Pixel 3 XL

I spent a fair bit of time this weekend moving phones from the Pixel 2, which I have loved using, to the Pixel 3 XL.

It is drop dead simple to port over all of my accounts, data, and apps from one Pixel to another. Google has made that as easy as moving from one iPhone to another. You just connect both phones with the cable that comes in the Pixel 3 box and in about ten minutes the new phone has everything that was on the old phone.

But getting all of my security set up on a new phone (2FA, passwords, etc) and then logging into all of my apps (because I don’t like to log in with Google or Facebook or anyone else) is a massive pain. 

But at least I feel more secure.

After using the Pixel 3 XL for the last couple days, I cannot say that it is a meaningfully different experience than using the Pixel 2. Everyone says the camera is better. I have not noticed that yet but I am also not hugely particular about my phone camera.

One new feature of the Pixel 3 that I am using is wireless charging. I also bought the Pixel Charging Stand and when I get home, I just put the phone on the stand and it charges wirelessly. That’s nice. I used to charge my earlier Pixels wirelessly but they got rid of that in the recent models and now it is back. I like that.

I am excited about getting the Pixel 3 to screen my calls. That is another new feature it comes with. But I have not yet set that up. I will report back on how that is working for me.

The biggest disappointment for me is the lack of facial recognition on the Pixel 3. I like using my fingerprint to log into my phone, but I think I would like facial recognition even more. The iPhone has had that feature for a year or so now and I can’t understand why Google can’t match that.

Anyway, my big takeaway from spending a fair bit of my time this weekend moving from Pixel 2 to Pixel 3 is that not much changed for me. That’s fine. A new phone is always a nice thing to have. But I am not sure it was worth all of the setup time I put in this weekend. It’s pretty much the same phone I have had for the last year or so.


Comments (Archived):

  1. BillMcNeely

    Would you reccommend the Pixel 3 XL over the S9?

    1. kenberger

      I would definitely, mostly because you’ll always have the newer operating systems and latest features from Google, compared to the tons of features Samsung is always ahead with…yet I always wind up disabling.However if you’re into very vibrant almost oversaturated screens, then Samsung is almost always in the lead there.

      1. BillMcNeely

        Thanks! My S7 active is slowing down and I am ready to upgrade.

    1. jason wright

      do you have to take your glasses off?

      1. bogorad

        Some lenses used in glasses alter the geometry of your face – those glasses need to be worn when enrolling your face into an FR system. And it won’t work unless you’re wearing them.Some lenses don’t do that, so with those it works both ways (on and off).

    2. tsella

      Indeed.Security & Location > Smart Lock > Trusted FaceI can’t say it isn’t any good.. I’m so conditioned to use finger unlock that it does not not even register.

  2. William Mougayar

    Moving from a Pixel 2 to a 3 is not such a big delta, just as moving from an iPhone X to XS is not significant either.These manufacturers capture mostly older cohorts of users with their new models. Coming from the iPhone 7/8 to the XS would be more significant for example, just as coming from older Google models to the Pixel 3 would be as well.

  3. Martin Kupp

    What do you do with your old phones? 😉

  4. firesofmay

    How do you store your passwords/2FAs btw? I recommend using something like 1Password if you aren’t already.

  5. kenberger

    Android has made it super easy to go across almost *any* 2 Android phones over last couple years, including a tap & go feature where you initiate it by turning on both NFC’s and tapping.Yep the security stuff not being so simple is a feature not a bug.

  6. jason wright

    My Pixel 1 XL is still good to go. It’s running Android 9 and is getting the monthly software updates and security patches bundle until autumn 2019. I think i’ll wait.Hopefully the Pixel 4 series will have an in-screen fingerprint reader and a smaller top notch.Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro looks like really nice hardware. It’s just a pity about the software. EMUI looks quite dreadful. If only Huawei were to release an Android One version. That would be very tempting.The OnePlus 6T is a good mix of hardware and software and price.Copperhead OS is for survivalists and cave dwellers.UBPorts is for tinkerers.

