News update: It looks like the Google Pixel 3 Lite has passed through the FCC. It’s a rite of passage for every manufacturer, and Google has just made the journey en masse; The Verge reports that the internet giant has filed with the FCC no fewer than eight smartphones.
For those interested, the various files can be found at the following links (fair warning: it’s really dull stuff):
Before you go bananas, it’s worth remembering that these are likely just various configurations of the same two phones – the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite. In truth, the FCC files don’t give masses away – like I say, it’s just a necessary stage in the proceedings – but it has at least all but confirmed the existence of two new Google Pixel smartphones. One of the documents reveals that the phones will be running Android 9.0, but that was a bit of a given anyway.
The contents of these files are to remain a close-guarded secret until 24 August of this year, which means that unless Google plans to launch the Pixel 4 ahead of schedule we can expect a Pixel 3 Lite launch over the summer.
The original article continues below.
A new smartphone getting a review isn’t unusual, but Rozedke’s recent review of the Pixel 3 Lite certainly is. Why? The phone doesn’t officially exist. So, rather confusingly, we have been presented with incredibly detailed information on a product that Google hasn’t even announced, let alone revealed specs of.
If legitimate – and it certainly looks that way – this is an interesting change. Google has only ever targeted the premium price bracket with its Pixel products, and the Pixel 3 Lite could be a return to the Nexus glory days.
Read on for all of the specs which will determine whether the ‘Lite’ will live up to its monicker.
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Google Pixel 3 Lite: Everything you need to know
Google Pixel 3 Lite design and features: What does it look like?
If the review is to be trusted, then we’re looking at a smartphone which will mirror the Pixel 3 in size but not material. It has the same 5.56in display as seen on the Pixel 3, with roughly the same resolution – the leaked review claims that the Pixel 3 Lite has 2,220 x 1,080 pixels, compared to the original’s 2,160 x 1,080.
Whereas the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL were equipped with OLED screens, it seems that the Lite has been stripped of this quality for an LCD screen.
What’s more, unfortunately, the glass and aluminium seen on the Pixel 3 has been replaced with plastic.
These basic material change-outs are hardly surprising for a “Lite” product. However there are some impressively comparable features, and even a very important improvement.
For instance, the front and rear cameras are 8 and 12 megapixels respectively, and according to Rozedke’s article the rear camera is of a comparable quality to the Pixel 3. We’ll need to wait get our hands on it before we confirm this, but it looks like Google will maintain its form as a superb camera provider.
The button layout is similar to the Pixel 3, with the volume controls and a power button on the right, charge port and speakers on the bottom and an all important 3.5mm jack on the top. There’s also a fingerprint scanner on the back as per the other iterations of the Google smartphone.
Of all the features discussed, it pleases me most to say that the Pixel 3 Lite should have a 3.5mm headphone jack – a serious advantage over the faster devices, which both ditched the port with the Pixel 2.
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Google Pixel 3 Lite specifications: What’s inside?
Being a mid-range phone you can expect it to operate well, but not perform as well as the Pixel 3 or the 3 XL – both of which contain a Snapdragon 845 processor. The suggested processor for the Pixel 3 Lite is a humble Snapdragon 670. We’re yet to review anything with the Snapdragon 670 in it, but it’s sold as a cheaper processor, so won’t be in the same performance ballpark.
Still, a weaker processor may help with battery life. The spec of said battery is a supposed 2,915 mAh, which should mean you’ll get a full day’s activity from it without needing a charge. Plus, despite the leak not mentioning specific charge times, the processor supports Quick Charge 4+.
The graphics chip is an Adreno 615, and there’s a reasonable 4GB of RAM. Where I see cause for concern is the potential 32GB of internal memory – and that’s worrying when Google has never made a phone with expandable storage.
Google Pixel 3 Lite release date: When’s it coming out?
The reliable leaker Roland Quandt (@rquandt) suggested it will be released in the first half of 2019. You’d imagine it’ll be soon if there’s already a review out, and this also means that it’ll be kept well away from the release of the Pixel 4 which will likely emerge in November 2019.
Google Pixel 3 Lite price: How much will it cost?
This is more guesswork- based, but it certainly won’t be competing with the Pixel 3’s £739 launch price. Initial rumours have mentioned a price of around the mid-£300 mark, putting it in competition with Sony’s Xperia XA2 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy A7.
Of course, that also puts it in the same breath as the Pocophone F1, and that’s a handset it won’t be able to compete with, in terms of raw performance.
Google Pixel 3 Lite: Early verdict
It may lose some of the speed, but if the Pixel 3 Lite packs in some of the same magic as the full-sized Pixel 3 phones, then this could be a real midrange treat.
The fact that the camera performance is being touted as a triumph is hugely encouraging, and the return of the headphone jack is definitely something to be celebrated. Plus as it’s a Pixel phone, you can guarantee Android updates first, which is a real plus.
We won’t know for sure until we have our hands on one to review (and before then for Google to officially confirm it exists) but this is certainly one to watch out for even when in its technically theoretical state.