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Smartphone Showdown – Google Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS and XS Max (2018)

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Eugenia Liew

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Earlier this week (10 Oct), Google announced the release date for the new Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL – 1 Nov 2018. Preorders are already available on the Google Store and at Singtel, and prices begin at $1,249 (phone only). Yup – the dust hasn’t even settled on the recent iPhone launch and there’s already a new smartphone to go gaga over.

Let’s take a look at how much the Pixel 3 costs in Singapore and where you can buy it. Plus, we compare its specs with its predecessor (Google Pixel 2 XL) and its most popular rival (the iPhone XS), so you can decide for yourself if the Google Pixel 3 is worth the splurge.

Contents

  1. Google Pixel 3 overview
  2. Google Pixel 3 price in Singapore
  3. Google Pixel 3 specifications compared to Pixel 2 XL
  4. Google Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS
  5. Where to buy the Google Pixel 3 – phone only
  6. Where to buy the Google Pixel 3 – with mobile plan
  7. Conclusion – should you buy the Google Pixel 3?

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Google Pixel 3 & 3 XL – an overview

Google Pixel 3 in Singapore 
Release date 1 Nov 2018 (preorders already open for Google Store and Singtel)
Google Pixel 3 Price $1,249 (64GB), $1,399 (128GB)
Google Pixel 3 XL Price $1,399 (64GB), $1,549 (128GB)
Colours available Not Pink (Singtel exclusive), Just Black and Clearly White
Where to buy (with mobile plan) Singtel, Starhub
Where to buy (phone only) Google store, Lazada

In a nutshell, there are 2 models of the Pixel 3 – the regular one and the XL. They’re quite similar, the main difference being the XL’s larger and sharper display (6.3″ instead of 5.5″). You can choose to get it from the Google store, or if you need a mobile plan, through Singtel or StarHub.

Singtel had exclusive retailer rights for the Pixel 2XL last year, but this year all they get is an exclusive colour. “Not Pink” is the name of the shade, which makes no sense whatsoever because it actually IS pink. Don’t act cute leh, Google.

You can get your hands on these babies from 1 Nov 2018 onwards, and prices begin at $1,249 for the Pixel 3 (64GB).

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Google Pixel 3 price in Singapore (2018)

Google Pixel 3 models Google Store price 
Google Pixel 3 (64GB) S$1,249
Google Pixel 3 (128GB) S$1,399
Google Pixel 3 XL (64GB) S$1,399
Google Pixel 3 XL (128GB)   S$1,549

There are 4 options for the Google Pixel 3: You can choose from 2 models (regular or XL) and 2 sizes (64GB or 128GB).

The Google Pixel 3 (64GB) is the cheapest model, and costs $1,249 at the local Google store. The Pixel 3 (128GB) is the same price as the Pixel 3 XL (64GB), and I personally feel that it’s more worth it to get the former, especially since all the other specs – like the camera and etc – are the same. If you get the Pixel 3 XL, it’s really just for the bigger display.

The Pixel 3 XL (128GB) is the most expensive model, retailing at $1,549.

I’ve indicated the prices in SGD for clarity, because there is a conversation revolving around whether or not it is cheaper to buy the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL from the U.S. Google Store instead. Read more about that below.

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Google Pixel specifications – Pixel 2 XL vs Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL

Pixel 2 XL Pixel 3 Pixel 3 XL
Retail price $1,099 (original RTP $1,398) $1,249 (64GB), $1,399 (128GB) $1,399 (64GB), $1,549 (128GB)  
Operating system Android 8.0 Android 9.0 Android 9.0
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM 4GB 4GB 4GB
Display   6″, AMOLED 5.5”, AMOLED 6.3”, AMOLED
Rear camera 12.2MP, f/1.8 12.2MP, f/1.8 12.2MP, f/1.8
Front camera 8MP, f/2.4 8-MP dual camera, f/2.2 (wide angle) + f/1.8 (telephoto) 8-MP dual camera, f/2.2 (wide angle) + f/1.8 (telephoto)
Battery capacity 3,250 mAh 2,915 mAh 3,430 mAh
Storage 64GB, 128GB 64GB, 128GB 64GB, 128GB

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are almost the same, except that the 3 XL has a bigger, higher-resolution display. That may seem like a plus, but take note that it also drains your battery faster.

Now onto the comparison with the Pixel 2 XL.