    1. Adam Sher

      I’m still using the Pixel 1. I’d rate it as passable. I’ve replaced it a few times and the battery life is bad. I briefly switched to the Moto X4, which had a longer battery life but a worse camera and was too large for my taste.The OnePlus 6T looks great.I hope that the Moto phones that work with their attachments come to Google Fi, I’d like to try them.

      1. jason wright

        If you like Motorola phones then there’s the Motorola One (Android One stock Android software) option, and perhaps the Power variant at some future date if you’re lucky;https://www.theverge.com/20…I find the Pixel 1 XL still acceptable. Google’s improvements come ‘drip, drip, drip’. I don’t play that game.

        1. Adam Sher

          Yah, the Moto One could be great. Only the Moto Z phones work with Moto Mods and sadly are not available on Google Fi. Tempting to consider another service.

  7. kenberger

    one thing I love most is Google fi… I know Fred tried it and hated it a few years ago but it’s pretty magical these days *if you’re in the US and travel abroad*, allows almost worldwide data roaming often over 4G. I am sitting on a boat now at the Greek Turkish border and the phone actually switches between the countries’ 4G… super cool.So with the pixels, it’s even cooler because Fi is available as an “eSim” (software-based sim), leaving the SIM card slot free so you could put a local Sim in there and switch to it easily. I won’t go into the use case for that but some people swear by it.But perhaps the most killer feature of Fi is it allows you to have up to nine extra data-only Sims connected to the same account. So you hand one of those to your wife to put in her iPhone or Samsung, stick another one in each of your tablets, handle all phone calls through each of your Google Hangouts with whatever phone number each user has, and the total price is capped at around $80/month, 15GB.

    1. jason wright

      Are you getting eSim service? Who at the moment supports that tech?

      1. kenberger

        In my case, Google makes the phone, and provides the carrier service, so it’s easy for them to provide that functionality. This does away with room needed for a sim slot, particularly useful if it’s a small device like a smartwatch. And it gives the added dual-sim(ish) benefit.Of course the interesting part is 2-fold:1. Getting a sim immediately, without having to visit a store or be mailed something. Eg: before visiting a country.2. Imagine the IoT future and tiny devices that can be net-connected.

    2. Adam Sher

      Google Fi’s service is frustratingly inconsistent in Philly. I’ve used it for several years and do not think Google improved its service. What I find to be most frustrating is that the software does a poor job of prioritizing WiFi for calling, and does a worse job of switching between wifi and wireless service. This almost always results in bad call quality and dropped calls.

      1. kenberger

        In the US, I find it fairly flawless maybe because I turn off just about all of the features you mention. On a non-supported phone (such an iPhone or samsung), you don’t get them anyway.With all that off, it’s basically like a T-Mobile USA sim. But it’s better than that, because it includes almost global usually 4G, all at standard $10/GB worldwide.

        1. Adam Sher

          I have bad cell reception in my house and am reliant on wifi calling or taking calls on my top floor. Maybe another provider manages this better.

  8. peteski

    The Night Sight is a great feature for the camera (installed on my Pixel 2) but the 3’s price tag… ouch. It needs to be more of a significant hardware or technical evolution for me to justify it just yet.

    1. kenberger

      Ah, I’m assuming you installed the APK directly, in the following link? I highly recommend it to anyone with a 2 or 2xl, I’ve installed it on my 2XL, it gives almost all of the series 3 features and works flawlessly.https://www.xda-developers….

      1. peteski

        I did, works great.

  9. Marktastic

    Couple recommendations:1. Stop using Google Authenticator. I imagine that’s where your 2FA problems come in. Shift to Authy. Makes it much less painful on a new phone.2. I find that using Pushbullet with your password manager of choice can help you enter passwords very quickly on a new device.I realize #2 is not the most secure approach, but it is fast.

  10. LIAD

    hardware has been a snore-fest for ages.a little quicker, a little thinner – nothing exciting to write home about.only thing which impressed me this release cycle, coming back to iOS, is their Health ecosystem. Loads of 3rd party apps reading and writing from a central repository Seamless integrations. Can find as broad or as niche apps as you like. Lots of consumer surplus. Will be cool when same thing comes to Finance/Home/Productivity etc. – my point – next couple years of software looks far more interesting than hardware. but you never know.

