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Google Pixel 3 review

Google Pixel 3 Review - Google's New All-Rounder?

Updated by Timo Altmeyer on the 4. March 2022

As every year, Google introduced a new Pixel Smartphone at the beginning of October. The Google Pixel 3 promises to be a smartphone that leaves nothing to be desired. Top current hardware meets a well maintained Android OS with the latest Google features. For a month, the Pixel 3 accompanied me as a "Daily Driver". More in the review.

Our rating

Update October 2020

The Google Pixel 3 is still occasionally available, but advanced models have now appeared. The  Google Pixel 5  is the new and, at the same time, current high-end device in the Pixel series. This is also new and can be assigned to the middle class segment  Google Pixel 4a .

Foreword: Google Pixel 3

As Google on 09. October presented the two new Pixel Smartphones, was disappointed with many fans of the smartphone series, the disappointment. Probably the most controversial design feature 2018, the so-called Notch, has made it to the Google Pixel 3 XL. Google has even gone a step further and missed the XL smartphone is not a subtle, but an oversized Notch towering far into the display.

For incomprehension also ensures the high price level of the new pixel generation. Starting prices are 849 € for a pixel 3 and 949 € for a pixel 3 XL! The following review deals with the Google Pixel 3.

Design, workmanship and delivery


The Google Pixel 3 is an extremely compact smartphone that is largely based on the design of its predecessor. The case dimensions are just 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9 mm, with a weight of only 148g.

Google Pixel 3 pixels stand

 The pixel 3 is constructed as follows: 

Although the housing dimensions of the Pixel 3 are very similar to those of its predecessor, the display diagonal has grown from 5 inches to a proud 5.5 inches. This is made possible by the bezel, which is clearly shrunk towards the top and bottom. The visibly rounded corners of the display are noticeable, although they are only generated by the software by fading out individual pixels. We don't have to worry about a notch with the Pixel 3. To the delight of the Notch critics, it did not make it onto the small pixel smartphone.

Google Pixel 3 front side

The receiver, which also acts as a front speaker, is located above the display. At the same time, there is another loudspeaker in the same design under the display. Further design features of the front are the two 8 megapixel front cameras with wide angle and telephoto zoom, as well as the proximity or brightness sensor. There is no notification LED. Instead, missed calls and other notifications are shown directly on the always-on display.

Google Pixel 3 smartphone

The smartphone is available in the colors "Just Black", "Clearly White" and "Not Pink". The housing frame is made of aluminum. On the right is the power button with the volume rocker below. A distinctive design feature of the Pixel 3 is the color accentuation of the power button in mint green (Cearly White) or orange (Not Pink). The nano SIM slot (single SIM) is located on the underside of the frame, to the left of the USB-C socket (USB 3.1). In accordance with protection class IP68, the smartphone is dust-tight and protected against permanent submersion.

Google Pixel 3 back side

The back of the Pixel 3 is made of hardened Corning Gorilla Glass 5. This is not only scratch-resistant, but also particularly break-proof. For a better grip, the majority of the back is provided with a matt coating. Since the coating is over the Gorilla Glass, it is not protected from scratches. Keys and other things you carry around can scratch the coating! A small cutout above the fingerprint scanner does not need a coating. This surrounds the main camera, the adjacent spectral and flicker sensor and the LED flash.


The build quality of the Pixel 3 is straightforward. The smartphone is clean and composed without unsightly gaps. The SIM slot closes flush and the control buttons sit firmly in the housing with a good pressure point.

What's in the box

The scope of supply is generous and includes in addition to the smartphone a Quick-Switch adapter from USB Type-A (Female) to USB Type-C (Male), a USB-C to USB-C charging and data cable, a pixel USB-C Headphones, a USB-C to 3.5 mm jack headphone adapter, a SIM needle, stickers and a quick start guide. Matching covers and screen protectors are available as optional accessories.

Google Pixel 3 delivery


The Google Pixel 3 is equipped with a 5.5 inch POLED display. The display resolution is 2160 x 1080 pixels. This in turn results in a point density of 443 PPI and an aspect ratio of 18: 9. The manufacturer of the POLED panel is LG.

