Google Pixel 3: Cheat sheet

The Pixel 3 is one of Google's premium flagship smartphones. Here are the most important details that professionals need to know about the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL.

pixel3.jpg
Image: Google

The Pixel smartphone line represents Google's view of the perfect pure Android experience. The Pixel 3 series, announced on October 9, 2018, brings a larger screen, better camera features, and Google's Titan Security built in.

To help Android fans, business professionals, and mobile users understand the impact of the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, and Pixel 3a, we have put together a guide with all the information needed to learn about the phones' features and why they matter. This article that will be updated as new, relevant information becomes public.

SEE: Mobile device security: Tips for IT pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What is the Google Pixel 3?

The Pixel 3 series is the most current set of devices available in Google's Pixel line of smartphones. The mobile devices were preceded by the original Pixel and Pixel XL in 2016, and the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in 2017.

The 5.5" Pixel 3 smartphone and 6.3" Pixel 3 XL smartphone were first introduced at a Made By Google event on October 9, 2018. The mobile devices feature a combination glossy and matte finish, louder speakers, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered camera, augmented reality (AR) capabilities, and built-in hardware security courtesy of Google's Titan security chip. The smartphones were debuted alongside the new Chrome OS tablet called the Google Pixel Slate, a refreshed Pixelbook Pen, and a new smart display called the Google Home Hub.

Additional AI features help Pixel 3 users avoid spam calls and limit their notifications when busy. The phone offers many of the same features as the iPhone XS, but at a much lower starting price point.

SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and smart person's guides

Google officially announced on May 7, 2019 the release of the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. Two of the biggest draws to the Pixel 3a are: The ability to get Android updates much sooner than other phones in this price point, and having one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. The camera alone should be a draw to many users—having the latest-and-greatest version of Android is icing on an already delicious cake.

Additional resources

pixel-3a-xl-37.jpg

Google Pixel 3a (left) and Pixel 3 (right)

Image: Angela Lang/CNET

Who is the target audience for the Google Pixel 3?

Android fans will likely line up for the Pixel 3 series, as it brings one of the best-available pure Android experiences to the mobile market. The phone's camera features and unlimited Google Photos storage will appeal to hobbyist and amateur photographers as well.

Business and professional users who work in the Android ecosystem should also consider the Pixel 3 series. The extra security from the Titan chip, and the host of AR features including Google Lens built into the camera, make this appealing as a work phone. The Flip to Shhh will stop notifications when the phone is placed face down on a table, making it easier to unplug after work.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

The Call Screen feature automatically transcribes calls on the home screen, so you can see if an unknown number is a spammer and mark it as spam without ever picking up the phone. The Pixel 3 series was the first to get Google Duplex.

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are targeted to consumers and users who don't want to pay flagship prices but still want a taste of the higher-end phone.

Additional resources

How different is the Google Pixel 3 from the Google Pixel 2?

The Pixel 3 line is a definite improvement over the Pixel 2, but only in certain areas. Both phone lines feature 12.2 MP rear cameras and 8 MP front cameras, but the Pixel 3 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor as an upgrade over the 835 Snapdragon processor in the Pixel 2.

Both series come with 4 GB of RAM, and are available in 64 GB and 128 GB storage options. They also both feature three mics and dual front-firing stereo speakers, but the Pixel 3 is up to 40% louder than the Pixel 2, with sound dialed in by a Grammy award-winning producer.

The Pixel 3 series has a larger battery than the Pixel 2, but not the Pixel 2 XL. Both device series have the same Bluetooth and Wi-Fi standards, as well as the same ports and sensors. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 lines are also both AR- and virtual reality (VR)-ready to work with Google Daydream.

The Pixel 3 has a similar display layout to the Pixel 2, but the Pixel 3 XL has a display that extends to the top edges with a notch, like the iPhone X and iPhone XS. The screen size for both Pixel 3 models is bigger than its predecessors.

Additional resources

What features come with the Google Pixel 3 camera?

As noted, the Google Pixel 3 series feature a 12.2MP dual-pixel rear camera and 8MP wide-angle and normal field-of-view cameras. It has autofocus, along with optical and electronic image stabilization, and can shoot low aperture portrait mode photos.

The camera is the first in the Pixel line to have Google Lens built in and offers computation photography through the help of machine learning. The camera also features HDR+ with zero shutter lag, first introduced in original Pixel.

SEE: Smartphones and mobile tech: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL have AR stickers that can be put in photos and videos, including those from Marvel Studios and Childish Gambino. The phone also has a setting that will allow it to automatically snap a photo when the subject smiles or makes a funny face, and it can track moving subjects that may be harder to photograph, like kids or pets.

However, four additional features stand out as the most impressive updates:

  1. Top Shot: A new feature that automatically captures alternate shots for each photo in HDR+ and recommends the best one.
  2. Super Res Zoom: With this digital zoom feature, zoomed photos appear less grainy and more detailed.
  3. Night Sight: Users can shoot better low-light images, thanks to this feature.
  4. Group Selfie: A second front selfie camera that, when enabled, allows you to capture 184% more of the subject in your frame and aims to make group selfies easier.

Additional resources

What are the storage capabilities of the Google Pixel 3?

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are available with either 64 GB or 128 GB of storage. There is no mention of expandable storage on Google's website, so it seems like those options are fixed. For the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, the available storage is 64 GB.

What is the battery size of the Google Pixel 3?

