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Pixel 3 XL ‘first look’ details new Google Camera w/ Lens suggestions, Assistant USB-C Pixel Buds, more

This past month has seen an incredible number of Pixel 3 XL leaks due to near-production units appearing on the black market as we reported yesterday. The latest unveil of Google’s next flagship comes in the form of a “first look” posted by a Russian site that features a number of images and screenshots.

According to Mobile-Review, an “anonymous well-wisher” in early August provided the publication with a prototype Pixel 3 XL. The site claims — and as backed up by a Googler’s email address on the packaging — that these devices were intended for Pixel Team developers, thus explaining the #teampixel sticker (which could just be for all buyers, anyway). The device is referred to as “Nelit” on the generic white box, as well as instruction booklet.

As also spotted in this morning’s leak, the Google Camera has been redesigned with a carousel to house the different modes. Featuring a dogfood mark on the launcher icon, the app no longer uses a navigation drawer to switch between Panorama, Portrait, Camera, and Video. It’s not clear if users can swipe between the pill-shaped tabs, while a fifth “More” section provides access to Lens, Slow Motion, and Photo Sphere.

On the Pixel 2, Face retouching in Portrait mode can be either on or off. Google’s next smartphone keeps the latter option, while adding “Natural” and “Soft,” as well as a zoom-in ability. A 12.2 megapixel resolution for the rear camera is confirmed, while the front-facer is 8 megapixels. Notably, only one of the two expected lenses appear in options.

Meanwhile, in addition to launching Google Lens directly, app settings reveal new “Google Lens suggestions.” This points to Lens always working and analyzing the world when the camera is open to offer search results.

Under Advanced, there is also a new option to use the H.265/HEVC format to “store videos efficiently.” With supported added in Android Pie, this mode results in up to 50% smaller videos compared to H.264/AVC, but at the expense of some platforms not supporting the new format.

The first look also details the Pixel Buds-style USB-C headphones included in the box. According to an instruction booklet, users will be able access Google Assistant by pressing and holding the center button, while volume controls are also present.

On the hardware front, the prototype nature of this device is evident in how there is a gap between the device’s glossy edge and the rear panel. A two-tone design is present with the glass window curling and extending to the entire perimeter of the rear plate. ControversiallyMobile-Review describes a significant part of the back as “plastic.”

Screen brightness in direct sunlight is apparently not as good when compared to a Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Speaking of the screen, the “Colours” setting has a new “Automatic” option that is not found on the Pixel 2 XL.

The build quality can be attributed to the prototype nature, while the software is still not finished. Running Android 9 with the latest August security patch, there is currently no sign of a new hardware-reliant face unlock feature in the provided screenshots.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: