Pixel 3 was one of the wildest product launches in recent memory. The leaks came early and continuously, starting with the screen saver leak and going back to May. Not only did this give us the basic specs of the phone, but it also provided some extremely accurate renders, giving the internet a peek nearly five months ahead of Google’s expected delivery. Initial reaction to the design was brutal, but it was too late: the Pixel 3 was already in late production. The leaks continued from there, with the prerelease feeling like a slow-motion car crash. fear it run away The Pixel 3 design is still popular.
It’s now the third year of Google’s hardware initiative, and some product categories are clearly doing better than others. The shining example of what Google hardware must be is probably the Google Home brand. Google has created a comprehensive offering of unique, beautiful, and powerful hardware combined with industry-leading software, all at a price that makes it easy to immerse yourself in the ecosystem.
I wish Google Hardware’s smartphone section was this good, but it still isn’t. When it comes to smartphones, Google still has a great (and often industry-leading!) software suite, impressive performance and optimization, and an amazing camera, but coupled with a hardware design that’s far behind the rest of its competition from 2018. The smaller half of this equation hurts the great work being done on the rest of the phone.
So this review isn’t for the pixel we’d like, but for the pixel we’ll stick with: this is a completely mix bag of hardware and software at opposite ends of the quality spectrum. How abundant can great software make up for a collection of less-than-great hardware options in 2018?
The Pixel’s software package is usually the best you can get from Android. Most OEMs take Android and try to rebrand the OS to their liking, but since they can’t rebrand the entire software suite, they end up ripping the phone in two. OEMs can change the name of Google’s OS interface, but they can’t change proprietary apps like Play Store, Gmail, and all other Google apps.
A stock Android phone is the only Android software loadout where the operating system isn’t at war with itself. Google and the OEM aren’t fighting over app selection and home screen real estate, and there’s no carrier auctioning off parts of your $900 phone to the highest bidder. The entire software suite is design for one purpose, with no selection of duplicate applications serving different teachers. This is the cleanest, most consistent, and best Android package out there.
Google is the only Android OEM to offer update support, with day one updates for all new versions of Android and monthly security updates for three years. Every other Android OEM takes months to release an update, but Android fragmentation and slow update issues aren’t your concern if you’re buying a Pixel. With cohesive software package, no crapware and updates from day one, this is the only Android package that comes close to iOS.
The Pixel 3 comes with Android 9.0 Pie, and there’s not much we can say beyond our 19,000-word review. The only major change is the navigation system, and it’s not very good.
Mandatory Gesture Navigation Pixel 3
The first change, and probably the biggest drawback to the Pixel 3 right now, is that Android 9 Pie’s gesture navigation is on by default and can’t be turned off. I’ve been trying to get used to it over and over again with the Android Pie beta for months now and it’s just not good. It’s not pointless, but everything takes longer and feels less precise. For a basic feature like system navigation that you can use literally hundreds of times a day, this is really annoying.
Gesture navigation takes the normal layout of Android’s recent apps, home, and back buttons and simply removes the recent apps button, making the entire bar look lopsided. The home button, which is usually a circle, changes to a pill shape, and you can now swipe it to open the recent apps interface. A swipe to the left on the pill switches to the previous app, and a swipe to the right on the pill does nothing at all. That’s right, there is no gesture for “
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