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Google Pixel 3 Smartphone Review

Mike Wobker, 👁 Daniel Schmidt (translated by Alex Alderson), 11/26/2018

No flagship. The Google Pixel 3 is an expensive smartphone, which retails for US$799 (£739). However, it must compete against comparably equipped but considerably cheaper competitors. Find out in our detailed review whether Google has corrected the issues we had with the Pixel 2 and how the company’s new flagship fares against its competitors.

Google Pixel 3

While last year’s Pixel 2 looked like its predecessor, Google has subtly adjusted the design of this year’s Pixel 3. The display has increased by 0.5-inches to 5.5-inches and the aspect ratio has changed to the increasingly popular 2:1. Google has also equipped the Pixel 3 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC that integrates an Adreno 630 GPU, 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of UFS 2.1 flash storage. The company sells a 128 GB version too, although no models have dual-SIM functionality or expandable storage.

The Pixel 3 currently retails at US$799 (£739), which puts it in the firing line against other flagship devices from Apple, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung and Sony among others. We have chosen to compare the Pixel 3 against the Apple iPhone XS, the HTC U12 Plus, the Huawei P20 Pro and the Sony Xperia XZ3. The Pixel 3 is currently more expensive than all but the iPhone XS of our comparison devices, the latter of which is several hundred dollars more expensive than Google’s latest small flagship.

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Google Pixel 3 (Pixel Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 2:1, 2160 x 1080 pixel 439 PPI, Capacitive, OLED, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 64 GB 
, 52 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: USB Type-C, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, USB Type-C, eSIM
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM: 850, 900, 1,800, 1900 MHz. CDMA: BC0, BC1, BC10. WCDMA: W1, W2. LTE/FDD: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B13, B17, B18, B19, B20, B25, B26, B28, B29, B32, B66, B71. LTE TD: B38, B39, B40, B41, B42, B46., LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.9 x 145.6 x 68.2 ( = 0.31 x 5.73 x 2.69 in)
Battery
2915 mAh Lithium-Ion, Qi wireless charging
Operating System
Android 9.0 Pie
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix ,1.4μm, f/1.8
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix Dual: 8MP (f/2.2) & 8MP (f/1.8)
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers, Keyboard: Virtual, Keyboard Light: yes, Quick charger, USB Type-C cable, Pixel USB Type-C Headphones, USB Type-C to 3.5mm jack adapter, USB Type-C to Type-A adapter, SIM tool, 24 Months Warranty, SAR values: Head - 1.33 W/kg, Body - 1.49 W/kg, fanless
Weight
148 g ( = 5.22 oz / 0.33 pounds), Power Supply: 82 g ( = 2.89 oz / 0.18 pounds)
Price
850 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

A look at the back of the Google Pixel 3 with its single camera and fingerprint sensor
A look at the back of the Google Pixel 3 with its single camera and fingerprint sensor

The Pixel 3 has an aluminum unibody frame that Google has sandwiched between two pieces of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The company refers to the back glass as being ‘soft touch’, which essentially means that it has a frosted finish. The fingerprint sensor remains on the back case, but it has lost the metallic ring around it that Google used on the Pixel 2. The physical buttons sit firmly within the frame and the quality of our test device is great overall. However, we can feel a small gap around the SIM card slot, which is a shame.

The display has rather thick bezels that we measure at around 8 mm (~0.31-inches), which make the device look outdated compared to its contemporary competitors. The Pixel 3 comes in a choice of ‘Clearly White’, ‘Just Black’ or ‘Not Pink’, all of which are IP68 certified against dust and water.

Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3

Size Comparison

Connectivity

The Pixel 3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, which integrates an Adreno 630 GPU. The Snapdragon 845 remains Qualcomm’s flagship SoC at the time of writing, although we expect the company to announce the Snapdragon 8150 within the next few weeks. Google has complemented the powerful SoC with 4 GB RAM and 64GB of UFS 2.1 flash storage, the latter of which should be large enough for most users.

The Pixel 3 also has a USB 3.1 Type-C port, which is the only port on the device. There is an NFC chip too for use with Google Pay and other NFC-based services, and Bluetooth 5.0, which supports aptX and aptX HD. We did not expect Google to reintroduce the headphone jack, but the company has brought back Qi wireless charging support, which is a useful addition.

Left-hand side: No connections
Left-hand side: No connections
Underside: USB Type-C, SIM card slot
Underside: USB Type-C, SIM card slot
Right-side: Power button, Volume rocker
Right-side: Power button, Volume rocker
Topside: Microphone
Topside: Microphone

Software

The Pixel 3 ships with Android 9.0 Pie, while our test device arrived with the November 5, 2018, Android security patch. Google has guaranteed that the device will receive security and system updates until at least 2021.

Our test device only has Google apps pre-installed, which is always a refreshing change from the bloatware that most manufacturers pre-install on their devices. The Pixel 3 supports multi-user accounts should more than one person need to use the device. Google also includes unlimited cloud storage until January 31, 2022, for every Pixel 3 purchase. The company has stated that the data will remain on Google servers after that date, but we suspect people will have to pay to keep their data on the Google Cloud after that date. The Pixel 3 comes with other useful features too like music recognition, the Google AR Playground and Google Lens.

Default home screen
Default home screen
Default app drawer and preinstalled apps
Default app drawer and preinstalled apps
Quick Settings customisation
Quick Settings customisation
Storage settings
Storage settings
Device Information
Device Information
Device Information
Device Information

Communication & GPS

The Pixel 3 supports GSM, 3G and LTE mobile networks. The latter functions at Cat.16, which can achieve up to 1 Gbit/s download and 75 Mbit/s upload speeds. Google promises that the device will work on LTE networks worldwide thanks to its 4x4 MIMO antenna. The device has not only one nano-SIM slot but also an eSIM that is soldered to the motherboard.

The device supports all modern Wi-Fi standards up to IEEE 802.11 ac and can connect to 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz networks. Our test device achieved class beating transfer speeds in our iperf3 Client Wi-Fi tests, which are marginally ahead of the iPhone XS.