Display settings and functions

The brightness can be adjusted manually within the display setting, and there is also an adaptive brightness mode that automatically adjusts the brightness to the ambient light. A night mode filters blue light, which is particularly disturbing to sleep. This mode can be activated manually or according to a schedule. There are 3 color profiles to choose from for color matching. There is a "natural" color mode, a "enhanced" mode for slightly richer colors and an "adaptive" color mode that displays colors particularly rich and radiant.

Other settings are the font size, the display orientation, the background, the display size, the screen saver and the inactivity display.

display measurement

The display measurements were made with the help of a Spyder5 colorimeter and the CalMAN analysis software. Display measurements showed a maximum luminance of 428 cd / m² and a minimum luminance of 3 cd / m². As expected, the measured black value is 0 cd / m² (0 lux), which is thanks in turn to the POLED display technology. A POLED display is characterized by the fact that the display does not require any background lighting, but each pixel lights up independently. If black is to be displayed, the pixels simply remain switched off! One of the advantages is an almost infinite contrast (0 lux).

Brightness distribution of the Pixel 3 display

Brightness distribution of the display

The illumination of the display is largely uniform, with no visible irregularities. The luminance deviation is a maximum of 23 cd / m², with the highest luminance at the lower edge of the display and the lowest at the upper edge of the display. The Pixel 3 is closest to keeping the sRGB color space in natural color mode. The color difference is an average of a Delta E of 3.3 and a maximum of 5.7. A slightly increased proportion of blue can be seen in the grayscale.

Display in everyday life

In everyday life, the display of the Pixel 3 leaves a good impression. The 3 color profiles offer the right color representation for every taste. Despite its comparatively low luminance, the display remains easy to read outdoors, especially in sunshine. Flat viewing angles do not lead to any serious color or brightness distortions. Worth mentioning is the dimmability of the display. With greatly reduced display brightness, the display is also very pleasant to read in the dark.


The touchscreen responds reliably and detects up to 10 simultaneous inputs. Touches are detected accurately and without input delay. The display surface is pleasantly slippery and the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 makes it particularly scratch and shatter-proof.


Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Like almost every 2018 high-end smartphone that does not come from Samsung or Huawei, the Google Pixel 3 also uses the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip. The CPU consists of 8 Kryo 385 processor cores, which in turn are divided into a power cluster and an energy-saving cluster. The Snapdragon 845 of the Pixel 3 does not use the maximum possible clock rate. Google lowered the clock rate of the performance cluster from 2.8 to 2.5 GHz, that of the energy-saving cluster from 1.8 GHz to 1.6 GHz.

The graphics processor (GPU) is an Adreno 630 GPU. Regarding the memory configuration, Google has opted for a 4GB LPDDR4X main memory and an optionally 64GB or 128GB UFS2.1 data memory. An additional expansion of the data memory using a microSD memory card is not planned.


Despite the reduced clock rate, the Pixel 3 scores acceptably in the individual benchmarks. In the AnTuTu benchmark, an average of 282.000 points are achieved, which means that the Pixel 3 draws level with other Snapdragon 845 devices. In Geekbench, too, the smartphone scores only slightly worse in both the Songle core and the multi-core test. The measured RAM speed reaches 15.700 MB / s. The writing speed of the data memory is on average 184 MB / s, the measured reading speed reaches 760 MB / s.

Performance in everyday life

The Google Pixel 3 is up to complex tasks. How high-performance the hardware is can already be seen from the start of the system, which only takes a few seconds. The system runs extremely smoothly and apps open promptly. There is still one point of criticism. Apps are ejected from memory too quickly. The brutal memory management takes effect after just a few apps that are open at the same time. This is especially annoying if you have a streaming service running in the background and opening another app ends it. Google is aware of the problem and has already announced a fix.


With the Adreno 630 GPU, the Pixel 3 is equal to all current mobile games. Games such as PUBG Mobile are playable on highest settings without stuttering. So-called thermal throttling does not occur while playing. The temperature measured under load reaches a maximum of 40 ° C at the hottest point.

Google Pixel 3 PUBG Mobile

user interface

When it comes to new Android versions, Google Pixel smartphones come first. The Google Pixel 3 ships with Android 9.0 Pie. Google guarantees system and security updates until 2021. There are no annoying third-party apps to be found with “Pure Android”. The system is clean and tidy.


