The Google Pixel 3 event is especially interesting to me, because I’m considering moving from my Moto G5s Plus to a Google Pixel 3 or 3 XL. The event covered 3 new prices of hardware, which I’ve written a bit about below.
If you missed the event, The Verge has condensed it down to about 12 minutes. I would suggest giving that a quick watch.
Google Home Hub
Aesthetically, I think the Home Hub is gorgeous. It is absolutely the most attractive smart home device. The whole lineup beats the hell out of the Amazon Echo/Alexa. Although, I do like the look of Apple’s HomePod.
What I find particularly interesting is Google’s use of texture across their hardware lineups. Soft colors, rounded shapes and textured encasings make the devices seem friendly and distinctively Google.
Realistically, I am not sure what advantage the Home Hub provides—other than having another portal to manage your Nest devices. Over an over they mentioned syncing your Google Photos as some sort of screen saver when you aren’t using it.
I have been skeptical of most smart home devices and don’t think that Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa provide enough benefits. Although, I to like they intentionally avoided adding a camera to this device. Compare that with Facebook’s Portal, where the camera is a defining feature.
Anyways, this thing seems competitive at $149.
Also more reading on the battle for the home at Ben Thompson’s Stratechery.
Google Pixel Slate
I don’t have a ton to say about the Pixel Slate hardware. It is clearly trying to compete with the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Go/Pro—striking a balance somewhere between PC and tablet. Maybe it’s good enough for someone who uses the internet and writes a lot?
It’s never felt like Google has put much effort into tablets. I wonder if they’ve decided to go with the Chrome OS brand over Android? Maybe this is the direction they are taking? In either case I am pretty interested in seeing Google’s next tablet offering.
A big deal was made out of the keyboard for this thing. Interestingly it uses rounded keys, which are similar to Logitech’s newer keyboards (see the K780 and K600). With many people upset over the newer Macbook keyboards I am curious how these feel and will hold up.
Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
The new Pixel phone is what everyone came for—myself included. My initial impression?
I’m a bit underwhelmed.
There’s an incremental processor upgrade. The Snapdragon 845 replaces the 835. Apparently there is a new camera sensor. The screens are better. And all this would be fine, save a $150 price increase on the Pixel 3 and a $100 increase on the XL model.
I have a few hesitations about this phone. Google has opted for 4GB RAM when phones half it’s price are moving to 6 GB, the battery is about the same size as the Pixel 2 (or smaller in the XL), the front and back of this phone are glass.
Glass is about the most fragile thing you could make a phone out of. Manufacturers seem to be going in the opposite direction—from durable hard plastic to easily scratched brushed aluminum to easily broken glass. How far can this thing drop without shattering? It makes me worried, even with a case on it.
Speaking of phone cases. I do like the look of the cases for the Pixel 3. It has the same textured, fabric aesthetic as the Home Hub. How durable can it be though? With a glass phone, I’m tempted to get an Otterbox.
There’s also the Pixel Stand, which is $79. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Wireless charging is cool, but I feel like it might be a hazard. I’ve got concrete floors and can see myself reaching over to turn off my alarm and swiping that glass phone onto my concrete floor. If I do get a Pixel 3, it will probably be sans stand.
Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL
To be honest, the Pixel 3 XL seems like a big disappointment. At 3430mAh, it has a smaller battery than the Pixel 2 XL. I’m not a fan of the notch—although I do remember seeing somewhere that consumers associate the notch with more expensive devices. In either case it isn’t for me. Unless you want to pay $100 more for a big phone, or need a wide angle front-facing camera, the smaller Pixel 3 is probably a better bet.
And for all my skepticism, I do like the Pixel 3. I much prefer the 5.5-inch form factor to larger phones. It’s also nice to see that the smaller phone doesn’t get nerfed on specs. Same great camera, same great display. And the battery size did increase for the Pixel 3.
Should I get a Pixel 3?
I am not sold.
If I was going to get one, it would probably be the normal Pixel 3 in white. Battery life and durability are my main concerns. I’ll hold judgement until I see a few reviews about it.
I would be open to purchasing a Pixel 2 XL, if I could find it on sale for around $500. There were discounts around that price this summer. Since so much of the camera and upgrades are software, a Pixel 2 might be the best choice here.