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Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel 3
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
659 (min: 610, max: 698) MBit/s ∼100%
Apple iPhone XS
A12 Bionic GPU, A12 Bionic, Apple 512 GB (iPhone Xs)
650 MBit/s ∼99% -1%
Huawei P20 Pro
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
635 MBit/s ∼96% -4%
Sony Xperia XZ3
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
624 (min: 593, max: 636) MBit/s ∼95% -5%
HTC U12 Plus
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
579 MBit/s ∼88% -12%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=307)
211 MBit/s ∼32% -68%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel 3
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
591 (min: 461, max: 651) MBit/s ∼100%
Apple iPhone XS
A12 Bionic GPU, A12 Bionic, Apple 512 GB (iPhone Xs)
587 MBit/s ∼99% -1%
HTC U12 Plus
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
573 MBit/s ∼97% -3%
Sony Xperia XZ3
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
484 (min: 382, max: 499) MBit/s ∼82% -18%
Huawei P20 Pro
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
437 MBit/s ∼74% -26%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=307)
207 MBit/s ∼35% -65%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø658 (610-698)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø591 (461-651)

The Pixel 3 uses BeiDou, Galileo, GLONASS, and GPS for location services, the accuracy of which we tested with the GPS Test app. Our test device achieves a satellite fix with an accuracy of up to three meters (~10 feet) when tested outside, but it could not find a fix indoors.

We also took our test device on a bike ride to compare its navigation accuracy against a professional navigation device, the Garmin Edge 500. The Pixel 3 plotted a 50 m (164 feet) shorter route than the 5.51 km (3.42 miles) route that the Garmin recorded us having cycled. The Pixel 3 could not maintain the same accuracy through corners as the Garmin could, which resulted in corners looking choppier in our included photos. Overall, the Pixel 3 is accurate enough even for precise navigation tasks as its accuracy improved significantly when we rode slower.

GPS test: Google Pixel 3 - Overview
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 - Overview
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 – Cycling around a lake
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 – Cycling around a lake
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 - Loop
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 - Loop
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 - Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 - Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 - Cycling around a lake
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 - Cycling around a lake
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 - Loop
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 - Loop

Telephone Features & Call Quality

Dialler
Dialler

The Pixel 3 expectedly uses the standard Google Phone app to handle calls and to store contacts. The app functions just as well on our test device as it does on any other modern smartphone.

Our test device has impressive call quality and reliably filtered out background noise throughout testing. The earpiece gets loud enough to make calls even from noisy environments.

The Pixel 3 also supports Google Duplex, a feature that Google demonstrated at its keynote. Google Duplex allows Google Assistant to make or receive calls if you are busy, almost like a digital personal assistant. Google Duplex records the conversation, which can be subsequently played back. Alternatively, people can read a transcript instead. Unfortunately, Google had only rolled out the software to the US at the time of writing, so we could not test its functionality in Germany.

Cameras

Photo taken with the front-facing camera
Photo taken with the front-facing camera

The Pixel 3 has dual 8 MP front-facing cameras and a single 12 MP rear-facing sensor that has an f/1.8 aperture. The secondary front-facing sensor has an ultra-wide lens that Google advertises is useful for taking group selfies. Both front-facing sensors take detailed photos that capture fine structures like hair strands and do not artificially blur background imagery. The default camera uses a ‘Retouch’ feature by default, which makes faces look too soft and warm for our liking. Thankfully, its effect can be reduced or switched off. The camera lacks a professional or manual mode, but there are options for adjusting ambient light, white balance and HDR.

The rear-facing camera takes decent photos with vivid colors, albeit colors tend to look slightly darker than they should do. Objects and people are always captured sharply though and are neither obscured in dark areas nor are they overblown in bright areas. Macro shots look better in our opinion, primarily because colors appear more balanced and objects look noticeably sharper. The camera captures fine structures well too. Moreover, Bokeh effects look great and do not contain many artifacts. The default camera app also supports a feature called ‘Top Shot’ too. ‘Top Shot’ uses machine learning to take several photos before and after the shutter is pressed, which allows people to pick the best shot rather than needing to retake a photo.

The main camera’s real strength is in low light, particularly ‘Night Sight’ or ‘Night’ mode. The feature works with all three cameras and dramatically improves the exposure of low-light pictures by taking several photos at different exposures and then stitching them together. The difference in detail captured is striking, as shown in our third comparison picture below. The Pixel 3 cannot compete with a Canon EOS 70 D for image clarity, but our test device takes a noticeably better low light photo than either the iPhone XR or the P20 Pro

Videos also generally look as good as photos. The default camera can record video in up to 4K at 30 FPS, which is encoded in H.264/ACV by default. However, there is a setting that enables H.265/HEVC encoding, which takes up much less space than H.264 videos. There is no professional mode, but the default camera mode has multiple options for different lighting conditions and can deactivate image stabilization should you need to. There is also a ‘motion’ function that does a good job at keeping moving objects in focus.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour

We also subjected the Pixel 3 to further camera tests under controlled lighting conditions with ColorChecker Passport. Our test device generally reproduces colors too brightly compared to the reference color, while dark gray and black tones look too dark. 

Our test device captured our test chart in detail though. The resulting photo is clear and fine structures are visible, although colors look too dark for our liking. The bottom corners are also paler than the rest of the image, but this did not occur during our other test shots.

A photo of our test chart
A photo of our test chart
Our test chart in detail

Accessories & Warranty

Google includes a USB Type-C charger in the box with a matching USB Type-C cable, a 3.5 mm to Type-C adapter, a Type-A to Type-C adapter and a SIM tool.

The company has also introduced a wireless charger called the Pixel Stand, which automatically puts the Pixel 3 into do not disturb mode when the device is locked. The Pixel Stand uses the Qi standard to recharge our test device fully in around two hours. The company sells two types of cases too, one that has a fabric finish and the other that  Google calls ‘My Case’. The latter features designs by artists like Heather Day and Hebru Brantley among other options. Our gray fabric case fitted our test device perfectly. Finally, the Pixel 3 works with the Daydream View VR mount and the Google Pixel Buds. We have included the prices for all these accessories below. The Pixel 3 comes with two years manufacturer’s warranty too.

