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Pixel 3 vs. 3 XL: Battery life, screen size and price are the main differences

The Pixel 3 phones have been deeply discounted, so which one should you buy?

Now that the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are available, Google has slashed the prices of its 2018 flagship phones, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Currently priced at $499 and $599 respectively (you may find even lower prices due to Black Friday), the phones still have excellent cameras, receive prompt software updates from Google and are equipped with reliable Snapdragon 845 chipsets. Other than price and size (which I'll go into more detail below), the phones are essentially the same. So if you're deciding between the two, read on to see which one is best for you.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Starting at $499, the Pixel 3 is the best route to go if you want to save the most money. Its 5.5-inch display also make it the more pocketable and comfortable phone to hold in your hand. Lastly, it doesn't have an on-screen notch running at the top of the display, so you can view content on your screen without a distracting tab taking away your attention. Read our Google Pixel 3 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At $100 more, the Pixel 3 XL offers a bigger screen and a longer battery life. This is great if you see yourself watching a lot of videos or playing games, but keep in mind, the phone also has a big notch at the top. We don't think it's worth the extra $100 (for that money you can get multiple phone cases, a Google Home Mini or wireless earbuds), but if you have room in your budget, then go for it. Read our Google Pixel 3 XL review.

How we tested

Now playing: Watch this: Pixel 3: 6 months in
5:52

Pixel 3 vs. Pixel 3 XL: What's different

Price: As we mentioned before, the Pixel 3 XL is going to set you back $100 more than the Pixel 3. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL start at $499 (converts to £386, AU$734) and $599 (converts to £463, AU$881), respectively, for the 64GB base model. Then it's $599 for the Pixel 3 or $699 for the Pixel 3 XL if you upgrade to the 128GB version.

Dimensions and weight: The Pixel 3 XL is bigger and heavier than the Pixel 3, measuring 6.2 by 3 inches to the Pixel 3's 5.7 by 2.7-inch body. The two phones have the same 0.3-inch (8.2mm) depth. Because of the Pixel 3 XL's larger size, it's heavier at 6.5 ounces (184 grams). The Pixel 3 weighs 5.2 ounces (148 grams).

Display: The Pixel 3 features an OLED display with 443 pixels-per-inch density, while the Pixel 3 XL is higher definition, with a pixel density of 522 ppi. Unlike the new Pixel 4 phones, they do not have a 90Hz display.

Battery: The last big difference between the two phones is the battery. The Pixel 3 uses a 2,915-mAh battery, while the Pixel 3 XL has a 3,430-mAh battery. Lab results for continuous video playback on airplane mode yielded an average of 15 hours for the Pixel 3 and 16 hours, 49 minutes for the Pixel 3 XL.

Pixel 3 vs. Pixel 3 XL specs


Google Pixel 3 Google Pixel 3 XL
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch "flexible" OLED; 2,280x1,080 pixels 6.3-inch "flexible" OLED; 2,960x1,440 pixels
Pixel density 443ppi 522 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.7x2.7x0.3 in. 6.2x3x0.03 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 145.6x68.2x7.9 mm 158x76.7x7.9 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 5.2oz.; 148g 6.5 oz.; 184g
Mobile software Android 9 Pie (upgradeable to Android 10) Android 9 Pie (upgradeable to Android 10)
Camera 12.2-megapixel 12.2-megapixel
Front-facing camera Dual 8-megapixel Dual 8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz + 1.6GHz octa-core) Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz octa-core)
Storage 64GB, 128GB 64GB, 128GB
RAM 4GB 4GB
Expandable storage None None
Battery 2,915 mAh 3,430 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back cover Back cover
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No No
Special features Water resistant (IPX8), wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the box Water resistant (IPX8), wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the box

CNET editor Patrick Holland contributed to this report.