Opinion: Google Pixel 3 XL's Display Notch Is A Real Eyesore

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By Kristijan Lucic October 09, 2018, 12:34pm
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The Google Pixel 3 XL is, next to the Pixel 3, Google’s newest flagship handset, and the phone did not really surprise anyone with its huge notch, as leaks have been popping up for months prior to its release, but that notch is a real eyesore. Before we get into it, it’s worth saying that the Pixel 3 XL is larger than the Pixel 3, and that the smaller Pixel 3 does not have that very same notch, quite the contrary, the Pixel 3 does not have a notch at all, but it does have thicker top and bottom bezels than the Pixel 3 XL, considerably thicker. If you’re not in the loop, feel free to check out our official announcement of the two Pixel 3 devices in order to know more, before you continue reading this article.

Display notches are a thing now, a ton of smartphones out there have them, and the vast majority of us had to get used to them, or simply switch to a brand that does not use them at all, like Samsung for example. Samsung is actually the only notable smartphone brand that comes to mind, and that does not include display notches on its smartphones, at least or now, so it’s rather hard to avoid display notches these days. That being said, some OEMs did do a better job when it comes to notches than others, as notches range from tiny, to huge, like the one on the Google Pixel 3 XL, for example. The Google Pixel 3 XL’s notch is not the widest out there, that’s still a title that Apple’s iPhones and Xiaomi’s Mi 8 smartphones hold, but the Pixel 3 XL’s notch is quite possibly the tallest one we’ve seen on a mainstream smartphone.

Now, to be fair, the Pixel 3 XL’s notch does incorporate two cameras, an earpiece, and one of the phone’s front-facing speakers, so it’s not there without a reason, but it’s hard not to doubt Google on this one, as it simply feels like the company could have done a better job when it comes to implementing all that technology. It feels more like Google opted for this notch in order to follow today’s notch trend, rather than anything else, and the phone would look far more pleasing with either a wider, but shorter notch, or a thin bezel on the top, which could potentially be half the height of that notch. Some of you may actually think that the Pixel 3 XL’s notch looks far better in real life, as design complaints about the Pixel 3 XL also turned out to be exaggerated… well, in this case, those complaints are more than justified, at least in my humble opinion, as the phone doesn’t only look that bad in renders, but in real-life images, and in person as well.

The Essential PH-1 was amongst the first smartphones to bring the notch to an Android smartphone, and Essential actually did a solid job of doing it, as the phone has a really tiny notch which houses only its camera, while bezels are almost non-existent as well, with the exception of the ‘chin’ below the display. On the other hand, we’re seeing phones with so-called ‘teardrop’ notches hit the market as well, phones like the OPPO R17 (Pro), and the upcoming OnePlus 6T, and that teardrop notch is only marginally larger than the Essential PH-1’s and it actually looks well-implemented, it’s not nearly as annoying as the one on the Pixel 3 XL, that’s for sure. Once again, the Pixel 3 XL’s notch does incorporate a lot more than the one on the Essential PH-1 and OPPO R17 (Pro), but it just doesn’t feel right, it feels more like laziness and trend-following on Google’s part than anything else, as already mentioned.

Most of you are probably already used to notches, most of you who intended to purchase the Pixel 3 XL will probably get it regardless of the notch, but for some of you this will surely present a problem. Truth be said, I was not planning on getting either of the Pixel 3 devices, but if I were, I’d most certainly go with the Pixel 3, not only because it looks far more appealing to me, but also for the principle of it, in order not to support Google’s lack of hardware design ideas. The Pixel 3 may sport a smaller display, and a lower-res display (amongst other things), but to me personally that’s not an issue at all, so if you don’t mind the Pixel 3’s shortcomings compared to the Pixel 3 XL, and you do think you’ll be annoyed by that notch, opting for the smaller Pixel 3 offering may be the way to go.

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October 09, 2018, 12:34pm
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