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Google Pixel 3 XL Smartphone Review

Florian Schmitt, 👁 Florian Schmitt, Felicitas Krohn (translated by Alex Alderson), 11/26/2018

Giant Pixel. Now in its third generation of Pixel smartphones, Google wants to tempt potential buyers away from its competitors with exclusive software features. However, affordable prices are a thing of the past as the Pixel 3 XL costs up to $999. Find out in our detailed review whether the Pixel 3 XL is worth the money.

Google Pixel 3 XL

Apple and Microsoft have been largely successful at developing hardware, but Google has struggled by comparison. Its Pixel smartphones have been repeatedly criticised for being too expensive. The original Pixel XL, which Google marketed heavily with its Google Assistant software, started at $769, which was a sharp increase from the $499 for which Google initially sold the Nexus 6P. The HTC and LG-made Pixel line-up became synonymous for being expensive, upon which Google doubled down with its Pixel 2 XL, which started at $849.

Google did not partner with HTC or LG for its third generation of Pixel phones. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL are designed directly by Google and are made to order by Foxconn, which allows the former to have greater control over the design and the components used. We will focus on the Pixel 3 XL for this review, and examine whether everything is in order for Pixel fans having recently covered the Pixel 3 in a separate review.

We have chosen to compare the Pixel 3 XL against its predecessor, the Pixel 2 XL, and other current flagship smartphones. These include the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium.

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Google Pixel 3 XL (Pixel Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
Display
6.3 inch 18.5:9, 2960 x 1440 pixel 522 PPI, Capacitive touchscreen, AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, HDR Support, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 64 GB 
, 55 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity sensor
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, 2G: 850, 900, 1,800, 1,900 MHz. 3G: B1, B2, B4, B5, B8. 4G: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B13, B17, B18, B19, B20, B25, B26, B28, B29, B30, B32, B38, B39, B40, B41, B42, B46, B66, B71., LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.9 x 158 x 76.7 ( = 0.31 x 6.22 x 3.02 in)
Battery
13 Wh, 3430 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Android 9.0 Pie
Camera
Primary Camera: 12.2 MPix 1.4μm, f/1.8, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) - dual-pixel, Laser AF, OIS, dual-LED flash, videos in up to 2160p at 30 FPS
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix , f/1.8, PDAF, videos in up to 1080p - main camera; 8.0 MP, f/2.2, wide-angle lens - secondary camera
Additional features
Speakers: Front-firing stereo speakers, Keyboard: Virtual keyboard, Charger, USB Type-C cable, 3.5 mm to USB Type-C, USB OTG adapter, USB Type-C headphones, SIM tool, 24 Months Warranty, IP68 certified, pressure sensitive frame, SAR values: Head - 1.39 W/kg, Body - 1.40 W/kg, fanless
Weight
184 g ( = 6.49 oz / 0.41 pounds), Power Supply: 75 g ( = 2.65 oz / 0.17 pounds)
Price
949 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Google has completely redesigned its XL smartphone, but the Pixel 3 XL largely follows the same design aesthetic as its predecessors. The company has made some visual changes though. Firstly, the Pixel 3 XL has a notch, which follows the trend that the iPhone X first pioneered. However, Google has incorporated two front-facing cameras and a speaker grille within the notch, which makes it noticeably larger than the notch on the OnePlus 6T, for example. The second big change is the higher screen-to-body ratio, which is linked to the inclusion of a notch and may have become possible because of the smaller shielding around the Pixel 3 XL’s antennas.

The Pixel 3 XL still looks like a Google smartphone though, with the company preserving the colour-contrasting power button and the two-tone back cover. Unfortunately, the device retains the massive chin of its predecessors, which houses the second front-firing speaker. Again, OnePlus has developed a more elegant alternative by positioning the front-facing speaker on the OnePlus 6T between its frame and display. Hence, the Pixel 3 XL does not push the boundaries with its design, but it is pleasing nonetheless, particularly with its two-tone matte and glossy back glass. Google currently sells the Pixel 3 XL in black, pink or white, which the company refers to as ‘Just Black’, ‘Clearly White’ and ‘Not Pink’ respectively

Our test device is sturdy and looks expensive. Applying pressure to the front or the back of the device does not affect it at all, nor could we twist the frame. The Pixel 3 XL is IP68 certified against dust and water too.

Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL

Size Comparison

Connectivity

The Pixel 3 XL is a tale of what Google has omitted, rather than what the company has included. There is no headphone jack, but this has been the case since the original Pixel XL. Audio is instead transmitted over USB Type-C, but Google includes a 3.5 mm jack adapter in the box should you wish to use traditional headphones. Moreover, the Pixel 3 XL has only one nano-SIM card slot and does not support expandable storage.

On the other hand, Google has equipped the Pixel 3 XL with a USB 3.1 Type-C port, an NFC chip and a barometer. The latter measures air pressure and can detect changes in altitude, which can improve navigation and pedometer accuracy. It is worth bearing in mind that the Pixel 2 XL has all these features too, but it is good that Google has included them in its successor.

The new Pixel XL continues to cost $100 more than its smaller sibling and comes in 64 GB or 128 GB variants, which cost $899 and $999 respectively.

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

Software

Naturally, the Pixel 3 XL comes with the latest version of Android, which at the time of writing is Android 9 Pie. Our test device arrived with the latest Android security patches too, which is in keeping with the pure Android experience that other manufacturers do not offer. Google has guaranteed that it will support the Pixel 3 XL with security and system updates until October 2021, which is as long as the company will offer online and telephone support for the device too.

Every Pixel 3 XL purchase will also come with unlimited Google Cloud storage until January 31, 2022. Photos uploaded to the cloud before that date will remain there after that date at no extra charge, but the company will charge for the storage that any new photos take up.

Last year, Google Lens was a highlight of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. Unsurprisingly, Google has included it on its third-generation Pixel smartphones, while its AR Playground makes a return too.

The bigger trend this year is Digital Wellbeing, which is a theme that Apple has spoken much about with its iOS 12 update earlier this year. Google has followed suit and has included a feature that allows people to view a breakdown of how long they have spent on certain apps. The feature can set timers too, which prevent the app from opening after the time limits have been exceeded. The idea behind it is to limit people wasting their time on social media apps among others.

