Google’s newest smartphone, the Google Pixel 3, is said by many reviewers to contain the best camera in any smartphone known to date, but the camera wasn’t the only thing that took it up a notch.

There are two variations of the phone, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, but the Pixel 3 XL’s display just got a notch. It’s tall, slightly off putting and just a plain distraction. It’s a good thing there’s an option in developer settings that allows users to disable it. Thankfully, smartphone displays will be brought back into the natural order once bezel-less phones, such as the Vivo NEX with its pop-up selfie camera, take over the market.

Besides the notch, everything about the Pixel 3 is spectacular.

Between the standard and XL models, the only differences are size, display, battery, and price. The ultimate question boils down to your preferences: Do I want a smaller screen and battery, or bigger screen and battery but with a notch?

The standard Pixel 3 comes with a 5.5 inch Full HD display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor making the phone fast and snappy, 4GB of RAM (your phone’s working memory when running apps), two front-facing stereo speakers, a 12.2MP rear camera and 8MP dual front cameras, IP68 water resistance, wireless charging, a USB Type-C port (so look for USB-C adapters if you still use micro USB), and the newest Android 9.0 Pie update right out of the box.

Everything, except the screen and battery size, is the same for the XL. It comes with a 6.3 inch Quad HD display and a slightly bigger battery.

The phones unfortunately don’t come with the famous 3.5mm headphone jack, but when compared to Apple, Google was gracious enough to include a headphone adapter and even include their own Pixel USB-C earbuds.

The best parts about the Pixel are still here, such as being able to squeeze the phone for Google Assistant and the “Now Playing” feature which is like the Shazam app where you can immediately identify music. Some new features have been added, such as “Call Screening” which allows users to use Google Assistant to screen calls before deciding to answer or decline.

The Pixel 3 comes in three interestingly named colors: “Clearly White,” “Just Black,” and “Not Pink.” Very original.

With the Pixel being Google’s exclusive phone, it also gets the newest Android updates first. Android 9.0 Pie is packed with a huge amount of artificial intelligence. Android 9 will be able to adapt to your phone usage, ensuring convenience in every aspect of your life. The update comes with full screen gestures like the iPhone X, “App Dashboard” which provides a report on how often you use your phone, and “App Timers” to avoid spending four unnecessary hours on apps such as YouTube or Twitter.

On to the camera, this is the best phone for photography. It captures natural colors and catches a lot of detail. It comes with the new Super Res Zoom that ensures better results when taking zoomed pictures. Portrait mode has been significantly enhanced, producing quality similar to a DSLR camera. Google has also implemented new technology for low-light situations that drastically improve photos taken at night.

Everything sounds nice and dandy until seeing that price point. It’s thankfully not as bad as Apple. The iPhone XS Max with the highest amount of storage (512 GB) is insanely priced at nearly $1,600.

The standard Pixel 3 is priced at $799 (64 GB) or $899 (128 GB), and the XL is priced at $899 (64GB) or $999 (128 GB). If you’re buying outright, you can do a one-time payment or create a Google Store Financing account and pay over a 24-month period with 0% interest. Google also provides a trade-in program, so you can get up to $400 in credit towards either phone, but your old phone must be made by Apple, Samsung, LG, Google, Huawei, or Motorola. If you own some other brand like me (OnePlus 5T), you’re out of luck.

I’m sure we can all agree that smartphones are becoming way too expensive. Don’t get me wrong, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL are great phones, but there are still some worthy competitors depending on what you’re looking for in a smartphone: OnePlus 6 ($529), iPhone 8 Plus ($699), Samsung Galaxy S9 ($719.99), and the Huawei P20 Pro ($745). Overall, Google really outdid themselves this time, except for the notch.

Oh, the notch. Thanks for starting this unbearable trend, Apple.

Written by Tristen Petty, Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of Gizmodo. 

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