With new and improved smartphones hitting the market every few months, it can be a challenging task to decide whether a smartphone from a few years ago is still worth your hard-earned money. One such device, the Pixel 3 XL, is Google’s flagship smartphone from 2018. With a 6.3-inch OLED display, a Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, a 12.2MP rear camera, and dual 8MP front cameras, it had garnered attention for its exceptional camera capabilities, clean Android software, and various features. However, in the year 2023, when newer and more powerful smartphones have flooded the market, one may wonder if the Pixel 3 XL can still hold its ground. In this article, we will weigh the pros and cons of this device, and provide insights into its performance, design, and features to help you make an informed decision.
The Pixel 3 XL stands out for its camera, even in 2023. It remains one of the best budget-friendly smartphone cameras, capable of capturing photos with exceptional detail, dynamic range, and color accuracy. Photography enthusiasts will appreciate its features, including Night Sight, Top Shot and Super Res Zoom. Additionally, the dual 8MP front cameras, with a wide-angle lens, excel at selfies and group shots. If you’re passionate about photography and have a tight budget, the Pixel 3 XL is still a top choice for you.
The Pixel 3 XL’s beautiful OLED display with a high resolution of 2960×1440 and an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 is a visual delight. It supports HDR-10 content, making it perfect for enjoying high-quality videos and images. Moreover, the device features dual front-facing speakers that deliver loud and clear sound, enhancing your multimedia experience.
The Pixel 3 XL offers a smooth experience, thanks to the Snapdragon 845 chipset and Google’s clean, optimized Android software. However, as the phone ages, some users have reported sluggish performance. If you’re thinking about getting this phone, keep in mind that it may not be as fast as the latest models.
Average Battery Life
A smartphone’s battery life is a critical consideration for most users. The Pixel 3 XL does okay in this department, as it can easily last a full day of moderate use. With the included 18W charger, you can also take advantage of fast charging capabilities.
Additionally, the device supports wireless charging with any Qi-compatible pad and boasts an IP68 rating for water resistance, making it a reliable companion for all sorts of adventures.
Unlimited Photo Storage with Google Photos
Another notable advantage of the Pixel 3 XL is its integration with Google Photos. This feature allows users to store an unlimited number of photos and videos in the cloud. This perk continues to be available for Pixel 3 XL owners in 2023.
Google Photos is a cloud-based platform that ensures safe storage, accessibility from any internet-connected device, and easy sharing of media with others. It optimizes images and videos to save space while maintaining quality.
This advantage holds significance, especially in an era where photo and video content have become a central part of our lives. It eliminates the need to constantly manage storage space or decide which photos or videos to delete. This feature is beneficial for those who frequently capture moments, create content, or document personal events.
Google Photos complements the Pixel 3 XL’s strong camera capabilities, allowing users to store an extensive collection of photos and videos without constraints.
The Pixel 3 XL features a unique squeeze feature, allowing users to interact with the device by applying pressure to its sides. This feature offers quick access to functions like launching the Google Assistant, silencing alarms, and more. For those who value convenience and shortcuts, the squeeze feature provides an easy and unique way to interact with the device.
No Software or Security Updates
It’s crucial to recognize that, in 2023, the Pixel 3 XL no longer benefits from software updates, including vital security patches, from Google. This has noteworthy implications for the device’s continued functionality and security.
In the ever-shifting world of smartphones, software updates play a pivotal role. They bring new features, but more importantly, they provide essential security enhancements. Regrettably, the Pixel 3 XL, released in 2018, has reached the end of its official support from Google. Google typically offers Android version updates and security patches for around three years after a device’s initial launch (though they now offer 7 years of software updates with the Pixel 8). Consequently, as of 2023, the Pixel 3 XL no longer receives any updates from Google, whether they’re for the Android operating system or critical security fixes.
This isn’t just a concern for users who appreciate the latest Android features. It’s also a significant issue for those who prioritize the security of their device. Without regular security updates, the Pixel 3 XL may become more susceptible to potential security vulnerabilities, which may not align with the requirements of users who emphasize the safety of their data and personal information.
It’s worth noting that there is an alternative available for those with the technical know-how and the willingness to explore. Users can opt to install custom ROMs, which are versions of the Android operating system developed by the community. This approach enables users to continue receiving the latest Android versions and critical security updates, even after official support has ended. Custom ROMs come in various flavors, each offering unique features and adjustments, making them a compelling option for users interested in prolonging the life and functionality of their Pixel 3 XL while maintaining a secure digital environment.
While the Pixel 3 XL’s design was modern for its time, it has some aspects that may not sit well with everyone in 2023. The most prominent of these is the sizable notch at the top of the display. The presence of such a notch may be perceived as an annoyance or an aesthetic flaw in a market where many newer smartphones sport sleek, edge-to-edge screens. Moreover, the thick bezels at the bottom of the device make it look somewhat dated in comparison to its modern counterparts.
Limited RAM and Storage
Another limitation of the Pixel 3 XL is its 4GB of RAM. While this may suffice for everyday use, it might not meet the needs of heavy multitasking or gaming enthusiasts. Furthermore, the device’s storage options top out at 128GB, and it lacks a microSD card slot for expansion. In a world where content creation and consumption are at their peak, these limitations can pose challenges, potentially causing you to run out of storage space if you capture many photos and videos or download numerous apps.
It’s important to note that some Pixel 3 XL users reported issues like screen burn-in, which is a common problem with OLED displays, and occasional software glitches. While these problems may not affect every device, it’s essential to be aware of potential issues before making a purchase.
Other issues include; Random reboots, bricked devices and connectivity issues.
- Good Camera
- Impressive Display
- Solid Battery Life
- Water-Resistant Design
- Unlimited Photo Storage
- Dated Design
- Limited RAM and Storage
- No Software Updates
- Potential Security Risks
Should you buy the Pixel 3XL?
The question remains, is the Pixel 3 XL worth it in 2023? The answer largely depends on your priorities and budget. If you are passionate about photography, value a top-tier camera, and appreciate a beautiful display on a budget, the Pixel 3 XL still has much to offer. However, you must also consider its design quirks, limited RAM, and lack of software updates and storage options, which could be deal-breakers for some users. Unless money is really tight, we highly advise you to buy at least the Pixel 5.
In the end, the Pixel 3 XL is a compelling choice in 2023 for those who cherish its strengths. Yet, if you seek the latest design trends, more powerful specs, or expanded storage options, you may find newer smartphone models better suited to your needs. Make an informed decision based on your priorities and what you value most in a smartphone. Regardless of your choice, the ever-evolving smartphone market ensures that there is something out there to cater to your specific needs and desires.
If you’re still interested in getting an older phone, click to read about whether the Pixel 2 is worth it.