Software version
Software version
Android 9 Pie Recents pane
Android 9 Pie Recents pane
Default home screen
Default home screen

Communication & GPS

The Pixel 3 XL can achieve up to 1 Gbit/s download and 75 Mbit/s upload speeds over LTE, which is an improvement over its predecessor. The upload speed is slower than what many of its competitors can reach, but this will only be noticeable to those who frequently upload large files from the phone on a high-speed data connection.

Our test device maintained good network reception on Vodafone Germany during our tests, which we largely conducted inside buildings and in built-up areas. The Pixel 3 XL supports countless GSM/3G/LTE frequencies too and should have worldwide LTE coverage.

The Pixel 3 XL has much faster Wi-Fi performance than its predecessor too, as tested with our Linksys EA8500 reference router. Our test device achieved an average of 635 Mbit/s download and 456 Mbit/s download speeds in iperf3 Client tests that blow away the Pixel 2 XL, which reached a maximum of less than 300 Mbit/s in both tests. The Pixel 3 XL finished a respectable third in our comparison table for the download test, but it finished second bottom and 250 Mbit/s behind the Huawei Mate 20 Pro in the download tests. The Pixel 3 XL maintained good Wi-Fi reception throughout our tests though. Our test device had full Wi-Fi signal when next to the router, which decreased by a quarter when tested around 10 m (~33 ft) and three walls away from the Linksys. Websites and media content loaded just as quickly in either scenario.

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Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
677 MBit/s ∼100% +7%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Mali-G72 MP18, 9810, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
652 MBit/s ∼96% +3%
Google Pixel 3 XL
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
635 (min: 315, max: 645) MBit/s ∼94%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
A12 Bionic GPU, A12 Bionic, 64 GB eMMC Flash
624 MBit/s ∼92% -2%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Mali-G76 MP10, Kirin 980, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
615 (min: 532, max: 642) MBit/s ∼91% -3%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Mali-G76 MP10, Kirin 980, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
491 (min: 100, max: 534) MBit/s ∼73% -23%
Google Pixel 2 XL
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
239 MBit/s ∼35% -62%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=307)
211 MBit/s ∼31% -67%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Mali-G76 MP10, Kirin 980, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
696 (min: 647, max: 714) MBit/s ∼100% +53%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Mali-G76 MP10, Kirin 980, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
663 (min: 289, max: 805) MBit/s ∼95% +45%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
647 MBit/s ∼93% +42%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
A12 Bionic GPU, A12 Bionic, 64 GB eMMC Flash
602 MBit/s ∼86% +32%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Mali-G72 MP18, 9810, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
519 MBit/s ∼75% +14%
Google Pixel 3 XL
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
456 (min: 429, max: 468) MBit/s ∼66%
Google Pixel 2 XL
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
279 MBit/s ∼40% -39%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=307)
207 MBit/s ∼30% -55%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø634 (618-645)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø456 (429-468)
GPS test: Inside
GPS test: Inside
GPS test: Outside
GPS test: Outside

The Pixel 3 XL uses BeiDou, Galileo, GLONASS and GPS including AGPS for location services. Our test device achieved a satellite fix with up to 5 m (~16 ft) accuracy when tested indoors, which increased to 3 m (~10 ft) outside.

We also took the Pixel 3 XL on a bike ride to test its navigation accuracy against a Garmin Edge 520, a professional navigation device. Our test device plotted a 370 m (~405 ft) shorter course than the 5.49 km (~3.4 mi) distance that the Garmin recorded, which is unimpressive. The Pixel 3 XL frequently cut corners as demonstrated by the screenshots below, while it got our bridge crossing comically wrong.

Overall, the Pixel 3 XL is easy to use on a bike ride as it quickly found our location within Google Maps and correctly indicated our direction of travel. However, we would recommend using a device like the Garmin if you need accurate location data, as our test device could not plot an accurate route when we cycled over rough terrain or took tight corners.

GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 – Cycling through a grove
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 – Cycling through a grove
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Bridge
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Bridge
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 XL - Overview
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 XL - Overview
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 XL - Cycling through a grove
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 XL - Cycling through a grove
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 XL - Bridge
GPS test: Google Pixel 3 XL - Bridge

Telephone Features & Call Quality

It is unsurprising that the Pixel 3 XL uses the Google Phone app to handle telephony. The app works as expected and functions like it does on other smartphones, with a search box to query contacts or places and three tabs for favourites, call history and contacts. The keypad is accessible by pressing a button at the bottom of the display too. The Pixel 3 XL supports VoLTE and VoWiFi on carriers that support the device, the information for which can be found on carrier websites.

Call quality is mediocre for a flagship device, with our call partner often sounding rather distant. The earpiece gets loud, but calls did not sound particularly clear. We had the same experience when making calls over the speakerphone too, although we also noticed some distortions at high volumes. Overall, we would have expected a better call quality from a flagship smartphone, particularly one that costs at least $899.

Cameras

Photo taken with the front-facing camera at minimum zoom
Photo taken with the front-facing camera at minimum zoom
Photo taken with the front-facing camera at maximum zoom
Photo taken with the front-facing camera at maximum zoom
Google AR Playground
Google AR Playground

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL may be the only 2018 flagship smartphones that are released with a single rear-facing camera. This is no bad thing, but a second or third rear-facing sensor can add useful features such as optical zoom or hardware-based depth of field shots. Google relies on software to overcome the hardware gap between other high-end smartphones and has made great strides with its low-light algorithms. Additionally, AI should automatically recommend the best photo, while there is also Google Lens and the AR Playground to round off the camera software offerings. 

So, we have plenty to discuss about the cameras in Pixel 3 XL. Let us start with the hardware. The rear-facing camera has not changed on paper and remains a 12.2 MP sensor with extra-large pixels and OIS. Next up is the night mode, which Google has designed to better expose low-light shots without using the flash. The results are impressive, which we have shown below. Photos shot with Night Sight enabled have less image noise, improved image clarity and are better exposed than those taken in the normal camera mode. Photos taken with Night Sight disabled are on par with those shot by other 2018 flagship smartphones, but Night Sight photos look noticeably better.  Even in bright light, our test device takes sharp and colour accurate photos, which look better in our opinion than those shot with the iPhone XS Max or the OnePlus 5T, as shown in our comparison photos below.