    1. jason wright

      folding/ bending screens?

  11. Tom Labus

    A Surface phone at this point would be great.

  12. tobiasr

    Authy is the better version of Google Authenticator, it can backup/import sites.

  13. LE

    I am excited about getting the Pixel 3 to screen my callsYou have to be careful with that type of feature actually.Google voice has had call screening for years however my experience when using it is it doesn’t work well with any important phone number. If it’s based on the same tech as google voice don’t use it for an important phone number. Or also google is famous for allowing features like this to die with no improvements.For a phone number that isn’t important it’s fine because you don’t care if you miss a call etc.What I find is that calls frequently go right to voicemail. Not a problem except when you actually want a call and don’t get it.Honestly even though I touted google voice here years ago I have stepped away from using it. It just does not provide good value (even at the free cost) in anything less than a situation where it doesn’t matter if I miss a call.

  14. LE

    The iPhone has had that feature for a year or so now and I can’t understand why Google can’t match that.Why: Patents. That’s is my guess and I think I am right on this.For example I have face id on a Samsung s8+ (running Android) and honestly I like the fingerprint much much better on the iphone. Because it sucks more than it doesn’t.https://www.androidcentral….Anyway to answer your question I would say the following as to why. My guess is it has to do with not having the right patents which allow them to do it in a way that Apple does. So they realize (per my personal experience) that it’s not ready for prime time.As one small example the Android on Samsung (last I checked) doesn’t even recognize me with glasses, a hat, or at night in the dark. This is a huge drawback. Also with face idea the phone has to be picked up and looking at you.The s8+ really does suck vs. the older iphone model. Nothing works as well particularly with the touch surface. I can’t stand it.

  15. jason wright

    So, Son and Softbank are sticking with Saudi Arabia. Um, he says his company has a “responsibility” to the country and its people.

  16. Cyrus Adkisson

    Next time you set up all your 2FA, take an old phone (or two), wipe it, never connect it to the internet, encrypt it, take pictures of the QR codes as you add them, then stash the phone in a safe place (like a bank safe deposit box if you’re paranoid like me). Next time you need to set up a new phone, use the QR codes again.

  17. sigmaalgebra

    Alarm! Danger to all of earth, the solar system, and the universe!!Why? Smartphones!!How? Electrons!!! The smartphones use electrons, whip them around without mercy. Then they WEAR OUT!! If we don’t conserve the electrons, if we continue wasting, abusing the electrons, then we will ruin earth, …, the universe!!!Stop the abuse of the electrons!!!!!Don’t laugh, it’s much more serious than global warming from CO2 from human activities. Sooooo, if you are not afraid of wearing out the electrons, then don’t be afraid of CO2!!!!About the electrons, just fool’n guys!!! But this election season, I’ve heard a lot of much less credible stuff!!!!

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I heard something about a 19 year old’s army going to bed early today.Thousands of young people trying to take control of their destinies.That can’t be bad, right?

  18. Donna Brewington White

    Thank you for sharing this. It may have been your review years ago that led me toward the Galaxy. But ever since Samsung did an upgrade that forced an unneeded VR app (?) that drains the battery and cannot be easily uninstalled, I have determined to switch brands. All of my family members are on iOS (that I purchased) and many friends are encouraging me to change over to iPhone but I have a hard time bringing myself to leave Android. Plus it feels like moving to Apple is jumping from the frying pan into the fire, given my reason for switching. I think Pixel may be the one.

  19. Hugh Knowles

    Fred. I enjoy reading your daily missives but there is a massive elephant in the room. I don’t understand how you can just continuously upgrade your technology and also say you are concerned by climate change (espcially when you also admit that it has not even made that much difference). Buying a new phone takes has same carbon impact as recharging and operating a smartphone for an entire decade. There are other obvious environmental impacts from materials etc. So for an enormous impact there has been little or no change to your life. That. Is. Completely. Insane.

  20. karthickgopal

    Why don’t you use the iPhone?