The main camera of the Google Pixel 3 smartphone uses a Sony IMX363 image sensor with a resolution of 12.2 megapixels (1,4 µm per pixel). This image sensor comes with an f / 1.8 aperture and a PDAF + LDAF (autofocus). Recordings are stabilized optically (OIS) and electronically (EIS). A dual LED flash supports the main camera in the dark.

The front camera, on the other hand, uses a rather unknown Sony IMX355 image sensor. One of the sensors is an 8 megapixel sensor with f / 2.2 aperture, 97 ° wide angle and fixed focus. The other sensor also has a resolution of 8 megapixels, uses an f / 1.8 aperture, an autofocus and a 75 ° wide angle.

Practical test of the main camera

Photo mode

Although the Google Pixel 3 is "only" equipped with a single-sensor main camera, excellent landscape and portrait shots can be made with it. In Photo mode, subjects are rich in detail, rich in color and sharply focused to the edges of the image.

The dynamic range is convincing. There is no serious loss of detail in bright image areas and dark image areas are well lit. Particularly fine structures are very easy to recognize. Image errors in the form of chromatic aberration do not occur. The dual pixel phase detection autofocus focuses precisely and quickly.

night mode

Its strength shows the Pixel 3 main camera in low light conditions or in the dark. If you activate the night mode, the camera AI conjures in the dark particularly detailed, sharp and colorful shots. Even if virtually nothing is visible to the naked eye, the Pixel 3 brings light into the darkness. Slurry image artifacts or strong noise Noise! From several shots with different exposure creates a recording. The recording time varies between 1 and 7 seconds.


Also impressive is the bokeh mode of the Pixel 3. The separation between sharp foreground and blurred background is fully automatic by the camera AI. To calculate the depth of field no second sensor is needed.

Objects and people extract the pixel 3 clean. Even with difficult contours, the smartphone copes well. Within the subsequent image processing, the blurring degree can be adjusted.

Top photo and pixel shift

The top photo feature and pixel shift were newly introduced with the Google Pixel 3. Top photo suggests the best image in a sequence to the user. In the case of group photos or selfies, for example, the picture is selected where nobody is blinking. However, the prerequisite is that the camera's motion function is activated. Top-Foto worked pretty well in the test and the suggestions made were all understandable. It is to be criticized, however, that only the suggestions made by Google can be saved in high quality. All other photos in the sequence are only available in 0.8 megapixels.

The Pixel 3 makes use of the Pixel Shift method. This increases the resolution of an image through several, minimally shifted images. The camera takes several pictures at the same time and combines them into one picture. By overlaying several images, more details are retained and the image is also sharpened. What sounds good in theory was less impressive in practice. Compared to other high-end smartphones, the Pixel 3's images are by no means sharper or more detailed.


 There is no optical zoom due to the lack of a zoom lens. Once again, software-based algorithms are used completely. With the super-res zoom, the Pixel 3 combines several images into one recording. The result is impressive, but does not compete with other smartphones that rely on a zoom lens.

video mode

The Pixel 3 also impresses with its decent recording quality in video mode. As in the photo mode, the picture impresses with a high level of detail, strong colors and pleasant sharpness. What the video mode lacks, however, is a 4K 60 FPS mode. Those who like to record with a smooth 60 FPS have to be satisfied with 1080p. The optical image stabilization also makes hands-free filming a breeze. The sound quality was less convincing in the test. The recorded sound is soft and thin.

Practical test of the front camera

With two wide-angle sensors, Pixel 3's front camera is ideal for both single and group selfies. Bokeh shots with a blurred background masters the smartphone in normal and wide angle mode. The recording quality of the front camera is impressive, with natural skin tones and a pleasant level of detail.


The Google Pixel 3 is well equipped for local LTE. The LTE bands common in Germany are all available. If you like to travel, you don't have to worry about mobile communications when you are abroad. The Pixel 3 can be used worldwide. The following frequencies and bands are supported: 

  •  GSM: 850, 900, 1,800 and 1,900 MHz
  •  UMTS:  1/2/4/5/8/9/19
  •  FDD-LTE:  1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/32/66/71

The transmission rates in mobile communications are first class. The Cat 16 LTE modem enables speeds of up to 1 Gbit / s. Unfortunately, Google does not use dual SIM. Instead, you have to be content with a nano SIM or eSIM. Phone calls can be made with the Pixel 3. The voice quality is excellent in both directions. VoLTE and HD Voice are supported.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The smartphone can handle 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi networks. Dual-AC enables particularly fast and stable transfer rates. The speeds measured in the WLAN are a maximum of 650 Mbit / s in the download and 550 Mbit / s in the upload. Another wireless connection standard is Bluetooth 5.0.