The Pixel 3 XL can record 4K videos at up to 30 FPS like its predecessor, which is still rather poor for a flagship smartphone. Moreover, our test device can record slow-motion videos too at 1080p, but only at a disappointing 120 FPS. Overall, videos are well exposed with sharp and strong colours. The rear-facing sensor reacts quickly to changing lighting conditions too, and adjusts its exposure accordingly.

By contrast, Google has made plenty of changes to the front-facing camera. The Pixel 3 XL has two front-facing sensors, which are both 8 MP. The device can use these for dual optical zoom for different image effects as shown by our photos above. Again, photos are detailed and sharp, while the sensors can record videos in up to 1080p at a maximum of 30 FPS.

Finally, the Pixel 3 XL’s augmented reality features. We have seen Google Lens on several devices, but it works in more scenarios and generally better on the Pixel 3 XL than it did on its predecessor. AR Playground is a relatively exclusive feature for the third generation Pixel smartphones, but it may work on some older Pixel models. The functionality allows people to overlay characters into photos or videos, which interact with their surroundings. We tested this in our office with the Hulk, who roared around realistically, almost scarily so. Unfortunately, the front-facing camera does not work with all the AR Playground characters, but you can mess about with Storm Troopers in your living room or have a living burger sit on your shoulder. It is all good fun, although it is just a gimmick. We hope that Google can bring a more useful AR feature to its Pixel smartphones eventually though.

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
Low-light shot without Night Sight
Low-light shot without Night Sight
Low-light shot with Night Sight
Low-light shot with Night Sight

The main camera must also prove itself in our laboratory under controlled lighting conditions. The Pixel 3 XL captures our test chart in detail with good exposure, contrast and sharpness. Our only minor criticism is that a few areas of colour are uneven. Moreover, our test device generally reproduces colours too darkly compared to the reference colour.

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

Accessories & Warranty

Google includes plenty of accessories with the Pixel 3 XL. Our test device arrived with a USB Type-C cable and corresponding charger, a 3.5 mm adapter, a USB On-The-Go (OTG) adapter and a SIM tool. The company also sells numerous Pixel branded accessories including the Pixel Stand, which acts as a docking station and a Qi wireless charger. We have included a table below of all the accessories that Google sells for the Pixel. The Pixel 3 XL comes with 24 months 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


Pixel Buds
Pixel Buds
Pixel 3 Case
Pixel 3 Case
Pixel Stand
Pixel Stand

Input Devices & Operation

Google has kept the fingerprint sensor on the back of the Pixel 3 XL, which the company calls the ‘Pixel Imprint’. The fingerprint sensor on our test device worked reliably and quickly throughout our tests and can recognise up to five fingers. However, the Pixel 3 XL lacks facial recognition, a feature that many of its competitors include. However, devices like the OnePlus 6T include software-based solutions which are not as secure as Face ID on the recent iPhones. The Pixel 3 XL has two front-facing cameras though, so Google could have included software-based facial authentication and one which may have been more accurate than other flagship devices with single front-facing sensors.

The touchscreen works well too, being both accurate and sensitive into the corners of the display. Google has changed the design of the on-screen buttons to more of a gesture-based control. There is now only one button, which can be dragged for different actions. Swiping left triggers the back button, while swiping once upwards opens the new Recents pane, which now displays background apps and recently used apps. Swiping up a second time opens an overview of installed apps. Swiping right brings up the traditional Recents menu. Incidentally, there is no way to change to the conventional three button layout, but it should take most people a short time to get used to the updated functionality.

Although the Pixel series has nothing to do with HTC anymore, Google continues to implement the touch-sensitive side panels that HTC introduced with the Pixel 2 series. Active Edge works mainly to launch the Google Assistant, but apps can customise its functionality, like skipping to the next song in a playlist on YouTube. Expect the functionality to take a while to get used to as we found ourselves accidentally activating Google Assistant. Google leaves Active Edge on by default, which we found irritating at first. The activation pressure is adjustable though, should you find that you are triggering it too easily. Unfortunately, Active Edge is currently not customisable, which seems like an opportunity missed to create a feature that stands out from the competition.

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

We had little to discuss about the display in the Pixel 2 XL. Its P-OLED display was below what we have come to expect from flagship smartphones. It had weak viewing angles and was far too dark. Google has switched to an AMOLED for the Pixel 3 XL, but unfortunately has inherited its predecessor’s poor maximum brightness. Our test device reaches an average maximum brightness of just over 400 cd/m² which is unacceptable for a flagship device released in 2018. Its saving grace is that is 97% evenly lit, which is higher than all our comparison devices and is a marked improvement over the P-OLED display in the Pixel 2 XL.

418
cd/m²
413
cd/m²
412
cd/m²
414
cd/m²
410
cd/m²
410
cd/m²
419
cd/m²
414
cd/m²
407
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 419 cd/m² Average: 413 cd/m² Minimum: 2.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 97 %
Center on Battery: 410 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.16 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 1.7 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
100% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.219
Google Pixel 3 XL
AMOLED, 2960x1440, 6.3
Apple iPhone Xs Max
OLED, 2688x1242, 6.5
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Super AMOLED, 2960x1440, 6.2
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
OLED, 3120x1440, 6.3
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
LCD-IPS, 3840x2160, 5.8
Google Pixel 2 XL
P-OLED, 2880x1440, 6
Screen
34%
17%
29%
1%
-11%
Brightness middle
410
656
60%
565
38%
576
40%
477
16%
415
1%
Brightness
413
659
60%
571
38%
582
41%
453
10%
420
2%
Brightness Distribution
97
88
-9%
96
-1%
90
-7%
86
-11%
87
-10%
Black Level *
0.33
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.16
1.7
46%
2.3
27%
1.3
59%
2.1
34%
2.7
15%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.5
2.8
49%
4.8
13%
3.5
36%
8.2
-49%
4.3
22%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.7
1.7
-0%
1.9
-12%
1.6
6%
1.6
6%
3.3
-94%
Gamma
2.219 99%
1.998 110%
2.16 102%
2.18 101%
2.28 96%
2.36 93%
CCT
6653 98%
6487 100%
6332 103%
6561 99%
6425 101%
6787 96%
Contrast
1445

* ... 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 250 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 250 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 250 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.

