Google Pixel 3 Smartphone Review

Google Pixel 3

Not a flagship. Google Pixel 3 will be its owner for a considerable amount of money: as much as $799. At the same time, the novelty falls into unequal competition with flagships of other manufacturers similar in filling because their price tag is more modest. Our in-depth review shows how Google’s next Pixel is heading to stardom.

The Pixel 2, which appeared last year, was almost identical to its predecessor, but this time Google decided to change the device’s appearance. On board the Pixel 3 was a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 single-chip system with Adreno 630 graphics, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of internal memory (UFS 2.1). There is also a 128 GB model on sale, but there is no support for microSD and two SIM cards in any of the versions.

The Pixel 3 is priced at $799, in line with Apple, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung, and Sony flagships. We will compare the model from today’s review with the Apple iPhone XS, HTC U12 Plus, Huawei P20 Pro, and Sony Xperia XZ3. Right now, the Pixel 3 is more expensive than all the devices mentioned, except for the iPhone, which is a couple of hundred more expensive.

Google Pixel 3 ( Pixel 3 Series )


Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 8 x 2.8 GHz, Cortex-A75 / A55 (Kryo 385)

Graphics adapter

Qualcomm Adreno 630


4096 MB  


5.50 in. 2:1, 2160 x 1080 pix. 439 PPI, Capacitive, OLED, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, glossy: yes

Data storage

64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 64 GB  

52 GB free

The weight

148g, power adapter: 82g


850 euro


Google – manufacturer’s website

Attention: Different samples of the same model often use different components! (AUO matrix instead of BOE, Hynix memory instead of Samsung, SATA storage instead of PCIe, …)

Design and features

The back panel of the Google Pixel 3 with a single camera and a fingerprint scanner

 Google calls the coating on the back panel “soft touch,” but it is just matte. The fingerprint scanner has retained its location but has lost the metal edging. The buttons are tight and have a distinct click, and the build quality is high. However, we did not like that the SIM tray is slightly recessed into the body – just like in cheap Chinese smartphones.

The margins at the top and bottom of the display are pretty vast (8 mm), making the smartphone’s design seem outdated compared to competitors. The Google Pixel 3 is available in Clearly White, Just Black, and Not Pink. The case of the model is protected from water and dust according to the IP68 standard. 


The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 single-chip system with integrated Adreno 630 graphics. So far, the Snapdragon 845 remains Qualcomm’s top platform, but as we know, a new generation chipset is on the way – the Snapdragon 8150. The RAM in the model is 4 GB, and the built-in 64 GB flash drive is connected via the UFS 2.1 interface.

Of the physical ports, the Pixel 3 only has USB 3.1 Type-C. An NFC module lets you quickly pay for purchases via Google Pay; Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX/aptX HD audio codecs are supported. The manufacturer has returned wireless charging – definitely a positive thing.


The Google Pixel 3 comes with Android 9.0 Pie out of the box, and the security patch in our test device is dated November 5, 2018. Google guarantees that the Pixel 3 will receive security and system updates until 2021.

Only applications from Google are preinstalled on the smartphone – there is no third-party software, meaning the user does not need to waste time removing it. If required, the Pixel 3 can add multiple users and free unlimited cloud storage until January 31, 2022. After this date, data from Google servers will not go anywhere, but we think that users will have to pay for the further storage of personal information in the cloud. The model also has other proper additional functionality: recognition of the tune being listened to, Google AR Playground, and Google Lens.

Wireless and Navigation

The tested smartphone is capable of working in networks of GSM, 3G, and LTE standards. The fourth generation communication modem supports LTE Cat.16. The maximum data transfer and reception speeds are 1.73 Gbps and 75 Mbps, respectively. Google claims the smartphone keeps a better connection in all conditions, thanks to the antenna with a 4×4 MIMO configuration.

The WiFi module in the smartphone supports the modern IEEE 802.11ac standard and can operate in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. The tested smartphone demonstrated the highest performance among rivals in iperf3 Client (even the iPhone XS).

The Google Pixel 3 uses BeiDou, Galileo, GLONASS, and GPS satellite systems to determine location. Outdoors, the test smartphone provides an accuracy of 3 meters, but it fails to detect satellites indoors.

