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Google Pixel 3 XL first impressions – improvement across the board

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The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer significant improvements over the previous model –  the popular Pixel 2 –  including a better camera and more intelligence across the board.

Tech Guide has had the Pixel 3 XL for a few days now and our first impressions of the product are quite positive.

We will publish our complete review closer to the November 1 release date.

The main thing we focused on in our initial look at the device was the on-board camera.

There is still only one lens –  a defiant stand against its competitors which now have up to 3 lenses on their rear panels –  but the Pixel 3 still manages to be a standout camera.

It has a 12.2-megapixel resolution through the rear camera and dual 8-megapixel front facing cameras.

The only difference between the two new Pixel 3 smartphones are just the screen sizes at 5.5-inch (Pixel 3) and 6.3-inch (Pixel 3 XL).

We had the larger Pixel 3 XL which we found to be a good size (we do love bigger phones) and it felt good in the hand.

The device is running the brand-new Android 9.0 Pie operating system.

Android users will enjoy this pure experience without any annoying UI (user interface) over the top of it.

All of the other features including the cameras are exactly the same.

Design-wise, the Pixel 3 retains the similar two tone gloss/matte rear panel with the camera and fingerprint reader.

The display is the biggest change with Google joining the growing list of companies to include a notch on the display.

And not just any old notch, this is one of the deepest notches you will find on a smartphone.

But, unlike other devices, you can’t turn that notch off. It’s that or nothing.

A shot with the Pixel 3 XL

There is still plenty of screen real estate on either side of the notch that is used to display plenty of information including the time, notifications, signal strength and battery level.

The camera is the most obvious feature to focus on (pardon the pun) for this first look at the device.

Now the camera has AI to make it even smarter and optimise images on the fly.

This real-time processing can be seen through the live view on the display so what you see is what you get.

A lowlight shot with the Pixel 3 XL

And you get remarkable results with clear sharp images, natural colour, great contrast and impressive lowlight performance.

We particularly liked the improved selfie cameras on the front.

Traditionally you needed a pretty long arm or a selfie stick to capture that wider angle shot to fit in all your friends or a significant landmark behind you.

A close-up shot with the Pixel 3 XL

But with the Pixel 3, you can now zoom out to a wider angle – thanks to those two cameras working together – and get even more into your shot.

We tested this in London at the Tower Bridge with a regular selfie and a wide angle selfie in the same spot.

Google Lens provides information about what it can see through the lens

As you can see from our images, there is a world of difference and much more space to fit in even more and get really creative.

We also put the Super Res Zoom feature to the test and found that even at 10x zoom, the images were still relatively sharp and clear.

A regular selfie with the Pixel 3 XL

Also included is Google Lens which can provide information about what the camera is aiming at whether it’s a landmark, an animal or plant, a product and books and media.

We will  share our thoughts on the device’s performance and battery life in our full review  which we will publish on Tech Guide on November 1.

A wide-angle selfie with the Pixel 3 XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be priced at $1,199 and $1,399 respectively and are available for pre-order now and will be released on November 1 through Optus, Vodafone and Telstra as well JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and the Google Store.