Review Google Pixel 3 XL: The Shadow of the Notch!

what is up guys mkbhd here and welcome to the full review of the google pixel 3 xl and also welcome to the first wider widescreen video i’ve done so let me know what you guys think of that so this is the phone i’ve been using for the past week and change and obviously it’s been leaked into oblivion so i kind of knew what i was getting myself into but there’s still so much smart stuff to talk about this is maybe the smartest smartphone i’ve ever used with some caveats so this video is going to be mainly centered around pixel 3 xl but everything i will say also applies to the pixel 3 unless i say otherwise here we go so on the outside i really like the new hardware of this phone it’s pretty much better in every way than the pixel 2 from the way it feels to the way it’s built the highlights of the pixel 2 are still here so the stereo front-facing speaker pair still here the squeeze for assistant the two-tone back look but now there are new materials and just a new quality to it we all know the back is now all glass but this two-tone look comes from frosting the glass of the lower part and it’s impressive that it actually gives you this soft touch feel but as you can see it’s not perfect it can be very easily scratched you might remember i did an unboxing of this phone on instagram live and within seconds of taking it out the box without even ever putting it in my pocket once there were these little little tiny scratches in the back on the soft touch part so it turns out those tiny little scratches the micro scratches they can buff out pretty easily with your shirt or a microfiber or something they’re definitely still there but they’re just really hard to see but this major gash here this came while actually shooting this video during the intro shot to hold it still it was like sandwiched between two batteries so like not a normal place to be but then we took it out and it had this pretty much uh unfixable gash i really don’t think most phones would scratch this bad from that amount of

contact so obviously that’s the downside of the soft touch glass now if you want to protect it you already know i’m more of a skins person than a case person and the dbrand skin can match the matte black if you want or make the phone whatever color you want it’s a no-brainer and of course wireless charging still works through a case or a skin so there’s a link below anyway with this new build you get ip68 water resistance that the pixel 2 didn’t have and like i said wireless charging is welcome and this is the part where i give a shout out actually to my favorite wireless charger now the new pixel stand it’s 80 bucks and it’s it’s everything i want a wireless charger to be it’s great anyway the buttons of the phone are clicky and tactile and good the fingerprint reader is exactly where it should be if it’s not going to be behind the glass yet and they’ve even got little touches like painting the inside of the usb-c port black there’s still no headphone jack but it comes with usb-c headphones in the box which is a lot better than the opposite that apple’s doing of taking the dongle out the box so it’s mostly good news in the hardware stuff on the outside of the three new colors total i like matte black everything but if you’re debating between the three i think the white will actually show the least scratches for what that’s worth so then around the front that’s obviously where things start to get interesting uh pixel 3 and pixel 3 xl have great screens objectively their panels are made by samsung this year and we all know how good samsung is at screens it’s a 5.5 inch flexible oled on the 3 and a 6.3 inch on the 3xl and both phones also now have two front-facing cameras and a pair of big front-facing stereo speakers and the speakers are pretty good but with a catch so i’ve compared them to iphone 10s max and the razer phone some of the loudest speakers in any phone and these are every bit as loud if not louder and they sound fuller and they definitely have more bass but it just distorts a little bit at the highest volume and then they also vibrate the whole bottom of the phone at loud volumes it’s not a problem at all i just noticed like i would

feel it more than normal if i had loud music going in my hand so then uh the notch at the top it’s just you can’t not talk about this screen without talking about the notch it’s like a metaphor for the whole phone you can’t talk about this phone without talking about that notch so the fact is it doesn’t really look like any other notch on any other phone it has this face it’s really tall but the weird thing is it’s not actually really that much bigger than a lot of other notches here’s what i mean this is the iphone 10s and the notch is just about the same volume as other notches but it’s narrower and taller instead of slimmer and wider but this choice assuming it was a choice shifts the whole ui more down into the screen and you lose more of the top ears as they call it that’s just losing screen real estate this my friends is what we call in the business a poor use of space do they absolutely have to go with this tall of a notch i don’t know google didn’t really tell us they didn’t really emphasize anything about it in the keynote obviously like were they so set on having two front-facing cameras and a big speaker that they had to go with this tall notch or were they so set on this tall notch that they figured they might as well throw in two cameras and a front-facing speaker i don’t know but it is what it is the truth is a week into using this phone i don’t pay attention to the notch anymore like every other phone i’ve used with a notch but i still want it to go away i still want it to be smaller i’m basically hoping notches and smartphones are a temporary hurdle and we’re kind of over it by 2020 or 2022.