Accessory Price US Price UK
Pixel Stand $89.99 £69
Pixel 3 Case $40 £35
My Case $50 £40
Daydream View $99 £99
Pixel Buds $159 £159


What’s in the box
What’s in the box
The Pixel 3 fabric case
The Pixel 3 fabric case
The Pixel Stand
The Pixel Stand

Input Devices & Operation

The Pixel 3 predictably uses Google Gboard as its default keyboard. The keyboard works just as well as it does on other devices. The touchscreen on our test device reliably reproduced our inputs quickly throughout testing. The display has a smooth finish too, on which it is easy to execute multi-finger gestures. The position sensor and fingerprint sensor worked consistently too during our tests.

Google has continued to include its Active Edge technology, which can trigger actions like launching Google Assistant when the bottom third of the device is squeezed. The activation force can be customized in Settings. We had to press our test device relatively hard even on the most sensitive setting to activate Active Edge, so we doubt that people will trigger the feature accidentally in daily use.

Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode

Display

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array

The Pixel 3 has a notchless 5.5-inch OLED display that runs at a native 2,160 x 1,080 resolution in a 2:1 aspect ratio. Our test device achieves an average maximum brightness of 398 cd/m² according to X-Rite i1Pro 2, which is well below the maximum luminosities of our comparison devices. It is also slightly behind the maximum brightness that its predecessor achieved in our tests. The display is 91% evenly lit though, which is only a few percent behind that of our best comparison devices.

The device is also UHDR certified, which means that it can natively display HDR content. We do measure a pulse-width modulation (PWM) frequency of 245 Hz though, which could cause eye strain and headaches for those who are PWM sensitive.

383
cd/m²
394
cd/m²
418
cd/m²
383
cd/m²
393
cd/m²
420
cd/m²
383
cd/m²
394
cd/m²
416
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 420 cd/m² Average: 398.2 cd/m² Minimum: 2.46 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 393 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.4 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 1.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
99.6% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.19
Google Pixel 3
OLED, 2160x1080, 5.5
Huawei P20 Pro
OLED, 2240x1080, 6.1
Apple iPhone XS
OLED, 2436x1125, 5.8
Sony Xperia XZ3
OLED, 2880x1440, 6
HTC U12 Plus
Super LCD 6, 2880x1440, 6
Screen
14%
14%
-155%
-7%
Brightness middle
393
569
45%
639
63%
543
38%
395
1%
Brightness
398
578
45%
637
60%
542
36%
402
1%
Brightness Distribution
91
95
4%
94
3%
92
1%
90
-1%
Black Level *
0.37
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.4
1.3
7%
1
29%
6.6
-371%
1.6
-14%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
2.5
2.1
16%
2.2
12%
11
-340%
3.4
-36%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.2
1.6
-33%
2.2
-83%
4.7
-292%
1.1
8%
Gamma
2.19 100%
2.31 95%
1.9 116%
1.835 120%
2.14 103%
CCT
6597 99%
6401 102%
6364 102%
6817 95%
6536 99%
Contrast
1068

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 245.1 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 245.1 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 245.1 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8933 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

OLED displays can individually switch off pixels to create, at least theoretically, absolute blacks. This also resulted in an infinite contrast ratio, which Google refers to as being 100,000:1.

The Pixel 3 also has three display color profiles, ‘Adaptive’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Vivid’. Google sets the display to ‘Adaptive’ by default, which gives our test device a slight blue tint and makes colors look rather cool. The ‘Natural’ profile alters the blue cast somewhat, while ‘Vivid’ mode delivers punchier colors overall. There is also a night mode that makes the color temperature warmer to help reduce eye strain at night, the intensity of which can be adjusted manually.

CalMAN: Color Accuracy – Adaptive profile
CalMAN: Color Accuracy – Adaptive profile
CalMAN: Color Space – Adaptive profile
CalMAN: Color Space – Adaptive profile
CalMAN: Greyscale – Adaptive profile
CalMAN: Grayscale – Adaptive profile
CalMAN: Color Saturation – Adaptive profile
CalMAN: Color Saturation – Adaptive profile
CalMAN: Color Accuracy – Natural profile
CalMAN: Color Accuracy – Natural profile
CalMAN: Color Space – Natural profile
CalMAN: Color Space – Natural profile
CalMAN: Grayscale – Natural profile
CalMAN: Grayscale – Natural profile
CalMAN: Color Saturation – Natural profile
CalMAN: Color Saturation – Natural profile
CalMAN: Color Accuracy – Vivid profile
CalMAN: Color Accuracy – Vivid profile
CalMAN: Color Space – Vivid profile
CalMAN: Color Space – Vivid profile
CalMAN: Grayscale – Vivid profile
CalMAN: Grayscale – Vivid profile
CalMAN: Color Saturation – Vivid profile
CalMAN: Color Saturation – Vivid profile

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2 ms rise
↘ 2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
4.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2.8 ms rise
↘ 2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Our test device gets bright enough to use outside, although reflections can obscure what is being displayed onscreen. This can also happen when sitting under bright indoor lighting, but the Pixel 3’s comparatively low maximum brightness should not be an issue in daily use other than when using the device in bright direct sunlight.

Using the Pixel 3 outside
Using the Pixel 3 outside
Using the Pixel 3 outside
Using the Pixel 3 outside

The Pixel 3 has stable viewing angles thanks to its OLED display. We noticed no brightness or color distortions even at acute viewing angles, although reflections may make the display difficult to read at tight angles.

Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles

Performance

Google has equipped the Pixel 3 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC that integrates an Adreno 630 GPU, 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of UFS 2.1 flash storage. In short, the device is powerful enough for all modern applications, although it has less RAM than some of its competitors like the OnePlus 6T or the P20 Pro. 2 GB/4 GB less RAM may not make much of a difference in daily use now, but it could prove to be a bottleneck in a few years as apps become more resource intensive.

