The Google Pixel 3 XL has arrived – and it's exactly as the leaks have suggested. Coming with the huge screen and powerful camera we expected, there's a lot to take in about the firm's new flagship phablet.
The phone has been launched at the giant New York event from Google, live-streamed around the world – and it won't be long before you can get your hands on one of (what's like to be) one of the world's best cameraphones.
The news was confirmed by UK carrier Three, which states the phones will be available in 'Clearly White', 'Just Black' and 'Not Pink'.
You'll be able to pre-order the Google Pixel 3 XL from Thursday October 11, and it'll be available to buy from November 1.
The phone has been shown off (although we think that's the Pixel 3, rather than the Pixel 3 XL) in a video by Google – it really doesn't seem to care much about leaking things before going onstage.
The following is from our rumors hub – keep checking back on this news story as we update it with new information as the phone is unveiled by Google.
Since its initial launch, Google's Pixel line-up of smartphones has made an indelible impression. Offering a distinct vision for a 'pure' Android experience, the line has also been distinguished by its superlative camera performance.
Though they had their quirks, 2017's Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were solid smartphones which found popularity among mobile geeks, but perhaps didn't quite offer the wide consumer appeal the search giant may have been hoping for.
Google will go again very soon though, and the Google Pixel 3 XL is tipped to be the flagship leader to the slightly lesser Pixel 3, plus there are also rumors of the first Google produced smartwatch, called the Pixel Watch.
The Pixel 3 XL has a decent foundation to build upon, but it will have to hone its all-round offering if it's going to compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS, Huawei P20 Pro and HTC U12 Plus.
Below you'll find all of the leaks and rumors so far, plus we've put together a list of the things we'd like to see the new handset feature.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next supersized Pixel phone from Google
- When is it out? October 9, 2018
- What will it cost? It will probably start at around $840 (£650, AU $1,129)
Google Pixel 3 XL release date
- Confirmed: an October 9 announcement
It's official: the Pixel 3 XL is landing on October 9, a date revealed by Google itself in a teaser for the phone.
Since then it has teased the Google Pixel 3 range again with a very unsubtle giant 3 on its web store.
The company has also apparently revealed that you'll be able to pre-order the phone immediately after the launch event on October 9.
And the NCC (National Communications Commission) in Taiwan has also certified the phone (as well as the standard Google Pixel 3) and usually handsets get certified shortly before launch.
In the past, in the UK the Pixel series has initially launched as a carrier-exclusive, and there is no word yet on whether the search firm will pursue the same tactic in 2018.
Google Pixel 3 XL price
The Google Pixel 3 XL price will probably start around $1,000 (£850, AU $1,400), which would be a touch higher than the Pixel 2 XL, which came in at $849 (£799, AU$1,399).
Certainly as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has crept above the $1000/£1000 mark there may be temptation on Google's part to bump prices, especially if it plans to include more expensive earbuds and other such goodies.
The Google Pixel 3 XL will almost certainly be priced around 15% higher than the smaller version and it is also likely that a new, higher, max storage option of 256GB will be introduced, with this then being the most expensive available.
Google Pixel 3 XL design and display
- A big notch
- A 6.2 or 6.3-inch 1440 x 2960 or 1440 x 2880 OLED screen
- A two-tone design
Our best look yet at the Google Pixel 3 XL comes from a hands-on conducted by Engadget after the site seemingly got hold of the handset early from a phone shop.
The design matches others leaks, with a large notch, a rear-facing fingerprint scanner and a two-tone back, while the screen is apparently a 6.3-inch 1,440 x 2,960 OLED one which the site says is better than the Pixel 2 XL's. You can see images from the hands-on below.
Thanks to a promotional teaser site that Google has put up in Japan, we might also have been given a sneak preview of the colors that the Pixel 3 XL will be offered in. The phone image on the website cycles through three colors: black, white and mint.
That would be one extra color than the Google Pixel 2 XL was offered in, because white and black were the only options with Google's 2017 handset. The same three colors were also apparently teased in a promotional email from Google.
A different leak refuted the 'mint' theory by suggesting that in addition to white and black, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will come in a pink-hued 'Sand' color. We might not find out the third "fun" color for certain until Google unveils the phones on October 9.
This sandy claim is now looking likely, as just such a shade has now been advertised by a Canadian carrier, with the name 'Not Pink'.
Another close look at the Google Pixel 3 XL comes from a leaked hands on video, which you can see below.
It matches the photos above and the various leaked renders which you'll find further down this article, but also shows a comparison with the Pixel 2 XL, highlighting that the two phones are roughly the same size, despite the 3 XL having a bigger screen.
Interestingly, the video also says that the haptic feedback is better here than it was on the Pixel 2 XL, as well as revealing that the phone apparently supports wireless charging.