As usual with OLED displays, the Pixel 3 XL uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate display brightness. We measure the PWM frequency at 250 Hz across the entire brightness spectrum, which may cause eye strain and headaches for those who are PWM sensitive. Positively, OLED displays can individually switch off pixels for absolute black tones and a theoretically infinite contrast ratio.

We also tested the display’s colour accuracy with CalMAN and a spectrophotometer. Our test device achieved minor deviations from the reference colour space, while the display exhibited no blue tint to it. The display also covers the sRGB colour space fully, although CalMAN can only provide an indication of a display’s colour space coverage, so takes its readings with a pinch of salt. Subjectively, the display looks colour accurate and the content is displayed sharply.

CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Colour Space
CalMAN: Colour Space
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: Colour Saturation

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
22 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18 ms rise
↘ 4 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 23 % 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
8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 3 ms rise
↘ 5 ms fall
The screen shows fast response rates in our tests and should be suited for gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 4 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Since the ambient light sensor does not provide any boost in luminosity, the Pixel 3 XL is only usable in the shade outside on sunny days. Even then, reflections can obscure what is being shown onscreen. The device is usable on cloudy days though. The ambient light sensor promptly adjusted the display brightness to changing ambient light conditions.

Fortunately, the Pixel 3 XL has better viewing angles than its predecessors. We did notice a slight blue tint at acute viewing angles, but that should not stop most people from using the device at tight viewing angles.

Using the Google Pixel 3 XL outside at minimum brightness
Using the Google Pixel 3 XL outside at minimum brightness
Using the Google Pixel 3 XL outside at medium brightness
Using the Google Pixel 3 XL outside at medium brightness
Using the Google Pixel 3 XL outside at maximum brightness
Using the Google Pixel 3 XL outside at maximum brightness
Using the Google Pixel 3 XL outside with the ambient light sensor activated
Using the Google Pixel 3 XL outside with the ambient light sensor activated
Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles

Performance

The Google Pixel 3 XL is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC that integrates a Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU. The Snapdragon 845 is powerful, but many of the smartphones that we have already tested struggle with thermal throttling. Please see our Emissions section for more information about how well the Pixel 3 XL manages its performance under sustained load.

Our test device outperforms its predecessor in the benchmarks, but it tended to finish in the middle of our comparison tables. Subjectively, the performance differences among the current generation of high-end smartphones are minimal. The Pixel 3 XL felt snappy throughout our tests and continually load apps quickly regardless of how many it had running in the background. Google has done a good job at optimising the Adreno 630 GPU too, which also performed well in graphically intensive benchmarks.

Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
10876 Points ∼75%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6202 Points ∼43% -43%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
8938 Points ∼62% -18%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
14417 Points ∼100% +33%
Google Pixel 2 XL
7568 Points ∼52% -30%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (10876 - 14489, n=19)
13635 Points ∼95% +25%
Average of class Smartphone (836 - 21070, n=197)
4524 Points ∼31% -58%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
8292 Points ∼74%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
11244 Points ∼100% +36%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
8963 Points ∼80% +8%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
10024 Points ∼89% +21%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
8522 Points ∼76% +3%
Google Pixel 2 XL
6253 Points ∼56% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (7754 - 9231, n=21)
8655 Points ∼77% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (883 - 11598, n=247)
4308 Points ∼38% -48%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
2325 Points ∼49%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
4774 Points ∼100% +105%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3776 Points ∼79% +62%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
3378 Points ∼71% +45%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
2457 Points ∼51% +6%
Google Pixel 2 XL
1916 Points ∼40% -18%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2272 - 2500, n=21)
2417 Points ∼51% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=248)
1270 Points ∼27% -45%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
9029 Points ∼98%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
5319 Points ∼58% -41%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
9225 Points ∼100% +2%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
8178 Points ∼89% -9%
Google Pixel 2 XL
6994 Points ∼76% -23%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (8326 - 9868, n=22)
8018 Points ∼87% -11%
Average of class Smartphone (3146 - 9868, n=256)
4551 Points ∼49% -50%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
11180 Points ∼89%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
5822 Points ∼46% -48%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
12535 Points ∼100% +12%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
9858 Points ∼79% -12%
Google Pixel 2 XL
8258 Points ∼66% -26%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (7998 - 13211, n=20)
10123 Points ∼81% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (6412 - 13531, n=423)
4958 Points ∼40% -56%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
3676 Points ∼84%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
2723 Points ∼62% -26%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2546 Points ∼58% -31%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4364 Points ∼100% +19%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
2713 Points ∼62% -26%
Google Pixel 2 XL
3035 Points ∼70% -17%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2223 - 3764, n=22)
3110 Points ∼71% -15%
Average of class Smartphone (2293 - 4439, n=277)
1709 Points ∼39% -54%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
5789 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
4828 Points ∼83% -17%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3792 Points ∼66% -34%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4250 Points ∼73% -27%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
5651 Points ∼98% -2%
Google Pixel 2 XL
4405 Points ∼76% -24%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4209 - 8206, n=22)
5494 Points ∼95% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (869 - 8206, n=277)
1465 Points ∼25% -75%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
5133 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
4121 Points ∼80% -20%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3420 Points ∼67% -33%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4275 Points ∼83% -17%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
4555 Points ∼89% -11%
Google Pixel 2 XL
4003 Points ∼78% -22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3512 - 5189, n=22)
4646 Points ∼91% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (1010 - 5189, n=280)
1360 Points ∼26% -74%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
3280 Points ∼74%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
2961 Points ∼67% -10%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2561 Points ∼58% -22%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4407 Points ∼100% +34%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
2721 Points ∼62% -17%
Google Pixel 2 XL
2994 Points ∼68% -9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2110 - 3763, n=21)
3081 Points ∼70% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (375 - 4493, n=292)
1689 Points ∼38% -49%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
8380 Points ∼81%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
10374 Points ∼100% +24%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
4797 Points ∼46% -43%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
5854 Points ∼56% -30%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
7609 Points ∼73% -9%
Google Pixel 2 XL
6282 Points ∼61% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (5228 - 8451, n=21)
7720 Points ∼74% -8%
Average of class Smartphone (131 - 14951, n=292)
2068 Points ∼20% -75%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
6228 Points ∼93%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
6667 Points ∼100% +7%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
4018 Points ∼60% -35%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
5456 Points ∼82% -12%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
5438 Points ∼82% -13%
Google Pixel 2 XL
5050 Points ∼76% -19%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4054 - 6568, n=21)
5771 Points ∼87% -7%
Average of class Smartphone (159 - 7856, n=293)
1734 Points ∼26% -72%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
3605 Points ∼86%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
3027 Points ∼72% -16%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2469 Points ∼59% -32%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4183 Points ∼100% +16%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3620 Points ∼87% 0%
Google Pixel 2 XL
3028 Points ∼72% -16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2118 - 3703, n=21)
3268 Points ∼78% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (2281 - 4216, n=352)
1642 Points ∼39% -54%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
5089 Points ∼98%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
3726 Points ∼72% -27%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3582 Points ∼69% -30%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4206 Points ∼81% -17%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
5190 Points ∼100% +2%
Google Pixel 2 XL
3872 Points ∼75% -24%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3488 - 5241, n=21)
4944 Points ∼95% -3%
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 XL
4662 Points ∼98%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
3544 Points ∼75% -24%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3256 Points ∼69% -30%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4201 Points ∼89% -10%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
4734 Points ∼100% +2%
Google Pixel 2 XL
3646 Points ∼77% -22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3197 - 4734, n=21)
4424 Points ∼93% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (951 - 4734, n=360)
1134 Points ∼24% -76%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
3594 Points ∼87%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
2713 Points ∼65% -25%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2496 Points ∼60% -31%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4150 Points ∼100% +15%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
2541 Points ∼61% -29%
Google Pixel 2 XL
2995 Points ∼72% -17%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2159 - 3668, n=21)
3129 Points ∼75% -13%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 4215, n=384)
1540 Points ∼37% -57%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
7780 Points ∼95%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
7055 Points ∼86% -9%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
4637 Points ∼56% -40%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
5305 Points ∼65% -32%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
8219 Points ∼100% +6%
Google Pixel 2 XL
5856 Points ∼71% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (5637 - 8312, n=21)
7818 Points ∼95% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (46 - 8312, n=384)
1632 Points ∼20% -79%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
6180 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
5205 Points ∼84% -16%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3895 Points ∼63% -37%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4996 Points ∼81% -19%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
5492 Points ∼89% -11%
Google Pixel 2 XL
4831 Points ∼78% -22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4529 - 6454, n=21)
5843 Points ∼95% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (58 - 6454, n=392)
1387 Points ∼22% -78%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
15614 Points ∼42%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
27717 Points ∼75% +78%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
26226 Points ∼71% +68%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
36755 Points ∼100% +135%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
36762 Points ∼100% +135%
Google Pixel 2 XL
20233 Points ∼55% +30%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (15614 - 37475, n=21)
33400 Points ∼91% +114%
Average of class Smartphone (3958 - 37475, n=539)
12880 Points ∼35% -18%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
53794 Points ∼34%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
159735 Points ∼100% +197%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
46610 Points ∼29% -13%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
67730 Points ∼42% +26%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
81502 Points ∼51% +52%
Google Pixel 2 XL
54156 Points ∼34% +1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (53794 - 84998, n=21)
80111 Points ∼50% +49%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 162695, n=539)
17994 Points ∼11% -67%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
34855 Points ∼45%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
77599 Points ∼100% +123%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
39745 Points ∼51% +14%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
57047 Points ∼74% +64%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
64152 Points ∼83% +84%
Google Pixel 2 XL
39456 Points ∼51% +13%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (34855 - 65330, n=21)
60990 Points ∼79% +75%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=540)
15114 Points ∼19% -57%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
140 fps ∼62%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
226 fps ∼100% +61%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
147 fps ∼65% +5%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
120 fps ∼53% -14%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
150 fps ∼66% +7%
Google Pixel 2 XL
112 fps ∼50% -20%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (98 - 152, n=22)
144 fps ∼64% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=564)
31.4 fps ∼14% -78%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
60 fps ∼96%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
60 fps ∼96% 0%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
60 fps ∼96% 0%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
61 fps ∼97% +2%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
60 fps ∼96% 0%
Google Pixel 2 XL
59 fps ∼94% -2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (58 - 89, n=21)
62.7 fps ∼100% +5%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=567)
25 fps ∼40% -58%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
56 fps ∼52%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
107 fps ∼100% +91%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
74 fps ∼69% +32%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
73 fps ∼68% +30%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
71 fps ∼66% +27%
Google Pixel 2 XL
59 fps ∼55% +5%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (54 - 83, n=21)
73 fps ∼68% +30%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 132, n=486)
16.8 fps ∼16% -70%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
37 fps ∼63%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
59 fps ∼100% +59%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
45 fps ∼76% +22%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
42 fps ∼71% +14%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
58 fps ∼98% +57%
Google Pixel 2 XL
35 fps ∼59% -5%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (35 - 75, n=21)
55 fps ∼93% +49%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 115, n=489)
16 fps ∼27% -57%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
45 fps ∼65%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
69.3 fps ∼100% +54%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
47 fps ∼68% +4%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
29 fps ∼42% -36%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
58 fps ∼84% +29%
Google Pixel 2 XL
41 fps ∼59% -9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (32 - 61, n=22)
54.4 fps ∼78% +21%
Average of class Smartphone (10 - 88, n=349)
14.3 fps ∼21% -68%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
25 fps ∼42%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
58.9 fps ∼100% +136%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
24 fps ∼41% -4%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
26 fps ∼44% +4%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
56 fps ∼95% +124%
Google Pixel 2 XL
20 fps ∼34% -20%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (25 - 59, n=21)
46.5 fps ∼79% +86%
Average of class Smartphone (9.8 - 110, n=352)
13.9 fps ∼24% -44%
GFXBench
High Tier Onscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPhone Xs Max
32.1 fps ∼100%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
19 fps ∼59%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
25 fps ∼78%
Google Pixel 2 XL
9.5 fps ∼30%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (13 - 25, n=10)
19.8 fps ∼62%
Average of class Smartphone (3.6 - 59, n=62)
10.2 fps ∼32%
2560x1440 High Tier Offscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPhone Xs Max
16.3 fps ∼100%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
13 fps ∼80%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
14 fps ∼86%
Google Pixel 2 XL
9.9 fps ∼61%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (11 - 31, n=10)
15.4 fps ∼94%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 31, n=62)
6.49 fps ∼40%
Normal Tier Onscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPhone Xs Max
47 fps ∼100%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
18 fps ∼38%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
40 fps ∼85%
Google Pixel 2 XL
16 fps ∼34%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (20 - 40, n=10)
28.5 fps ∼61%
Average of class Smartphone (5.7 - 59, n=62)
14.4 fps ∼31%
1920x1080 Normal Tier Offscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPhone Xs Max
36.8 fps ∼97%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
33 fps ∼87%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
38 fps ∼100%
Google Pixel 2 XL
26 fps ∼68%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (29 - 38, n=9)
35 fps ∼92%
Average of class Smartphone (6 - 63, n=61)
15.7 fps ∼41%
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
33 fps ∼83%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
40 fps ∼100% +21%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
28 fps ∼70% -15%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
31 fps ∼78% -6%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
35 fps ∼88% +6%
Google Pixel 2 XL
24 fps ∼60% -27%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (25 - 35, n=21)
34 fps ∼85% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (6.3 - 54, n=280)
9.86 fps ∼25% -70%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
18 fps ∼49%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
31 fps ∼84% +72%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
14 fps ∼38% -22%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
16 fps ∼43% -11%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
37 fps ∼100% +106%
Google Pixel 2 XL
13 fps ∼35% -28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (17 - 37, n=21)
28.3 fps ∼76% +57%
Average of class Smartphone (6 - 58, n=283)
8.89 fps ∼24% -51%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
285269 Points ∼94%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
302955 Points ∼100% +6%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
250577 Points ∼83% -12%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
300617 Points ∼99% +5%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
246366 Points ∼81% -14%
Google Pixel 2 XL
204654 Points ∼68% -28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (246366 - 299878, n=22)
275958 Points ∼91% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (17073 - 348178, n=170)
118332 Points ∼39% -59%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
215632 Points ∼86%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
222290 Points ∼89% +3%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
250848 Points ∼100% +16%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
226124 Points ∼90% +5%
Google Pixel 2 XL
166151 Points ∼66% -23%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (162183 - 242953, n=18)
223967 Points ∼89% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (23275 - 254229, n=390)
76481 Points ∼30% -65%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
1176 Points ∼68%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
1731 Points ∼100% +47%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
1109 Points ∼64% -6%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
1424 Points ∼82% +21%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
1400 Points ∼81% +19%
Google Pixel 2 XL
1186 Points ∼69% +1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (1009 - 1613, n=20)
1348 Points ∼78% +15%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=499)
698 Points ∼40% -41%
Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
7989 Points ∼51%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
15659 Points ∼100% +96%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6370 Points ∼41% -20%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
6273 Points ∼40% -21%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
7743 Points ∼49% -3%
Google Pixel 2 XL
6142 Points ∼39% -23%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (5846 - 8001, n=20)
7816 Points ∼50% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15969, n=499)
1737 Points ∼11% -78%
Memory (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
2825 Points ∼45%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
1815 Points ∼29% -36%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2625 Points ∼42% -7%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
6283 Points ∼100% +122%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3704 Points ∼59% +31%
Google Pixel 2 XL
2927 Points ∼47% +4%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2193 - 5296, n=20)
3594 Points ∼57% +27%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 6283, n=499)
1244 Points ∼20% -56%
System (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
4417 Points ∼38%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
11675 Points ∼100% +164%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6413 Points ∼55% +45%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
8604 Points ∼74% +95%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
8418 Points ∼72% +91%
Google Pixel 2 XL
5914 Points ∼51% +34%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4417 - 8613, n=20)
7657 Points ∼66% +73%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=499)
2512 Points ∼22% -43%
Overall (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3 XL
3291 Points ∼67%
Apple iPhone Xs Max
4895 Points ∼100% +49%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3302 Points ∼67% 0%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4687 Points ∼96% +42%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
4288 Points ∼88% +30%
Google Pixel 2 XL
3351 Points ∼68% +2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3291 - 4693, n=20)
4099 Points ∼84% +25%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=503)
1255 Points ∼26% -62%

Legend

 
Google Pixel 3 XL Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Apple iPhone Xs Max Apple A12 Bionic, Apple A12 Bionic GPU, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Samsung Exynos 9810, ARM Mali-G72 MP18, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei Mate 20 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 980, ARM Mali-G76 MP10, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Google Pixel 2 XL Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998), Qualcomm Adreno 540, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash

The same can be said for browser benchmarks, in which the Pixel 3 XL typically finishes in the upper section of our comparison tables. Subjectively, HTML 5 websites like Google Interland load quickly on our test device and ran smoothly throughout testing.

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Apple iPhone Xs Max (Safari 12)
273.01 Points ∼100% +260%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Chrome 69)
109.18 Points ∼40% +44%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (22.5 - 90.9, n=22)
76.9 Points ∼28% +1%
Google Pixel 3 XL (Chrome 70)
75.8 Points ∼28%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (Chrome 68)
71.172 Points ∼26% -6%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
69.59 Points ∼25% -8%
Google Pixel 2 XL (Chrome 62)
64.709 Points ∼24% -15%
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=422)
36.7 Points ∼13% -52%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Apple iPhone Xs Max (Safari 12)
43114 Points ∼100% +166%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Chrome 69)
23285 Points ∼54% +43%
Google Pixel 3 XL (Chrome 70)
16228 Points ∼38%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3991 - 18275, n=22)
15431 Points ∼36% -5%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
14760 Points ∼34% -9%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (Chrome 68)
13360 Points ∼31% -18%
Google Pixel 2 XL (Chrome 62)
11308 Points ∼26% -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% -312%
Google Pixel 2 XL (Chrome 62)
3434.1 ms * ∼30% -23%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (Chrome 68)
3179 ms * ∼28% -14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2154 - 11204, n=22)
2874 ms * ∼25% -3%
Google Pixel 3 XL (Chrome 70)
2785 ms * ∼24%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
2059.7 ms * ∼18% +26%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Chrome 69)
1951.9 ms * ∼17% +30%
Apple iPhone Xs Max (Safari 12)
603.1 ms * ∼5% +78%
WebXPRT 3 - ---
Apple iPhone Xs Max (Safari 12)
155 Points ∼100% +55%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Chrome 69)
124 Points ∼80% +24%
Google Pixel 3 XL (Chrome 70)
100 Points ∼65%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (19 - 103, n=15)
84.5 Points ∼55% -15%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (Chrome 68)
75 Points ∼48% -25%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
64 Points ∼41% -36%
Average of class Smartphone (25 - 161, n=63)
63.6 Points ∼41% -36%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Apple iPhone Xs Max (Safari 12)
347 Points ∼100% +21%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Chrome 69)
334 Points ∼96% +16%
Google Pixel 3 XL (Chrome 70)
287 Points ∼83%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (260 - 291, n=21)
233 Points ∼67% -19%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (Chrome 68)
211 Points ∼61% -26%
Google Pixel 2 XL (Chrome 62)
194 Points ∼56% -32%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
164 Points ∼47% -43%
Average of class Smartphone (91 - 362, n=284)
111 Points ∼32% -61%