Our test device finished mostly in the middle of our benchmark comparison tables. The Pixel 3 outscored our comparison devices in Geekbench Compute RenderScript and in PCMark Work 2.0 but struggled comparatively in the offscreen portion of GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan, in which it finished bottom of our comparison table. Overall, the Snapdragon 845 in our test device outperforms the average of Snapdragon 845 powered devices that we have currently tested.

Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
13620 Points ∼100%
Huawei P20 Pro
8025 Points ∼59% -41%
Sony Xperia XZ3
13194 Points ∼97% -3%
HTC U12 Plus
12493 Points ∼92% -8%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (10876 - 14489, n=19)
13635 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (836 - 21070, n=197)
4524 Points ∼33% -67%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
7754 Points ∼67%
Huawei P20 Pro
6756 Points ∼58% -13%
Apple iPhone XS
11598 Points ∼100% +50%
Sony Xperia XZ3
7934 Points ∼68% +2%
HTC U12 Plus
8812 Points ∼76% +14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (7754 - 9231, n=21)
8655 Points ∼75% +12%
Average of class Smartphone (883 - 11598, n=247)
4308 Points ∼37% -44%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
2355 Points ∼49%
Huawei P20 Pro
1922 Points ∼40% -18%
Apple iPhone XS
4824 Points ∼100% +105%
Sony Xperia XZ3
2272 Points ∼47% -4%
HTC U12 Plus
2429 Points ∼50% +3%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2272 - 2500, n=21)
2417 Points ∼50% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=248)
1270 Points ∼26% -46%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
9063 Points ∼100%
Huawei P20 Pro
6982 Points ∼77% -23%
Sony Xperia XZ3
Points ∼0% -100%
HTC U12 Plus
8601 Points ∼95% -5%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (8326 - 9868, n=22)
8018 Points ∼88% -12%
Average of class Smartphone (3146 - 9868, n=256)
4551 Points ∼50% -50%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
11744 Points ∼100%
Huawei P20 Pro
8115 Points ∼69% -31%
Sony Xperia XZ3
11474 Points ∼98% -2%
HTC U12 Plus
10264 Points ∼87% -13%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (7998 - 13211, n=20)
10123 Points ∼86% -14%
Average of class Smartphone (6412 - 13531, n=423)
4958 Points ∼42% -58%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
2979 Points ∼79%
Huawei P20 Pro
2942 Points ∼78% -1%
Apple iPhone XS
2998 Points ∼80% +1%
Sony Xperia XZ3
3764 Points ∼100% +26%
HTC U12 Plus
2947 Points ∼78% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2223 - 3764, n=22)
3110 Points ∼83% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (2293 - 4439, n=277)
1709 Points ∼45% -43%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
4882 Points ∼84%
Huawei P20 Pro
3109 Points ∼54% -36%
Apple iPhone XS
5139 Points ∼88% +5%
Sony Xperia XZ3
5810 Points ∼100% +19%
HTC U12 Plus
4450 Points ∼77% -9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4209 - 8206, n=22)
5494 Points ∼95% +13%
Average of class Smartphone (869 - 8206, n=277)
1465 Points ∼25% -70%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
4275 Points ∼82%
Huawei P20 Pro
3070 Points ∼59% -28%
Apple iPhone XS
4436 Points ∼86% +4%
Sony Xperia XZ3
5184 Points ∼100% +21%
HTC U12 Plus
3997 Points ∼77% -7%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3512 - 5189, n=22)
4646 Points ∼90% +9%
Average of class Smartphone (1010 - 5189, n=280)
1360 Points ∼26% -68%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
2781 Points ∼76%
Huawei P20 Pro
2940 Points ∼80% +6%
Apple iPhone XS
2952 Points ∼80% +6%
Sony Xperia XZ3
3672 Points ∼100% +32%
HTC U12 Plus
2656 Points ∼72% -4%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2110 - 3763, n=21)
3081 Points ∼84% +11%
Average of class Smartphone (375 - 4493, n=292)
1689 Points ∼46% -39%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
6404 Points ∼43%
Huawei P20 Pro
3503 Points ∼23% -45%
Apple iPhone XS
14951 Points ∼100% +133%
Sony Xperia XZ3
8369 Points ∼56% +31%
HTC U12 Plus
6419 Points ∼43% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (5228 - 8451, n=21)
7720 Points ∼52% +21%
Average of class Smartphone (131 - 14951, n=292)
2068 Points ∼14% -68%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
4966 Points ∼63%
Huawei P20 Pro
3360 Points ∼43% -32%
Apple iPhone XS
7856 Points ∼100% +58%
Sony Xperia XZ3
6517 Points ∼83% +31%
HTC U12 Plus
4882 Points ∼62% -2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4054 - 6568, n=21)
5771 Points ∼73% +16%
Average of class Smartphone (159 - 7856, n=293)
1734 Points ∼22% -65%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
3203 Points ∼86%
Huawei P20 Pro
2926 Points ∼79% -9%
Apple iPhone XS
2960 Points ∼80% -8%
Sony Xperia XZ3
3703 Points ∼100% +16%
HTC U12 Plus
3197 Points ∼86% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2118 - 3703, n=21)
3268 Points ∼88% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (2281 - 4216, n=352)
1642 Points ∼44% -49%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
5188 Points ∼100%
Huawei P20 Pro
3017 Points ∼58% -42%
Apple iPhone XS
3712 Points ∼72% -28%
Sony Xperia XZ3
5092 Points ∼98% -2%
HTC U12 Plus
3488 Points ∼67% -33%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3488 - 5241, n=21)
4944 Points ∼95% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (815 - 5241, n=352)
1186 Points ∼23% -77%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
4560 Points ∼97%
Huawei P20 Pro
2996 Points ∼64% -34%
Apple iPhone XS
3514 Points ∼75% -23%
Sony Xperia XZ3
4700 Points ∼100% +3%
HTC U12 Plus
3419 Points ∼73% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3197 - 4734, n=21)
4424 Points ∼94% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (951 - 4734, n=360)
1134 Points ∼24% -75%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
2533 Points ∼70%
Huawei P20 Pro
2885 Points ∼80% +14%
Apple iPhone XS
Points ∼0% -100%
Sony Xperia XZ3
3603 Points ∼100% +42%
HTC U12 Plus
2774 Points ∼77% +10%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2159 - 3668, n=21)
3129 Points ∼87% +24%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 4215, n=384)
1540 Points ∼43% -39%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
7075 Points ∼88%
Huawei P20 Pro
3335 Points ∼42% -53%
Apple iPhone XS
Points ∼0% -100%
Sony Xperia XZ3
8014 Points ∼100% +13%
HTC U12 Plus
5637 Points ∼70% -20%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (5637 - 8312, n=21)
7818 Points ∼98% +11%
Average of class Smartphone (46 - 8312, n=384)
1632 Points ∼20% -77%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
5059 Points ∼80%
Huawei P20 Pro
3223 Points ∼51% -36%
Apple iPhone XS
Points ∼0% -100%
Sony Xperia XZ3
6300 Points ∼100% +25%
HTC U12 Plus
4585 Points ∼73% -9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4529 - 6454, n=21)
5843 Points ∼93% +15%
Average of class Smartphone (58 - 6454, n=392)
1387 Points ∼22% -73%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
32914 Points ∼89%
Huawei P20 Pro
22441 Points ∼61% -32%
Apple iPhone XS
27400 Points ∼74% -17%
Sony Xperia XZ3
36794 Points ∼100% +12%
HTC U12 Plus
33810 Points ∼92% +3%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (15614 - 37475, n=21)
33400 Points ∼91% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (3958 - 37475, n=539)
12880 Points ∼35% -61%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
84256 Points ∼53%
Huawei P20 Pro
33472 Points ∼21% -60%
Apple iPhone XS
160199 Points ∼100% +90%
Sony Xperia XZ3
83927 Points ∼52% 0%