If you thought your eyes were playing tricks on you, they’re not. Despite all the hype, the Google Pixel 3 doesn’t look like much of an upgrade from 2017’s Google Pixel 2 XL.

You’ll notice that for the Pixel 3, Google pimped up the front camera. The single 8MP, f/2.4 camera is replaced by two 8MP lenses – one telephoto (f/2.2) and one wide-angle (f/1.8).

Although welcome – because chio selfies – this is slightly odd because it’s literally the reverse of what its competitors have done, which is to add extra lenses to the rear camera. The rear camera remains the same – 12.2MP dual-pixel with f/1.8 aperture. They’ve introduced some new shooting modes like Top Shot and Night Shift to improve the photos, but that’s a software thing.

Another thing to note is that the RAM is still 4GB – buay sai, lah. Android phones nowadays go up to 6GB RAM!

Verdict: Hardware-wise, the Google Pixel 3 isn’t much of an upgrade from the Pixel 2 XL. It’s just got a better front camera and newer processor.

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Google Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS & XS Max

Pixel 3 iPhone XS Pixel 3 XL iPhone XS Max
Retail price $1,249 (64GB), $1,399 (128GB) $1,649 (64GB), $1,889 (256GB), $2,199 (512GB) $1,399 (64GB), $1,549 (128GB)   $1,799 (64GB), $2,039 (256GB), $2,349 (512GB)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 A12 bionic chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 A12 bionic chip
RAM 4GB 4GB 4GB 4GB
Display   5.5”, AMOLED 5.8”, AMOLED 6.3”, AMOLED 6.5”
Rear camera 12.2MP, f/1.8 12MP. f/1.8 (wide angle) & f/2.4 (telephoto) 12.2MP, f/1.8 12MP. f/1.8 (wide angle) & f/2.4 (telephoto)
Front camera 8MP dual camera, f/2.2 (wide angle) & f/1.8 (telephoto) 7MP, f/2.2 8MP dual camera, f/2.2 (wide angle) + f/1.8 (telephoto) 7MP, f/2.2
Battery capacity 2915 mAh 2,658 mAh 3,430 mAh 3,174 mAh

Note: Swipe left for the full table.

You don’t really need this table to tell you that the iPhone XS is more expensive. Close eyes also can guess.

They both run on the latest processors, and to non-tech-geeks like me, they’re all the same. From some light reading, however, it seems that coupled with the latest iOS, the Apple’s A12 bionic chip provides for a faster, more seamless user experience than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. They both run on 4GB RAM too, and while this is disappointing for Android, it’s the highest so far for Apple phones (the iPhone X uses a 3GB RAM).

The iPhone displays are slightly larger than the Google Pixels, but at 0.2 to 0.3 inches, I would say it’s negligible. The main difference is between the cameras – the iPhone XS range has a dual rear camera, which the Google Pixels have dual front cameras. Based on reviews online, Google may win this one: Although the rear camera hardware is inferior, it seems that the software upgrades boost the phone’s shooting capabilities significantly. So the rear camera doesn’t really “lose” after all.

Also, the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL only come in 2 sizes, 64GB and 128GB. The iPhone XS and XS Max go up to 512GB, which is insane. Google fans will argue that you can store your photos on their Google Photos cloud for free, but there are definitely benefits to having all your stuff accessible offline.

Verdict: The iPhone XS and XS Max seem superior to the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, but they’re also a whole lot more expensive. Comparing the cheapest 64GB models, the iPhones are about 1.3X the price of the Google Pixels.

I normally wouldn’t recommend the more expensive option, but if you’re spending over $1,000, you might as well pay a bit more for a better phone. Plus, this is a gadget you’ll be using almost every waking moment for the next few years.

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Where to buy the Google Pixel 3 – phone only

Okay, so decided you’re going to take the plunge anyway? If you just want the phone, you can purchase the Google Pixel 3 via the Google Store, Singtel or Starhub. The local prices are as indicated above. However, what some Singaporeans are considering doing is ordering from the U.S. Google Store instead.

Should you buy the Google Pixel 3 from US Google Store?

Let’s see if it’s worth the hassle:

Google Pixel 3 model Price at U.S. Google Store
Google Pixel 3 (64GB) 799 USD (~ S$1,099.18)
Google Pixel 3 (128GB) 899 USD (~ S$1,236.75)
Google Pixel 3 XL (64GB) 899 USD (~ S$1,236.75)
Google Pixel 3 XL (128GB) 999 USD (~ S$1,374.32)
Note: SGD price calculated based on the 1.38 exchange rate at the time of writing.

