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Getting past the notch: Google Pixel 3XL’s better features

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Google’s recently announced Pixel 3XL has been the butt of every notch comparison (jokes) even way before the device’s official reveal. The sheer amount of leaks generated a lot of negative reaction from the press, almost all focusing on that large notch.

We understand the frustration, after all, the notch design was introduced with Apple‘s iPhone X. Google implementing it and having it bigger than everyone else’s is kind of a smack in the face of every Android fan. It’s a far cry from the Nexus days when Google’s smartphones were no-nonsense, customizeable, 3.5mm jack touting, cheap, but flagship-fast devices that distanced itself as far from the iPhone philosophy as possible.

But let’s pretend for a moment that the iPhone X didn’t exist and take the Pixel 3XL as it is. What are some outstanding features Google has put into its newest phones?

android updates

The one thing that hasn’t changed about Google’s smartphones are the guaranteed updates the Android OS gets. This is in addition to the monthly security updates Android phones usually get.

The latest Pixel phones are no exception with Google promising at least 3 years of OS updates on top of the pre-installed Android 9.0 Pie. So expect the Pixel 3XL to make it to at least the next two versions of Android.

Also, comment down below what you think Android Q is going to be. It’s actually quite hard to come up with.

Cameras

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL have been widely praised for their superb front and rear cameras. Even today, the previous Pixels are still somewhat of a benchmark when it comes to image quality thanks to Google’s image processing optimizations. That’s an impressive feat given that the Pixel 2 and 2XL only had single rear cameras when their rivals had fancier dual camera set-ups.

It’s only bound to get better with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL. The rear cameras have been lifted straight from the Pixel 2, but the front facing cameras are now an 8MP main and 8MP wide dual-camera setup.

If there’s one good thing about the Pixel 3XL we’ve heard from all of the press, it’s that they’re excited for the improvements Google’s made to the camera.

Did we also mention that these new Pixels are getting unlimited cloud storage for all photos and videos taken on them? Yep, Google knows they’ve made a good smartphone camera, and they want you to use it, a lot.

Google assistant call screening

The Google Assistant can now screen incoming calls for you. So for example your friend calls you from an unknown number while you’re busy on your computer, Google Assistant can act as your answering machine. What’s cool is that it can give you a complete transcription of the entire conversation it’s had with the caller.

We’re not entirely sure if it supports Filipino or other languages, but it would be a really handy feature if it did. We’d also like a feature to rename Google Assistant to make it seem we have our own servant.

digital wellbeing

Smartphone usage has been, and probably still is, growing at fast rate. Personally, my smartphone is the first and last thing I hold in my hand at both ends of my sleep. Google has recognized that excessive smartphone usage has become an issue among people and has introduced Digital Wellbeing.

Available on all Pixel devices running the latest Android 9.0 Pie, you can keep track of your usage of all of your apps. You can set timers for each app to help you limit your use.

In addition, there’s a simple feature where you physically turn your phone over to totally silence your phone. This is good for those who don’t usually put their phones on silent but then find themselves being overwhelmed with notifications.

Google lens integration

Google Lens is now embedded in the default camera app. With it, you can easily point the Pixel 3XL at something you want to do a Google search for and get results immediately.

The promotional video is a bit optimistic with its demo, but it is useful for those times when you can’t quite put into words what exactly it is that you’re looking at.

expect more software

You may have noticed that all of the aforementioned features are software-based. That’s because ultimately, Google’s strength lies in their software know-how and how well they integrate their cloud services. To that end, expect the Pixel 3/3XL, and even the older Pixel 2/2XL to get new software features later on that other Android phone makers usually end up adopting late or not at all.

I think that everyone needs to take a step back and look past the unfortunate design choice. Because underneath it, the Pixel 3XL is shaping up to be a good phone in its own right. And anyway, the smaller Pixel 3 is available if you want to avoid the notch entirely.

Source Google 1|2

Jude De Leon
Ever since he's built his dream rig during his early high school years, Migs has always been a keen PC enthusiast. He's been the go-to guy for computer advice for his friends and family ever since.

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