To test the device’s capabilities in practice, we took it on a bike ride with a professional Garmin Edge 500 navigator. At the end of the test, it turned out that on a 5.51-kilometer section of the road, the Pixel 3 paved a track 50 meters shorter than the Garmin reference. On the fragments of the route sections, it is clear that the smartphone cannot provide the same accuracy on the turns and bends of the road as the navigator. In general, its capabilities are pretty enough for the tasks of ordinary users. 


To make a call standard application from Google is used, which contains tabs with contacts and recent calls.

The quality of communication and voice transmission pleasantly pleased us during testing. The speaker has enough volume to ensure good audibility even in noisy environments.

The Google Pixel 3 supports Duplex, a unique feature the company shows at its latest annual Android Pie event. In essence, Duplex allows the voice assistant to make or receive calls instead of the user if the user is busy or in a meeting, replacing a real assistant secretary. Automatic calls are recorded and can be played back or viewed in the text at any time. Unfortunately, this feature is currently only available in the US, so we could not evaluate it. 

The Google Pixel 3 has two 8-megapixel front cameras and a 12-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.8 aperture. One of the sensors on the front is equipped with a wide-angle lens, thanks to which you can take great group selfies. The front module takes excellent high-quality pictures with great detail, and it is visible that the bokeh effect is not just superimposed by software – the depth of field is recognized. However, there is a significant drawback – the camera smoothes the skin on the face, which is quite noticeable and looks unnatural. There is no manual mode here, but you can choose the type of lighting and white balance and enable/disable HDR.


In our opinion, the primary camera takes excellent pictures with bright and saturated colors, but they are a bit dark. Be that as it may, the image detail is up to par, as is clarity; the dynamic range is also good, so you will not get any overexposure or too dark areas in the photo. When shooting macro, the final result is even better, as the color reproduction is more balanced, and the objects in the frame are incredibly sharp. In the case of the primary camera, the bokeh effect also looks good. Artifacts are scarce. The camera application contains the Top Shot function: before and after pressing the shutter button, the smartphone takes a series of shots, from which the best one is selected using machine learning algorithms, but the user can choose any of them independently.

Light sensitivity

The most fantastic camera feature is Night Sight. Light sensitivity is greatly improved in this mode because the camera takes several shots with different exposures and then combines them to get the best result. The detail of the image is at an extraordinary level for such conditions. Of course, the Google Pixel 3 cannot match the Canon EOS 70 D in picture clarity. Still, in terms of the quality and amount of light in pictures in poor lighting conditions, it dramatically surpasses the iPhone XR and P20 Pro.

Video recordings are almost as sound as photographs. Shooting is possible in 4K resolution at 30 fps, the default codec is H.264, but it is possible to switch to H.265/HEVC (videos will take up less space). There is also no manual mode here, but you can adjust the white balance and image stabilization. Autofocus does an excellent job of keeping moving subjects in the frame.

Interactive comparison of photo samples

How do different models shoot the same subject? Click (smartphone) or hover (computer) over the desired part of the picture to meticulously examine it in the windows below.  

Using the ColorChecker Passport, we also tested the Pixel 3’s camera under controlled lighting conditions. Shades are obtained as close to the original as possible but slightly lighter (except gray).

The smartphone captured the test chart well. The resulting image is sharp, fine details are visible, but the colors are oversaturated. Closer to the corners, the image fades slightly.

Accessories and Warranty

The smartphone comes with a power adapter, a USB Type-C cable, adapters for a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a standard USB Type-A with a tool to remove the SIM tray.

The company also introduced the Pixel Stand wireless charging, when installed on which the smartphone automatically switches to silent mode. The charging uses the Qi standard. The power is enough to charge the device in two hours fully. Also, Google released slipcases for Pixel 3: one has a fabric coating, and the second is made in the style of My Case (you can choose several options, among which famous designers develop those). We tried on a fabric case on a test smartphone, which turned out to be very pleasant and practical. Among other things, Pixel 3 is compatible with Daydream View VR and Google Pixel Buds. The prices of all mentioned accessories are shown in the table below. The warranty period for the smartphone is two years.

Input Devices

The default keyboard is predictably Google Gboard. It works just as well as on other smartphones. The touch screen is highly responsive and accurate. The coating allows your fingers to glide smoothly across the screen. The position sensor and fingerprint scanner also worked flawlessly during the tests.

