Early Pixel 3 XL Leaks Disappoint Critics

Credit: XDA

Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL announcement is still four months away. But the handsets are already disappointing tech enthusiasts.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen numerous photo leaks depicting the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, which Google is expected to announce in October. These photos depict the devices from every meaningful viewpoint, and there are few secrets left from a look and feel perspective.

New to the Pixel 3 XL is the dreaded notch. I assume this works similarly to how the notch works on the OnePlus 6, meaning that the display is stretched even taller (from, say, ~18:9 to ~19:9).

But beyond the notch and the taller display on the XL, these upcoming new Pixels look almost exactly like their predecessors.

That is, they feature the same basic look and feel, with the same goofy (Google would say “iconic”) glass upper third on the back, a design dictated more by antenna reception than good looks. The larger XL model is an edge-to-edge design, and the smaller non-XL is a more traditional look, with larger forehead and chin areas, both as before.

They have the same buttons, in the same places. The same stereo speaker and connectivity. The same lack of headphone jacks. And even the same cameras, by which I mean even the XL has a single camera, as with previous XLs. (The internals will almost certainly be improved in some way.)

This is surprising given the industry-wide move to dual camera systems in flagship smartphones. Yes, Google was somehow able to get away with a single camera in the Pixel 2 XL, and that smartphone still has one of (if not the) very best cameras in any handset. It’s certainly the best I’ve ever used.

But still. These handsets won’t ship until late 2018, and Apple may have introduced a triple camera system for its next iPhone X by that date. This is odd.

According to reports, the internals are as expected, too, but not exceptional: A high-end Snapdragon 845, 4 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage.

The design is disappointing tech enthusiasts who had hoped that Google would avoid the notch entirely and maybe go in a more creative new direction. But these phones are just more of the same, especially from a design perspective.

It’s still too early to be making this kind of decision, but unless the camera on the Pixel 3 XL is a huge jump over the Pixel 2 XL, that means I could skip this coming generation, saving about $900 in the process. And I may do just that. We’ll see.


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Conversation 23 comments

  • thisisdonovan

    10 June, 2018 - 3:43 pm

    <p>I'm sure you'll get it. It is your job after all….and you're a curious fellow.</p>

  • christian.hvid

    10 June, 2018 - 4:28 pm

    <p>About that goofy look: somehow, I can't help pining for the days when you could still buy a phone with a solid polycarbonate body. No shatter prone glass, no signal blocking metal, and durable as hell. </p><p><br></p><p>I realize that most people won't spend hundreds of dollars on a plasticky phone (even if they happily slap a plastic case on it). But what about wood? There are plenty of wooden cases out there, so why can't you make the entire phone body out of ebony or mahogany? Of course there's some rational reason why, but I for one would certainly love the feel and smell of a wooden phone. And if it floats, even better. :)</p>

    • RonH

      Premium Member
      12 June, 2018 - 9:14 am

      <blockquote><a href="#283014"><em>In reply to christian.hvid:</em></a></blockquote><p>I still prefer the build of my 950 XL to the S7 I have. </p>

  • sabertooth920

    Premium Member
    10 June, 2018 - 4:33 pm

    <p>It’s pretty much a given you will be getting one of these. ?</p>

  • Bdsrev

    10 June, 2018 - 5:30 pm

    <p>Come on Paul, you know better than to believe the silly marketing games of "more = better". My Nikon DSLR also only has 1 sensor and it's far superior than the Pixel 2's camera in every way. More cameras does not equal better photos! This kind of silly thinking is going to result in Android phones with 8 cameras for another idiotic marketing arms race</p>

    • Mestiphal

      10 June, 2018 - 6:07 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#283031"><em>In reply to Bdsrev:</em></a></blockquote><p><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">"you know better than to believe the silly marketing games of "more = better""</em></p><p><br></p><p>Worked for Sony when they released the PS4 vs the Xbox One</p>

  • AnthonyE1778

    Premium Member
    10 June, 2018 - 7:03 pm

    <p>Yeah. I will never understand the need to have a notch AND a chin at the bottom of a phone. Makes no sense. It is indeed immensely disappointing to see Google so immediately and thoroughly cave so far as the notch goes. Why wouldn't they even remotely try some creative new direction? Oh well, it appears that Google is a 'me-too' company now (in fairness they always have been in some ways) and that is tremendously disappointing.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      11 June, 2018 - 12:08 am

      <blockquote><a href="#283036"><em>In reply to AnthonyE1778:</em></a></blockquote><p>I currently have the Hauwei Mate 10 Pro, which has very small borders all round and practically no chin or forehead. It is a pleasant looking design, but is in practical in use, at times.</p><p>I still find that sometimes apps launch "unexpectedly", because the fingers holding the phone are also touching the screen – this also affects apps, either launching unexpected actions or blocking other actions, because a point on the border is being "pressed".</p><p>I now have to have a company phone, in addition to my private phone, I went with the Huawei P20 (every other current phone is outside the budget, except the Mate 10 Pro, but I didn't want 2 identical phones, I'd have to pay an additional 300€ and 600€ from my own money to get a Galaxy S9 or iPhone8 / X), so I'll be able to see first hand, whether the notch is a good idea or not…</p>

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        18 June, 2018 - 6:02 am

