While there has been tons of speculation for years about Google launching a more affordable version of its high-end Pixel smartphones, it appears the company is actively developing two such handsets, and that they could launch very soon. The phones will reportedly be branded as the Google Pixel 3 Lite and Google Pixel 3 XL Lite, and like their high-end companion phones they will reportedly still have the same superior camera hardware (with one exception) as the standard Pixel 3 phones.
Here’s a look at everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite. Keep in mind Google has not confirmed that it is even working on these phones, so take these rumors with some degree of skepticism. We will update this article as more reliable reports about these phones are published.
Google Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite: Release date and price
A report from Android Police claims both the Google Pixel 3 Lite and the Pixel 3 XL Life will launch sometime this spring. The same report also claims, like all the previous Pixel phones, the Lite handsets will be sold through Verizon Wireless in the U.S., although at this stage it’s not clear if Verizon will be the U.S. carrier exclusive, as it has been for all the previous Pixel phone launches. It’s also most likely Google itself will sell both phones as unlocked devices directly from the Google Store, and will also be available on the company’s own carrier, Google Fi.
There’s been no official word on what the prices will be like for the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite, although the Russian site Rozetked claims the cost will be between $400 and $500. Keep in mind the standard Google Pixel 3 starts at $799, so we can expect the Lite models to be much less than that when they are first introduced.
Google Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite: Hardware specs
According to Rozetked, which first leaked images of an alleged Google Pixel 3 Lite prototype in November 2018, the standard version will have a 5.56-inch IPS LCD display, with a resolution of 2,220 x 1,080. The IPS screen is likely being used as a cost-cutting measure, as both the Pixel 3 and 3 XL use more advanced (and more expensive) OLED displays. Leaked images of the prototype also show no notch on the display.
The report also claims the Google Pixel 3 Lite will have the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor paired with the Adreno 615 GPU, again compared to the much faster Snapdragon 845 chip found on the current Pixel 3 devices. The Pixel 3 Lite will reportedly have 4GB of RAM, the same as the standard Pixel 3 phones. However, the internal storage has allegedly been reduced to 32GB for the Lite models as opposed to the 64GB and 128GB storage amounts on the current Pixel 3 models. The battery size for the Lite version is said to be 2,915mAh which is the same size found in the Pixel 3.
The most interesting thing about the Pixel 3 Lite reports is that the camera hardware is supposed to be almost exactly the same as found on the current Pixel 3 phones. The rumors claim it will have the same 12MP single rear camera and just one 8MP front-facing camera. That selfie camera will still have the same specs as the Pixel 3’s front camera, which has two of those same sensors. If these reports are indeed accurate, that could be the biggest selling point of the Lite versions, as consumers would not have to pay a ton of money to get almost the same great camera hardware.
Rozetked also posted photo samples taken with the Pixel 3 Lite prototype. One shows an outdoor scene on a winter road in the daytime, while the other is supposed to be an example of the camera’s portrait mode, with images of fruit. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any comparison images with a standard Pixel 3 camera. The samples also didn’t include an example of how the Lite camera could handle the Pixel 3’s Night Sight mode, which offers great photos in low-light conditions.
One small but important difference in the Pixel 3 Lite is that it reportedly includes an old fashioned 3.5mm headphone jack on top. This will likely please a lot of folks who want to keep using their wired headphones and earbuds. On the down side, the phone is not supposed to have the dual front-facing speakers found on the current Pixel 3 phones, as the earpiece also serves as its single speaker. The Pixel 3 Lite is also supposed to be made of a plastic material, instead of the all-glass design found on the current Pixel 3 phones.
There’s isn’t a lot of information on the hardware specs of the Pixel 3 XL Lite yet, although it’s likely that it could share some of the same specs as its smaller model, including the same processor, memory, storage and camera options. 91Mobiles and OnLeaks posted what they claim are renders of the Pixel 3 XL Lite. This phone will likely have a 6-inch display and a Full HD+ resolution. We can expect to see a larger battery as well to keep that display going.
Google Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite: Who are these phones for?
The biggest question surrounding the Google Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite may not be their hardware specs, their release date, or their price. Indeed, the big question about these phones may be who is the audience for these devices. If Google does launch these phones in the next few months, they will be the first mid-range handsets from the company since it released the Nexus 5X way back in 2015.
One group of consumers who might be the target of the Pixel 3 Lite are people who have read reviews of the Pixel 3’s superior camera hardware, but don’t want to pay a ton of money to get the phone itself. Using lower-end materials and hardware specs, while also keeping most of the camera specs intact, on the Pixel 3 Lite could get more people to check out Google’s products.
It’s also possible Google wants to see Pixel phones sold in more countries, particularly markets like India where cheaper phones are more popular. Offering the Google Pixel 3 Lite to those countries could be a good move, as lower-priced phones with good cameras would be a stand out among the many mid-rangers.
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