HTC U12 Plus
81726 Points ∼51% -3%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (53794 - 84998, n=21)
80111 Points ∼50% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 162695, n=539)
17994 Points ∼11% -79%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
62568 Points ∼81%
Huawei P20 Pro
30176 Points ∼39% -52%
Apple iPhone XS
77128 Points ∼100% +23%
Sony Xperia XZ3
65330 Points ∼85% +4%
HTC U12 Plus
62152 Points ∼81% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (34855 - 65330, n=21)
60990 Points ∼79% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=540)
15114 Points ∼20% -76%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
127 fps ∼51%
Huawei P20 Pro
121 fps ∼48% -5%
Apple iPhone XS
251 fps ∼100% +98%
Sony Xperia XZ3
152 fps ∼61% +20%
HTC U12 Plus
98 fps ∼39% -23%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (98 - 152, n=22)
144 fps ∼57% +13%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=564)
31.4 fps ∼13% -75%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
61 fps ∼97%
Huawei P20 Pro
60 fps ∼96% -2%
Apple iPhone XS
60 fps ∼96% -2%
Sony Xperia XZ3
60 fps ∼96% -2%
HTC U12 Plus
59 fps ∼94% -3%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (58 - 89, n=21)
62.7 fps ∼100% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=567)
25 fps ∼40% -59%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
55 fps ∼48%
Huawei P20 Pro
61 fps ∼53% +11%
Apple iPhone XS
115 fps ∼100% +109%
Sony Xperia XZ3
83 fps ∼72% +51%
HTC U12 Plus
72 fps ∼63% +31%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (54 - 83, n=21)
73 fps ∼63% +33%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 132, n=486)
16.8 fps ∼15% -69%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
54 fps ∼90%
Huawei P20 Pro
54 fps ∼90% 0%
Apple iPhone XS
60 fps ∼100% +11%
Sony Xperia XZ3
50 fps ∼83% -7%
HTC U12 Plus
35 fps ∼58% -35%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (35 - 75, n=21)
55 fps ∼92% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 115, n=489)
16 fps ∼27% -70%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
46 fps ∼74%
Huawei P20 Pro
39 fps ∼63% -15%
Apple iPhone XS
62 fps ∼100% +35%
Sony Xperia XZ3
57 fps ∼92% +24%
HTC U12 Plus
39 fps ∼63% -15%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (32 - 61, n=22)
54.4 fps ∼88% +18%
Average of class Smartphone (10 - 88, n=349)
14.3 fps ∼23% -69%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
41 fps ∼85%
Huawei P20 Pro
36 fps ∼75% -12%
Apple iPhone XS
48 fps ∼100% +17%
Sony Xperia XZ3
31 fps ∼65% -24%
HTC U12 Plus
31 fps ∼65% -24%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (25 - 59, n=21)
46.5 fps ∼97% +13%
Average of class Smartphone (9.8 - 110, n=352)
13.9 fps ∼29% -66%
GFXBench
High Tier Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
23 fps ∼66%
Huawei P20 Pro
14 fps ∼40% -39%
Apple iPhone XS
35 fps ∼100% +52%
Sony Xperia XZ3
14 fps ∼40% -39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (13 - 25, n=10)
19.8 fps ∼57% -14%
Average of class Smartphone (3.6 - 59, n=62)
10.2 fps ∼29% -56%
2560x1440 High Tier Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
11 fps ∼50%
Huawei P20 Pro
8.6 fps ∼39% -22%
Apple iPhone XS
22 fps ∼100% +100%
Sony Xperia XZ3
14 fps ∼64% +27%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (11 - 31, n=10)
15.4 fps ∼70% +40%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 31, n=62)
6.49 fps ∼30% -41%
Normal Tier Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
27 fps ∼66%
Huawei P20 Pro
23 fps ∼56% -15%
Apple iPhone XS
41 fps ∼100% +52%
Sony Xperia XZ3
21 fps ∼51% -22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (20 - 40, n=10)
28.5 fps ∼70% +6%
Average of class Smartphone (5.7 - 59, n=62)
14.4 fps ∼35% -47%
1920x1080 Normal Tier Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
29 fps ∼60%
Huawei P20 Pro
23 fps ∼48% -21%
Apple iPhone XS
48 fps ∼100% +66%
Sony Xperia XZ3
37 fps ∼77% +28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (29 - 38, n=9)
35 fps ∼73% +21%
Average of class Smartphone (6 - 63, n=61)
15.7 fps ∼33% -46%
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
28 fps ∼74%
Huawei P20 Pro
23 fps ∼61% -18%
Apple iPhone XS
38 fps ∼100% +36%
Sony Xperia XZ3
35 fps ∼92% +25%
HTC U12 Plus
35 fps ∼92% +25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (25 - 35, n=21)
34 fps ∼89% +21%
Average of class Smartphone (6.3 - 54, n=280)
9.86 fps ∼26% -65%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
26 fps ∼84%
Huawei P20 Pro
22 fps ∼71% -15%
Apple iPhone XS
31 fps ∼100% +19%
Sony Xperia XZ3
19 fps ∼61% -27%
HTC U12 Plus
20 fps ∼65% -23%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (17 - 37, n=21)
28.3 fps ∼91% +9%
Average of class Smartphone (6 - 58, n=283)
8.89 fps ∼29% -66%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
280162 Points ∼80%
Huawei P20 Pro
207959 Points ∼60% -26%
Apple iPhone XS
348178 Points ∼100% +24%
Sony Xperia XZ3
292268 Points ∼84% +4%
HTC U12 Plus
255739 Points ∼73% -9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (246366 - 299878, n=22)
275958 Points ∼79% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (17073 - 348178, n=170)
118332 Points ∼34% -58%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
220797 Points ∼97%
Huawei P20 Pro
179709 Points ∼79% -19%
Sony Xperia XZ3
226853 Points ∼100% +3%
HTC U12 Plus
221971 Points ∼98% +1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (162183 - 242953, n=18)
223967 Points ∼99% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (23275 - 254229, n=390)
76481 Points ∼34% -65%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
1435 Points ∼84%
Huawei P20 Pro
1273 Points ∼74% -11%
Apple iPhone XS
1711 Points ∼100% +19%
Sony Xperia XZ3
1390 Points ∼81% -3%
HTC U12 Plus
1437 Points ∼84% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (1009 - 1613, n=20)
1348 Points ∼79% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=499)
698 Points ∼41% -51%
Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
7965 Points ∼50%
Huawei P20 Pro
3725 Points ∼23% -53%
Apple iPhone XS
15875 Points ∼100% +99%
Sony Xperia XZ3
7989 Points ∼50% 0%
HTC U12 Plus
7945 Points ∼50% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (5846 - 8001, n=20)
7816 Points ∼49% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15969, n=499)
1737 Points ∼11% -78%
Memory (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
4650 Points ∼100%
Huawei P20 Pro
4050 Points ∼87% -13%
Apple iPhone XS
4169 Points ∼90% -10%
Sony Xperia XZ3
2317 Points ∼50% -50%
HTC U12 Plus
3641 Points ∼78% -22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2193 - 5296, n=20)
3594 Points ∼77% -23%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 6283, n=499)
1244 Points ∼27% -73%
System (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
7826 Points ∼64%
Huawei P20 Pro
5965 Points ∼49% -24%
Apple iPhone XS
12202 Points ∼100% +56%
Sony Xperia XZ3
8135 Points ∼67% +4%
HTC U12 Plus
7862 Points ∼64% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4417 - 8613, n=20)
7657 Points ∼63% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=499)
2512 Points ∼21% -68%
Overall (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3
4516 Points ∼74%
Huawei P20 Pro
3271 Points ∼54% -28%
Apple iPhone XS
6097 Points ∼100% +35%
Sony Xperia XZ3
3804 Points ∼62% -16%
HTC U12 Plus
4252 Points ∼70% -6%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3291 - 4693, n=20)
4099 Points ∼67% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=503)
1255 Points ∼21% -72%

