For quite some time now, Google has been rumored to be working on “Lite” version of the Pixel 3 phones. Now for the first time, there is some information on when the company might launch the Pixel 3 Lite phones in the U.S.
Lite variants for the U.S. do not make much sense
Last month, alleged images of the Pixel 3 Lite surfaced, suggesting the development of a mid-range phone. Then earlier this month, renderings of a notch-less Pixel 3 XL “Lite” went viral. At the time, it was believed that Google’s mid-range Pixel phones would launch first in India.
However, Android Police — citing sources familiar with Google’s plans — now claims the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite will be for the U.S. market and will launch some time in the early spring. An early spring launch could mean an announcement in April or May. If such is the case, then the Lite phones will launch about six months before the Made by Google launch event, which is usually held in October.
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The report also claims that the Lite variants will be released on the Verizon network. Launching the Pixel 3 Lite first on Verizon makes sense because the U.S. carrier has been Google’s exclusive Pixel partner since 2016. Other details, including the exact launch date, pricing and specifications, are not known for now.
It must be noted that a U.S. launch of the Lite variants would negate what Google Hardware head Rick Osterloh said about the Pixel staying a premium handset line. Osterloh said this after it was first reported in January 2017 that the search giant was developing a mid-range phone.
As of now, it is not exactly clear why Google would want to launch the Lite variants in the U.S. It does not make sense either, especially considering that OnePlus has been expanding its reach in the U.S. and that there are already several Samsung phones in the same category. The Lite variants appear to be a good contender for emerging markets like India instead, where buyers are more price conscious.
Google hasn’t launched a mid-range Pixel phone yet. However, it did try this approach with the Nexus line when it released the Nexus 6P as a premium handset and the Nexus 5X as a mid-range phone.
Expected specs of the Pixel 3 Lite phones
Based on earlier leaks, it is believed that the Pixel 3 Lite will be powered by either the Snapdragon 670 or 710 processor. The handset will likely come with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. According to the leaked renderings, both Lite variants will include a headphone jack. The smaller of the two is expected to be fitted with a 2,915 mAh battery, but there is no information on the battery capacity of the Pixel 3 XL Lite.
Additionally, they could feature IPS LCD panels instead of OLED displays to lower the price. The smaller variant is expected to be fitted with a 5.5-inch display, while the XL Lite could feature a 6-inch display. As far as design, the handsets are expected to have thick bezels with rounded corners and a glass shade on the rear.
Despite being mid-range phones, it is speculated that they will offer an enhanced photography experience, which the other Pixel phones are known for. The handset will sport a single-lens 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front camera.
In terms of price, speculations suggest that the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite will fall within the $400 to $500 price range. In comparison, the starting price of the Pixel 3 is $799. Both Lite variants are expected to come in only white and black.
Pixel 3 does not have the best camera
DxOMark, the same site which makes the DxO photo editing software, recently reviewed the Pixel 3. Even though the Pixel 3 phones have already been regarded to be among the best camera phones, the score by DxOMark places them in the middle of the list.
Overall, DxOMark gave the Pixel 3 a score of 101 and referred to it as the “best Pixel yet.” The software maker gave the same score to the iPhone XR, while the OnePlus 6T scored 98 points. However, the Pixel 3 scored lower than the iPhone XS Max (105 points) and the Huawei P20 Pro (109 points).
If you are surprised about the Pixel 3 being in the middle of the list, you are not alone. The reason could be because tests from DxOMark are very technical in nature, so they evaluate the technical capabilities of a camera. Thus, these tests may not aptly reflect the results the average user gets when they actually use the phone’s camera.