We've also seen various other leaked photos of the Pixel 3 XL and one thing is clear in all of them: this phone has a big notch.
There are a variety of leaks of the handset – you'll see most of the photos so far below – and these shots from Russian blogger Rozetked provide one the clearer looks at the phone.
He says the phone features a 2960 x 1440 display, a fingerprint sensor on the rear of the majority aluminium body (there's a glass section at the top) as well as the SIM card slot sitting on the bottom edge of the device alongside the USB-C port.
You'll note that the power button on the white handset is mint-colored, something which we've also seen on the leaked (but apparently official) renders below.
Given that all the clear leaks have only shown the Google Pixel 3 XL in white, black or sand, this could be the closest we'll get to a mint shade.
The source of the images below also says that the screen will be a 6.2-inch one with a 1440 x 2880 resolution, which is slightly different to the rumored resolution above. The size is also slightly different to the 6.3-inch claim at the top of this section.
This source also said that the back was glass rather than metal, so that's something else that sources can't totally agree on.
You can see some more images below, taken from two different sources, and will also note details such as a two-tone rear and a bezel housing a speaker below the screen.
Other details include a truly edge-to-edge display at the sides, particularly visible in these pictures taken on a Toronto subway (also shown above), a single-lens rear camera and a dual-lens front-facing one.
Other similar leaked photos have also emerged, so it's looking very likely that this is the design of the Pixel 3 XL. You can see a few more in the gallery below and will note that there's no 3.5mm headphone port.
Still not seen enough? Well you're in luck, because the Google Pixel 3 XL has seemingly leaked yet again, this time being snapped after apparently being left in a Lyft car.
You can see those pictures below, but they match up exactly with the other leaks, so don't expect any surprises.
We've also seen various leaked renders from factory CADs (computer-aided designs), and they show both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL from all angles.
You can see those images below. Note that they both have just a single-lens rear camera (something that's also seen in the images above and a leaked case picture), but that they seemingly have dual-lens front-facing cameras and – in the Pixel 3 XL's case – a notch. This all lines up with the leaked photos above.
The source that supplied these renders says the Google Pixel 3 XL will have a 6.2-inch display and measure 158 x 76.6 x 7.9mm, widening to 8.6mm where the camera sticks out.
We've even seen pictures from well-known tipster Evan Blass, below, reiterating the designs that have already leaked.
However, a video leak suggests the Pixel 3 XL XL may have a screen even larger than the rumored 6.2 or 6.3 inches, going up to 6.7 inches, making it a true behemoth even among phablets.
We're skeptical though, as the screen doesn't look that big in the leaked photos we've seen.
Whatever the size though, a separate leak suggests the resolution will be 1440 x 2960, which is in line with other flagships, while the display will probably be OLED, and the aspect ratio based on images will probably be 19:9 or similar.
Screen protectors supposedly for the Pixel 3 XL have also leaked. You can see them below and they match the design rumored above.
A video (below) has also given us a look at a Google Pixel 3 XL screen protector on top of the Pixel 2 XL, revealing that the two handsets are roughly the same size and that the notch and bottom bezel don't stick out any more than the bezels on the Pixel 2 XL either, so maybe the notch won't be so massive after all.
The notch and bezel are also measured in the video, with the bezel coming in at around a third of an inch deep and the notch coming in at roughly the same depth and around 1-inch across. Not small then, but not as big as you might have expected.
Google Pixel 3 XL OS and power
- Snapdragon 845 chipset
- 4GB of RAM
- 128GB of storage
A recent leak reveals that the Pixel 3 XL will likely have a Snapdragon 845 chipset and 4GB of RAM. That's the current top-end Snapdragon chipset, but some phones have more RAM than that.
Another source adds that the chipset will be clocked at up to 2.8GHz and that along with a 128GB model there will also be a 64GB one, but that there won't be a microSD card slot.
The Pixel 3 XL will of course also run Android Pie. Not only has that been rumored but there's really no way it would run anything else.
Unsurprisingly, the Active Edge feature from the Pixel 2 range (which lets you squeeze the sides to interact with the phone) is also rumored to be making a return.
In fact, we've even now seen the feature in action in a leaked marketing video, which also showed that various gesture controls and shortcuts are coming back, such as the ability to double tap the screen to wake it.
Google Pixel 3 XL camera and battery
- Single-lens 12.2MP rear camera
- Dual-lens 8MP front-facing camera
- Wireless charging
Images all suggest that there will just be a single sensor on the rear but a dual-lens (possibly 8MP) camera on the front of the Pixel 3 XL and we now have a little bit of information about those cameras.
For one thing, a hands-on claims that the rear camera is a 12.2MP one (just like the Pixel 2 XL), while the two front cameras are both 8MP. They also add that the rear camera can shoot in up to 4K at 30fps, while the front cameras top out at 1080p.
