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Google Pixel Slate hands-on

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel Slate to new Chromecast: Here’s what to expect from the Google event tonight

Google's event today has finally made the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL official, despite a ton of leaks. Another stellar feature is Google's Super Res Zoom where the Pixel 3 snaps a load of photos and runs them through an algorithm to improve zoomed shots.

The tablet packs two USB-C ports, Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, but not Cellular connectivity option. Both the Google Pixel 3 devices will be the successors to the Google Pixel 2 devices launched past year.

Because the design team learned that many people leave their phones on their nightstand to charge, the Stand enables a new setting in the Pixel 3 that mimics sunrise alarm clocks, slowly turning the screen from deep red to a bright yellow to wake you up. The device can control 1,000 different smart home gadgets now, and has a really cool dashboard that gives you the state of your home as a whole, such as "three lights are on, the front door is unlocked, and the temperature is set to 64 degrees". It sees Google take a purposefully privacy-minded approach to smart displays, intentionally ignoring some of its key video calling products like Google Duo in the name of reassuring the paranoid who might not be comfortable with a connected camera in their home. If you feel the need to jot something down, the Pixel Slate also works with the Chromebook Pen ($99). It will then greet you with your daily schedule. The fact that it's lagging behind in so many areas to a cheaper phone that as released more than half a year earlier is not good. It's now available for pre-order for $79.

Both phones also have a single rear-facing 12.2MP camera and dual front-facing 8MP cameras. Like the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL before it, they're a refinement of the previous model with a little more horsepower and a few hardware upgrades here and there. This device will wirelessly charge your Pixel phone while also standing it upright, making it easy for you to see your incoming notifications while your phone is charging up. There's a notch on the top of the 3 XL, but the Pixel 3 simply adopts a similar curved cornered screen as found on the Pixel 2.

The rest of the Pixel Slate is rather featureless. You'll have to pay the taxes on both devices upfront, and you're also required to open a new line of service. As a telemarketer talks to the phone, a live transcript pops up that you can follow along and answer if you want to. You can choose to upload your own photo, create an "Artworks" case based on illustrations and collections by artists or a "Places" case allowing you to customise and edit a case based on location. The new Pixel phones are also expected to follow the trend of expanding the phone screen almost to the edges of the device.

Otherwise, why on Earth else would enormo-publisher Conde Nast have agreed to use its new Google Pixel smartphones for its most recent magazine cover shoots?

Photobooth, meanwhile, looks for the most photogenic photos you have taken and gets rid of any where you may be gurning or have your eyes closed (probably).

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