When Google Pixel, the first Android phone running entirely under Google’s control, appeared in October 2016, I became the owner of the basic model, which I have since been using as a primary phone. In just two years, I met only one Pixel owner, and among street passers-by, in cafes and shopping malls, in TV shows and movies, I have never seen him.
In many texts in computer magazines it was possible to read that Pixel is the best Android phone. About what makes the best smartphone surely can be a lot of controversy and different opinions, but let’s say that at least some kind of market popularity should be a compulsory criterion. However, Pixel is much more than an ordinary premium phone, at least in the initial phase of its existence. It’s a strategic project that has an impact not only on the Android platform but also on iPhone devices, and so visible.
Not in the window, but …
Two months ago, Google introduced the third version of Pixel, which is still a product with very low global distribution and almost no marketing. While Samsung, Apple and Huawei bombard ads and are present in the entire capillary structure of operators and distributors all over the world and in Serbia, Google Pixel can regularly be ordered online online stores in only a few major Western European countries, in addition to the US, of course, where Google It has sales outlets. For now, the Pixel 3 Serbian buyer can get, for example, in Germany or through ads. The original Google Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch OLED display and a resolution of 1080 × 2160 pixels, which means that the ratio of the pages is 18: 9 and the pixel density 443 ppi. The bigger model wears the XL mark, it has a 6.3-inch diagonal screen and a resolution of 1440 × 2960 pixels (523 ppi).
In addition to the screen size and larger battery (3430 mAh vs. 2915 mAh), Pixel 3 XL has a notch at the top of the screen, allowing the display to extend practically to the edge of the phone. This notch is also the biggest designer for the XL model (the usual Pixel 3 has a more conservative design on the front) because it is uncomplicated, too large and quite quite different from what we can see on other phones. Starting from the iPhone X, the notch is not well-accepted among users, but it’s the only solution for the front camera and sensors to be placed on the screen, and the space for the display is maximized. Pixel 3 XL adds more criticism to this controversy. “Comfortable” is that you can shut down the software, of course, at the cost of losing a few millimeters of the desktop at the top of the screen.
In addition to the above differences, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are all the same, and the detailed specifications are listed in the table. We note that you can choose between versions with 64 GB or 128 GB storage, 4 GB of RAM, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset. The built-in hardware meets the standards and expectations for premium-class phones, but it’s not impressive. Google is still guided here by the philosophy of the most important optimization of software and hardware as a whole, and that simple numbers do not speak much. This is true because the fluidity in Pixel 3’s daily work, its speed on realistic tasks and the overall impression of the system’s agility can hardly be expressed by numbers.
The claim is especially valid for the camera – while the competition incorporates two or three rear cameras, Pixel 3 still has only one that gives noticeably better results than anything else that exists today on other phones, thanks to powerful intelligence, where Google is ahead of others. We will detail the camera a little later, we only mean that Pixel 3 is a well-designed phone, that the background is on the fingerprint sensor and a camera made of glass, which is great in the first fifth of the phone’s height, and the rest is mattified.
The glass background allows QI wireless charging, but the charger is not supplied with the phone. In the box you will get a standard 18W power charger that allows quick charging. The front of the phone is always black, and the background can be white (Clearly White), Black (Just Black) and Light Blue (Not Pink). When the line is underlined, Pixel 3 is an appealing and somewhat inconspicuous phone, which does not have the so-called. Factor X, like the iPhone XS or Huawei Mate Pro, so that the wider audience would delight in its looks.
Android 9 at home
Pixel 3 is the first new phone in 2018 that comes with the preinstalled Android 9 Pie system. We once used Nexus phones to offer pure Android, but we conclude that there is no such thing anymore. Pixel 3 features Android with Pixel launcher, which, in combination, form user experience. It’s about a sleek, elegant, efficient and attractive interface in which Google has incorporated many original details. There are no bloatware applications, and the complete software comes from Google’s cuisine: Chrome, Gmail, Maps, Calendar, Messages, Drive, Photos … There’s also an inevitable Google Assistant, a smart helper to whom you can issue voice commands and take care of your digital and other obligations. I found, for example, that I would soon be subscribed to some journals. I suppose he did it by analyzing my mail, but what kind of assistant does he lack of insight into your private correspondence?
Moving from the old to the new version of Pixel is painless. You can use the option to restore a backup from Google Drive when you install a new phone. I decided to connect them with the USB-C cable and in a few minutes the new phone had all the applications with all the settings as well as the old one. It was necessary to re-apply to some services and sites, such as Netflix. Although the iCloud or iTunes backup in the iPhone is a very common thing, Android still does not have a universal solution that would allow complete backup of the entire phone, unless rooted, and this is not already in the standard solution for average users. Google for Pixel users has solutions that are not on the standard repertoire of Android, or are better for them.
One of the benefits of Pixel 3 is an ambient display. On a locked screen with a black background, the time, date, temperature with the weather symbol and icon notifications are discreetly displayed. The ambient display turns off in complete darkness, and if it is active, it consumes about ten percent of the battery in 24 hours.
