Should you replace your aging Google Pixel with a new Pixel 3?

While you’re seeing tons of Pixel 2 vs Pixel 3 comparisons hit the web, the reality is that many folks wait more than a year before buying a new phone. The first Pixel phone is now two years old, and many of you are likely ready to upgrade if you haven’t already. 

So here is the big question: is the Pixel 3 the best upgrade choice for you?

Specs: Google Pixel 3 vs Pixel

It’s been two years, so obviously the Pixel 3 offers a massive spec upgrade. Here’s a quick look at the hardware and software specs for the new Google Pixel 3 compared to the original Pixel:

 Google Pixel 3Google Pixel
Display5.5-inch flexible OLED
1,080 x 2,160 resolution
443ppi
Gorilla Glass 5
18:9 screen ratio
5.0-inch Full HD AMOLED
1,920 x 1,080 resolution
441 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
16:9 aspect ratio
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845
Pixel Visual Core
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM4GB4GB
Storage64GB, 128GB32GB, 128GB
CamerasRear: 12.2MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4 micron pixels, OIS and EIS, spectral and flicker sensor

Front:
Main: 8MP standard angle (75-degree FOV), f/1.8 aperture, auto-focus
Secondary: 8MP wide-angle (97-degree FOV), f/2.2 aperture, fixed-focus

Rear: 12.3 MP sensor, 1.55 μm pixel size, and f/2.0 aperture, laser + phase detection autofocus

Front: 8 MP sensor, 1.4 μm pixel size, and f/2.4 aperture

AudioNo headphone jack
Audio over USB Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack
Battery2,915mAh2,770mAh
IP ratingIP68IP53
SoftwareAndroid 9 PieAndroid 7.1 Nougat, update to 9.0 Pie
ExtrasDual front-facing speakers
Active Edge
Wireless charging
Pixel USB Type-C earbuds included
Single bottom-facing speaker
ColorsJust Black, Clearly White, Not PinkVery Silver, Quite Black, Really Blue (Limited Edition)
Dimensions and weight68.2 x 145.6 x 7.9mm
148g
69.5 x 143.8 x 8.6mm
143g

Reasons to upgrade from Pixel to Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 on Pixel Stand

Much bigger screen, only slightly bigger phone: The actual dimensions of the original Pixel are not that much different compared to the new Google Pixel 3, but the Pixel 3 happens to rock a much larger 5.5-inch dispaly. This is due to the switch to an 18:9 aspect ratio, as well as an all-around reduction of the bezels. The Pixel 3’s screen  also uses the more advanced OLED display compared to the AMOLED display found on the first Pixel.

Faster processor and the Pixel Visual Core: The Google Pixel was released in 2016 with the fastest mobile processor for Android phones at that time; the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. Not only does the Pixel 3 have a much more powerful processor on board in the Snapdragon 845, but it also has the Pixel Visual Core, a chip designed by Google that was made to help enhance the phone’s image capabilities.

Better cameras: While both the original Pixel and the Pixel 3 still have a single rear camera on board, it’s a greatly improved sensor and sure to be a massive upgrade from the original Pixel. The Pixel 3 also makes a big change by throwing in dual front-facing 8MP sensors. You have a standard camera up front, plus a second wide-angle sensor, which means that Pixel 3 owners will be able to take selfies with more people in the picture.

Wireless charging: While the battery size hasn’t changed that much between the original Pixel and the Pixel 3, the new phone finally supports wireless charging for the first time in the Pixel’s short history. It will work with any Qi-based wireless charging pad or stand, including the new Pixel Stand that Google is also selling.

Water and dust resistance: While the original Pixel was IP53 rated, that basically meant it could handle some raindrops or a quick spill. It certainly couldn’t survive full immersion. The Pixel 3 has a much higher IP68 water and dust resistance rating. That means the phone should still work even when emersed in a pool of water up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes. In other words, if you are at the pool, the Pixel 3 should be OK if you accidentally drop it in the water.

Dual front-facing speakers: While the first Pixel had one single bottom-facing speaker, you are getting dual front-facing speakers when you upgrade to the Pixel 3. This should result in a much better audio experience for those times when you aren’t using headphones or earbuds.

Obviously there are other reasons why the Pixel 3 is a very real upgrade, including a more modern design, but you get the picture. Unfortunately, as good as the Pixel 3 is, it’s not without sacrifice. 

Downsides to upgrading from Pixel to Pixel 3

No headphone jack: The Pixel 3 lacks a headphone jack for the first time in the history of the brand. While the phone does come with a pair of USB Type-C earbuds, and we have already mentioned its dual speakers, many people still love the 3.5mm headphone jack. If you are one of them, and you own the original Pixel, you may not be happy with losing it with this Pixel 3 upgrade.

Losing the Really Blue color version: This may be a minor point, but we wish that the Pixel 3 came in the cool looking Really Blue edition that the original Pixel, and its big brother the Pixel XL, had as a limited option. 

So should you upgrade from the Pixel to the Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 is a huge improvement compared to the original Pixel in nearly every way. You get a bigger screen without having the phone be much bigger, along with wireless charging, dual front-facing cameras, full waterproofing and much more. If you own and love the Pixel, trading it in for the Pixel 3 is pretty much a no-brainer.

Get the Google Pixel at Amazon
Get Google Pixel 3 at Verizon

But what if you were getting tired of that Pixel? Or what if you can’t live without the headphone jack? You might want to check out our guide on the best alternatives to the Pixel 3. 

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