Google Pixel 3 XL Design
Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. At the base of the Pixel 3 XL, there’s a nano-sim tray and a USB-C port — but no headphone jack.
Head up the phone, and you’ll find the microphone/speaker grille along the bottom-front bezel. The grille is long, running to about a third of the width of the overall phone, but it’s slim, so it’s not too too large for its own good. The bottom bezel isn’t huge, but isn’t as slim as, say, a Samsung S9 or iPhone XS.
Round the back, you’ve got a long, matte-finished pane of glass. We tried the ‘Clearly White’ version, and it looks and feels excellent – especially when compared to the slippery glass rears on Apple’s recent iPhones.
Round the front, you’ve got the 6.3-inch OLED display. It has a Quad-HD+ resolution (2960×1440) with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. It’s constructed of super strong Gorilla Glass 5 and supports HDR. It is, in a word, excellent. Watching videos and playing games is a genuine treat, with deep blacks and excellent contrast without feeling over-saturated. The washed-out and lifeless displays of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, at least at launch, are long gone.
There are two buttons adorning the aluminum frame of the Pixel 3 XL: A typical white volume rocker and a mint green power button, providing a nice flash of color on the white frame.
In line with the power button on the rear, there’s the fingerprint reader. It’s quick enough and falls easily to hand, but can occasionally be a bit finicky, which makes the lack of facial recognition or iris scanning more apparent.
Above the fingerprint scanner, the glass changes from the grippy, matte finish to a smooth, glossy material. As you don’t touch the phone up here, the change in material has no effect on the ergonomics of the phone, and provides a nice, subtle contrast. Within this smooth glass, you’ll find the rear camera (and there is only one), depth sensor and flash. The camera bump is tiny, especially when compared to the latest iPhones.
Round the front, at the top of the screen, there’s that notch. It’s large, intruding almost a whole centimeter into the display, and is certainly the most visually striking element of the phone’s design.
So what’s in the notch? It contains two cameras and one of the phone’s speakers. It’s not a deal-breaker by any stretch, but it is significantly larger than nearly all of the notches on competing phones. What’s more, when watching videos or playing games, the big black rectangle it cuts out of the top half of the phone does rankle.