* ... smaller is better

The Pixel 3 XL does not support expandable storage, so we can only compare our test device’s internal storage speeds against our comparison devices. The UFS 2.1 flash storage is generally fast, but its read speeds are slower than many of our comparison devices. However, we did not notice any long load times during our tests or in daily use. In short, apps and data should load quickly on the Pixel 3 XL.

Google Pixel 3 XLSamsung Galaxy S9 PlusHuawei Mate 20 ProSony Xperia XZ2 PremiumGoogle Pixel 2 XLAverage 64 GB UFS 2.1 FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
-14%
18%
-20%
-10%
-13%
-71%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
67.18 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
72.38 (Huawei NanoSD 128 GB)
30.23 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
50.2 (17.1 - 71.9, n=25)
45.6 (3.4 - 87.1, n=319)
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
79.22 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
83.18 (Huawei NanoSD 128 GB)
34.18 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
66.4 (18 - 86.6, n=25)
63.8 (8.2 - 96.5, n=319)
Random Write 4KB
132.7
22.74
-83%
157.84
19%
21.75
-84%
17.84
-87%
50.5 (8.77 - 156, n=34)
-62%
16.1 (0.14 - 164, n=607)
-88%
Random Read 4KB
120.8
129.68
7%
157.42
30%
135.99
13%
170.55
41%
134 (78.2 - 173, n=34)
11%
38.3 (1.59 - 173, n=607)
-68%
Sequential Write 256KB
228.6
204.94
-10%
196.39
-14%
170.98
-25%
195.26
-15%
193 (133 - 229, n=34)
-16%
79.9 (2.99 - 246, n=607)
-65%
Sequential Read 256KB
632.6
818.69
29%
853.28
35%
748.59
18%
760.14
20%
727 (529 - 895, n=34)
15%
230 (12.1 - 895, n=607)
-64%

Games

Our test device handled modern and complex games with ease throughout testing. According to GameBench, the Pixel 3 XL rendered both "Arena of Valor" and "Shadow Fight 3" at 60 FPS in either low or high graphics settings. Framerates remained largely consistent too, as the graphs below show.

The positional sensor and touchscreen worked reliably when gaming. We had no issues with either throughout testing.

Shadow Fight 3
Shadow Fight 3
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
 SettingsValue
 min60 fps
 high HD60 fps
  Your browser does not support the canvas element!
Shadow Fight 3
 SettingsValue
 high60 fps
 minimal60 fps
  Your browser does not support the canvas element!

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench Battery Test
GFXBench Battery Test

Surface temperatures on our test device rise to a maximum of 42 °C (~108 °F), which will feel warm to the touch, but is far from being critical. Pleasingly, we had no issue with thermal throttling in a looped GFXBench Battery Test. By contrast, numerous modern flagship devices cannot maintain their peak performance under sustained load, so Google has done well here.

We have come across reports online of some Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones overheating when subjected to prolonged load, but we could not replicate such behaviour with either of our test devices. Google has already offered hardware exchanges to many of those who have been affected, so we suspect that this may have been a bad batch of devices rather than anything more endemic of Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL devices.

Max. Load
 40.9 °C
106 F
38.3 °C
101 F
36.9 °C
98 F
 
 41.9 °C
107 F
38.3 °C
101 F
37.4 °C
99 F
 
 42 °C
108 F
38.9 °C
102 F
36.5 °C
98 F
 
Maximum: 42 °C = 108 F
Average: 39 °C = 102 F
35.1 °C
95 F
37.8 °C
100 F
39.8 °C
104 F
35.7 °C
96 F
37.9 °C
100 F
39.9 °C
104 F
36.4 °C
98 F
38.4 °C
101 F
39.8 °C
104 F
Maximum: 39.9 °C = 104 F
Average: 37.9 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  42.6 °C = 109 F | Room Temperature 21.6 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 39 °C / 102 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 42 °C / 108 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 39.9 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 34.2 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.7 °C / 78 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

Pink Noise speaker test
Pink Noise speaker test

The Pixel 3 XL has front-firing stereo speakers, which sound and have broadly the same characteristics as those in the Pixel 2 XL. The maximum volume of those in our test device is lower than the speakers in the Pixel 2 XL, but mid and high tones are reproduced in greater clarity. Our test device does a better job at reproducing low-midrange tones too, but they get more lost in the mix than they do with its predecessor because they are producing more quietly. However, these are only complaints at the highest level as the Pixel 3 XL has fantastic sounding speakers that do not distort at any volume.

