Mobile Photography Gear: https://kit.com/photorectoby/mobile-photography-gear
I am an android user I bought into the pixel line because it offered one of the most affordable flagship phones with a fantastic camera. Now with the launch of the Pixel 3 do I still feel the same?
It wasn’t just the camera that appeals to me about the pixel line - as an Android user the pure Google experiences, the frequent updates, knowing that at least for the next year or so you will get a phone that stays current.
Now I have the pixel 3 XL - provided by google - I wasn’t actually planning on upgrading - my Pixel 2 was still good enough - or I should say almost good enough - My biggest issue was the screen brightness - outside for photos or as a screen when flying the drone - it was not as bright as I would like and as good as the camera is - I do wish it had a more manual friendly control -
Let’s talk about my favorite features of this phone and then spend a little time looking at the camera in detail.
The screen - this is a beautiful screen on the 3 - it’s vibrant, bright I enjoy using it outside in bright sunlight and it feels color accurate, not overly saturated.
The clean google experience. I can uninstall every app on this phone, there is no annoying skin on top of the Android experience
Call Screening - this is so cool. I have a call, not sure who it is - hit the screen call button and the assistant picks up with a recorded message - the callers' message will then be transcribed in real time letting me decide if I want to answer it.
Battery Life - just good solid performance and the addition of wireless charging is nice. This brings the pixel 3 in line with other flagship phones.
It's not all good…
I do worry about future-proofing. With just 4GB of RAM in the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL when most are now offering 6 or in the next year or so 8. But at this time this phone is very snappy and I see no issues.
I did have some speaker crackling in the first few days and that has settled down and as other reviewers have mentioned - at higher volumes the back of the phone vibrates but I don’t really use the speakers at that level so it hasn’t bothererd me.
I do seem to fight the portrait vs horizontal rotation more often than I want which is annoying and then sometimes it seems to need a smack to know I have set it back upright/
The camera is fantastic!
It’s just really good. Consistently excellent results with fantastic dynamic range. And that new Night shot mode that is coming is stunningly good. It’s some kind of voodoo magic good - THAT GOOD.
Pixel 3 on the left Sony a7RIII on the right!
Portrait mode where Google uses the algorithm to determine the subject and artificially blurs the background has noticeably improved and gives me good, consistent results. And even though this is called portrait mode you can use it on anything at all.
You can now easily switch the camera to capture RAW and what I found on the pixel 2 - Capturing RAW photos wasn't worth it - the dedicated image processor inside deals with noise and detail better than any post-processing software you can throw the image into but the RAWs from the Pixel 3 are a different story - these are RAWs that look great and respond well to editing. But I still find that the JPEG processed by Google is fantastic and I rarely want to edit the images.
The camera continues to impress me the only areas it is lacking - close focusing is limited compared to some other flagship phones BUT if you use the super zoom feature you can get some stunning results. With any system, if you want awesome macro with this phone consider picking up the Moment lens macro.
Basic Controls - the camera app is clean and streamlined but I do wish you could switch to a more manual friendly control - I find that useful for focusing and playing with slightly longer exposures - the Huawei Mate 10 pro I reviewed earlier this year allows 30 second exposures, The Note 9 from Samsung allows 10 seconds in pro mode. The Pixel 3 is limited to 1/4 second and you have to use a 3rd party app it's not a deal breaker but having that control greatly improves the flexibility and versatility of this camera. Still - an all-around impressive camera at a price that I find a bit more reasonable than many of the competitors. If image quality is an important factor in your purchase of a phone - the Pixel 3 will make you happy.
Mobile Photography Gear