The Pixel 3 XL, perhaps now the most leaked phone ever thanks to some hijacked handsets floating around Europe has again appeared on a Russian website overnight, with a closer inspection of the new camera app included on the phone as well as a closer look at the included USB-C earbuds.

The phone used for the review by Russian site was sent to them by ‘an anonymous well-wisher’ and they haven’t looked a gift horse in the mouth, quickly going through the phone. The units are sans any details such as Model#, FCC ID etc. on the box. Included ‘#TeamPixel’ and slips with Google email addresses further indicate that the phones are pre-release technical samples intended for Googlers when they were intercepted and ‘re-distributed’.

The reviewer says that the back of the phone is actually plastic rather than the glass we’ve been expecting, with a glossy top panel up top. The change in material used in construction from metal to glass was expected to allow for wireless charging using the ‘Pixel Stand’ dock we’ve seen previously and perhaps this is just a translation issue for the description.

The green power button we’ve seen previously is very muted, and there also looks to be a fairly noticeable seam around the edge of the phone in some of the device photos. It’s possible these may be early production samples, so take these with a grain of salt.

The camera app was a key focus of the early ‘review’ which shows that Google has re-thought the design of the app to allow for easy access to commonly used modes like Panorama and Portrait. These two camera options have been moved from the settings drawer to a carousel above the shutter button along with Photo and Video along with a new ‘More’ section which includes modes like Google Lens, Slow Motion, and Photo Sphere to allow you to easily access all four modes by swiping left or right.

In Portrait mode it appears Google is giving you some more options to ‘beautify’ yourself, allowing you to choose between ‘Natural’, ‘Soft’ or an au naturale look. There’s also a new icon with a magnifying glass at the bottom right that appears to let you perhaps zoom in – maybe a use for those dual front-facing cameras?

The camera settings also reveal some new additions including a toggle for ‘Google Lens suggestions’ which may see some real-time suggestions popping up in the app when the camera is looking at the world. Also available in Settings is the option to use the newer H.265/HEVC codec over the H.264/AVC codec allowing for space savings when capturing video. The toggle indicates that using the H.265/HEVC codec will compress videos up to 50% more, though it notes it may not be available on all platforms (H.265 support was introduced in Android Pie).

The review has included some sample photos alongside some comparison shots taken on the Pixel 2 XL and Note 9 if you want to check those out as well.

The other part of interest is the closer inspection of the Pixelbud like USB-C earbuds included in the box. The instruction manual for the earbuds show the inline controller will have three buttons, a volume up/down as well as a centre button for playing or pausing media playback, as well as an option to press and hold it to let you interact with the Google Assistant. The included URL in the photo – – doesn’t exist yet, simply giving a 404 error.

The phone is of course running Android Pie – with the August 5th security patch – and there’s no updates available for it at the time of writing. The settings don’t really reveal anything new about the phone, the Active Edge squeeze function is back of course, though that seems to be a love it or hate it feature. There’s nothing in the settings about any new features for the dual front-facing cameras but the screenshots don’t extend to all the different sub-menus in Security, so there’s always a chance it’s not included yet.

If you want to check out more pics and screenshots you can head over to the source to check it out.

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Geoff Fieldew

Great to see HEVC encoding being used for videos. 4K videos should take up a lot less space now.


Why is the sticker on the ear buds spelt “”?


OK time for the standard Pixel 3 to start leaking pls :). I don’t know that there’s anything left worth saying about the 3 XL by now