Maybe that’s just me being optimistic but until then if you absolutely cannot deal with a notch you can either get the smaller pixel 3 and deal with a smaller phone with a smaller battery or you can hide the notch by ticking the developer setting that permanently blocks out the top notch section your call so i could talk for a while about performance and smoothness of android on this phone but the bottom line is it’s good that’s the short of it google knows how to tune their own android phone it’s well optimized and this is going to be one of the only phones with android p for a while now on the four gigs of ram i’ll get to that in a second but just the overall smoothness and performance of pixel 3 has been great i’d say my biggest complaint with the software is probably just the gestures honestly i’ve done an entire separate video on all the new stuff with android p including these gestures which were optional at the time but now this is the only navigation option and you’re forced to get used to it which i am but i

still don’t prefer it so that’s just me but then past that pixel has all kinds of little software tricks and smart features possibly making this the smartest smartphone i’ve ever used google lens identifying things in front of the camera all the time that’s smart the now playing feature i love this so it’ll tell you what song is playing in the background of whatever room or car you’re in without you having to ask and it keeps a rolling history of it that’s smart and of course just google assistant in general absolutely useful and call screen call screen is super good i think we’ve all noticed at some point there seems to be more spam calls happening at least to me i’ve noticed it so when you’re receiving an incoming call on pixel 3 with call screen you can either accept reject or screen the call with google assistant and when you do google assistant picks up the phone call hi the person you’re calling is using a screening service from google and will get a copy of this conversation go ahead and say why you’re calling yeah i’m the i’m the ups guy and i’m downstairs do you need to get a hold of them urgently yes if you don’t answer then i have to bring this 2020 mac pro back to the factory thanks connecting you now so basically the live transcription it’s great it

lets me know immediately if it’s just a spammer robot calling and then i can hang up or mark it as spam or if it’s a real person but i actually found most real people when they hear that google assistant voice they either immediately hang up or they think it’s a voicemail they leave a voicemail and then they hang up so if i didn’t catch what they said as they were saying it then when they hang up the live transcription disappears so my one suggestion for google would be to let me like have a saved copy of that live transcription in case they just hang up the battery life on the pixel 3 uh pretty unremarkable very average actually i’m averaging maybe four to four and a half hours of screen on time for my high brightness use for those counting but your mileage may vary but basically don’t expect this to go like all day and then some it’s definitely a one-day phone but again wireless charging is welcome i’m doing it a lot more now with my primary device now that it supports it i’ve also had some conversations with google about things that i was complaining about before like things that weren’t optimized yet bugs they’ve already promised that they’re going to fix my complaint in the last video which was the fact that full screen videos weren’t centered on pixel 3 xl they’re going to change that so that’s awesome shows they’re listening so while we’re at it here’s a couple other

things that aren’t quite right so instagram still needs to update their stories uh yahoo fantasy app is still cut off at the top and so is youtube studio and i’ve also had this bug with background apps that i can try to demo so this bug i’ve had i don’t know if it’ll do it now but we’ll see i’ll be in a music app playing music and a lot of times i’m connected to bluetooth whatever it’s supposed to be playing in the background then i’ll open the camera app and i’ll just take one photo and a lot of times that’s enough to close the music app in the background and completely stop it from playing not only like pausing music but closing it and i have to reopen it and the track starts over it’s a weird it seems like a memory thing i kind of wonder if this would still happen with six or eight gigs of ram maybe it wouldn’t but uh maybe it’s just an easily fixable bug all right i’ve made you wait long enough let’s get to the last big puzzle piece of this phone one of the big reasons you’re all probably here and one of the reasons this phone has been so hyped among content creators youtubers people like that it’s this camera so google’s stuck with one camera on the back in a world where we literally have multiple phones coming out with three or four cameras on the back and google is super stubborn with one but as they should because their software and their image processing is everything so i’ll just say it straight up pixel 3 takes the best photos of any smartphone camera better than

