There’s one thing we know for absolute certain about the Google Pixel 3 – it’s going to be announced on October 9 (and be available for pre-order soon after). But if we’re being honest, there’s a lot more about Google’s next smartphone that we probably know for certain, too, as many of the details have already been leaked. Like last year, you can expect two smartphones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and like last year we can expect them to set the bar for smartphone cameras (last year’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL still, in many peoples’ eyes, have the best smartphone camera, and that’s including when compared to the new iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9). You can expect snappy new processors (Snapdragon 845?) and better batteries, of course, but here’s there’s more to unpack. After all, we expect the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL to have a big, fresh new look.
Let’s Start With Those Cameras
Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will again have a rear single-lens camera system, unlike the dual-camera systems that every other flagship smartphone seems to have these days. Although there’s probably not a lot of hardware improvements with the main camera, you can expect some new software tricks to improve portrait mode and Google Lens, Google’s AR platform. The real change is with the selfie camera, which for the first time is expected to feature two 8-megapixel cameras. This will enable some cool bokeh features when it comes to taking selfies, but more importantly, it’ll enable something akin to FaceID.
A New Look? Notch Included
The dual selfie camera system will mean that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will likely have an iPhone X-esque notch, but it’ll be optional; like LG did with its G7 ThinQ, you’ll be able to toggle between the notch and a regular horizontal edge through Settings. And yes, the inclusion of the notch also means that you can expect Google’s new smartphones to have more full-screen displays, thinner bezels and even curved edges. If there was one thing that the previous Pixel smartphones lacked, it was a beautiful design, but these next-gen smartphones will likely be more aesthetically pleasing (but still, they probably won’t be as Samsung’s or Apple’s offerings).
The Return of ‘Active Edge’
Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL had a squeezable feature – called Active Edge – that Google nabbed from HTC smartphones. Basically, when holding with one hand, you could squeeze the smartphones to initiate Google Assistant. Or you could quickly squeeze the sides twice to silence all notifications. It’s a convenient feature (if maybe a little quirky), but Google has all-but confirmed that Active Edge will return on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, as it released a teaser video (see below) in Japan confirming as much.
What about the Display and Size?
If rumblings are to be believed because the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL will both have larger screens but thinner bezels, both smartphones will actually be slightly smaller than their predecessors. The Pixel 3 will have a 5.4-inch screen and it’ll only be slightly taller, while the Pixel 2 had a 5.0-inch screen and was 5.7-inches tall. The Pixel 3 XL is rumored to have a larger screen, supposedly 6.2-inches instead of the Pixel 2 XL’s 6.0-inch screen. As far as the actual displays, both will have similar OLED displays with thin aspect ratios (2:1) as last year’s models – we don’t expect there to be vast improvements here as the Pixel 2 and 2 XL had pretty beautiful displays (despite the 2 XL’s early software issues).
It seems like the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the only two flagship smartphones that don’t support wireless charging. That has to change. Hell, it’s even expected that Google will announce its our wireless charging pad.
No Headphone Jack
Sadly yet inevitably, these next-gen Pixels will likely ditch the headphone jack. The fuller screen and smaller frame mean that compromises have to be made and there will probably won’t be any room for a headphones jack. If you haven’t bought some true wireless earbuds, the time is quickly approaching.
What About Price?
Refreshingly, Google’s third-generation smartphones aren’t expected to reach the sky-high prices of Samsung’s and Apple’s new flagships. And actually, the latest rumors suggest that the Pixel 3 will start at $649 for a 64GB version, while the Pixel 3 XL could be just a $100.
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