With the arrival of the Pixel 4, I think it's time to give you a recap of what a year with the Pixel 3 felt like. I bought the Pixel 3 right when it came out. I was happy with the Pixel 1, but the improvement in the camera was just too tempting. I saw it as the perfect way to ditch having a camera in my backpack, and thus minimising what I carry. And on that particular point it's been perfect. But honestly, the rest isn't looking very good for Google.
Unboxing videos will not inform you if the product will fulfil their purpose or break when you need it the most. We only write our reviews after a decent period of real life use.
Purchased: November 2018 | Frequency: Daily | Price: 850€
- ✅ Good camera
- ✅ Stock Android
- ✅ Low profile
- ❌ Battery and connectivity issues
- ❌ Camera issues
- ❌ Selfdestruction issue
Look and Feel
Some people don't like the generic look of this phone. I do, I appreciate its low profile and simple design. For me a phone is a tool and mostly what I care about is how it feels in the hands and how easy it is to use.
The normal size, not XL, is the size that I like. I understand the benefits of a big screen but to me they are not worth having a fragile thing barely fitting in my pocket. I have my laptop for that.
There is a very tiny camera bump, but it remains smaller than the thin case I use.
After mocking Apple, Google finally chose not to include the 3.5mm port, leaving you to use bluetooth. I am not a great fan of bluetooth, and I can't bother using the adapter included. The fingerprint reader on the back is something that I like although it's being progressively abandoned by manufacturers. Overall the Pixel is pleasant to use and does not attract attention. This is what I ask from a phone.
I like how on paper, Pixel phones look worse than competition, but in use feel so much better. I don't use it for gaming or any demanding applications, so I cannot tell if it's really lacking power, but I never experienced any freezing or lagging. Courtesy of Stock Android, along with the constant updates Google is releasing. Those updates are always improving the experience, bringing useful features (especially to the camera), keeping it smooth and fast. Basically the opposite of iPhones. The device tends to get hot, but it does not prevent it from working normally.
The camera is the biggest feature of this phone. The pictures I took with it are effortlessly gorgeous. Many people more versed into photography praised it is so I will not develop further. Night Sight is surprising, dynamic range is excellent, stabilisation is good, microphone decent. But after a while I developed an eye for those AI enhanced pictures, and I came to like them less. The fake clumsy bokeh (blurry background), the unreal HDR colours, the lack of real sharpness… I have heard Google will drop the unlimited cloud storage for photos in full quality, which was one of the biggest plus for this phone.
My Nexus 4 and Pixel 1 were keeping up so well with the other phones as years went by. Not the Pixel 3.
It is actually on its way to be outlived by Margaux's Pixel 1, two generations older. After a six months, it stopped charging with its original cable (which still works with other devices), and only charges with the Pixel 1 cable. Lately, it takes me the whole night to charge 30%. The front camera vibrates loudly the second you open it, resulting in a blurry picture, making it impossible to skype my clients or my family.
Then all USB stopped working, like reading a USB stick, transferring files from a laptop, mirroring designs from Sketch, USB-C to 3.5mm adapter etc. Other than that, the material is quite fragile. I always kept it in a case, but still managed to get a few scratches and scars. I don't mind too much about the aesthetics, but this surely could be improved.
The best engineers in the world had to design this thing, kids had to extract the resources from illegal mines under the threat of AK-47, often being buried alive, other kids had to assemble it, another team of marketers had to promote it, then an army of workers had to bring it into the hands of customers. Those customers themselves had to work their asses off to spare the price of the rent and buy this phone. Only to see it quickly turning into a brick. I'm done sponsoring such a waste of energy, brain, resources and money.
Yeah it's an excellent phone, but simply not build to last. An insult from a 800€ device, but this is the logic of the market. Programmed obsolescence should be punished by stoning CEOs with the devices who died resulting from such policy. Meanwhile, I am now getting rid of smartphones.