A smartphone camera to beat all comers

The Google Pixel 3 camera is brilliant in low light without the need for flash

Google Pixel 3, from £739
Google Pixel 3, from £739 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

I know I keep saying this, but once more, there may just be a new benchmark in phone cameras – the Google Pixel 3. Having reviewed the Pixel 2 last year, I was minded to skip the 3. But Vodafone’s product people, who have been very sharp lately at spotting outstanding hardware, flagged it up, so I took a look at the 5.5in version.

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It was a good call. The Pixel 3’s 12.2-megapixel sensor is fronted by an f1.8 lens, which means the camera is especially brilliant in low light, without relying on the weakest link in smartphone cameras: those awful flashes. I have seen night sports photos – admittedly taken by a pro sports photographer – that you’d struggle to tell apart from shots taken with a DSLR. Google has also greatly improved the slightly inferior design and finish of the Pixel 2. And, as someone who is not a habitual Android user, I’d say the latest operating-system version, Android 9 Pie, is the cleanest and least fussy to date. The Pixel 3 is not a cheap cheat to iPhone quality as it’s priced in the same premium bracket. But if you are one of the increasing number of people who use Google everything, from Docs to the peerless Google Photos (which will store unlimited Pixel 3 photos at full file size and quality), I highly recommend giving this great phone a try.

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