Savvy international travelers know that one of the best ways to get stay connected is with the awesome Google Fi program. Google Fi really shines when you use it with Google’s own phones, specifically the Google Pixel phones. The Google Pixel 2 phones already are some of the best phones for travelers so there is quite a bit to look forward to with the Google Pixel 3 phones! The new Google Pixel 3 phones will be released on October 9 – and there are some reasons this should matter to us travelers.
The New Google Pixel 3 Phones Coming October 9
Unfortunately for Google, the Pixel 3 XL suffered a massive information leak this year as it appeared that several of these phones were stolen and sold for $2,000 or more to people wanting to get the first look at Google’s latest phone offering. As a result, there is already a lot to know about the upcoming and highly anticipated Google Pixel 3 XL (though there are some rumors that this may have been an elaborate fake by Google to draw ire about notches at the top of the screen, like the iPhone X has).
The regular Google Pixel 3 has also seen some leaks and it looks like it may even be the champion of the imminent Pixel phone releases. So, what do these phones have and why does it matter, especially to travelers?
Why Does This Matter for Travelers?
The new Google Pixel 3 phones will have improved displays, improved cameras and camera tech, upgraded hardware, and wireless charging. The cameras, larger display, and wireless charging are things that can be helpful to travelers always on the go.
Another reason it matters is that the prices of the Google Pixel 2 phones will drop in price. The Pixel 2 phones are still incredible phones and simply the best way to go for Google Fi for international travel. Between the unique translation element, the awesome camera, native Google Lens for identifying landmarks while traveling, unlimited photo storage, and more, the Google Pixel 2 phones should become the best deal in smartphones after the release of the Pixel 3.
Reason: The Google Pixel 2 cameras are among the best in smartphone and are great devices to use to capture all your great photos when traveling – especially if you don’t want to carry a heavier, full-featured camera with you.
Talk to any phone reviewer or gadget guy/girl and they will tell you – the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have one of the best (if not THE best) cameras in a smartphone today. This is amazing since these phones came out almost 11 months ago and we have had many newer phones hit the market since then.
Google has done with one rear camera what camera manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei have done with 2 (or more). That is the little feature called Portrait mode (or something similar). This is done with a two-camera system to use one lens to capture field of view while using the other to target the subject and then using software to create a synthetic out-of-focus look like you would get with a larger camera system utilizing a wide aperture. It looks cool enough and does a decent job.
But, Google only uses one camera and is basically able to accomplish the same thing, thanks to their incredible software onboard to work with the hardware and learn the areas to make out of focus. Their single camera is really amazing and can capture truly detailed images, considering it is a tiny sensor on the back of a smartphone.
With the new Pixel 3 phones, those cameras will be getting even better. Already, leaks have shown that these new phones will be getting something other smartphones generally do not have – a dual camera system on the front of the phone. This will enable a wider field of view and possibly even better video. This is great news for anyone that likes to use their phone for vlogging or similar.
It is very inconvenient to have to use the back of your phone (to get the better camera) and not be able to use the high quality screens that smartphones have to see yourself while filming. A better camera(s) on the front should enable people to do a better job of those styles of videos, as well as selfies (not a big fan of selfies myself but I know I am in the minority on that one!).
Reason: Wireless charging supplements the fast charging already available on the Pixel 2 to offer convenience when traveling. Wireless charging pads are being rolled out in many places and will eventually be in hotel rooms. Being able to quickly drop your phone on the charging pad while unpacking or getting refills for your return to the streets of your exotic destination will help you get through the whole day on your battery.
The leaks about the Google Pixel 3 also show that the back is, at least part of it, glass which would enable wireless charging. In these days of convenience, simply dropping the phone onto a charging mat in between your outings is very convenient. Yeah, it only takes a moment to plug in a charger, but the wireless part is pretty cool and quick!
