The Big Brains of the Pixel 3 Just Might Make It the World’s Best Phone

It’s all about the camera and the assistant.
IMAGE Getty Images

Greetings, human. We have reached a day where your phone, instead of your flesh-and-blood self, can have a conversation with someone who has called you. That kind of voice-recognition technology is nothing new. Anyone who who instinctively presses zero when calling their credit card company to talk to a human knows this. But the fact that this can be performed from a ubiquitous device soon to be in the hands of millions of people around the world gives further credence to the idea that, well, we just might be living in a simulation.

But before we get to the part of this real life Sims game where we kneel in front of our robot overlords, can we talk about how awesome A.I. and software makes the new Google Pixel 3 that will be available this Thursday?

Yes, similar to the auto-responses that Google now provides when you reply to a message on Gmail, the Pixel 3 is able to respond to calls for you with canned responses so you don’t actually have to talk to a robocaller, debt collector, or the urgent call from the school nurse while you’re playing Fortnite. It's a neat parlor trick that seems to be the seed for a Black Mirror episode. But when it comes to everyday usefulness, Google’s technical prowess truly shines in the imaging and smart assistant departments.

As was the case with the Pixel 2, the Pixel 3’s camera is the best there is on a phone. And it's not the hardware—it has a 12.2 megapixel camera, and an impressive wide-angle selfie cam, that gives you 184% more room than the iPhone XS—but the software that makes all the difference. The "Top Shot" feature can automatically trigger a burst of photos and choose the best shot for you so you don’t have to flip through dozens of options. A new feature that will be rolled out later in the year called “Night Sight” captures impressive photos in even the lowest of lighting, based on the samples that were shown to me. Like the iPhone XS, it can add or reduce background blur and change focal points, but the Pixel 3 just nails the shot most of the time, where the iPhone XS has trouble detecting what’s supposed to be clear and what’s supposed to be blurry too often.


In a nutshell, the Pixel 3 photos are just better than the competition, offering vibrant images that don't feel overly processed. And in difficult low light situations, like shooting food in a dark restaurant, the Pixel is what you want to be armed with. Bonus, the photos will be saved in the cloud at full resolution for free.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.comMinor edits have been made by the editors.

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Kevin Sintumuang
Kevin Sintumuang is Esquire's Lifestyle and Culture Director.
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