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November 6, 2018

Google Pixel 3 vs. Google Pixel 2: Should you upgrade?

by John_A

We’re a virtual company made up of tech experts from across the globe. With years of experience testing hundreds of Android phones, we’re here to help you make an informed decision when considering an upgrade.

Google Pixel 3

Compact powerhouse

pixel-3.png?itok=HlO-cZKN

$799 at Google Store

Pros

  • Fantastic cameras
  • Gorgeous OLED display
  • Wireless charging

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Average battery life

Google hasn’t changed a lot of hardware elements on the Pixel 3, opting instead to focus its attention on improving the camera. The main difference from an aesthetic standpoint is the switch to an 18:9 screen, which allows the phone to pack in a larger 5.5-inch display while retaining the same size.

Google Pixel 2

Still great

pixel-2.jpeg?itok=TPcQ-6ub

$632 at Amazon

Pros

  • Robust hardware
  • Same software as Pixel 3

Cons

  • Huge bezels
  • No headphone jack
  • Battery doesn’t last an entire day

A year on, the Pixel 2 is going strong. It’s running Pie, and while some of the software features may be missing from the Pixel 3, Google is working toward bringing a lot of the latest camera tweaks to the phone. Design is one area where the Pixel 2 hasn’t aged well, however, as those bezels look huge in 2018.

The Pixel 2 has plenty going for it in 2018. The phone continues to be one of the first to receive software updates, and Google has mentioned that new camera features that debuted on the Pixel 3 — like Night Sight — will be coming to the Pixel 2. So should you upgrade to the Pixel 3 or pick up last year’s phone? It’s time to find out.

Should you upgrade from a Pixel 2 to a Pixel 3?

pixel-3-not-pink-post.jpg?itok=KzVgEwnP

Right now, the main reason to upgrade to the Pixel 3 from last year’s phone is the bezels. Google finally made the switch to an 18:9 form factor with the Pixel 3, resulting in a larger 5.5-inch display while retaining the same dimensions.

Get the Pixel 3 if you don’t like the bezels on your Pixel 2.

If anything, the Pixel 3 is 0.1mm shorter and 1.5mm narrower than the Pixel 2, so if you were worried that the larger screen would increase the size of the phone, that isn’t the case.

The reduced bezels makes the Pixel 3 look much more modern, and Google hasn’t sacrificed the stereo speakers up front either. You still get great sound from the Pixel 3, and it also has two cameras up front, with the primary shooter joined by a wide-angle lens.

Operating system Android 9 Pie Android 9 Pie
Display 5.5-inch OLED2160x1080 (18:9)Gorilla Glass 5 5.0-inch AMOLED1920x1080 (16:9)Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845Pixel Visual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835Pixel Visual Core
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 64GB/128GB 64GB/128GB
Expandable No No
Rear camera 12.2MP, 1.4-micron, PDAFf/1.8, OIS 12.2MP, 1.4-micron, PDAFf/1.8, OIS
Front camera 1 8MP, auto focusf/1.8, 75-degree lens 8MP, f/2.4, fixed focus
Front camera 2 8MP, fixed focusf/2.2, 97-degree lens NA
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS
Audio Stereo speakersUSB-C Stereo speakersUSB-C
Battery 2915mAhNon-removable 2700mAhNon-removable
Charging 18W USB-C PDQi wireless 18W USB-C PD
Water resistance IP68 IP67
Security Fingerprint sensor Fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm148g 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8mm143g
Colors Just Black, Very White, Not Pink Just Black, Clearly White, Kinda Blue

Even though the Pixel 2 comes with last year’s Snapdragon 835, there’s no noticeable difference in performance next to the Pixel 3. Both phones have 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and 18W fast charging. The Pixel 3 does come with wireless charging as well, and there’s a $79 Pixel Stand that unlocks new functionality.

The Pixel 2 will get a lot of the latest camera features that debuted on the Pixel 3.

The Pixel 2 is also slated to pick up a lot of the new camera features that were introduced on the Pixel 3. Night Sight will be coming to the device, along with the new augmented reality features — including the Marvel and Childish Gambino partnerships.

The Pixel 2 didn’t suffer from any of the screen issues that plagued its larger sibling, so there really isn’t a reason to upgrade to the Pixel 3. The Pixel 3 has significantly thinner bezels and much better front cameras, but that isn’t enough to justify making the switch.

Google Pixel 3

Compact powerhouse

pixel-3.png?itok=HlO-cZKN

$799 at Google Store

The Pixel 3 offers an even better camera and a sleeker design.

With the Pixel 3, you’re getting a larger screen with thinner bezels, wireless charging, and better front cameras. The overall experience itself hasn’t changed significantly from the Pixel 2, so if you’re already using the phone, you can hold off from upgrading for another generation.

Google Pixel 2

Still great

pixel-2.jpeg?itok=TPcQ-6ub

$632 at Amazon

Pixel 2 has larger bezels, but it’s still a solid phone.

The Pixel 2 is still one of the best phones in the market, and if you’re looking to pick up a new phone and are deciding between the two, it’s an easy choice. If you can get the Pixel 2 for anywhere around the $500 mark, you should pick up last year’s phone.

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