GPS and sensors

GPS, Glonass, Galileo and BeiDou are used to determine the position. A GPS fix takes place within a few seconds and is accurate to within a few meters. The Pixel 3 is reliable when navigating with Google Maps. The signal is constant and without deviations.

The sensor system includes, among other things, an NFC module. Mobile payment via Google Pay or other banking apps is no problem. A fingerprint scanner on the back of the smartphone unlocks it quickly and safely. Other sensors are a 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis acceleration sensor, a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor and an e-compass.


The capacity of the battery is 2915 mAh. Compared to other top models, this is not that much, but the Pixel 3 is comparatively economical in terms of energy consumption. With a little telephony, surfing the web and YouTube you can get through the day well. Additional mobile gaming drains the battery much faster, so that it is over after just 2 ½ hours.

The Pixel 3 takes about 105 minutes to fully charge. A 50% charge only takes 40 minutes. However, the prerequisite is that you use the supplied 18 watt quick charger. The fast charging standard is USB Power Delivery. Despite the Qualcomm processor, Qualcomm Quick Charge is not supported. Optionally, the Pixel 3 can also be charged using the wireless Qi charging function. The Google Pixel Stand charges the smartphone in just under 145 minutes.

Google Pixel 3 review

Google Pixel 3


Handy design
Good workmanship
Powerful hardware
Current Android OS with update guarantee
Exceptional display with hole notch
Good camera equipment with night mode
Good reception quality (Cat 16 LTE)
Precise GPS
NFC with mobile payment options


The matt back is susceptible to scratching
Rabiates storage management
No notification LED
No dual SIM
No memory expansion
No 4K60 video function
Sound quality in video recordings


Even the Google Pixel 3 is and remains a niche smartphone, which will most likely not arrive with the ordinary consumers. Compared to many other high-end smartphones, the Pixel 3 is just one of many. Unfortunately, we are looking in vain for major innovations.

Those who still opt for a Pixel 3, receives a very compact smartphone with the latest hardware and a "Pure Android Experience". The fact that a smartphone does not necessarily need 2, 3 or 4 camera sensors is demonstrated by Pixel 3's Artificial Intelligence, which boasts clean bokeh shots, superb night mode and features such as top-notch photos. The Pixel 3 also benefits by its excellent mobile support, its fast WLAN connection, NFC and the Qi charging function.

Bigger points of criticism are the scratch-prone coating on the back, the brutal memory management, which Google would like to dedicate itself to in a software update, as well as the missing dual-SIM and memory expansion function.

Timo Altmeyer avatar

Timo is the founder of and a real technology expert. From smartphones to e-bikes, from home cinema to smart homes, he always has his finger on the pulse of the latest trends.

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Google Pixel 3


 Processor and memory 
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
GPU: Adreno 630
Internal memory: 64GB / 128GB (UFS2.1)
Memory extension: no

Display diagonal: 5.5 inches
Display resolution: 2160 x 1080 pixels
Screen Protector: Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Multitouch: 10 fingers

Main Camera: 12.2 Megapixel Sony IMX363
* Aperture f / 1.8
* 4 axes OIS
* AI mode
* Autofocus
* Dual Tone LED Flash
Front camera: 8 + 8 megapixel Sony IMX355
* bokeh
* 97 ° wide angle

Dual SIM: no
SIM size: Nano SIM
eSIM: Yes

GSM: 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz
UMTS: 1/2/4/5/8/9/19
FDD-LTE: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/32/66/71

WiFi: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac MU-MIMO
Bluetooth: 5.0
GPS: Yes

* Ambient light sensor
* Accelerometer
* Proximity Sensor
* Hall sensor
* E-Compass
* Fingerprint Sensor

Battery: 2.915 mAh
Fast charging function: Power Delivery
Qi store: Yes
Connection: USB-C

Operating System: Android 9 Pie
Size: 145.6 68.2 x x 7.9 mm
Weight: 148g

What's in the box

1x smartphone
1x SIM needle
1x charging cable
1x charger
2x adapter
1x headphones
1x stickers
1x user manual