Legend

 
Google Pixel 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei P20 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 970, ARM Mali-G72 MP12, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Apple iPhone XS Apple A12 Bionic, Apple A12 Bionic GPU, Apple 512 GB (iPhone Xs)
 
Sony Xperia XZ3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
HTC U12 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash

The Pixel 3 performed as expected in browser benchmarks too and generally finished in the midfield of our comparison tables. In daily use, our test device loads websites and media content quickly on the default Chrome browser (version 70).

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Apple iPhone XS (Safari Mobile 12.0)
272.3 Points ∼100% +215%
Sony Xperia XZ3 (Chrome 70)
87.883 Points ∼32% +2%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
87.036 Points ∼32% +1%
Google Pixel 3 (Chrome 70)
86.331 Points ∼32%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (22.5 - 90.9, n=22)
76.9 Points ∼28% -11%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
58.255 Points ∼21% -33%
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=422)
36.7 Points ∼13% -57%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Apple iPhone XS (Safari Mobile 12.0)
43280 Points ∼100% +163%
Sony Xperia XZ3 (Chrome 70)
16982 Points ∼39% +3%
Google Pixel 3 (Chrome 70)
16454 Points ∼38%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
16285 Points ∼38% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3991 - 18275, n=22)
15431 Points ∼36% -6%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
11584 Points ∼27% -30%
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=558)
5562 Points ∼13% -66%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=578)
11474 ms * ∼100% -398%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
3852.2 ms * ∼34% -67%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2154 - 11204, n=22)
2874 ms * ∼25% -25%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
2409.6 ms * ∼21% -5%
Google Pixel 3 (Chrome 70)
2304.5 ms * ∼20%
Sony Xperia XZ3 (Chrome 70)
2295 ms * ∼20% -0%
Apple iPhone XS (Safari Mobile 12.0)
609.1 ms * ∼5% +74%
WebXPRT 3 - ---
Apple iPhone XS (Safari Mobile 12.0)
159 Points ∼100% +61%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
101 Points ∼64% +2%
Google Pixel 3 (Chrome 70)
99 Points ∼62%
Sony Xperia XZ3 (Chrome 70)
98 Points ∼62% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (19 - 103, n=15)
84.5 Points ∼53% -15%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
69 Points ∼43% -30%
Average of class Smartphone (25 - 161, n=63)
63.6 Points ∼40% -36%

* ... smaller is better

Our test device also has fast storage, which outscored the class average and the average of 64 GB UFS 2.1 equipped devices that we have tested in AndroBench 3-5. The Pixel 3 finished second in our comparison table, trailing the P20 Pro by 8% overall, which is primarily because of the latter’s exemplary random write speeds.