Audio output is only possible over Bluetooth and USB Type-C. Google includes a headphone jack adapter in the box and USB Type-C headphones in the box, the latter of which sound good enough for bundled headphones. The Pixel 3 XL supports aptX HD over Bluetooth for detailed wireless audio reproduction. Our test device paired easily with Bluetooth headphones and speakers too.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2036.435.533.72537.834.934.33141.139.539.14038.238.641.45040.73943.263342830.68032.829.731.610031.728.529.312529.824.732.31603923.745.720051.622.558.425054.32161.131556.720.862.840060.119.968.35005720.169.163050.51968.18005118.572100050.719.271.6125053.91975160053.218.172.7200054.71871.4250056.217.468.7315061.717.670.8400061.217.870.9500055.21869.3630055.31871.1800055.41871.61000062.21879.51250054.91873.11600045.41866.7SPL69.464.130.684.2N25.917.21.562.8median 54.7median 18.5median 69.3Delta3.426.335.246.432.941.937.237.731.736.839.640.528.330.327.330.326.928.126.732.2244520.952.120.957.119.558.518.562.617.570.917.574.715.778.515.876.916.676.215.873.415.473.615.575.51679.915.880.11676.516.37416.374.916.271.416.458.216.44228.688.41.176.2median 16.4median 73.42.110.5hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseGoogle Pixel 3 XLGoogle Pixel 2 XL
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Google Pixel 3 XL audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.2 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 21% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (14.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 0% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 14% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 82% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Google Pixel 2 XL audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (88.4 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 28% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 11% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 82% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 41% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 51% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life

Power Consumption

The Pixel 3 XL consumes less power at idle than its predecessor, but it consumes up to 9.5 W under load, which is above average for a Snapdragon 845 powered device and is more than all our comparison devices. Overall though, the Pixel 3 XL finishes third in our comparison table, being 1% behind the iPhone XS Max and 26% behind the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.7 / 1.4 / 2 Watt
Load midlight 4.8 / 9.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Google Pixel 3 XL
3430 mAh
Apple iPhone Xs Max
3174 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3500 mAh
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4200 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3540 mAh
Google Pixel 2 XL
3520 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
1%
26%
-12%
-13%
-15%
-8%
1%
Idle Minimum *
0.7
1
-43%
0.68
3%
0.95
-36%
0.67
4%
1.28
-83%
0.802 (0.42 - 1.8, n=19)
-15%
0.88 (0.2 - 3.4, n=637)
-26%
Idle Average *
1.4
1.4
-0%
0.95
32%
2.17
-55%
2.5
-79%
1.87
-34%
1.722 (0.67 - 2.9, n=19)
-23%
1.719 (0.6 - 6.2, n=636)
-23%
Idle Maximum *
2
1.7
15%
1.09
45%
2.25
-13%
2.51
-26%
1.89
5%
2.1 (0.87 - 3.5, n=19)
-5%
1.997 (0.74 - 6.6, n=637)
-0%
Load Average *
4.8
4.6
4%
4.58
5%
4.47
7%
4.3
10%
3.73
22%
4.79 (3.64 - 7.2, n=19)
-0%
4.04 (0.8 - 10.8, n=631)
16%
Load Maximum *
9.5
6.7
29%
5.16
46%
6.15
35%
6.87
28%
8.08
15%
9.2 (6.2 - 12.3, n=19)
3%
5.75 (1.2 - 14.2, n=631)
39%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The Pixel 3 XL has a 3,430 mAh battery, which is slightly smaller than the battery inside its predecessor. Correspondingly, the Pixel 2 XL achieves longer runtimes in our battery life tests. However, our test device finished second in our overall comparison table, beating the iPhone XS Max, the Galaxy S9 Plus and the Xperia XZ2 Premium. Moreover, the Pixel 3 XL lasted an impressive 11:31 hours in our Wi-Fi battery life test, a runtime that is bettered only by the iPhone XS Max and the Mate 20 Pro of our comparison devices.

Based on our experience with our test device, the Pixel 3 XL should last most people a day’s use between charges even if that day involves some intensive use. Your experience may vary if you live in a hotter climate though.

The included charger recharges our test device fully in under two hours. However, the charging rate slows down if the Pixel 3 XL is being pushed hard as it is being charged.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
28h 45min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
11h 31min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 04min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 59min
Google Pixel 3 XL
3430 mAh
Apple iPhone Xs Max
3174 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3500 mAh
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
4200 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3540 mAh
Google Pixel 2 XL
3520 mAh
Battery Runtime
-8%
-19%
6%
-23%
-6%
Reader / Idle
1725
1305
-24%
1343
-22%
1747
1%
1347
-22%
1706
-1%
H.264
724
801
11%
674
-7%
854
18%
520
-28%
672
-7%
WiFi v1.3
691
742
7%
521
-25%
767
11%
547
-21%
581
-16%
Load
299
223
-25%
237
-21%
282
-6%
235
-21%
302
1%

Pros

+ sturdy and stable case
+ good cameras
+ numerous LTE bands
+ exclusive software features
+ plenty of accessories
+ colour accurate display
+ no throttling under sustained load
+ impressive speakers
+ decent battery life

Cons

- no face unlock
- some modern video features are missing
- expensive
- large notch
- mediocre call quality for a flagship
- inaccurate GPS

Verdict

The Google Pixel 3 XL Smartphone Review
The Google Pixel 3 XL Smartphone Review

If you do not like notches, you can stop reading now. The Google Pixel 3 XL has a huge notch, which is already a step behind some of its competitors that have less obtrusive notches, in-screen fingerprint sensors and even a slide-out front-facing camera to maximise their screen-to-body ratios.

The Google Pixel 3 XL’s rear-facing camera takes outstanding photos, but its video capabilities are outdated. Moreover, the dual front-facing cameras are useful, but only if you take selfies regularly. The AR and Digital Wellbeing features are novel too, but these were already available with third-party apps, so they are not exactly groundbreaking.

The Google Pixel 3 XL is too expensive at full price to convince us of its many great features. It just does not do anything to set itself out from the crowd.

What remains with the Google Pixel 3 XL, is a stylish, and well-built smartphone that does many things well and few things badly. Unfortunately, it does not do anything to make it stand out from an already saturated market. Google is optimistic about charging up to $999 for the 128 GB version. We would recommend checking out the Pixel 3 XL if you can buy it for below retail price though, as it is a great smartphone with first-class cameras and speakers.

Google Pixel 3 XL - 11/24/2018 v6
Florian Schmitt

Chassis
92%
Keyboard
66 / 75 → 88%
Pointing Device
97%
Connectivity
42 / 60 → 70%
Weight
89%
Battery
94%
Display
89%
Games Performance
67 / 63 → 100%
Application Performance
74 / 70 → 100%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
81 / 91 → 89%
Camera
85%
Average
82%
90%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Google Pixel 3 XL Smartphone Review
Florian Schmitt, 2018-11-26 (Update: 2018-11-28)