If you get the cheapest model at S$1,099.18 and add about $100 for vPost or comGateway to ship it to Singapore. That adds up to S$1,199.18, which is about $50 cheaper than the local retail price ($1,249). Even if you get the most expensive model, the savings will be under $100.

I personally don’t find it worth the trouble, not to mention the risk of having my $1,000+ baby get lost or damaged in transit.

Not long after its launch, the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL were sold by quite a few 3rd party retailers on Lazada. So if you’re not in a rush, you can try waiting it out to get it at a bargain there.

Do also note that the Google Pixel 3 (128GB) is not available at the local telcos (Singtel and Starhub), so you need to get it from the Google store.

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Where to buy the Google Pixel 3 – with mobile plan

If your telco contract is up and you want to get a plan+phone bundle, you can check out Singtel and Starhub.

Singtel – exclusive “Not Pink” pink colour

Singtel mobile plan Subscription price Google Pixel 3 (64GB only) price Google Pixel 3XL price
Combo XO (18GB data, unlimited Singtel WiFi, 300 mins, 300 SMS) $78 monthly $438 $568 (64GB), $698 (128GB)
Combo 1 (100MB data, 100 mins, 500 SMS) $27.90 monthly $988 $1,118 (64GB), $1,248 (128GB)
Combo 2 (2GB data, 200 mins, 1,000 SMS) $42.90 monthly $758 $888 (64GB), $1,018 (128GB)
Combo 3 (3GB data, unlimited mins & SMS) $68.90 monthly $498 $628 (64GB), $758 (128GB)
Combo 6 (6GB data, unlimited mins & SMS) $95.90 monthly $238 $368 (64GB), $498 (128GB)
Combo 12 (12GB data, unlimited mins & SMS) $239.90 monthly $0 $0

Note: Swipe left for the full table.

As mentioned above, Singtel is the exclusive retailer for the Not Pink (but actually pink) colour. So if you want that to match your other millennial pink gadgets and accessories, then bo bian. Only Singtel.

Singtel has a whole lot of plans, but if you’re an average Joe, I doubt you’d be able to get the phone at $0 (you need to spend $239.90 monthly on Combo 12). The more popular plans are Combo 3, Combo 6 and Combo XO, and out of the three, Combo XO is the most bang-for-buck.

Monthly, it’s about $10 more than Combo 3, but you get 6X the data, plus free unlimited Singtel WiFi. You also get the Google Pixel 3 and 3XL at a slightly cheaper price.

Preorders are open and currently ongoing for Singtel.

StarHub – 1 Nov 2018 onwards

There is no preorder for StarHub, and the phones will only come in black and white. You can only get it earliest on 1 November 2018 (good luck queuing!). The prices and plans are not out yet, but we will update this when it is. I expect the prices to be quite similar to Singtel’s though, so just go ahead with whichever telco you have a better “relationship” with.

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Conclusion – should you buy the Google Pixel 3?

TBH, I’m quite shookt by the prices of mobile phones these days. $1,649 for the iPhone XS (64GB) doesn’t feel like a pinch – it feels like several organs lost to the black market. I may be a hardcore Apple fan, but I also enjoy having both my kidneys, so I was quite interested in finding out about the new Google Pixel 3.

However, I personally don’t think the Pixel 3 and 3 XL are worth purchasing. If I need a new phone, I’m more likely to just get the Pixel 2 XL. It’s only $1,099 now and the hardware is kind of almost the same. You can update your operating system to Android 9.0 and it’ll be just like the Pixel 3.

If you die-die want a new iPhone, you can consider the iPhone XR. The price range is similar to the Google Pixel 3’s, but specs-wise slightly inferior. It uses an older LCD display (not OLED), and a single wide angle rear lens.

 

Are you thinking of getting the Google Pixel 3? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Related articles

Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max & iPhone XR Price in Singapore 2018

Singtel, Starhub & M1 iPhone XS Price 2018 – Which Telco Has The Best iPhone Plan?

Singtel’s New Combo XO Plan – You No Longer Have To Choose Between Only Huge Data Or Discounted Phones

 

Feature image credits: Google

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Eugenia Liew

I’m a 90s millennial who’s starting to realise that #adulting is more expensive than it seems on Instagram. When I’m not writing for MoneySmart, I’m usually playing with drain-dwelling stray cats or shopping at Sephora.