The Pixel 3 has 52 GB of free storage when first booted. The remaining drive space is used by the OS. The device does not support expandable storage, which is a shame, although its unlimited Google Cloud storage is a useful alternative.

Google Pixel 3Huawei P20 ProSony Xperia XZ3HTC U12 PlusAverage 64 GB UFS 2.1 FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
8%
-24%
-11%
-18%
-72%
Random Write 4KB
133.76
160.49
20%
22.22
-83%
104.24
-22%
50.5 (8.77 - 156, n=34)
-62%
16.1 (0.14 - 164, n=607)
-88%
Random Read 4KB
149.82
144.33
-4%
135.67
-9%
118.14
-21%
134 (78.2 - 173, n=34)
-11%
38.3 (1.59 - 173, n=607)
-74%
Sequential Write 256KB
181.81
196.69
8%
196.14
8%
195.82
8%
193 (133 - 229, n=34)
6%
79.9 (2.99 - 246, n=607)
-56%
Sequential Read 256KB
766.41
831.82
9%
680.98
-11%
709.11
-7%
727 (529 - 895, n=34)
-5%
230 (12.1 - 895, n=607)
-70%

Games

The Adreno 630 is an efficient yet powerful GPU that can handle all modern games. Our test device achieved solid frame rates in Asphalt 9: Legends and Arena of Valor, with both games averaging around 60 FPS at high graphics. It is worth bearing in mind that Asphalt 9: Legends limits frame rates to 30 FPS at minimum graphics, which is why it appears that our test device performed better at high graphics than it did at standard/low graphics.

The touchscreen and positional sensor worked perfectly and without delay throughout our games tests too.

Asphalt 9: Legends
Asphalt 9: Legends
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
010203040506070Tooltip
; min: Ø60.9 (60-61)
; high HD: Ø57 (47-61)
Asphalt 9: Legends
010203040506070Tooltip
; High Quality: Ø60.9 (60-61)
; Standard / low: Ø30.2 (27-31)

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench Battery Test: Manhattan OpenGL ES 3.1
GFXBench Battery Test: Manhattan OpenGL ES 3.1
GFXBench Battery Test: T-Rex OpenGL ES 2.0
GFXBench Battery Test: T-Rex OpenGL ES 2.0

The Pixel 3 manages its surface temperatures well. Our test device reaches a maximum of 30 °C (86 °F) when idle and averages a relatively cool 28.4 °C (83.12 °F). One area of the device reaches a maximum of 37 °C (98.6 °F) under sustained load, while the whole device averaged 33.5 °C (92.3 °F). In short, our test device never felt hot to the touch regardless of how hard we pushed it.

We also subjected the Pixel 3 to loops of GFXBench Battery Tests to see how well it could maintain performance when subjected to a sustained load. Our test device handled the older T-Rex benchmark well, which runs on OpenGL ES 2.0, and exhibited minor thermal throttling by the end of the benchmark loop. However, our test device thermal throttled by around 40% in the more complex Manhattan benchmark, which uses the OpenGL ES 3.1 API. This performance puts the Pixel 3’s thermal management on par with the Pocophone F1. By contrast, gaming smartphones like the ASUS ROG Phone do not thermal throttle at all in the Manhattan benchmark because of their superior cooling solutions. Most people will not notice the Pixel 3 throttling in daily use though.

Max. Load
 35.2 °C
95 F
35.1 °C
95 F
32.3 °C
90 F
 
 35.4 °C
96 F
35 °C
95 F
32.3 °C
90 F
 
 35.4 °C
96 F
34.4 °C
94 F
32 °C
90 F
 
Maximum: 35.4 °C = 96 F
Average: 34.1 °C = 93 F
31.6 °C
89 F
31.4 °C
89 F
34.2 °C
94 F
31 °C
88 F
32.4 °C
90 F
37 °C
99 F
30 °C
86 F
33.3 °C
92 F
35.5 °C
96 F
Maximum: 37 °C = 99 F
Average: 32.9 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  29.9 °C = 86 F | Room Temperature 21.1 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.1 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.4 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 35.7 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 37 °C / 99 F, compared to the average of 34.2 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 29.2 °C / 85 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
Heatmap of the front of the device under load
Heatmap of the front of the device under load
Heatmap of the back of the device under load
Heatmap of the back of the device under load

Speakers

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

The Pixel 3 has front-firing stereo speakers, which produce a balanced and comparatively loud sound. The speakers manage to reproduce deep tones without sacrificing subtle differences between mid-high tones. Ultra-high tones sometimes get lost in the mix when the speakers are operating at almost maximum volume though. Overall, Google has equipped the Pixel 3 with class-leading speakers that sound better than many of our comparison devices.

