Buying the Pixel 3? Here are the best Google Pixel 3 XL cases

Pixel 3 XL hands on

Google recently took the wraps off the latest additions to its Pixel series – the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. The larger Google Pixel 3 XL offers all the hardware we expect from a 2018 flagship and a slew of camera features that improve on the already fantastic camera of its predecessor. Extras like an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance and wireless charging also make for an even more compelling device.

Keeping your brand new smartphone safe from accidental bumps and drops is always important. To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the best protective Google Pixel 3 XL cases and covers that are currently available!


Google fabric case

The four available colors of the Google Pixel 3 Fabric Case. Google

One of the official cases for the Google Pixel 3 XL is the fabric case, which features the same tailored fabric as is seen with the Google Home smart speaker. The case is also thin enough to work with the Pixel Stand for wireless charging and its Active Edge feature. Available in Carbon (black), Indigo (blue), Fog (gray), and Pink Moon, the Google fabric case is priced at $40.


Pixel 3 MNML Case

Promoted

pixel 3 xl mnml mask

Looking for a thin Pixel 3 XL case? There is no thinner case than the MNML case at just 0.35 mm thin. It’s so thin that it will look and feel like you have no case at all. It doesn’t offer much drop protection, but it will protect you from the day-to-day scratches that can accumulate.

The case comes in 5 different colors, including frosted black, frosted white, matte black, really blue, and red, and it’s on sale for $14.99. Get 15% off with code: 15PX3 only at MNMLCase.com


Google My Case

Descriptions of how the Google My Case process works. Google

Another one of the official Google Pixel 3 XL cases is the Google My Case. This is a customized case for which you can upload your own photos or design, pick from Google’s own artwork, or customize a case based on a location. Finally, you can choose to pick a color for the trim of the case that looks like the color of the phone itself to keep everything uniform. The “My Case” from Google will set you back $50.


Otterbox Defender

A promotional image of the Google Pixel 3 OtterBox. Google

The Otterbox Defender is an ultra-rugged case that combines a hard outer shell and a soft inner lining to keep the phone safe from accidents. It also comes with its own belt holster that can also double as a kickstand for some hands-free video watching. The Otterbox case for the Pixel 3 XL is available for $59.95 and comes in black or blue color choices.


Bellroy Leather Google Pixel 3 case

A promotional image of the Bellroy Leather Case for Google Pixel 3. Google

These three real leather Pixel 3 XL cases come from Bellroy. Available in three colors – Black, Navy, and Carmel – these cases will definitely give your new phone a classy, fashionable look. Of course, the leather also adds a lot of grip and makes the phone easier to hold. The Bellroy Pixel 3 XL cases are available on Amazon for $49.


Spigen Liquid Crystal

spigen liquid crystal case for the pixel 3 xl

The Spigen Liquid Crystal is an ultra slim case that lets you show off the look of the phone. This TPU case comes with precise cutouts for easy access to all ports and features. It utilizes Air Cushion technology to provide better corner protection and is thin enough to be kept on when using it with a wireless charger. The Spigen Liquid Crystal case for the Pixel 3 XL is priced at $9.99.


Ringke Fusion

ringke fusion pixel 3 xl case

The Ringke Fusion case offers features dual layer protection with a TPU bumper and a hard polycarbonate panel. The case is quite thin but comes with the MIL-STD 810G-516.6 certification for shock protection. Precise cutouts are available for easy access to all ports and features, while the buttons are covered but easy to press. The Ringke Fusion case for the Pixel 3 XL is priced starting at $8.99.


Dretal Armor

dretal pixel 3 xl case with built-in plate for magnetic car holder

The Dretal Armor case is made of environment-friendly plastic and an anti-stretch TPU rubber. The corners are reinforced with an inner airbag design to allow for more shock absorption. The case also comes with a built-in metal plate that can be used place the phone on a magnetic car mount or holder. Available color options include black, orange, and navy blue, and the case is priced at $8.98.


TUDIA Merge

tudia merge pixel 3 xl case

The TUDIA Merge is a dual-layer case that combines a soft TPU gel layer and a hard polycarbonate shell to provide rugged protection. Raised edges keep the camera and screen protected and all the buttons are covered as well. The TUDIA Merge case is available in a few different colors like matte black, green, gold, and metallic slate. The TUDIA Merge Pixel 3 XL cases are priced starting at just $8.99.


Spigen Rugged Armor

spigen rugged armor - one of the best pixel 3 xl cases

The Spigen Rugged Armor is one of the best Google Pixel 3 XL cases you can get. The flexible TPU case utilizes Air Cushion technology to keep the device safe from accidental drops. The buttons are covered but easy to press. A raised lip keeps the camera bump protected and precise cutouts are available for all ports and features. The case is also compatible with wireless charging the Active Edge feature. The Spigen Rugged Armor case is priced at $9.99.


Incipio DualPro

incipio dualpro

The Incipio DualPro is another case that offers dual layer protection with a shock absorbing inner core and impact resistant Plextonium polycarbonate frame. The buttons are covered but easy to press, and there are precise cutouts for everything else. The Incipio DualPro case is currently available for $29.99.


Poetic Revolution

poetic revolution rugged pixel 3 xl case

The Poetic Revolution is a great option if you are looking for one of the rugged Google Pixel 3 XL cases around. Made with polycarbonate and TPU materials, the case comes textured sides that provide enhanced grip and raised supports on the corners to create a cushion. A polycarbonate shell covers the front and comes with a built-in screen protector. The case also comes with a kickstand. The Poetic Revolution case is available in black, white, and sky blue, and retails for $14.95.


Moment Pixel 3 XL case

The Moment Pixel 3 XL case is designed to let owners attach one of Moment’s smartphone camera lens add-ons to the back of the case. Therefore, its great for people who want to get more out of the Pixel 3 XL’s already excellent camera hardware. You can also attach a wrist strap to the bottom of the Moment case for better grip while you take pictures. The case also has a rubberized body designed to protect the phone from any accidental spills or drops.

It’s on Amazon for $34.99 and you can choose from models with a black canvas finish, a speckled white finish with real tan horween leather, or one like the model above with a real wood finish.


That’s it for this roundup of some of the Google Pixel 3 XL cases that are currently available, and we will be updating this post with more choices as they are released.

Pixel 3 XL coverage:

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

January 2019 Android security patch arrives for Pixel devices and the Essential Phone

Update (Jan. 7, 2:40pm ET): As is the tradition at this point, Essential has announced that the January security patch is currently rolling out to the Essential Phone. While we continue to wait for some manufacturers to announce when Android Pie will make it to various handsets, Essential is rolling out firmware updates within hours of Google.

Original post (Jan. 7, 1:43pm ET): In the midst of CES 2019, Google has begun rolling out Android’s January security patch. This month’s update appears to be primarily focused on fixing video recording issues on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in addition to other bug fixes.

The January security patch fixes 13 various vulnerabilities in the Android Open Source Project. The most severe of these security bugs could “enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.” Fortunately, things were fixed before anyone could use the vulnerabilities to harm any users.

For Pixel devices, this update “Improved audio quality when recording videos” on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. No specific bugs other than two security vulnerability fixes were noted for the rest of Google’s hardware.

Unlike with the last two months, owners of the original Pixel and Pixel XL don’t have to wait for January’s security patch. This month, Google appears to have the updates prepared and available for every Pixel device.

Of course, with the new year, we have to say goodbye to the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. As Google only promises security updates for three years after the release of a phone, we have officially reached the end of support date for both handsets.

If you don’t want to wait for the January security patch to make its way to your phone or tablet, you can download the latest factory image or OTA file from the links below. From there, you can either flash a fresh build to your phone or sideload the OTA update.

Google in 2019: All in on AI

With the release of the Google Pixel 3 in October, Google reaffirmed its position as a worthy contender in the bloody war of the smartphone industry. However, despite the handset’s glowing reviews, the Pixel line still has a very small market share, especially compared to popular lines from Samsung or Huawei.

While Google’s ambitions for smartphone dominance may have a long way to go, it made huge strides in 2018 with Google Home hardware products like the Google Home Mini. It also solidified its reputation as the reigning king of the AI and virtual assistant world.

Let’s take a look at how Google ended 2018, and what’s likely to come in 2019.

Pixels are selling, but market share is still small

The back of the Google Pixel 3.

The Pixel 3 XL was probably the most successful smartphone of 2018 in one metric: organic publicity. While Google likely spent millions promoting the phone, the leak of black market prototype devices gave the Pixel 3 more promotion than Google could ever buy.

Months before the official launch of the Pixel 3 was even revealed, the public had already seen the Pixel 3 XL from every angle. We saw unboxing videos, full reviews, and photography samples before Google ran even one official ad for the device.

However, even with all this promotion, the Google Pixel 3 was no sales juggernaut. According to revenue estimates, the Pixel line — which includes Pixel smartphones, the Google Pixelbook, and the Google Pixel Slate — earned about $1.78 billion in combined gross profit in 2018. It might seem like a lot, but Samsung’s mobile division made $2 billion in gross profit from its smartphone sales in just the third quarter of 2018. That was a bad quarter, too.

The Pixel line is doing well — if you don’t compare it to any other major smartphone on the market.

Granted, Samsung offers many different smartphones, while Google only has one line, but that doesn’t negate how Pixel smartphones don’t earn Google nearly as much revenue as competitors’ devices.

Another metric illuminating Google’s lack of market share is its own Android distribution report. The most recent report from October 26, 2018, shows devices running Android 9 Pie — which would theoretically include every Pixel smartphone at that point — make up less than a tenth of a percent of all active Android devices.

Editor’s Pick

One tenth of a percent of the 2 billion active Android devices is 20 million devices. That means we can estimate there have been less than 20 million Pixel smartphones sold since the original Google Pixel launched in 2016.

Once again, 20 million might seem like a lot of smartphones for two years of sales, but in just the 2017 fiscal year, Apple sold over 216 million iPhones.

All of this data points to one thing: Google’s ambitions in the smartphone market have a very long way to go.

The one thing Google has over its competition is software. Along with a steady stream of Android updates, the Pixel smartphone line has arguably the best camera software of any smartphone in the history of smartphones. It also has unique AI-based features that competitors have yet to match.

We will just have to wait and see if Google can turn those superior products into more sales.

Google’s Chrome OS hardware isn’t gaining traction

Google’s Chrome OS is doing astoundingly well, especially in the education sector. By the end of 2017, in the United States, almost 60 percent of mobile computing shipments to schools from kindergarten to grade 12 were Chromebooks.

School systems love Chrome OS. The operating system is easy for kids to learn and use, and the hardware costs a fraction of what Windows laptops go for.

So why isn’t the Google Pixelbook or the recently-released Google Pixel Slate a best-selling computer on the market?

That answer is simple, too: price.

Google will never gain any traction in the laptop market if it doesn’t release hardware at an affordable price.

Competitor companies like Samsung, Asus, and Acer sell Chromebooks like hotcakes by keeping the devices as cheap as possible. Google is taking the opposite approach and creating top-tier hardware with a top-tier price tag. The entry-level variant of the Pixel Slate is a whopping $800 if you buy it with the (one would say necessary) keyboard sleeve. A maxed-out model of the Slate with its keyboard sleeve would cost you no less than $2,000.

Editor’s Pick

If Google wants to make a dent in the laptop market, it needs to abandon the idea of selling Chromebooks at Apple prices, at least for now. The Pixel Slate is powerful, beautiful, and altogether awesome, but the people ready to spend that much money on a laptop or tablet will just buy a Microsoft Surface Pro or Apple MacBook instead. It seems like the Pixel Slate was simply made for Google fans.

Maybe Google will be able to command $2,000 for a Chromebook years down the line. For now, it’s a fool’s errand.

Smart speakers are Google’s success story of the year

Google Home Hub logo

Despite the ho-hum progress of Pixel smartphones and laptops, Google’s smart speaker hardware is a force to be reckoned with. In 2016, it was estimated Google earned a gross profit of $49 million off its entire line of Home devices. In 2018, Home products will earn Google an estimated gross profit of $847 million, an increase of over 1,728 percent in two years.

If you look at revenues instead of profits, things get even more spectacular. In 2018, it’s estimated Google made $3.4 billion in revenue off its Home hardware, which is about the same amount it made off Pixel hardware.

A Pixel smartphone costs much more than most Google Home hardware. At $50 a pop, Google could potentially have sold over 50 million Google Home Minis in 2018.

Google is moving massive amounts of Google Home hardware — and the numbers are only going to get bigger.

Unfortunately, the two major companies in the smart speaker market — Google and Amazon — don’t report how many products they ship. Using estimates from market research firms and miscellaneous related data, it’s safe to assume Google is gobbling up market share from Amazon.

Editor’s Pick

Additionally, numerous research firms report Google Assistant — which powers Google Home hardware — is the best virtual assistant currently available. Most reviews of smart speakers also conclude that Google Home hardware is the best you can buy.

This is all fantastic news for Google, as AI and virtual assistants are the future. Although Google’s cash cow right now is still Google Search, it won’t be that way forever. Google knows years from now, its virtual assistant will be its cash cow, and the company has already set itself in the lead.

An interesting thing to note about Google Home hardware is price. A Google Home Mini is $50 and a Google Home Hub smart display is $150. Can it be a coincidence that these priced-to-move units are the best thing going for Google’s hardware division right now?

There’s still plenty of competition

The OnePlus 6T next to the Google Pixel 3 XL.

Google Search has little competition around the world. Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Chrome are also practically untouchable in their markets.

This is not the case with Google hardware devices like the Google Pixel smartphone or Google Pixel Slate. Even the runaway success of Google Home faces stiff competition from Amazon and others.

In the smartphone arena, Google faces competitors delivering devices with comparable hardware and lower prices. A phone like the OnePlus 6T undercuts the Google Pixel 3 by hundreds of dollars, delivering more RAM, more internal storage, the same processor, and the same all-glass build. Yes, the Pixel 3 has a far superior camera, but OnePlus understands consumers will buy up a device in droves if it cuts the right corners to keep it cheap.

RELATED: OnePlus 6T vs Google Pixel 3 XL

In the cases of laptops and computers, Google is pricing itself out of the market. The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet is on its sixth generation, which means consumers can find Surface Pros for half the price of a low-end Pixel Slate. To make matters worse, that Surface Pro will be able to run Windows applications which the majority of people are still looking for in a laptop experience.

Editor’s Pick

No matter how fancy of a laptop Google makes, few will buy it if it runs Chrome OS and costs as much as a macOS or Windows device. Consumers will stick with the operating system they know unless Google can give them an incentive to switch — which means dropping the price.

Finally, Google Home hardware is doing incredibly well, but Google’s main competitor Amazon is also doing incredibly well. What’s more, Amazon is doing most things faster than Google. It had its first smart speaker on sale well before Google. Amazon also beat Google to the punch in the smart display market and often releases new features before Google.

It’s a good bet Amazon will launch a new smart speaker product in 2019 and Google will launch its own answer to that product months later.

If Google wants to truly dominate the smart speaker industry, it needs to be faster than Amazon.

Google in 2019

Google is poised to drop some seriously interesting products in 2019. The most interesting is probably the anticipated Google Pixel 3 Lite (which may or may not be its real name).

Up until now, there have been two Pixel phones released each year: the regular Pixel and its XL counterpart. In 2019, however, we anticipate Google will release a mid-range Pixel and Pixel XL, likely delivering the same software experience as the “real” Pixel 3, but with downgraded hardware and specs to make it more affordable.

This could open up the Pixel experience to people in developed nations with more modest budgets, and also potentially allow people in developing countries like India to buy a Pixel. It could be a huge boon for the Pixel line.

For the first time ever, we’ll likely see a mid-range Pixel smartphone in 2019.

We don’t know much for certain about the Pixel 3 Lite, including its price. Google could overprice it and contradict the whole idea. We’ll probably hear more about the Pixel 3 Lite soon.

While we have some info on the Pixel 3 Lite, we haven’t heard anything about Google releasing a mid-tier laptop or tablet. If Google doesn’t have plans to release a Pixel Slate Lite in 2019, it really should. As stated earlier, people who can afford a Pixel Slate probably won’t buy it over a Windows- or macOS-based machine at a comparable price. If Google could deliver a high-end hardware experience in the $500 range (with the keyboard included), it might stand a chance to grab some serious market share.

Editor’s Pick

Google’s Project Stream — which lets you play AAA video games using in your browser — could also help a mid-range Chrome OS tablet sell. If Google could make a Chromebook or tablet run pretty much anything on a virtual server, Chrome OS would really have a chance against Windows and macOS. Project Stream is still in its infancy, though, so it’s unlikely this would make a huge difference this year.

Finally, we didn’t see a Google wearable in 2018. However, with Google’s push of Wear OS and Google Fit, it seems it’s only a matter of time before we see a “Made by Google” smartwatch.

RELATED: 2019 will be a great year for smartwatches and fitness trackers

There’s some truly untapped potential in the wearable market, especially for Google. It could sell a wearable not as a generic smartwatch, but more like a Google Home smart speaker you carry around on your wrist at all times. For that to work, Google would have to adopt the same strategy as it did with its Home hardware: make it great and make it cheap.

Google’s major advantage: Limitless cash

A Google logo.

Unlike pretty much every other hardware manufacturer in the mobile industry, Google practically prints money from its Google Search business. The amount of cash the company pulls in from Search alone helps fund all sorts of risky endeavors (Wi-Fi balloons, anyone?), as well as more straightforward things like the Pixel smartphone.

With that in mind, there really is no excuse for Google to not be one of the best hardware manufacturers in the business. It has the talent, the money, the marketing power, and the infrastructure to do pretty much whatever it wants. That’s why the low adoption rates of the company’s smartphones and tablets are so confounding.

Editor’s Pick

If Google truly wants to dominate the mobile markets, it needs to start from the beginning just like every other company. It needs to release smartly-priced products to get people hooked, and then release better, more expensive products as the business becomes more refined.

This whole strategy of rushing out of the gate charging Apple prices for hardware riddled with problems and out-spec’d by phones half the price simply won’t get the company anywhere. It understands this with Google Home hardware, but not with other divisions.

Google has everything it needs to make 2019 its year. Let’s see if it can do it.

Next: HTC in 2019: Last chance saloon

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Lite tipped to land on Verizon this Spring

Rozetked

Are Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL too expensive for you? If so, you might want to hold out on buying a new phone until Spring 2019 — that’s when Google is rumored to launch the affordable Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite. This rumor comes from our friends at Android Police, citing sources familiar with the company’s plans.

No exact release date was mentioned, but rumor has it both phones will land on Verizon. They’ll also likely be available unlocked via the Google Store, just like all of Google’s previous Pixel and Nexus phones.

The Google Pixel 3 Lite first leaked in mid-November on Russian website Rozetked, the same folks who got their hands on the Pixel 3 XL months ahead of its release. A few days later, the same website posted some alleged Pixel 3 Lite camera samples, followed by a ton of more hands-on photos from a different Russian website, Wylsa. Finally, we saw our first glimpse of the Pixel 3 XL Lite in CAD renders in early December.

Related

According to the recent leaks, the Pixel 3 Lite will come with a 5.5-inch LCD screen at Full HD+ resolution, a Snapdragon 670 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 2,915mAh battery, as well as a 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera. The only rumor we’ve heard about the 3 XL Lite is its screen size, which will reportedly come in at 6 inches and have a Full HD+ resolution. Both phones are rumored to have a headphone jack as well.

They’ll likely be made entirely of plastic, as opposed to the Pixel 3’s all-glass build. Oh, and one other notable design choice: Both of these Lite phones will probably look a lot like the smaller Pixel 3. That means they won’t feature the Pixel 3 XL’s gigantic notch.

Google hasn’t launched a mid-range phone since 2015’s Nexus 5X. Why launch one now? We know that the U.S. is significantly lacking in decent mid-range smartphones, so Google might see a market here. Also, the fact that these phones are launching on Verizon means customers will be able to pay for them in monthly installments as opposed to spending hundreds of dollars outright.

That’s it for now, folks. We’ll be sure to update you if we hear anything else regarding the Pixel 3 Lite or Pixel 3 XL Lite.

December 2018 security patch arrives for Pixel, Nexus, Essential Phone, and 2016 Pixels

Update #2, December 5 at 8:39 a.m. ET: Google has posted December 2018 factory images and OTA files for the original Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. You can download them below:


Update #1, December 3 at 4:12 p.m. ET: Essential is usually quick to roll out Android security patches soon after Google releases them, and this month’s patch is no different. Essential Phone owners, the December Android security patch should be rolling out to your devices now!


Original article, December 3 at 1:05 p.m. ET: Right on schedule, Google has released Android’s December security patch. The new factory images for the various Google devices are here, while the OTA files are here.

The good news is that the Pixel C, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X are still getting updates, despite the fact that the company is no longer obligated to issue security patches for the three-year-old devices.

However, the bad news is that — just like last month — the security patches for the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL are not here yet. Last month, the updates for the OG Pixel devices came about two weeks after the initial batch. Is this going to be the trend from now on?

Editor’s Pick

The December patch itself includes fixes for multiple security vulnerabilities. The most severe of these issues is a critical security vulnerability in media framework that could enable a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a device. However, Google has no record of any attacker actually exploiting this vulnerability.

The patch also includes a long-awaited fix for the memory management problems present on the Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL. There’s also some camera improvements, a fix for flickering always-on-display, and some Bluetooth audio enhancements. Check out the table below to see what’s getting a fix for your device(s):

If you don’t want to wait for the December security patch to make its way to your phone, you can download the latest factory image or OTA file from the links below. From there, you can either flash a fresh build to your phone or sideload the OTA update.

NEXT: I got a Google Home Mini for $1, and you can too — Here’s how!

There are a lot of big phones out there, but which is right for you?

Let’s face it: big phones are here to stay. Samsung first made people want them with the original Galaxy Note, and we have not looked back since. Even companies like Apple, which stuck to smaller smartphones for years, eventually followed the trend with the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014.

There are now more options than ever when looking for a smartphone with a big displays — it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This is especially true right now, as the fall has brought a ton of new phones, many packing large screens.

Whether you are undecided or simply want a second opinion, here is our list of the best big phones available right now. 


Best all-around: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is one of the best big phones you can buy

Want a big 6.3-inch AMOLED display and equally-large 4,000mAh battery? They’re here. Looking for at least 6GB of RAM and at least 128GB of expandable storage? Look no further. Hate notches? There isn’t one in sight. The Note 9 even comes with the series’ characteristic S Pen, which now adds tons of extra functionality via Bluetooth. The phone has no peer when it comes to its sheer number of features.

Why you should buy

  • The bright and large display is the best on the market,
  • If you can think of a software feature, it probably has it.
  • The S Pen brings features that no other phone has.

Why you might want to pass

  • The phone starts at $1,000.
  • Bixby continues to not be particularly good and its button cannot be officially remapped.
  • Based on precedent, software updates will be slow to arrive.

Learn more about the Galaxy Note 9


Best Galaxy Note 9 alternative: LG V40 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ in hand showing home screen

The story of the LG V40 ThinQ starts and ends with its five cameras — three around back and two up front — something no other phone’s done. Even though we were not very kind to the V40 ThinQ, the phone has potential options not seen in other phones.

Why you should buy

  • The phone can take regular, wide-angle, and telephoto shots.
  • The 32-bit Quad DAC pumps out great audio through the headphone jack.
  • The Google Assistant button is actually useful.

Why you might want to pass

  • The images do not live up to the hype.
  • The features do not justify its almost-$1,000 price tag.
  • Based on precedent, software updates will be extremely slow.

Learn more about the LG V40 ThinQ


Best big phone with stock Android: Google Pixel 3 XL

Pixel 3 XL - best big phone for stock fans

It might not have the bells and whistles of the Galaxy Note 9 and V40 ThinQ, but the Pixel 3 XL focuses on speed, ease of use, and being helpful. We didn’t call the Pixel 3 XL the Android iPhone for “the clicks” or lulz, but because it is the Android phone designed to appeal to everyone else. Its value is more than just specs on paper.

Why you should buy

  • The software is extremely fluid and gets updates directly from Google.
  • The single rear camera delivers an excellent and consistent photo-taking experience.
  • The learning curve is one of the smallest we have seen from an Android phone.

Why you might want to pass

  • You do not want to spend $899 on a smartphone.
  • Most of its headlining software features will trickle down to existing Pixels.
  • There is a lack of widespread availability.

Learn more about the Google Pixel 3 XL


Best big phone on the cheap: Honor 8X

It’s not as flashy as the Galaxy Note 9 or as fluid as the Pixel 3 XL, but the Honor 8X one of the best mid-tier smartphones and one of the best affordable big phones you can buy. This is a supersized phablet that comes in at under 300 euros (~$345), yet it delivers snappy performance and a stunning design. Look no further than the Honor 8X if you want a smartphone to make your wallet happy.

Why should you buy

  • The 3,750mAh battery has no problem surviving two days of use.
  • The premium design, performance, and storage options are a cut above your typical mid-tier smartphone.
  • You can buy four Honor 8Xs for the price of one Galaxy Note 9.

Why you might want to pass

  • The camera performance is hit or miss.
  • Dated hardware choices, such as a Micro-USB port and single bottom-firing speaker.
  • There is no IP rating.

Learn more about the Honor 8X


Best non-Android: iPhone XS Max

In any discussion of big phones, the iPhone XS Max is the elephant in the room. Notch haters will gravitate to the top, but everyone else will focus on the smooth performance, fantastic display, and great cameras. It may be cliche, but the iPhone XS Max is what happens when hardware and software meet in the middle as equals. Also, you really don’t have many other options for non-Android these days, with Windows Mobile pretty much dead.

Why you should buy

  • The A12 Bionic and iOS 12 optimizations deliver excellent performance.
  • The display rivals the Galaxy Note 9.
  • The phone slots in nicely with the rest of Apple’s ecosystem.

Why you might want to pass

  • The phone starts at $1,099.
  • The software does not make proper use of the large display.
  • Reports of phones not charging and antenna problems.

Learn more about the iPhone XS Max


We will continually update this list as manufacturers release more phones. You should also look out for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Mate 20 X, though we haven’t had enough time to fully review them. Perhaps one or both will make the list soon!

If you feel like we left something out or believe we nailed it, let us know in the comments below!

The Verizon Google Pixel 3 is SIM-locked, even if you get it at Best Buy

Google Pixel 3

  • The Verizon variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL appear to be SIM-locked to the network.
  • If you want to unlock them, you must activate the phones on Verizon’s network and wait up to 24 hours.
  • Previous Pixel phones, including the Verizon variants, were all unlocked out of the box.

If you thought about purchasing the Verizon variant of either the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL because it would be easier to do so, you might want to rethink that decision.

The folks at Android Central recently purchased the Verizon version of the Pixel 3 XL through Best Buy. Disappointingly, they found that neither T-Mobile nor AT&T SIM cards worked. A thread on Reddit corroborated the report and added that a customer service representative said this was part of Verizon’s updated unlocking policy.

Android Central

Droid Life reached out to Verizon, which confirmed the practice. If you buy the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL through retailers, you must first activate the phone on Verizon. The carrier said the phones are “automatically unlocked overnight” if you request it, though it could be up to 24 hours before this happens.

Verizon implemented this policy as a way to deter device theft during shipment, though the policy also ignores the agreement the carrier made after it purchased Block C spectrum.

Editor’s Pick

If you want an unlocked Pixel 3, the easiest way is to buy it from the Google Store, but this shouldn’t have to be the case. The previous Pixel phones were unlocked out of the box, including the Verizon variants, so you could just throw in whatever SIM card and they would work.

We’d avoid picking up the Verizon variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL unless you’re happy to stick with that carry, just to save yourself the unlocking hassle.