Test Google Pixel 3: efficiency before originality

Presentation

La at the end of 2018 is rich in new products in the high-end segment, including of course theiPhone XsetXs Max, theHuawei Mate 20 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 - released this summer. So many smartphones that showcase their giant screen, their performance and their multiple cameras. In front of them, the Google Pixel 3 acts a bit like a UFO, with a smaller screen, a single photo module on the back and a design without much craziness. Is it enough in a niche where every detail counts?

   data-src=

An relatively compact format.

Ergonomics and design

In the world of high-end smartphones, few are those that retain a format as compact as that of Pixel 3. With its "small" 5.5-inch (13.97 cm) diagonal screen, it acts as a small thumb. In fact, it has dimensions very close to those of a Galaxy S9, which has a larger screen (5.8"). The Pixel 3 is not very inspired when it comes to design and even goes against the flow with its rather imposing screen borders. The screen occupies 79% of the front of the Google smartphone. A score that is clearly higher than Pixel 2, but lower than that of the Galaxy S9 and iPhone XS. At least, Pixel 3 will please those who are allergic to the notch in the screen.

   data-src=

Comme tunes from Galaxy S9.

In all together, it is still possible to manipulate Pixel 3 with one hand without too much effort. This is fortunate at a time when many terminals now require you to arm yourself with both hands in order to take full advantage of it. The Pixel 3 is particularly comfortable with its glass back. This glass has been treated to provide a matte finish that is both elegant and far less prone to fingerprints than its glossy counterpart.

   data-src=

An back almost insensitive to fingerprints.

Contrairement to some competitors, the Pixel 3 only offers a fingerprint reader, placed on the back, as the only biometric unlocking method. No facial recognition or fingerprint reader to be placed under the screen. However, the device offered works without any problem and falls perfectly under the index finger of both hands. The lock and volume control buttons are positioned on the right edge and are easily reached with the thumb of the right hand. The Pixel 3 takes over a functionality already found on HTC smartphones with pressure-sensitive edges. Here, by pressing the smartphone, it is possible to launch Google Assistant.

   data-src=

edges to be pressed to launch Assistant.

In good high-end smartphone that respects itself, the Pixel 3 from Google has an IP67 certification. It is therefore dust and waterproof (up to 1 m for 30 min). On the other hand, Google continues to oppose the use of a microSD port. The Pixel 3 also includes a nano-SIM port and an eSIM port - which is not currently used by any French operator.

   data-src=

wide enough screen borders.

Screen

Comme for its predecessor, Google chose to equip the Pixel 3 with an Oled tile screen that measures 5.5 inches (13.97 cm) diagonal, for a Full HD+ definition (2,160 x 1,080 px) and a comfortable resolution of 443 dpi. Pixel 3 takes advantage of one of the major assets of the Oled, namely its almost infinite contrast. On the other hand, the Google smartphone does not offer a very high maximum brightness. We measured only 430 cd/m², a rather low value when the competition sometimes exceeds 600 cd/m². Fortunately, the screen treatment makes it one of the least reflective in our comparison. No problem to view Pixel 3 in full sunlight. The darkness is also not a hostile environment to Google's smartphone, are the screen can go down to 2.4 cd/m². Perfect for not being dazzled in the dark.

Google aligns its newest addition to the competition in terms of colorimetry. However, you have to opt for the "natural" profile in the display settings to enjoy it. Under these conditions, we note an excellent delta E at 1.6 and a satisfactory color temperature at 6970 K. It is a pity that no setting allows us to bring the latter down close to the ideal value of 6500 K.

Enfin, the Pixel 3 places its screen among the very good students as regards reactivity. We measured a touch delay of 51 ms, among the best of our comparison. The persistence is non-existent.

Performances

Pas big surprise here. The Pixel 3 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, designed for the most demanding applications. With the 4GB of RAM that comes with it, Google's smartphone has no trouble running all the applications and offering a high-flying experience.

   data-src=

Températures recorded after 10 minutes of Full HD video recording.

For the video game, the Pixel 3 is based on the Adreno 630 graphics chip, which remains one of the strongest on the market. It opens wide the doors to demanding 3D titles, while allowing perfect fluidity and an excellent level of graphics. Mobile gaming enthusiasts are sure to be delighted.

