Early Pixel 3 XL Leaks Disappoint Critics

Posted on June 10, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 23 Comments

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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