Google introduced its updates to its Pixel line of smartphones this week. The new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL now take the crown as Google’s flagship smartphones–if not the crown for all Android smartphones.
But what's surprising about the Pixel 3 upgrade is that some things stayed almost exactly the same as with the Pixel 2, while other things changed massively. The question for existing Pixel fans is, should you upgrade? Let’s take a look to find out.
Google Pixel 2 vs Google Pixel 3: Specs
Here are the specs for the Google Pixel 2:
Display: Cinematic 5in display, FHD AMOLED at 441ppi, 16:9 aspect ratio
From an internet spec perspective, the phones are pretty identical. Google didn’t boost the type or amount of RAM between generations. Both have 4GB LPDDR4x RAM. The storage options also stayed the same at 64GB or 128GB.
What did change is that Google upped the processor from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. What’s that mean for you? The Pixel 3 should see about a 15-30% speed boost depending on your usage.
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Display & Design
What did majorly change between the models is that the Pixel 3 now has a bigger display, at 5.5in, than the Pixel 2 had, which was 5in. What’s more, Google managed to add size to the display while not increasing the phone’s physical size. It did this by shrinking the bezels.
The Pixel 2 has the smaller 5in display. It’s an FHD 1920 x 1080 AMOLED panel at 441ppi. Because of its dimensions, it's also got a 16:9 aspect ratio–what Google calls “Cinematic”. The Pixel 3 has the smaller 5.5in display. It’s an FHD+ flexible OLED at 443ppi. Because of its dimensions, it's also got an 18:9 aspect ratio–something Google calls “Fullscreen.”
Technically, the Pixel 3 has the superior display here. It’ll look better, no question.
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Battery
The Pixel 3 also wins in the battery department on two fronts. First, it has a bigger 2915 mAh battery, which will give the phone about an hour more screen time than the Pixel 2. But the Pixel 3 also supports wireless charging–a first for a Google Pixel phone. In other words, if you want to be future-proof in the power department, you’ll want to upgrade to the Pixel 3.
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Cameras
For all intents and purposes, Google left the rear camera pretty much the same in the Pixel 3 as in the Pixel 2. The hardware is almost exactly the same: a 12.2 MP lens with optical + electronic image stabilization, that shoots 4K video. The Pixel 3 does feature some software improvements in the camera, but that doesn’t change the hardware specs.
What has changed with the Pixel 3 is the front camera. It now features two lenses instead of the one found in the Pixel 2. While both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 features an 8 MP front camera that shoots 1080p video, the Pixel 3 adds another lens in the form of an 8MP wide-angle lens with a 97º field-of-view, compared to the 75º field of view for the normal portrait camera. This means you can squeeze more people into your selfies.
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Verdict & Cost
So should you upgrade to the Pixel 3 if you have a Pixel 2 already? My recommendation would be to only do it if you want the slightly bigger screen and wireless charging. Besides those features, there aren’t that many differences between the two models.
Well, of course, except the price. Google should stop selling the Pixel 2 soon, but until then you can pick one up for £479 for the 64GB model and £579 for the 128GB model. That compares with the £739 price of the 5.5in Pixel 3 for the 64GB model and £839 for the 128GB model. The question is, is the £260 premium for the Pixel 3 worth it for you?