Two weeks in and I’m still looking for the Pixel 3’s ‘It’ factor


There are a lot of reasons why you should buy a new phone. Typically, the decision to buy a new smartphone is spurred by the fact that you own a device that’s a few years old, is running slow and can’t keep up with your daily needs. Newer devices are always faster, sleeker and come with cameras which are substantially better than the one we’ve been holding onto.

While there’s no shortage of great Android devices to choose from these days, it’s actually becoming harder to choose the right phone to fit your individual needs. All these devices offer incredible performance and new software tricks which promise to make your life easier, but many of them simply lack that “It” factor that sets them apart from the competition.

I purchased the new Pixel 3 a few weeks back and have been using it as my daily driver as I’ve been working on my Pixel 3 review (I promise, it’s almost done). The phone looks good and has all the features you’d want in a flagship Android smartphone, but I’m still not sure what the phone’s “it” factor is. Some will point out that the Pixel 3 runs stock Android or that its camera is phenomenal, but it’s honestly no better than last year’s Pixel 2. And in making that comparison, the Pixel 2 actually comes out ahead since the new Pixel 3 made its debut with a $150 markup.

The only real distinguishing factor that the Pixel 3 has to offer is its secondary selfie camera which features a 19mm ultra-wide angle lens. If you’ve seen my Pixel 3 versus Pixel 2 camera comparison, it’s hard to miss the dramatic difference that the wide-angle lens has to offer. That being said, the LG V40 also sports a wide-angle lens up front in addition to a triple-camera setup on the back of the phone.

Making things worse is the Pixel 3 RAM management issue. Google has promised that a fix is in the works, but it’s disappointing that the issue existed in the first place. Google could have skirted the issue by equipping its phone with 6GB of RAM  — something that’s become the norm on all other flagship devices these days. Instead, we have a phone with the same amount of RAM as last year’s device and software that kills off background apps at its own discretion.

Maybe I’m just being too picky or maybe I’m just not seeing it, but I don’t think Google’s Pixel 3 has an “it” factor.

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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