Following the 'XL' variant comparison, it's time to pit the Google Pixel 3 vs Pixel 4. The Google Pixel 4 is the smaller variant of Google's brand new flagship, while the Pixel 3 played that role last year.
It's hard to deny that both of these phones are compelling, but how do they compare. Is it worth spending all the extra cash on the Pixel 4, or should you get the Pixel 3 instead, and be done with it?
Well, that's something that we'll try to help you answer in this comparison. We'll compare the two phones across a number of categories, just to see which one comes out on top. The Pixel 4 may win in most categories, as it's brand new and everything, but you may be surprised. Let's get started.
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 4: Specs
|Google Pixel 3||Google Pixel 4|
|Screen size||5.5-inch fullHD+ display (P-OLED)||5.7-inch fullHD+ Smooth Display (flexible OLED, 90Hz)|
|Screen resolution||2160 x 1080||2280 x 1080|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|Storage||64GB/128GB; Non-Expandable||64GB/128GB; Non-Expandable|
|Rear cameras||12.2MP (1.4um pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, 76-degree angle lens PDAF, OIS, EIS)||12.2MP (1.4um pixel size, f/1.7 aperture, 77-degree angle lens, PDAF, OIS, EIS)|
16MP (1.0um pixel size, f/2.4 aperture, 52-degree angle lens, OIS, EIS, PDAF)
|Front cameras||8MP (f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, 75-degree angle lens)|
8MP (f/2.2 aperture, 97-degree angle lens, ultrawide)
|8MP (1.22um pixel size, f/2.0 aperture, 90-degree angle lens, fixed focus)|
|Battery||2,915mAh, Non-Removable, 18W Fast Battery Charging (USB-PD 2.0), Qi wireless charging||2,800mAh, Non-Removable, 18W Fast Battery Charging (USB-PD 2.0), Qi wireless charging|
|Dimensions||145 x 68.2 x 7.9mm||147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2mm|
|Weight||148 grams||162 grams|
|Connectivity||LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||Titan M module||IR-based facial scanning, Titan M module|
|OS||Android 9 Pie (upgradable to Android 10)||Android 10|
|Price||$499 / $599||$799 / $899|
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 4: Design
As far as the design is concerned, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 are surely more similar than the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 4 XL. The main reason is that huge notch on the Pixel 3 XL is not present on the Pixel 3.
The Pixel 3 includes quite noticeable bezels above and below the display. The Pixel 4 also has a rather large 'forehead', but its 'chin' is considerably smaller than the one on the Pixel 3. Just to be clear, the top bezel on the Pixel 4 is also thinner than the one on the Pixel 3.
Both of these phones are made out of metal and glass. They do both look and feel different, though. The Pixel 3 includes the two-tone design on the back, while the Pixel 4 does not. Its large camera module on the back does contrast with its back cover, though, at least on the Clearly White and Oh So Orange variants.
The Pixel 3 includes a single camera on the back, and it's rather compact as it's not a part of a large camera module. The story with the Pixel 4 is considerably different, as that camera module on the back packs in two cameras, and an LED flash. The camera setup protrudes on the back of the Pixel 4 quite a bit.
The Pixel 3 offers more curves in general, and it does feel more slippery in the hand, but not by much. The whole Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 series of devices is not that slippery, considering they're made out of metal and glass.
We'll give this category to the Pixel 4, though. The phone has thinner bezels, and it actually looks really nice overall, it looks unique. On top of that, it's even less slippery than the Pixel 3, which is a plus.
Winner: Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 4: Display
So, what about the display? Well, the Pixel 4 has an edge in this category as well. Don't get us wrong, the Pixel 3 has a really good display, but it cannot measure up to the Pixel 4's. The Pixel 3 comes with a 5.5-inch P-OLED panel, while the Pixel 4 includes a 5.7-inch flexible OLED display.
Both of these displays support HDR content, and both are protected by a sheet of Gorilla Glass 5. The Pixel 4's panel supports a high refresh rate of 90Hz, though, while the Pixel 3's does not. Due to this display, the Pixel 4 seems to be considerably faster, as the content runs way smoother on the panel.
That is not the only reason why the Pixel 4 has an edge, though. The Pixel 4's panel does seem to be a bit sharper to the naked eye, even though they're quite comparable in terms of resolution. Viewing angles are great on both, and both have great color representation. It is also worth noting that the Pixel 3 offers 18:9 display aspect ratio, while the Pixel 4 has a higher panel with 19:9 aspect ratio. All in all, this category goes to the Pixel 4.
Winner: Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 4: Performance
The Google Pixel 3 is still a great performer, but not as great as the Pixel 4. That is not surprising, as the Pixel 4 includes a more powerful processor, more RAM, and that high refresh rate display.
The Google Pixel 3 sports the Snapdragon 845, in addition to 4GB of RAM. The Pixel 4 ups that to the Snapdragon 855, and 6GB of RAM. The Pixel 4 is a bit faster when it comes to loading apps, switching between them, and all the regular things you'd do on a daily basis. Whatever you do on it, however, seems to be considerably smoother due to that display.
Both phones will handle games without a problem, any type of game, really. The Pixel 4 does have more firepower in the CPU department, but the Snapdragon 845 is not a slouch, not at all. We really did not have any issues when it comes to gaming on either of the two devices.
Winner: Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 4: Battery
Battery department is where both phones disappoint, though. The Pixel 3 includes a 2,915mAh battery, which is supposed to power its 5.5-inch fullHD 60Hz display. The Pixel 4, on the other hand, not only has a smaller battery, but it also has a larger, higher refresh rate display.
Battery life on the Pixel 3 is quite disappointing, but the Pixel 4 takes that to a whole new level. We don't really understand why Google went with such a tiny battery in the Pixel 4, especially considering that it increased display size, and display refresh rate, but there you go.
If you hope to have at least decent battery life, you'd better go with the Pixel 3. If you do want a Pixel 4 device, then the Pixel 4 XL is a much better option. The Pixel 4 may do it for light users, but if you're not amongst them, you'll need to charge this phone before bed. It is especially not recommended for heavy users, as you'll need to charge it in the afternoon, for soon.
The Pixel 3 is not much better, but it's better, that's for sure. The Pixel 3 and 4 both offer 18W fast wired charging, and Qi wireless charging. That wired charging is not fast enough to make up for such poor battery life, but at least it's something. The Pixel 3 wins in the battery life department, but both are pretty bad in this regard.
Winner: Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 4: Cameras
Both of these phones have great cameras, no doubt about it. The Pixel 4, however, has an advantage here. Photos taken with the Pixel 4 end up being noticeably sharper, while both offer great HDR+ mode. The Pixel 4, however, comes with Live HDR+, which processes images live in your viewfinder, so that you can see the final product even before you press the trigger.
The Pixel 4 also comes with some additional camera modes, which are not gimmicks. It has a mode for astrophotography, and a mode for action shots as well. Both work really well. Now, those two modes may make their way to the Pixel 3 as well, as Google did say that camera software features will come to the Pixel 3, though, so we'll see how that works once it happens.
Video recording is really good on both, but do note that you're not getting 4K at 60fps. Video stabilization is really good, though, and for the vast majority of people, both phones will do a great job.
Winner: Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 4: Audio
The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 are pretty much on the same playing field in the audio department. Both phones offer stereo speakers, while none of them has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Pixel 3 has front-facing stereo speakers, while the Pixel 4 has one on the bottom, and one under the earpiece grille.
Those stereo speakers provide really good sound, while the same can be said for audio through earphones. That goes for both a solid pair of wired and Bluetooth earphones. We did not really notice much difference between the two. Sound output can get a bit louder on the Pixel 4, but that's more or less it.
Those stereo speakers get pretty loud, and the distortion is minimal at high volumes. They're not tinny or anything of the sort, so you don't have to worry about. All in all, it's a tie for the sound department.
The overall winner
|Google Pixel 3 XL||Google Pixel 4 XL|
The Google Pixel 4 is a clear winner here. If Google went the extra mile and included a decent battery inside of that phone, it would be a much more appealing device. This way it's good, but it's definitely not for everyone.
The Pixel 4 does offer a better display, performance, and camera experience than the Pixel 3. The phone also looks nicer, at least in our opinion, but your mileage may vary. In any case, if you don't mind spending some extra cash, getting the Pixel 4 may be a better idea… if you don't mind really poor battery life, though.
Winner: Google Pixel 4