The Ultimate Pixel 3 & Pixel 3 XL Camera Review

Google Pixel just dropped their latest flagship smartphone to the market — the Pixel 3 & the Pixel 3 XL. Are these phones as stellar as promised? We think so.

The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
  • Moment
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It’s Here.

Alas, another fresh smartphone launch.

Google Pixel just dropped their latest devices to the market — the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. Crowds are stoked to see what sorts of tricks Google has up their sleeve for proving their latest model to outshine everyone’s uniform Apple robot. (oops, yeah… we went there). Though the Pixel 3 XL looks to be a marginally more exciting contender of the two, it’s no doubt that Google is making their name become something even more worthwhile in the tech industry.

At Moment, we’re particularly interested in the camera and how each upgrade will make a perfect fit for our lenses. In fact, we personally have members on the team that made the switch from Apple to Google specifically for its advanced camera hardware. So yeah, we’re big #TeamPixel fans.

Here’s what we found:

The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Pixel 3 XL | Lovely highlight profile.

First Off… Single-Lens Camera Rear?

Woah, what? This is the first of our many interesting speculations, especially for those looking for a more complex camera upgrade. Since all new flagship Apples and Samsungs are on board with a dual-lens camera system; specifically operating on Wide and Tele lenses, it’s rather interesting to see they’ve kept with a single-lens rear. Especially if the Huawei P20 Pro has become the first of its kind to launch a 3-camera rear setup — you can see why it’d be confusing Google wouldn’t adjust that feature. But according to 9to5Google, the creators were “doubling down on making a single camera powerful enough to not need a second camera”.

And indeed… the camera rocks. It’s especially useful when paired with Moment’s very own Pro Camera App — and thanks to our engineers’ incredible software algorithms, you can make the any Pixel device shoot like a DSLR in the palm of your hand.

The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Pixel 3 XL | An unedited portrait of our filmmaker, Taylor.
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Pixel 3 XL | Unbelievable clarity in the highlights and shadows.
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Pixel 3 XL | Portrait mode... but on a leaf? It can be done.
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Unedited HDR Mode on the Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 Specs

Price: $799

Speaking specific to hardware here, the cameras aren’t much different than the infamous Pixel 2 that we so oh-so-adored. The back lens is still a 12.2MP with an f/1.8 aperture, while the two front selfie shooters are operating on 8.1MP. With the option of 64GB and 128GB storage space, that leaves mobile creatives with even more room for excellent video and photo taking.

According to 9 to 5 Google, here some hard lovin’ proof on what the Pixel 3 has to offer:

  • Android 9 Pie
  • 5.5-inch display, 18:9 aspect ratio, 2160 x 1080 resolution, 443 dpi
  • 12.2-megapixel rear camera w/ laser autofocus + dual pixel phase detection
  • One 8.1-megapixel front camera, f/1.8 aperture
  • Two 8.1-megapixel front camera w/ wide-angle lens, variable f/1.8 and f/2.2 aperture
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-a-chip
  • 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB storage
  • Bluetooth 5.0 + LE
  • 2,915 mAh Battery
  • Wi-Fi 2.4G + 5GHz
  • Proximity / Ambient Light Sensor
  • Wireless Charging Support
  • 8-core CPU and an Adreno 360 CPU
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Caleb being... Caleb!
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Pizza never looked so good.

Google Pixel 3 XL Specs

Price: $899

Besides the obvious size difference, the 3 XL makes an exciting approach to a bigger LED screen, as well as better performance functionalities for the camera itself. Take a look at some of the phone’s most beloved specs:

  • Android 9 Pie
  • 6.3-inch display, 18:5:9 aspect ratio, 2960 x 1440 resolution, 494 dpi
  • 12.2-megapixel rear camera w/ laser autofocus + dual pixel phase detection
  • One 8.1-megapixel front camera, f/1.8 aperture
  • Second 8.1-megapixel front camera w/ wide-angle lens, variable f/1.8 and f/2.2 aperture
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-a-chip
  • 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB storage
  • Bluetooth 5.0 + LE
  • 2,915 mAh Battery
  • Wi-Fi 2.4G + 5GHz
  • Proximity / Ambient Light Sensor
  • Wireless Charging Support
  • 8-core CPU and an Adreno 360 CPU
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Unedited Shot on the Pixel 3 XL
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Creamy bokeh displayed even in harsh light.

Okay, What’s Up With the Notch?

The rumors are true… a giant notch located at the top of the Pixel 3 XL isn’t the fondest of features Google must have wrestled with. To compromise the design with this dual front-firing speakers and a second forward-facing camera for capturing group selfies, this component had to go somewhere. It’s not the end of the world, but it does seem to affect the flagship's aesthetic.

The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Vintage cars always make a great subject, no?
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Shot unedited on the Pixel 3 XL

HDR+

To make up for the loss of a 2 or even 3-lens camera system, Google added a Visual Core chip to the hardware, making it easy to conceptualize advanced A.I powered photography techniques. With a combination of burst-photos, corrected exposure, less noise, and an improved dynamic range — this camera just might be the leading contender on the current smartphone market. It certainly helps that the screen's OLED technology offers better color accuracy and contrast than its early predecessor, the 2's LED.

The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Sharpened detail seen for miles.
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Excellent shadow retention through backlit conditions.
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Gotta get at least one foot shot...
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
We weren't kidding about the color accuracy!

Portrait Mode

Putting the Pixel's camera to the test on Portrait Mode was the biggest treat. It's a bit crazy to think that some of these shots were taken with a smartphone and NOT a DSLR. Even through the window of a local Seattle pizza shop, we captured stunning magazine-worthy images straight out of the phone. 

Google has include new face retouching modes for better portraits, including “Natural” and “Soft” yet still aim to avoid a plastic sheen look most cameras tend to have. Having to improve computational efforts to make up for the single-rear camera makes the software that much better.

The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Pixel 3 XL
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Taylor on Portrait Mode.
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Taylor on Portrait Mode.
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Can you honestly believe this was taken with a phone?

Night Sight Feature

Google promised that the Pixel 3’s camera will handle low light better than the Pixel 2 with their newly implemented Night Sight feature. While essentially letting the camera take several long exposure photos, it then combines them together so you get one excellent low-light photo. This allows a ton more wiggle room for stunning mobile photography on the go. Pretty soon, we'll be able to shoot astrophotography in the palm of our hands...

...but for now, we'll take portraits by our local 7/11. 

The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Has a 7/11 ever looked this good? I don't think so.
The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Pixel 3 XL

Selfie Time

With Pixels’ gorgeous Wide Angle display, users will have the best of the best selfie-making mechanic in the industry, leaving more room in the frame to capture wider group selfies. These new phones are coming in hot with their 8.1MP front-facing sensor, which is a slight bump from last year’s model.

I mean... look how cute:

The Ultimate Pixel 3 Camera Review
Now that's a selfie!

Pixel 3 Case

No doubt that Google’s smartphone innovation continues to improve with age. Instead of glamming audiences with fancy hardware systems and extra features, like Apple and Samsung, Google prizes themselves on bright software. The fans are wowed with the Pixel 3’s gorgeous design, creative A.I powered camera technology, and simplicity in user-ship. We’re stoked to see what kinds of #TeamPixel captures we’ll see on the ‘gram.

And yup, our gear works with Google. Make your Pixel 3 a better camera with our sexy re-designed photo case; available in black canvas, walnut, and a new tan leather with white speckle.

SHOP NOW

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