelStand offering 18W of power.
We learned that Pixel 3 will also be including new live wallpapers that a bit different from last year's Living Universe. These wallpapers aren't just animated, but will react to different activities and interactions. For example, according to Ishan Agarwal, the wallpaper will animate when music is playing nearby, as day turns to night, and more. These are called "Come Alive" wallpapers and will be included with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL.
You can download them right for any device running Android 6.0 or newer using the link below.
Unlike times past, this will be the first Google phone not to be manufactured by one of Google's OEM partners. Instead, this appears to be Google first real entry into the smartphone market with the Pixel 3.
According to leaker Roland Quandt, Foxconn will be manufacturing the Pixel 3, the same company which manufactures the iPhone each year. This comes as no surprise after Google spent $1.1 billion to acqu-hire HTC employees who previously worked on the Pixel.
Also to no surprise, Verizon will once again be the exclusive carrier partner for the Pixel 3, according to Bloomberg. A recent FCC listing suggests that the unlocked variant will work on every carrier in the US.
There was a YouTube video a while back stating that the heavily leaked Pixel 3 XL is a fake. According to the video (and the leaker's post on Reddit), Google is apparently pulling an "okey doke" and will reveal the actual phone during the launch event. If this one is to be believed, Google is doing some real-world A/B testing and wanted to see the reaction of users if they included a display notch.
The real one, leaked by YouTube channel "This is Tech Today," is notch-less, with a similar edge to edge display as the smaller Pixel 3. I was previously very skeptical about this rumor, as it reminded me of the famously wrong Pixel Ultra rumor from last year. However, with a second piece of evidence, there is now a possibility of it being true.
According to YouTuber Front Page Tech, Google has contacted him and several other YouTubers about using their videos regarding the leaked Pixel 3 XL. The problem is the videos he made only bash the device and its gigantic notch. So some people are speculating that Google has another device up their sleeve and they wanted to make a promotional video showing the negative reactions to the leaked, notched 3 XL.
While I am highly skeptical about this rumor, the introduction of a second source does strengthen its validity. Additionally, the story behind the Pixel 3 leaks is plausible, but deserve to be questioned. The rumor is several units were stolen and sold for $2,000 apiece. Some outlets jumped at this opportunity, leading to the high-quality leaked photos. Then, a few days after the big release by some outlets, the black version was left in a Lyft, leading to the driver taking pictures and sending them to Android Police before returning the phone. It all seems a bit too convenient.
As for the possibility of a hidden secret edge-to-edge Pixel 3 XL, I would place my confidence at 25%. Usually, Google would have already entered the manufacturing stage of the Pixel 3 XL, building up production for the upcoming launch. It is costly to manufacture two phones, especially if one is a decoy. The leaked Pixel 3 XL worked, had running software and everything. And, where would the front-facing speakers go?
The only reason I have a little faith this rumor could be true is because Foxconn is the manufacturer of the Pixel 3 devices. Foxconn, the longtime manufacturer of iPhones, has been pretty good this year at preventing leaks for the upcoming iPhones, a complete 180° flip from last year's heavily leaked iPhone X. Apple worked with the company to fix this problem, and it possible Google is benefiting from this improved commitment to discretion. Also, the Pixel 3's leaks have been pretty limited, with only real images coming from Redditor Pixel3Throwaway.
No rumors have emerged regarding the US pricing for the two phones, but we can make some estimations. Specifically, we expect the Pixel 3 XL to be between $50–100 more than its predecessor, placing it starting variant pricing anywhere between $899–949. We expect a similar increase with the Pixel 3, result in starting price tag between $699–749.
Our assumption was backed up by Chinese website JD.com, which listed the Pixel 3 for approximately $729 dollars. Typically, devices listed early carry inflated prices, providing hope of a $50 price increase versus $100.
Google has started sending invites for an event in NYC on October 9th at 11 am ET. More than likely, this will be the Pixel 3 announcement, in addition to other devices like a rumored Bluetooth-enabled Chromecast and a Google Home Hub smart display.
What do you think about all the rumors for the Pixel 3? Any thoughts on the notch or the fact that LG's producing the panels again? Let us know in the comments below.