iphone 10s better than red hydrogen better than any samsung or any lg phone better than pixel 2 but i don’t want to just tell you that it’s good i want to tell you why it’s good pixel 3 photos have a plus detail a plus dynamic range a plus autofocus and now even better warmer i think more accurate colors pixel 2 tended to be a little bit cool the sensor is big enough that you can pretty often create a real natural shallow depth of field when you take a photo of something close enough so you don’t need to use portrait mode very often but when you do use portrait mode the edge detection is getting better every year and it’s excellent at this point so the typical photo from a pixel 3 camera has a super strong dynamic range it’s tack sharp from corner to corner which is my kind of camera my only complaint would be sometimes the hdr can feel too aggressive like you know that effect when you have an overdone hdr which can kind of look like a halo around the high contrast areas that’s hard to edit out and so you got to retake the photo when that happens but other than that there’s not a lot to dislike about pixel 3’s camera it has me confident as i’m taking photos that they’re going to be good no matter what uh and none of that like ai tweaking the colors after you take the photo stuff no over processing it’s just a good camera and on top of all that there are some other smart

features that they’ve added this year so motion autofocus is particularly good you tap something on the screen and it locks focus basically on that object and tracks it around the frame not only does it work well but it’s like an added confidence booster that what you’re going to take a photo of will stay in focus super resume which i was pretty hyped for didn’t turn out that drastic i don’t actually use digital zoom that much but i found that when i do go past about 5x things start to get kind of water colory like a like a watercolor painting i’m not sure if super resume is actually preserving any extra detail here in fact side by side with the iphone 10s at full zoom it looks like the iphone preserves more detail which i guess you’d expect when it has a telephoto lens so yeah it’s a cool concept in theory but i think it still needs some work to actually catch up to optical zoom it might be a while but i will say from like 1x to 3x zoom pixel pretty much always looks great and then of course for selfie takers pixel 3 has absolutely the best selfie camera i have ever seen selfie portrait mode is really good and of course having a second even wider angle camera is gonna let you get more in the shot whether it’s more people or more background or whatever you’re into

but just generally not a whole lot of beauty mode it’s tack sharp what you see is what you get and then in the video front it’s still a mixed bag i still say iphone is the best video camera in any smartphone as long as pixel 3 doesn’t have 4k 60 uh and it still has slightly more washed out colors and a somewhat inconsistent exposure but it’s still pretty good stabilization is absolutely impeccable this is actually a handheld shot but it looks like it’s on a tripod which is ridiculous but the microphone is still not that great so if you were thinking about vlogging with this smartphone you this probably isn’t the one overall though as a single camera system pixel 3 is really impressive it’s just a master class in computational photography and just how much software really matters in 2018 so basically i want to give a shout out to the verge’s review title which i actually think pretty much nailed it best it paints the picture that i agree with which is the best camera in a smartphone gets a better phone the best camera gets a better phone if you scroll down to the comment section right now i pretty much guarantee the first three comments all have the word notch in them pretty much guarantee it go ahead scroll down see for yourself it’s like a catch 22.

If all we do is talk about this notch every time the phone comes up then we kind of have to ignore how good the rest of the phone is but if we don’t talk about the notch then they might get the idea that we like the notch or that we’re into it which we’re not so how good this phone is will be overshadowed by how bad this notch is that’s the way it’s going to be and that’s everyone’s fault that’s our fault that’s google’s fault for making it this way that’s reviewer’s fault that’s commenter’s faults it’s everyone’s fault i don’t think google cares if this phone sells much i think what they do care about is flexing what they’re good at which at this point is software machine learning and ai and if you can see that and appreciate it then you’ll like this phone you should get this phone for the camera and or the software they’re both best in class and beyond that there isn’t any really huge reason to get this phone but it’s true the best camera just got a better phone and i’m really happy about that so i’ll be carrying this phone for that reason for now anyway that’s the review until the next one thanks catch you later peace

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