With the Google Pixel 2, they already have quick charging capability (which helps my Pixel 2 charge from under 10% to full in just over one hour). This is also incredibly useful when traveling. If you have a small power brick or will be near an outlet, plugging in your phone to do fast charging can be great! It is always a big bummer to be out sightseeing and taking photos with your phone – only to realize your phone is dead when you are about to pull up Google Maps to get back or to call an Uber. Getting back 30-50% of your battery in minutes is just huge.
Reason: Larger cell phone displays can be a huge help when you are trying to get some things done while traveling. A huge 6.7″ display will give you plenty of real estate to do things that just aren’t possible on smaller phones and will help you keep your travel load lighter on trips that don’t require a laptop.
According to leaks, the new Google Pixel 3 XL will see an increase from the 6″ display on the Pixel 2 XL to a 6.7″ screen. If you still don’t think that is that large, consider that the popular iPad Mini sports a display that measures 7.9″! A smartphone with a 6.7″ display gives a lot of real estate to take care of some tasks while traveling, without having to bring along a laptop or even tablet. Of course, you are not going to get serious work done but you should still be able to take advantage of such a display for many purposes.
The Google Pixel 3 will see a new display that reportedly measures 5.3″, up from the 5″ on the Pixel 2. This will supposedly happen while keeping the body dimensions of the Pixel 2. As a Pixel 2 owner, I can tell you that I really love that phone size and consider it to be almost perfect for my hands to handle one-handed operation without needing to stretch at all.
According to the Pixel 3 XL devices that have been seen, it appears that Google is adopting the iPhone X-style notch – only more annoyingly long. I guess manufacturers (other than Samsung) have just embraced the notch as the way to lose the bezels around the display. Of course, as mentioned at the start, this could also have been a fake by Google and they could still release a XL without the notch. The Google Pixel 3 does not have a notch.
The battery life on the Pixel 2 phones has been pretty good but it doesn’t seem like it is going to get a huge boost with the Pixel 3. In fact, the Pixel 3 XL will have a smaller battery than the new Note 9 has – which is a pretty fantastic battery for all-day use.
Still, with things like fast charging and wireless charging, the battery life shouldn’t be too much of a downer.
Why This Matters
The new Google Pixel 3 series will be faster and better in many ways and could be a solid performer for those looking for a top-tier phone. For anyone that travels internationally, Google Fi is just amazing and the Google Pixel phones work perfectly with it (yes, you can use an iPhone or other smartphone with a data-only SIM but you still don’t have all the functionality of the Pixel phones). For example, the Google Pixel 3 will come with the eSIM like the Pixel 2, which allows you to be up and running on Google Fi without using an actual SIM card (and that lets you use the SIM slot for a local SIM and you can alternate back and forth).
It is also expected that new Pixel Buds will be out, which is an essential component for the ridiculously good auto language translation. The current Pixel Buds do leave a little bit to be desired.
But, the real reason this matters for those of us who like to get deals and quality is that the Pixel 2 phones are still incredible pieces of hardware. The Pixel 3 phones will be great but much of the awesomeness of the current Pixel 2 phones is based on software – the squeeze-function on the side of the phone to activate Google Assistant (this could eventually be opened up for other functions with a software update), the AI software for the camera functionality, etc.
Great Prices on the Google Pixel 2 Phones Will Be Coming
With the introduction of the Pixel 3 phones, the prices on the Pixel 2 line up should start falling. We already saw an awesome deal on the Pixel 2 XL for $499 (refurbished) and I would not be surprised to see more deals like that when the Pixel 3 is released.
The new iPhones will be released next week, almost a month earlier than the Google Pixel 3 phones. If you are ready for a new phone but on the fence and not hooked to one operating system, I would definitely say to wait and see what Google officially announces. If it wasn’t for iMessage, I would have completely lost the iPhone a while ago and only used the Google Pixel 2.
The Google Pixel 2 and 3 Phones Are the Best One-Device Solution for Global Travelers
At any rate, one month from now, we will know exactly what the new Google Pixel 3 series phones are like and what their prices are. If you a traveler that wants a fantastic tech solution for global communications, photos, language translation, and identifying the cool stuff you see while browsing the globe, the Google Pixel 2 or the Pixel 3 phones will be perfect for you.