Today was the day that Google “officially” announced its new palatte of hardware offerings, including new smartphones. I say officially because pretty much everything leaked on the internet. And although there were some (like me) who harbored secret hopes that there was some mystery left – well…nope, it was gone. But if you didn’t get a chance to catch the one hour and change spectacle that Google put on today in NYC, read on for the recap of it all.
Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL News:
So – let’s get this out of the way – there was no Pixel Ultra all screen device as was promised by the gods – but instead, we got the very okay upgrades in these 2 new phones. Much of the spec sheet is similar between both phones, so I’ll only cover the highlights and point out what is different between the two devices.
Pixel 3 details
It will look in a lot of ways just like a miny Pixel 2XL, with a symmetrical top and bottom bezel and will come in 3 colors – Just Black, Clearly White, and a new color – Not Pink. (still love Google’s tongue in cheek approach to color names) The device sports a 5.5″ 2160×1080 display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, and early reports from Android Central and the Verge are that the display is much improved over the previous Pixel 2 display. The device will feature Qualcomm’s latest silicon, the Snapdragon 845 with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. This year, the devices will have a back panel of both frosted and glossy Gorilla Glass, which will allow both Pixel devices to support wireless charging as well as fast wired charging.
There are no other storage options, and the devices still sport water and dust resistance as the 2nd generation Pixel 2 devices did. In addition, there is a single rear camera again this year, a 12MP shooter that will sport many new features and modes with the inclusion of on device AI and machine learning to help you pick the best of a number of photos, improve nighttime photography, and keep detail when zooming onto a subject. There will now however be 2 front facing cameras, a dual 8MP setup with one standard and one wide angle lens to help you get those “super selfies” with your party crew. The battery checks in at 2915mah which (when paired with the 1080p display and the S845 chip) should give you pretty solid battery life.
Pixel 3XL details
Most of the hardware features noted above apply to the Pixel 3XL, with just a few exceptions – the display will now be a 6.3″ 2960×1440 with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which is a little squirrley because of – THE NOTCH. As you can see above, the dual front facing cameras and speaker grille are housed in the notched area, and boy – it sure is a big one. The battery capacity is different in the 3XL at 3450mah, but this is actually a smaller powerpack than the 2XL, which boasted a 3520mah battery. The same 64GB or 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM are available here as well. If you are T-Mobile (like I am) you’ll be happy to know that both the Pixel 3 and 3XL will support band 71, which should improve signal quality for those living in more rural areas, and improve speed as well.
Now we come to the major sticking point with the Pixel 3 devices…the price. As with Apple’s hardware announcement last month, the prices are going up again this year:
- Pixel 3 will start at $799/$899 (in 64GB/128GB options)
- Pixel 3XL will start at $899/$999 (in 64GB/128GB options)
For the smaller Pixel 3, this is a pretty sizeable $150 increase at the base price over last year, which I’m sure disappointed quite a few people – including me. As I am already on record as saying I wasn’t going to consider the Pixel 3XL, the more modest price jump there was a mild (and pleasant) surprise. The phones are available for pre-order (you can use this link to get to the Google site) and should ship on October 17th (may be later depending on size, color, and storage options chosen)
Pixel Slate News:
Android tablets are a dumpster fire – this is something everyone knows to be fact. Google aims to change that…by not having an Android tablet at all. They are moving to something like…well, the Pixel Slate tablet. This is a device that runs ChromeOS, and should support Android apps as a by product. But this isn’t your Android tablet from 4 years ago…
This behemoth is touted as having an excellent display, and comes with Pixel Imprint (fingerprint scanning) as a method of biometric lock/unlock. This is also backed by the Titan security chip, something that Google mentioned a while back, but is in essence a hardware chip designed to improve your smartphone (as the Pixel’s sport it also) or tablet’s ability to withstand typical malicious attempts to unlock and decrypt your device.
It will also have a front and rear camera, at 8MP (similar to those on the Pixel 3 I presume) and some of the same software enhancements. Dual front stereo speakers as well for those who will use this device for multimedia consumption. Accessories to enhance your Pixel Slate experience will include a keyboard and stylus, for an additional cost of course.
The Pixel Slate will come in a number of different price points and hardware configurations, check out your options below. And if this sounds like the tablet of your dreams, you can join the waitlist using this link.
Home Hub News:
Google’s Smart Display details
Ever wish your tablet and Google Home could fall in love and have a sweet, sweet love child? May your wish be granted – welcome to the Google Home Hub:
This new integrated device will give all of the basic function of a Google Home, and answer your verbal queries with aplomb. It will in addition have a version of the Google Assistant and a revised Google Home screen that will display relevant-to-you information at various points in time, and oh yeah – it can also tell the time. You can also play music and have a visual display (similar to what you might see if you use Google Play Music on your television) that gives you controls and more details. And it works with other music apps as well!
It’s also got some great integration with Google Photos and will scroll thru pictures of your photos albums much like a digital picture frame. This is a fun and unique way to share pics of your recent trips with family and friends, or just remind yourself of some of the good times you’ve had in the past. It will also respond to voice commands like, “hey Google, show me pictures of my trip to Italy” on command, in addition to the selected new shared photo albums.
If you’re interested, you can find the link to order the Google Home Hub here, for a very reasonable $149. There is also a new version of the Chromecast, but there wasn’t an official announcement so much but its on the Google Play Store if you need one, and you need one – Chromecasts are easily Google’s best hardware product to date and they are super cheap and handy to have around.
That wraps it up – if you want the TL;dr version from me, here it is: Home Hub – no front camera! Pixel Slate – too expensive! Pixel 3 and 3XL – too expensive! Cheers!