Audio

Si as many competitors the Pixel 3 has abandoned the 3.5 mm mini-jack plug, Google still provides a USB-C adapter. The latter is rather good overall. It allows the Pixel 3 to deliver a precise sound, with a power that will satisfy the majority of headphones. The dynamic range proposed is quite wide and the stereo rendering remains above the average of our comparison.

Google Pixel 3 retains impressive screen borders, partly to accommodate two speakers. A duo that obviously offers stereo and above-average power. However, the stereo is not as pronounced as on an iPhone XS and the precision is not perfect at full volume, especially in the high frequencies.

Photo

Sortir a high-end smartphone with a single photo module on the back seems a bit risky when it comes to communication. At a time when everyone has 2 or more modules, the Pixel 3 and its unique 12MP sensor seem to swim against the current. And yet, Google proves us that a good software processing is worth as much as several modules. Portrait, zoom, low light... So many conditions in which the Pixel 3 manages to do as well or even better than the competition.

   data-src=

An only module, to govern them all.

In in daylight, the results of Pixel 3 are simply excellent. On our test scene, we observe very detailed images and natural tones - not to be confused with natural tuna, of course. It accentuates the micro contrast much less than aGalaxy Note 9. The focus tracking is also very high. It is possible to select a subject that Pixel 3 does not let go, even if it moves away or gets closer. The speed of capture is also there, a great feat considering the cumbersome image processing used.

   data-src=    data-src=

Lors of the Pixel 3 presentation, Google had caught our attention with its Night Sight mode, supposed to offer excellent performance in low light. At the time of writing this test, this feature is not yet available however. The Pixel 3 is already doing very well, though. The scene is properly exposed and the smartphone does not smooth out the shots too much. The electronic noise remains quite present, but it is still more natural than on the images from Galaxy Note 9 after its aggressive processing.

   data-src=    data-src=

Alors that more and more smartphones have chosen a second photo module with a longer focal length, offering a semblance of zoom, Google still relies on image processing to achieve the same result. A fully digital zoom that highlights the quality of the Pixel 3 algorithms. We obtain a result that has little to envy to those of iPhone Xs, but which remains behind those of Galaxy Note 9. Admittedly, there is a loss of quality compared to the classic mode, but it remains surprisingly good for digital. This zoom finds its limits in difficult lighting conditions, but the dedicated modules of other devices are also limited.

   data-src=    data-src=

Pixel 3 also offers a portrait mode. On this point, the result is a little less good than with an iPhone Xs. Of course, the Google smartphone's cutout of the subject is clean, but there is no progressiveness in the bokeh created. One often has the impression that the subject has been pasted on the background. The Top Shot mode is interesting too. It allows to obtain an optimal photo, avoiding closed eyes or the absence of smile of the subject. In fact, Pixel 3 takes a burst that starts before the shutter release button is pressed and suggests the best picture in the series.

Les video enthusiasts will be able to shoot up to UHD definition at 30 fps. The resulting images are well stabilized and perfectly fluid. Exposure management is excellent, as is focus tracking. Pixel 3 is a great companion for video.

S 'it is satisfied with only one photo module on the back, the Pixel 3 has two on the front. Both are based on an 8MP sensor. On the other hand, they are distinguished by the optics used. The first uses a standard optic opening at f/1.8 and offering a field of view of 75°. The second switches to wide-angle optics (97°), which makes it easier to hold several people in the frame. Overall, these two sensors deliver correctly detailed images and handle backlighting without difficulty. Switching from one to the other is also very easy.

Autonomy

Avec its 2915 mAh battery, the Pixel 3 is not a great marathoner, but it remains satisfactory. On our SmartViser test protocol, it lasted 14:45 hours and is ahead of a Samsung Galaxy S9 or OnePlus 6, but far from matching the score of a Honor View 10 or a Huawei P20 Pro, which excels in the discipline. In practice, the Pixel 3 will last 2 short days of standard use. The more relentless users will need to recharge it every night, on the other hand. A bit disappointing for a smartphone that only displays in Full HD.

   data-src=

Pixel 3 is compatible with wireless charging. In wired mode, with the block provided by Google, it takes about 1h20 to fully charge the terminal.