        <blockquote><a href="#283059"><em>In reply to wright_is:</em></a></blockquote><p>So, an update, I got the P20 and it is a very nice device, a bit smaller than the Mate 10 Pro. The screen is "only" LCD and not OLED. The face recognition seems to work well (on both the P20 an Mate 10 Pro).</p><p>I prefer the Mate 10 Pro's fingerprint reader on the rear. Having it on the fron on the P20 takes some getting used to and it makes the phone feel "old fashioned". The notch is a non-event in use, I don't notice it really. The only drawback is the limited number of icons that can be displayed in the status bar, on the Mate 10, they sometimes stretch right across the display, whereas on the P20 the notch means they aren't dispayed.</p><p>I guess the fingerprint reader thing is a personal taste thing. I haven't had a phone with a button on the front since my Lumia 1020 and the Samsung Galaxy S3. Everything else has either used face recognition (Lumia 950) or has had the button on the back (Nexus 5x, Hauwei Mate 10 Pro, Hauwei P-Smart). A friend of mine prefers it on the front, but is still using a Galaxy S6, so it is what he knows best.</p>

  • red.radar

    Premium Member
    10 June, 2018 - 9:36 pm

    <p>Technology seems to be maturing rapidly. Designs and technical innovation have been slowing. Is this the new normal? </p>

  • curtisspendlove

    10 June, 2018 - 11:02 pm

    <p>Oh no! Not disappointed critics!</p>

  • beckerrt

    Premium Member
    11 June, 2018 - 8:10 am

    <p>I think I would lose all faith in humanity if Samsung were to add a notch to the S10 or Note 10 next year. I honestly detest that thing. </p><p><br></p><p>Side note – why any "normal" person would chose a Pixel over a Galaxy S or Note is beyond me. I get why tech enthusiasts might prefer it though, given the camera and UI. </p>

    • jimchamplin

      Premium Member
      11 June, 2018 - 8:23 am

      <blockquote><a href="#283090"><em>In reply to beckerrt:</em></a></blockquote><p>Updates? Has Samsung improved their handling of updates? As in, day an Android update comes out, it’s available?</p>

      • beckerrt

        Premium Member
        11 June, 2018 - 12:27 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#283092">In reply to jimchamplin:</a></em></blockquote><p>I would argue "normals" wouldn't care too much about that. Samsung's sales volume would suggest that too. </p>

    • SvenJ

      Premium Member
      11 June, 2018 - 9:28 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#283090"><em>In reply to beckerrt:</em></a> In fact a "normal' person may not even be aware of there being anything other than Samsung, if you've been in a Best Buy or carrier store lately. There is SAMSUNG, APPLE, and some other phones for people who can't afford the good ones. </blockquote><p><br></p>

  • Yaggs

    11 June, 2018 - 9:50 am

    <p>This is one of the first times I think people are fine sitting on the sideline and skipping a generation of phones. Anything with a Snapdragon 835 should be fine… I am using an Essential phone right now and see NO need to get a new phone anytime soon. My wife is sporting a Pixel 2 XL and her phone is just fine… now we are both getting software updates still, but since we should both be getting Android P I don't see any reason to jump to a new phone until they decide my phone is too old to get updates.</p><p><br></p><p>It's kind of nice that Apple is circling back and putting some focus on their older hardware (they should have been doing that from the beginning) but it would be nice to not have your phone be an outdated POS 8 months after you get it… these things cost upwards of $600+ these days.</p>

  • jwpear

    Premium Member
    11 June, 2018 - 12:48 pm

    <p>I still don't get the notch. <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">Please tell me this is based on sound UI principles and not a me too thing just because Apple did it.</span></p><p><br></p><p>I can see that it might be efficient for status information that can be stuffed in the corners. You could argue that space was wasted. In other situations, like using the device in landscape or watching a movie, it just falls flat. Does this say that folks just don't use phones in landscape?</p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">What is wrong with having a little space across the entire length of the top of the device for the camera, speaker, and other sensors?&nbsp; Why have something obstruct the view all the time?</span></p><p><br></p><p>I admit, I'm probably not the best person to judge this. I still like having a real home button at the bottom of my device. I find my wife's iPhone X irritating to use due to the lack of home button and the notch.</p>

  • ben55124

    Premium Member
    11 June, 2018 - 1:45 pm

    <p>Instead of partnering with circling the drain LG and HTC, they should have partnered with OnePlus. I would take an OP6 with Pixel camera and Google OS updates please. Maybe a $100 premium over regular OP6 prices.</p>

  • skane2600

    11 June, 2018 - 5:51 pm

    <p>Heaven forbid that antenna reception takes priority over aesthetics. </p>

  • SvenJ

    Premium Member
    11 June, 2018 - 9:35 pm

    <p>Only thing that really interests me, beyond not going backwards in what my Pixel already does, is wireless charging. Doesn't seem like that is coming. I have the Pixel for Fi, so a non-Fi capable phone is pretty much a non-starter. Without Qi, the Pixel 2 versions were of no additional benefit to me, and neither would the Pixel 3 be.</p>

  • dbonds

    Premium Member
    12 June, 2018 - 12:24 pm

    <p>As someone happy with (and planning on staying on) Google Fi, I've been waiting for the Pixel 3 series, but with the recent announcements around the two LG flagship level phones (which should be available on Fi "soon") I think I'll be looking seriously at those rather than the Pixel 3. </p><p><br></p><p>I skipped Pixel 1 and 2 (still using a Nexus 6P as my daily, with a Moto x4 as backup) so I'm definitely due for an upgrade "soon". I'd be very interested to hear if anyone here has opinions/reviews/thoughts on either of the coming two LG devices on Fi.</p>

  • John Noonan

    12 June, 2018 - 4:39 pm

    <p>Google has yet to release a phone that they actually designed, but instead they have released slightly modified versions of existing handsets. Pixel is Nexus with a higher price tag and a better computational camera.</p>

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    13 June, 2018 - 2:24 am

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