The Pixel 3 is changing rapidly. We already know about
notch design, specs, wireless-charging and dual front cameras, but last week a leaked prototype revealed the Pixel 3XL is a massive 6.7-inches. And now the same source has highlighted a potentially serious problem…
The source is again a detailed hands-on video of a verified Pixel 3XL prototype accidentally lost by Google and posted to YouTube by Android Police. The video attracted global attention after Antutu’s respected benchmarking software ran in it and listed the huge display, but what was missed comes just seconds later: a very worrying battery capacity.
Skip forward 2 minutes 27 seconds into the video (embedded below) and you will see Antutu records the Pixel 3XL’s battery as just 3,430mAh. That’s not just smaller than the battery in the 6-inch Pixel 2XL (3,520mAh), it’s also smaller than the battery in the original 5.5-inch Pixel XL (3,450mAh).
Why am I listing these phone’s display sizes? Because that’s what makes the Pixel 3XL battery capacity so problematic.
Displays are the most power hungry part of a smartphone, and larger displays use more power. Consequently, there’s a big disparity in increasing the Pixel 3XL display so much but fitting a smaller battery than any of its predecessors.
Yes, Android P has ‘machine learning’ based battery optimization and chipsets become ever more efficient, but apps and games also become ever more demanding. This is why Samsung fit a huge 4,000mAh battery into the Galaxy Note 9 (the 3,300mAh battery in the 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 8 didn’t cut it) and why that decision has proved to be one of the most popular upgrades in the phone.
For optimists, it is worth holding onto the hope that either a) the Antutu benchmark is wrong (it’s rare but can happen), or b) the Pixel 3XL prototype spec will be upgraded for the final phone. Given the existing Pixel 3 RAM controversy, I hope it’s the latter.
If this is the final spec, however, I believe Google has a problem.
Right now the Pixel 3XL is not shaping up to be the phone fans wanted. The deep notch, display size, single camera (that’s defendable), RAM and now battery life all seem strange decisions. Especially with Samsung soon redesigning the Galaxy S, and Apple slashing new iPhone prices for the first time.
The Pixel 2XL was my favorite phone of 2017. But in 2018, as things stand, Google has it all to do…
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