Sources also claim that one of the front-facing lenses will be wide-angle and that the two lenses combined will allow for a better bokeh effect (portrait mode) as well as something called 'Super Selfies', which is currently unexplained.
The same sources aren't sure whether or not the extra lens will allow for better facial recognition, but they claim the rear camera is great in low light and comes with an upgraded Visual Core chip that – unlike the chip in the Pixel 2 range – does more than just improve the processing of HDR+ images.
There's also been a suggestion that the camera is set to impress, as the standard Pixel 3 (which is likely to have the same camera) is rumored to have a DxOMark score of 107.
DxOMark is a respected smartphone camera review site and that score would be an increase on the 98 scored by the Pixel 2, though would still put it below the Huawei P20 Pro with its score of 109.
We may also get some new AR features on the camera, such as the ability to scan in email addresses from business cards, which is shown in the leaked video above.
Elsewhere, a magazine listing talks about the Google Pixel 3 range having a 'Top Shot' feature, designed to help you 'capture the perfect shot every time'.
We don't know what size the battery will be, but there are rumors of wireless charging, which is a long overdue feature for the range. Another rumor suggests the phone will come with wireless charging, but it won't come with a charger in the box.
Google Pixel 3 XL: what we want to see
The Pixel 2 XL got 4.5 stars in our in-depth review, so there’s still room for improvement, and adding the following features to the Google Pixel 3 XL would be a step in the right direction.
1. Smaller bezels
The Pixel 2 XL had smaller bezels than the Pixel 2, but compared to 2018's onslaught of almost bezel-less devices more can be done by Google.
We'd like to see the bezels on the Google Pixel 3 XL slimmed even more, allowing for a larger screen in a similar form factor. As well as looking good it will also help keep the Pixel 3 XL relevant against the likes of the iPhone 11 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei P20 Pro.
2. Customizable Active Edge
Active Edge on the Pixel 2 XL lets you squeeze the sides to launch Google Assistant. It’s a handy feature, but unlike on the HTC U11 that’s all it does and it can’t be re-mapped.
For the Google Pixel 3 XL we'd like to see the feature to return, but we want it to be context-sensitive.
For example, if used in the camera app it would take a photo, while core functionality can be customized, so you can use it as a shortcut to whatever app or feature you want.
3. Camera app improvements
The Pixel 2 XL has one of the best cameras around, but we want even more from the Google Pixel 3 XL.
The trend at the moment is dual rear cameras (and in a few cases more than that), but Google stuck with a single rear snapper in 2017 and still got great results.
If Google does implement dual cameras it needs to do so with a clear reason, rather than simply just following the trend.
Google's software could still use some work. We'd like gesture controls for timed photos and the ability to switch between the main and selfie cameras with a swipe, like you can on Samsung and LG phones.
They're little tweaks, but they’d make using the camera a little faster and a little more pleasant.
4. A return of the headphone jack
Despite taking a dig at Apple for ditching the headphone jack when launching the original Pixel, Google has also got rid of it for the Pixel 2 XL, which is a decision we’d like to see reversed for the Google Pixel 3 XL.
We don’t expect that to happen, if anything ever more handsets are going to start removing the port, but for many users it’s an inconvenience and the benefits of its removal just don’t seem overly compelling.
5. Wireless charging
The Pixel 2 range have reasonable battery life and support fast charging, but don’t come with have wireless charging, which is a major omission, especially now even Apple is supporting it.
We expect wireless charging to become a lot more popular in the next year, thanks to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, so it will stand out even more if the Google Pixel 3 XL doesn’t support it.
Once you've equipped your home and office with wireless charging pads (at admittedly, an additional cost to yourself) you'll quickly see the benefit and ease of charging your phone wirelessly.
6. Screen improvements
The screen on the Google Pixel 2 XL show room for improvement. The QHD panel on the Pixel 2 XL is sharp enough, but in our review we found that the viewing angles aren’t great and nor is it especially vibrant, so we’d like to see work done to improve those aspects for the Google Pixel 3 XL.
There were also numerous complainants about the Pixel 2 XL display, including a screen burn-in issue. Google later release software updates to address some of these issues, but for the Pixel 3 XL, Google needs to learn from its mistakes and get it right first time.
7. Better water resistance
The Pixel 2 XL sports IP67 certification, which means it can survive being submerged up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes.
That should be plenty, but these are flagship phones we’re talking about and some rivals offer more. The Samsung Galaxy S8 for example has IP68 certification, meaning it can be submerged 1.5 meters deep for the same duration.
It’s a small change, but one that could at the very least give buyers more peace of mind that their expensive purchase is fully protected against rain and spills.