In the new generation, Google continues to use the pressure-sensitive edges of Active Edge, which you can call the assistant. Sensitivity can adjust, but even at the highest level, you have to press quite hard to trigger the function, so there should be no false positives in everyday use.


The Google Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch notch-less OLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2160×1080 pixels. The maximum brightness averages 398 cd/m 2, according to the X-Rite i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer, slightly lower than most competitors. Meanwhile, the uniformity of backlight distribution is 91% – almost first place among competitors.

The display can display HDR content and even has the appropriate certification. We managed to fix the presence of PWM. The flicker frequency is 245 Hz. The value is relatively low because a smartphone’s display can affect non-sensitive people.


Google has decided that the Pixel 3’s hardware platform should be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 single-chip system with integrated Adreno 630 graphics. The list of innards is complemented by 4 GB of RAM and a built-in 64 GB UFS 2.1 flash drive. However, in everyday use, a difference of 2 GB does not make any difference for the user – this is the state of affairs today, but in the future, the amount of memory may no longer be enough.

Google Pixel 3 often finds itself in the middle of the list among rivals in the test results. In Geekbench Compute RenderScript and PCMark Work 2.0, it pulls ahead, while in GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan, on the contrary, it lags. In general, the performance of the test smartphone is slightly above average for all devices with Snapdragon 845.


Adreno 630 graphics are powerful enough to handle all modern games with ease. The smartphone provides 60 fps in games such as Asphalt 9: Legends and Arena of Valor at maximum graphics settings.

The touch screen and position sensors during the game work clearly, and respond promptly to user actions.

Temperature and acoustic indicators

The Pixel 3’s body heats up quite a bit. In the idle state, we recorded a maximum of 30 ° C; on average, this figure does not rise above 28 ° C. Under load, one of the areas of the smartphone body warms up to 37 ° C, while the rest of it does not overcome 33.5 ° C. No matter how many applications we launched, we could not get higher numbers.

To find out how well the filling of the smartphone ensures a long-term high load, we launched the GFXBench Battery Test. In T-Rex, the indicators remained almost at the initial level and only slightly decreased by the end of the test. However, in Manhattan, there was a 40% drop in productivity. Thus, in this regard, the device is similar to the Pocophone F1. The ASUS ROG Phone did not observe such behavior in similar tests. Be that as it may, in practice, a smartphone is rarely subjected to such intense loads, so users are unlikely to notice the described difference.

Acoustic system

The speakers on the Pixel 3 are located on the front panel and are directed toward the user. They are pretty loud and even reproduce some basses without losing quality. At maximum volume, high frequencies are damped due to non-linearity. Overall, however, the Google Pixel 3’s speakers are arguably some of the best in their class.

Since the smartphone does not have a 3.5 mm audio jack, you need to use a USB Type-C adapter to connect a wired headset or headphones. The set includes headphones with such a connector. They produce high-quality sound but abundant bass, so other parts of the audio spectrum are muffled. Listening to music or watching videos will fit, but it is difficult to talk on the phone through them since the voice is very muffled in them.

Power consumption and battery life

Energy consumption

The Pixel 3 turned out to be one of the most power-hungry Snapdragon 845-powered devices, with 1.21W idle and 8.79W under load in our tests. Such results were enough to bypass almost all rivals regarding energy requirements.

Faithful, here it should consider that the same P20 Pro under load suffers from massive throttling. Its consumption decreases because a comparison with this model introduces an error in the final result. Excluding the P20 Pro, the Google Pixel 3’s power consumption is 25% and 22% higher than the iPhone XS and Xperia XZ3, respectively.

The included power adapter is rated at 18W. A full charge takes less than two hours – almost the same time it takes for the Pixel Stand to restore the smartphone’s battery fully.


Google Pixel 3 is one of the top smartphones. Yes, its design is outdated, and the price is high, but the excellent camera, pure Android, and high-quality loudspeakers significantly improve the perception of the model. The pressure-sensitive side edges are an exciting and exotic extra feature, but the ability to remap their actions would make Active Edge unique.

Also read this:

Mehreen Ijaz

Mehreen Ijaz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *