03 March 2020
In Summer of 2018, I had a Nexus 6P that was on its last legs, and I couldn’t quite wait for the Pixel 3 phones to be released in the Fall, so I picked up a refurbished Pixel XL to tide me over until I could see the new devices. That Pixel XL was fantastic, so I just kept it for nearly 2 years. Back in October, the Pixel XL got its last OS update, and I’ve now started seeing news of Android 11 previews, so I got the itch to replace the old Pixel XL even though it still runs pretty well.
I finally got that Pixel 3 XL just a year and a half later. Compared to the Pixel 3a XL, I figured I’d appreciate the higher screen resolution and the bit of water resistance. This device doesn’t seem too much different from my old Pixel XL, though now I’m buying a couple headphone adapters, and I might just end up using my cheap bluetooth headphones more. I’m excited to have wireless charging again, which I had given up with my Nexus 4. The front-firing stereo speakers are back and sounding good, but it’s an adjustment from the way I used to carry the Pixel XL with the single speaker blasting podcasts from a pocket as I wander the house. It seems that maybe driving the extra speaker may drain battery a little quicker. After a couple days, I had to pop into the Developer Options to hide the notch. It’s just a bad idea: I have too many notifications to allow room for a notch cut out between them.
The Pixel 3 XL seems pretty well-balanced with features I want at a reasonable price (about $300 USD for the refurbished one). I already have the March 2020 update before I’ve even owned the device for a week, and I should have updates through 2021. When updates run out, I’ll look at upgrading again. I’ll need to find a use for the original Pixel as a webcam or something, since it’s still in such good shape and had plenty of computing power.