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Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2: How does Google’s new flagship compare to its predecessor?

Google has unveiled its new flagship smartphone, the Pixel 3. In this article, we compare the new handset with its predecessor, the Pixel 2.

Google surprised nobody at its 9 October event by launching a new flagship smartphone, the Pixel 3.

The big news is that there was no news. A flurry of leaks before the official launch meant that any self-respecting tech-head knew the Pixel 3 inside out before Google “unveiled” it on Tuesday.

So, the Pixel 3 is exactly as we expected, but is it any good? In this article I’ll be comparing the new handset with its predecessor, the Pixel 2, to find out.

READ NEXT: Everything unveiled by Google at its Made by Google event

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2: Release date

Hardcore Google fans are in luck. The Pixel 3 is available for preorder right now. The handset will start shipping on 1 November, so you’ll be able to get your eager mitts on one by early next month.

Preorder now from Carphone Warehouse

For the time being, the Pixel 2 will continue to retail alongside its upgrade. You can order one here.

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2: Design

As is common with most smartphone launches these days, there’s very little to choose between the design of the new handset and its predecessor.

Google has again opted against a notch on the Pixel 3, instead retaining the sizeable bezels at the top and bottom of the front of the handset – although they’re slightly smaller this time around.

Round the back, it’s much the same story. The two-tone design remains, and the cameras and embossed Google logo haven’t moved a millimetre. It’s fair to say that the main changes on the Pixel 3 are software-based.

There has been a (minor) alteration to the colour scheme, though. As well as the standard Just Black and Clearly White options, the Pixel 3 is available in Not Pink. RIP the Kinda Blue Pixel 2 finish – we’ll miss you.

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2: Features


For the rear camera, the Pixel 3 has stuck with the 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel setup, with an f/1.8 aperture. This is exactly the same as that found on the Pixel 2. This might seem like a cop-out, but the camera is now paired with Qualcomm’s upgraded Snapdragon 845 processor. As a result, photo quality should be higher despite the camera software remaining the same.

Google is making a big song and dance about its camera technology. An AI mode can brighten shots without using flash, and there’s a function which allows you to tap a moving target to ensure they remain in focus. Once again, the capabilities of the rear camera are one of the key selling points of Google’s flagship smartphone.

On the front, it’s all change. There’s not one, but two 8-megapixel front-facing snappers this time around. What difference does this make? Well, according to Google, this setup gives you 184% of the field of view of the Pixel 2, allowing you to cram more people into your selfie. A useful feature for when all your mates turn up to see your shiny new smartphone.

Wireless charging

One of the most exciting features on the Pixel 3 is the return of wireless charging. This hasn’t been seen on any of the American tech company’s products since the Nexus 6 way back in 2014.

So, why the sudden change of heart? Well, Google simultaneously unveiled the Pixel Stand as an optional accessory, in order to make the most out of this new feature. Google claims the new product will charge the Pixel 3 quickly and efficiently, even when using a case.

It also doubles up as a smart screen, a la the Google Home Hub. The Pixel Stand will show you notifications, photos and the time. Perhaps more pleasingly than any of this, it can even be used as a smart alarm clock. The screen will go dark when you sleep and slowly brighten as your alarm goes off, filling the room with light and saving you from an abrupt and unwelcome wake-up call.

The Pixel Stand will cost you, though. An extra £69 to be precise.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is back, and it’s been upgraded. The headline feature is that Google Assistant can now screen spam phone calls on your behalf. When the Pixel 3 detects a suspicious call, it will answer and ask the caller for their name and why they’re calling. You can then decide later on whether you want to call back, based on the evidence.

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2: Display

The Pixel 3 sports a 5.5in, 2,160 x 1,080 OLED display. It sits in a handset that’s smaller than we expected, given the rumours circulating before its release. The display size is a full half-inch up on the Pixel 2, despite the two handsets being almost exactly the same size.

As mentioned, there’s still no notch, but the bezels are noticeably smaller thanks to an 18:9 aspect ratio, rather than the previous model’s 16:9 setup. This is good news, given that the oversized bezel on the Pixel 2 was one of the handset’s big disappointments.

Quite simply, the Pixel 3’s display is a major upgrade on that found on its predecessor.

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2: Specifications

Pixel 2Pixel 3
ProcessorOcta-core 2.35 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835Octa-core 2.5GHz + 1/6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Display5in, 1,920 x 1,080 AMOLED5.5in 2,160 x 1,080 OLED
Dimensions145 x 70 x 8mm146 x 68 x 8mm
Rear camera12.2-megapixel12.2-megapixel
Selfie camera8-megapixel2 x 8-megapixel
Operating systemAndroid 8Android 9 Pie

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2: Price

The Pixel 3 starts at £739 for the 64GB model, moving up to £839 for the 128GB version. As previously mentioned, the optional Pixel Stand will set you back an extra £69, meaning the 64GB bundle will set you back £808.

This a significant price increase on the Pixel 2, which costs £629 and £729 for the 64GB and 128GB variants respectively. Will the new software be worth the extra money? We’ll have to wait and see.

Google’s flagship smartphones are still among the most affordable in their class, however. Apple’s iPhone Xs recently debuted at £999 for the 64GB model, and Samsung’s base Galaxy Note 9 model costs £899, albeit with 128GB of in-built storage.

READ NEXT: Google Pixel 3 XL hands on

Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2: Early verdict

It’s too early to tell whether the Pixel 3 will outshine its predecessor, given that the most significant upgrades are internal rather than visible. The new display looks to be a huge improvement, while upgrades to the processor and camera are to be expected, rather than applauded.

Preorder the Pixel 3 now from Carphone Warehouse

The Google Pixel 2 was as good an Android handset as you could buy upon its release. Hopefully the minor improvements made to the Pixel 3 will streamline the handset further, and maintain Google’s position at the forefront of the flagship smartphone game.

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