Testing Out the Pixel 3XL in New York / by Didier Young

Hello New York! Even though I have lived in Canada for a decade now, it took me a while to make a trip to the Big Apple. Last spring was my first time in New York and it was such an overwhelmingly stimulating experience that I was eager to repeat. So when Andrew managed to get three days off and really wanted to take a short trip out of Toronto, New York was a no brainer. After all, it is only an hour away from home (by plane), it is easily accessible at Billy Bishop Airport right downtown and there was still so much for us to explore in the city. After booking our impromptu flights, we packed our overnighter bags, passports and I figured that it would be the perfect terrain to give the Google Pixel 3 XL a try.

The Pixel 3 XL is the newest Google phone that will be released on November 1st in Canada. I won’t lie, I was a bit skeptical before trying out the Pixel 2 last year. My only other interaction with an Android phone was with the Samsung Edge 6 and let’s just say that we parted ways rather abruptly. However, I find the interphase on the Google phones to be rather user friendly (I believe that all Android phones use a similar interface so they have most likely simply updated their software to be easier to navigate through). In today’s phone market, all smartphones have roughly the same capabilities but the one differentiating factor is usually the camera quality. The Pixel 3 XL is equipped with a 12.2 MP rear camera and an f/1.8 aperture which is further enhanced by Google’s machine-learning software and it is undeniably the best smartphone camera that you may currently purchase on the market. This camera renders the use of compact cameras and entry level DSLR redundant.

Google also added some fantastic features to their camera: Night Sight (releasing later this year) which will allow users to take better photos in low light conditions), Photobooth which will only snap a photo once you’re smiling, Lens which connects to the internet and allows you to automatically look up things that you snapped a photo of (including clothing, dogs and even texts) and a Group Selfie option that offers a wider frontal lense option so no one is excluded from the group photo. While wide lenses can often have a bit of a fisheye issue, Google’s software recognizes the environments and automatically corrects any warping that may result. The 6.3 inch OLED display is fantastic and the colours are sharp, bright and only slightly oversaturated compared to an iPhone. Since I was in a different country, my phone remained on airplane mode with me mostly using it as a camera (mind you, I took far more photos than I would on a normal day ) and the occasional catch up whenever I was able to connect to WIFI. That being said, the phone has a great battery life and only required to be charged once a day but that was done very quickly thanks to rapid charging. Of course, the photos that you see in this post have also been edited. I usually use a mix of Snapseed to add exposure, highlights, saturation, details and sharpness while decreasing shadows and then proceed to VSCO where I will apply my favourite filter and increase clarity slightly. The most important part is to envision how you want your images to look and have fun shooting them.

New York is always a magical city, between all the delicious food (this was my first time trying $1 pizza and it is honestly so good), the fun shopping, the gorgeous architecture and the electrifying energy of the city. We got there around the time when they were starting to put up the Christmas decorations and the skating rink at the Rockefeller centre was already up and running. The top floor of Bergdorf Goodman had already been transformed into a Christmas wonderland and they were slowly building the Christmas village at Bryant Park. I heard that Christmas is the most magical time in New York City and I hope to be able to witness it one day. In the meantime, we still managed to stroll through SOHO, checked out new Instagram darling Urban Backyard, ate at Pecora Bianca and met up with so many lovely people in the city.

I am now back in Toronto with tired legs and a suitcase full of memories. Much like the last time, I am happy to be home but I am already looking forward to the next time I get to take a bite of the Big Apple. New York City is known as the city where dreams are made of and I know what I’ll be dreaming about it tonight.

-Didier