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Google Pixel 3 XL Vs Pixel 2 XL - What's New?

With the release of the new Google Pixel 3 XL smartphone, we're comparing its specs with the Pixel 2 XL to see if the extra cash you need to spend is, on paper, worth it.

|  Google Pixel 2 XL in Camera Phones
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Google Pixel 2 XL Black Lens Close Up
Google Pixel 2 XL 


The Google Pixel 3 XL will be available for purchase very soon but with prices starting at £869, is the few hundred quid extra you'll have to pay in comparison to the cost of the Pixel 2 XL (from £599) worth it? That's what we're going to find out as we line up the specs of each smartphone side-by-side. 

Let's start by looking at some of the main specs:

Google Pixel 2 XL Google Pixel 3 XL
6inch, 2880x1440 OLED screen  6.3in, 2960x1440 OLED Screen
Single 12.2MP, f/1.8 rear camera Single 12.2MP, f/1.8 rear camera/td>
8MP f/2.4 front camera Dual 8MP, f/2.2, wide-angle, fixed focus and f/1.8 regular angle front facing camera
Digital bokeh Digital bokeh and post-capture ability
Optical & electronic image stabilisation Optical & electronic image stabilisation
Digital Zoom  Optical (front) & Digital Zoom 
Splash, Water and Dust Resistant Splash, Water and Dust Resistant
Snapdragon 835 & 4GB RAM Snapdragon 845 & 4GB RAM
Not wireless charging Glass back design which allows for wireless charging
64/128GB Capacity  64/128GB Capacity 
Size: 158mm x 76.7mm Size: 158mm x 76.7mm
3520mAh battery 3430mAh battery
Start at £599 Start at £869

*The specs in bold highlight what's different about the two smartphones from Google. 


Slightly Bigger Screen, Same Body Size 

0.3in is what separates the Pixel 2XL screen size from the Pixel 3 XL and it's been added without adding extra bulk to the phone, too, which remains the same dimensions as the Google Pixel 2 XL. It's not quite a bezel-free design, though, as the speaker is built into the bottom chin and there's also a new notch at the top of the phone that houses the dual front-facing cameras. The resolution of the screen built into the Pixel 3 XL is also improved over the Pixel 2 XL. 


Two Front-Facing Cameras Now 

Talking of cameras, there are now two lenses built into the front of the Pixel 3 XL - 8MP f/2.2 wide-angle and f/1.8 telephoto lens with a field of view of 107-degrees and 75-degrees, respectively. This is so you can get more people in your group selfies when using the wider lens but you can switch to the other lens when it's just you in the frame. 

The rear camera is, pretty much, unchanged with only some clever software improving its photo-taking capabilities. 


New Camera Modes

Rather than introducing new hardware, Google is using AI and algorithms to improve the Pixel's main rear camera with new camera modes appearing in the smartphone. There's a night mode that promises to take excellent images when light levels drop low and as the Pixel 2 XL did a decent job in low light, it'll be interesting to see how the new Pixel 3 XL performs. Even more so when you think how far this sort of technology has come since the release of the Pixel 2 XL with the likes of Huawei and OnePlus taking smartphone camera capabilities that one step further. 

'Top Shot' is the name given to a mode that captures a burst of HDR photos (before you even think to press the shutter button) and the AI picks the best shot. We've seen this on cameras such as the Olympus E-M1 Mark II so it's a cool feature to see built into the Pixel 3 XL. 

'Super Res Zoom'  is said to help you produce better images when you're using the full length of the built-in zoom (we'll find out when we put the new smartphone to the test) and 'Motion Auto Focus' will help you reduce camera blur when moving (again, we'll wait and see if it actually does when we have the smartphone in the office). 

1/125 sec | f/11.0 | 120.0 mm | ISO 50
Google Pixel 3 XL


Dual Pixel Phase Detection 

When you take photos in Portrait Mode, you can change the blurriness of the background, or change the part of the picture in focus, after the fact. Previously, the Pixel 2 XL used dual pixel technology to create a depth map, so that it could work out what to blur in the background but this couldn't be adjusted after the image was captured. 


Wireless Charging 

A first for a Google phone, wireless charging is now compatible thanks to the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 back and it supports the Qi wireless charging standard so you probably already have a compatible wireless charger. 



The battery on the Pixel 3 XL (3430mAh battery) is actually slightly smaller than the one found on the Pixel 2 XL (3520mAh battery) but it really is a very small difference. 


Google Pixel 2 XL In Hand (3)
Google Pixel 2 XL


Newer Processor 

Snapdragon 845 can be found in the Pixel 3 XL compared to the 835 found in the Pixel 2 XL which, should be, more efficient and help the smaller battery. 


What's The Same?

There's still no headphone jack (they're obviously not cool any more) but a USB-C port is still built in. As mentioned, the rear camera is the same, the Pixel 3 XL is still water/dust resistant and you will still find the fingerprint sensor on the rear of the smartphone. 


Is It Worth Upgrading? 

Of course, we haven't put the Google Pixel 3 XL through its paces yet so we can't comment on how well it captures images but on paper, the changes aren't so huge that it makes us want to run out now and buy one. However, this might change once we've seen the new modes and dual front-facing lenses in action. 

As we're at the stage where the new version is just about to be released, there are some bargains to be had on the Googe Pixel 2 XL which can be purchased, SIM-free, for £599 which is £270 cheaper (wowzers!) than the Google Pixel 3 XL is priced at and it's definitely not out-of-date or lacking in performance so is still worth considering. In fact, the Google Pixel 2 XL still remains in the top half of our 'best smartphones for photography' list so you know it's a device that won't disappoint. 

If you really love the latest phone, you're going to upgrade no matter what but until we put the Google Pixel 3 XL to the test, we'll continue capturing images with the Google Pixel 2 XL. 


Google Pixel 3 XL Vs Google Pixel 3

Wondering which new Pixel, the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, you should buy? Have a read of this: Google Pixel 3 Vs Google Pixel 3 XL - On Paper, Which One Should I Choose?

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