At the bottom of the screen is in the Now Playing section of the screen that shows the name of the music track that is heard in your environment. Now Playing uses its own database of about 10,000 songs located on the phone itself and for identification it does not need Internet connections. Because of these limitations, it is slower than Shazam, but it is conceived more like a fitting detail, not as a complete service for recognizing music. As far as music is concerned, we also add that Pixel 3 does not have a standard headphone jack, but is therefore supplied with headphones with USB-C connector. Maybe in a few years we will look different to exterminating a good old earphone jack, but Apple’s trend is too strong for the competition to resist.
The best camera in the world?
The strongest trump of the new Pixel 3 is its digital photo subsystem. It consists of a 12.2 megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, a maximum aperture of f / 1.8 and a focal length of 28 mm. There are also two front cameras, both at 8 MP, of which the main f / 1.8 and 28 mm, with autofocus, while the auxiliary f / 2.2 and 19 mm. The key component is not the lenses and sensors, but the specialized visual core chip in which the AI system is located. Welcome to the world of computer photography, whose beginner is not Google, but it was clear with the first Pixel that Google launched a revolution in the field of photo on mobile phones. With Pixel 3, some of the paradigms of classic and digital photography are changing, and it seems that the change is too big to accept it so easily: the smartphone is on the quality threshold provided by DSLRs.
Google Pixel 3 captures photos that look fascinating, with extraordinary sharpness, tone range and color. Exceptional level of detail, no grain even in poor lighting conditions. With the new Night Sight, Pixel 3, you can almost totally dark, without flashing, to capture stunningly well-lit photos. In Portrait mode, the background of the subject being recorded will be blurred, which is a bokeh effect for which a large lens aperture is required on DSLRs. Pixel 3 will also save the original photo without this effect, so you can choose which one you like more. Every photograph of any moving object is actually a sequence of several static shots or, more precisely, a shorter video. Pixel 3 has the Best Shot feature that will recommend the best shot. Someone blinked while you were painting – there are no problems, because it was captured a few seconds before and after that and Pixel 3 will find the right shot. Of course, you can also manually select an individual photo from the shot sequence.
When we mention that a camera has a digital zoom, it usually does not represent a significant option, since digital zoom can never be at the optical level. Pixel 3 also puts us here, because its digital magnification is quite comparable to optical. We can only ask ourselves how it would all seem that Google nevertheless decided to install the last two cameras. If you want to create selfi, you have two front-facing cameras. One of them is wide-angle, so you can zoom in and capture more people or most of the scenes behind you in the scene.
To show all the possibilities of Pixel’s photographic skill, we need another full text. Here, we can only ask ourselves briefly, how is all that possible, why is it necessary for the quality photos that Pixel today achieves to be a necessary camera with a relative large lens and sensor, and today the optic replaces “glass” a few millimeters in diameter? What about the digital noise and sensitivity of the sensor, does not the flash really need us anymore? Part of the answer to these questions hides first in the Big Data phenomenon, or the gigantic amount of real-world data that Google has collected on its servers, with all the billions of photos each of us automatically places here using Google Photos. Google simply “knows” what a good photo looks like and how to improve the raw data provided by optics and sensor, complement what is not, and the end result does not work artificially.
There has always been a post-processing of captured photographs in digital cameras, but in some way it was a closed system designed to improve the color balance, sharpness and lighting. Pixel 3, i.e. artificial intelligence embedded in it, recognizes objects, has pre-prepared algorithms that are the result of the empirical “wisdom” of Google’s computer photo system based on the permanent processing of the largest amount of data available to any company or institution in the world. Artificial intelligence here does miracles here, but let’s compare it with the right: and the human eye in a “hardware” view is not perfect – the real picture is created by processing information in the brain. With great impatience we expect the following versions of Pixel, and whether and how many mobile phones ruined or improved photography as an art, it is already another and much more complex topic.
Pixel’s silent audience
If we were to excel only the impeccable progress in digital photography, Google Pixel 3 would be worth it. If we consider it as a complete product, as a smartphone that is designed for a wide range of users and fights for its place under the sun, the conclusion would be this: it’s not a phone whose design brings prestige, if that means something to you; by specification, it’s not the strongest phone in the world; according to the quality of production belongs to the premium class; If you are considering the availability of a sales network and service, do not even consider Pixel.
If it means that you have the latest version of Android-aodmah on your phone after the impression, to enjoy a lightweight and user-friendly interface, you can save super-quality digital photos in an unlimited number in the original format by 31 January 2022 to Google Photos (after on that date, all the photos taken are still there, but for new ones, you must include the option for minimum recompression or will spend space on your Google Account), that you have a platform to try new ideas for smartphones of the future, then Google Pixel 3 right choice.
The price of the basic model is about 750 euros, making it cheaper than the most famous phones in the premium league, but it seems that this price is real for what Pixel 3 offers. Keep in mind that Google produces mobile phones for only two years – the excitement just comes ahead.