The Pixel 3 features a 2915 mAh battery, while the Pixel 3 XL has a 3430 mAh battery. This marks a battery size increase for the smaller of the two, but the battery size of the 3 XL is smaller than the 2 XL, which features a 3520 mAh battery. How this will translate to actual battery life depends on daily use patterns.

The Pixel 3a features a 3,000mAh battery, while the Pixel 3a XL has a 3,700mAh battery.

What security platform comes with the Google Pixel 3?

Google custom-developed a new security chip called the Titan M for the Pixel 3 smartphones. It helps secure the OS and protects credentials and data within the phone apps. The Pixel 2 series also had an on-board security module, but the Titan M is based on Google's Titan security technology that it uses to safeguard its own data centers.

Additional resources

What are the color options for the Google Pixel 3?

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 are available in three colors: Just Black, Clearly White, and Not Pink. The Not Pink color replaces a blue option that was available in the previous two generations of Pixel phones.

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are available in three colors: Just Black, Clearly White, and Purple-ish.

When and where can I buy the Google Pixel 3?

The Pixel 3/XL and Pixel 3a/XL are available on Google's website. The Pixel 3, 3a, 3 XL, and 3a XL are available in the US through: Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, Spectrum Mobile (Charter), C Spire, and Google Fi, are supported on AT&T, and are compatible with all GSM-based networks.

Pixel owners can also buy the Pixel Stand, a wireless charger that changes the phone's UI when it's docked to make it more glanceable. It works with the Qi wireless charging standard and sells for $79.

Additional resources

How much does the Google Pixel 3 cost?

The Pixel 3 64 GB version is available for $799, while the 128 GB version costs $899. The Pixel 3a is available for $399.

The Pixel 3 XL 64 GB version will cost $899, while the 128 GB version costs $999. The Pixel 3a XL is available for $479.

Google offers a Preferred Care protection plan for $129. Anyone who buys a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL will also get six months of YouTube Music Premium for free. Google is offering three months of YouTube Music Premium for free with the purchase of the Pixel 3a or 3a XL.

Additional resources

What are the specifications for the Google Pixel 3?

Pixel 3 (5.5")

  • Resolution: FHD+ flexible OLED, 2160x1080
  • Pixel density: 443ppi
  • Dimensions (inches): 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3
  • Weight: 158g
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Rear camera: 12.2 MP
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Video: 4K capture available (rear camera only)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 + Titan M
  • Storage: 64 GB or 128 GB
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Battery: 2915 mAh battery
  • Fingerprint sensor: Back cover
  • Connector: USB-C (no 3.5mm headphone jack)

Pixel 3 XL (6.3")

  • Resolution: QHD+ flexible OLED, 2960x1440
  • Pixel density: 523 ppi
  • Dimensions (inches): 6.2 x 3.0 x 0.3
  • Weight: 184 g
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Rear camera: 12.2 MP
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Video: 4K capture available (rear camera only)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 + Titan M
  • Storage: 64 GB or 128 GB
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Battery: 3430 mAh battery
  • Fingerprint sensor: Back cover
  • Connector: USB-C (no 3.5mm headphone jack)

Pixel 3a (5.6")

  • Resolution: FHD+ OLED, 2220 x 1080
  • Pixel density: 441ppi
  • Dimensions (inches): 6.0 x 2.8 x 0.3
  • Weight: 147g
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Rear camera: 12.2 MP with optical + electronic image stabilization; f/1.8 aperture
  • Front camera: 8 MP with f/2.0 aperture, 84-degree field of view
  • Video: (Rear Camera) 1080p @ 30fps, 60fps, 120fps; 720p @ 30fps, 60fps, 240fps; 4K @30fps. (Front Camera) 1080p @ 30fps; 720p @ 30fps; 480p @30fps
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (2.0GHz and 1.7GHz, octa-core) + Titan M
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4x
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Fingerprint sensor: Pixel Imprint (back-mounted)
  • Connector: USB-C 18W adapter with USB-PD 2.0; 3.5mm headphone jack

Pixel 3a XL (6.0")

  • Resolution: FHD+ OLED, 2160 x 1080
  • Pixel density: 402ppi
  • Dimensions (inches): 6.3 x 3.0 x 0.3
  • Weight: 167g
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Rear camera: 12.2 MP with optical + electronic image stabilization; f/1.8 aperture
  • Front camera: 8 MP with f/2.0 aperture, 84-degree field of view
  • Video: (Rear Camera) 1080p @ 30fps, 60fps, 120fps; 720p @ 30fps, 60fps, 240fps; 4K @30fps. (Front Camera) 1080p @ 30fps; 720p @ 30fps; 480p @30fps
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (2.0GHz and 1.7GHz, octa-core) + Titan M
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4x
  • Battery: 3,700mAh
  • Fingerprint sensor: Pixel Imprint (back-mounted)
  • Connector: USB-C 18W adapter with USB-PD 2.0; 3.5mm headphone jack

How can I trade in my current phone for a Google Pixel 3?

A trade-in program is available through the Google online store that offers up to $400 for your old phone toward a Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3 XL, or Pixel 3a XL. Check it out when ordering here.

Editor's note: This article by Conner Forrest was first published in October 2018. It was updated in May 2019 by Jack Wallen and Kristen Lotze, primarily to include Pixel 3a details.

pixel-3a-xl-6.jpg

Google Pixel 3a XL

Image: Angela Lang/CNET