The Pixel 3 does not have a headphone jack, but Google includes a USB Type-C adapter in the box to connect traditional wired headphones to the device. The company also includes its Type-C headphones, which are rather bass heavy and lack the balanced sound that headphones that are more expensive produce. The headphones are good enough for media consumption but calls sound too muffled for our liking.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.633.82528.926.53125.224.14026.120.45030.227.46326.919.68028.721.710029.120.812518.431.5160215220024.350.925017.459.231516.86240015.362.750015.665.663014.168.480015.273.1100014.173.1125014.673.7160014.673.6200014.272.4250013.873.431501475.6400014.667500014.470.6630014.676.3800014.474.81000014.871.41250014.660.31600014.763.3SPL2784.9N0.964.3median 14.6median 68.4Delta1.49.13030.130.123.529.328.426.92632.826.624.824.520.723.219.535.718.644.221.451.72552.617.454.516.255.418.458.215.461.713.56513.764.213.768.414.673.414.975.914.476.414.777.114.677.414.878.314.776.914.676.51575.614.966.915.159.614.951.827.287.30.967.5median 14.9median 651.411.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseGoogle Pixel 3Apple iPhone XS
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Google Pixel 3 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 22.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.1% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.8% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 3% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 94% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 26% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 68% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple iPhone XS audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (87.3 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 16% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.6% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 10.5% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 12% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 81% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 43% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 49% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life

Power Consumption

The Pixel 3 EU charger and Type-C cable
The Pixel 3 EU charger and Type-C cable

The Pixel 3 is less efficient than most of our comparison devices and the average of Snapdragon 845 powered devices that we have already tested. Our test device consumes a minimum of 1.21 W at idle and a maximum of 8.79 W under load, which puts the device second bottom of our comparison table and 10% ahead of the HTC U12 Plus.

Please note, the P20 Pro appeared to power throttle significantly during our power consumption tests, so our results are not an accurate reflection of how much the device will consume in daily use. Discounting the P20 Pro, the Pixel 3 consumed around 25% and 22% more than the iPhone XS and the Xperia XZ3 on average.

Google includes an 18 W charger in the box, which is powerful enough to recharge our test device irrespective of how hard we push it. The included charger recharges our test device in less than two hours, which is around the same time as it takes the Pixel Stand to recharge the Pixel 3.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.02 / 0.41 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.21 / 2.01 / 2.05 Watt
Load midlight 4.06 / 8.79 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Google Pixel 3
2915 mAh
Huawei P20 Pro
4000 mAh
Apple iPhone XS
2658 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ3
3300 mAh
HTC U12 Plus
3500 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
38%
25%
22%
-10%
5%
16%
Idle Minimum *
1.21
0.84
31%
0.95
21%
0.8
34%
0.77
36%
0.802 (0.42 - 1.8, n=19)
34%
0.88 (0.2 - 3.4, n=637)
27%
Idle Average *
2.01
1.54
23%
1.34
33%
1.2
40%
2.18
-8%
1.722 (0.67 - 2.9, n=19)
14%
1.719 (0.6 - 6.2, n=636)
14%
Idle Maximum *
2.05
1.57
23%
1.48
28%
1.5
27%
2.21
-8%
2.1 (0.87 - 3.5, n=19)
-2%
1.997 (0.74 - 6.6, n=637)
3%
Load Average *
4.06
2.47
39%
4
1%
4.8
-18%
6.25
-54%
4.79 (3.64 - 7.2, n=19)
-18%
4.04 (0.8 - 10.8, n=631)
-0%
Load Maximum *
8.79
2.49
72%
5.13
42%
6.2
29%
10.16
-16%
9.2 (6.2 - 12.3, n=19)
-5%
5.75 (1.2 - 14.2, n=631)
35%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The Pixel 3 has a 2,915 mAh battery, which is smaller than all but the iPhone XS of our comparison devices. Our test device finished second to the bottom of our comparison table overall, with it having an average of 8% longer runtimes than the Xperia XZ3, which finished in last place. Our test device performed well in our looped H.264 battery test, with its 12:07 runtime placing it third in our comparison table and less than an hour behind the P20 Pro with its 4,000 mAh battery. However, the Pixel 3 lasted just 2:39 in our battery life under load test, which is well behind our comparison devices.

Overall, the Pixel 3 has underwhelming battery life; it has comparatively high power consumption and a relatively smaller battery.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
22h 52min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
7h 51min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 07min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 39min
Google Pixel 3
2915 mAh
Huawei P20 Pro
4000 mAh
Apple iPhone XS
2658 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ3
3300 mAh
HTC U12 Plus
3500 mAh
Battery Runtime
52%
21%
-8%
6%
Reader / Idle
1372
1727
26%
1442
5%
1270
-7%
1452
6%
H.264
727
784
8%
745
2%
420
-42%
464
-36%
WiFi v1.3
471
744
58%
570
21%
419
-11%
507
8%
Load
159
345
117%
245
54%
202
27%
230
45%

Pros

+ pure Android 9 Pie experience
+ USB 3.1 Type-C
+ Bluetooth 5.0
+ good speakers
+ worldwide LTE coverage
+ OLED screen

Cons

- no expandable memory
- mediocre battery life
- low maximum brightness
- Active-Edge functionality is not customizable

Verdict

The Google Pixel 3 smartphone review. Test device courtesy of Google Germany.
The Google Pixel 3 smartphone review. Test device courtesy of Google Germany.

The Google Pixel 3 is a solid high-end smartphone. It is expensive and has a dated design in our opinion, but its great rear-facing camera, pure Android experience and front-firing stereo speakers are impressive. Active Edge is a useful addition too, although its lack of customization limits its utility and prevents it from being a unique selling point.

The Pixel 3 does plenty of things well. However, the device lacks enough stand-out features to justify an $800 price tag, particularly as many of its competitors offer more for less. 

Moreover, the device has a comparatively dark display and its battery life is disappointing. We hope that Google will improve this in future updates because it mars an otherwise solid flagship. The Pixel 3 does not do much to stand out from the competition, but it gets most things spot on. We would recommend the Pixel 3 for those who want the purest Android experience that money can buy, frequent updates, a class-leading rear-facing camera and excellent speakers.

Google Pixel 3 - 11/21/2018 v6
Mike Wobker

Chassis
89%
Keyboard
66 / 75 → 88%
Pointing Device
95%
Connectivity
42 / 60 → 70%
Weight
93%
Battery
92%
Display
91%
Games Performance
67 / 63 → 100%
Application Performance
77 / 70 → 100%
Temperature
92%
Noise
100%
Audio
76 / 91 → 83%
Camera
83%
Average
82%
90%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Google Pixel 3 Smartphone Review
Mike Wobker, 2018-11-26 (Update: 2018-11-27)