Google unveils new phone, the Pixel 3
Google on Tuesday announced its new Pixel 3 phone at a press event in New York City.
It was one of several products that were expected during Google’s event. Google also announced the Pixel Slate, a new Chromebook tablet that can double as a laptop, and Google Home Hub that’s like a Google Home smart speaker but with a built-in screen.
Here’s the rundown of everything Google announced during the press event.
The Pixel 3 succeeds last year’s Pixel 2 phone. It will be available in two sizes: a 5.5-inch standard model and a 6.3-inch XL model. Google said the front speakers are 40 percent louder than last year, and its new plastic OLED screen is the best Google has used in a phone. That’s important, since there were a lot of complaints about the Pixel 2 display when it first launched last year.
Google spent a lot of time chatting about how good the camera on the Pixel 3 is. Last year’s Pixel 2’s camera is still considered one of the best phone cameras on the market. Google said this year’s device has tech that’s “generations ahead of other phones” with a custom imaging chip that enhances images right on the device. (Apple also has a custom image chip built into its phones.)
The Pixel 3 camera automatically shoots several photos at once in burst mode, and a feature called “Top Shot” will automatically detect and pick the best picture you’ve snapped. It also has smart zoom that uses software to enhance details in zoomed-in images. Google put a big focus on low-light photography and said pictures at night work so well you’ll never need to use the flash. (A flash is still included though.)
Another neat feature called “Screen Call” can help you detect spam calls as they come in. If you agree that it’s a spam call, you can mark it as spam and block the number.
Finally, there will be a $79 Pixel Stand wireless charging accessory that allows you to still use the Google Assistant. That means you can see the screen and speak to your phone from across the room, use your phone as a smarter alarm clock with details on the weather and your commute status and more. The phone can also double as a photo frame while it’s wirelessly charging on the dock.
The Pixel 3 will be available in three colors: pink (Google calls it “not pink”), black and white. Pre-orders are open now for $799 and it launches Oct. 18.
Google Home Hub
The Google Home Hub is like a Google Home, with a built-in speaker and Google’s smart assistant. You can ask it to turn on the lights, lock the doors, what the weather is, how long it will take to get to work and just about anything else you’d normally want to know from Google.
But, unlike a Google Home, it also has a built-in display that can show photos and more visual answers to your questions, like a snapshot of the traffic on your commute or the weather forecast. It’s a lot like Amazon’s Echo Show.
Google also says Home Hub doubles as the world’s “best photo frame.” You can use it to show any album you’ve created, or that was shared with you, when it’s idle. A feature called “live albums” lets you select people you want to see and then will only show you pictures of those people. It’s automatically updated as you upload new pictures, too.
Pre-orders start Tuesday and it costs $149.
Google Pixel Slate
The Pixel Slate succeeds last year’s Pixelbook laptop but, instead of having a display that folds back behind the screen for a tablet experience, the Slate has a keyboard that can be detached from the screen. This allows it to serve more like an iPad Pro. It still runs ChromeOS, Google’s laptop operating system that runs web apps and Android applications.
Like the iPad Pro, it has front-facing stereo speakers so that you hear audio from both sides of the device while watching movies, TV shows or gaming. It has 8-megapixel cameras on the front and back, including a wide-angle lens on the front for video chat that allows more people to fit into the frame at once.
Google changed the ChromeOS user interface so that it caters better to a tablet form factor, with popular apps along the bottom of the screen like on an iPad. Google said it will update ChromeOS in the background so that users always have the latest security updates.
A keyboard accessory snaps onto the Slate for when you want to use it like a traditional laptop. Unlike what you might find on an iPad Pro, however, there’s a full trackpad that allows you to use a mouse. The keyboard doubles as a case when you’re finished using it.
The Pixel Slate will start at $599 when it launches later this year. The keyboard will cost an additional $199 and a stylus will be sold separately for $99.