Most of the best new Google Pixel 4 features will also be available on the Pixel 3, and potentially even the cheaper Pixel 3a. Some of them are available now and many will be delivered via an update. This means you might not want to upgrade, or if you’re debating the Pixel 4 or a Pixel 3, it could be worth buying the cheaper older model.
In this guide we’ll explain some of Google’s neat new features. Then, we’ll let you know if your older Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will get it, and when. Including the new astrophotography camera controls or that fancy recording app and live captions.
Some of Google’s new additions are exclusive to the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, or just aspects of Android Pie, which is why a lot of these features will roll out to other Pixel phones. You don’t need to spend $800-$900 on a Pixel 4 to get these sweet new camera tricks.
Pixel 4 Features Coming to the Pixel 3
- The New Google Assistant
- Astrophotography Mode & Night Sight (Taking photos of stars)
- Live Captions
- Top Shot for Videos
- Recorder App & Live Transcribe
A Better & Faster Google Assistant
The Google Assistant just keeps getting better and better. Furthermore, we’re still waiting for some pretty awesome features coming later this year. As we saw back at Google I/O in March, the Assistant team managed to compress the 100GB cloud model and artificial intelligence behind the Google Assistant into a tiny file that fits on EVERY device.
What this means is everything happens on the device, even without an internet connection. This makes it better, faster, and available on your Pixel 3, a tablet, laptop, and more. Basically, the powerful new Google Assistant we’re seeing on the Pixel 4 will be available on older devices very soon. Google claims it’s actually up to 10x faster than before.
Astrophotography Mode & Night Sight (Taking photos of stars)
Google’s new astrophotography mode on the Pixel 4 is stunning, just look at these photos. Which, by the way, is an addition to the Night Sight camera controls introduced with the Pixel 3. What that means is the Pixel 3 will get the same powerful astrophotography controls very soon.
Google confirmed this on Twitter, too, so just be patient and know that in the near future you’ll be able to capture amazing photos of the stars, big dipper, and even the milky way using your Pixel 3 — without a tripod. Amazing, right? Better yet, you’ll be able to do this with the affordable Pixel 3a.
Perhaps one of the best new features of the Pixel 4 is Live Captions. Google added the ability to take any audio, from any video, and instantly add captions to it. Basically adding your own CC (closed captions) button to anything you want to watch on your phone.
This might sound like no big deal at first, but imagine all the times you’re at work, on public transit, or waiting at the barbershop watching a video but have it turned down or with no sound. Now, you’ll be able to know exactly what’s going on thanks to Live Caption. It’s pretty remarkable, really, and yes, it’ll be available on the Pixel 3.
You can easily toggle captions on or off, and even drag them around the screen to keep it out of your way. Better yet, it works without an internet connection, which is crazy. Android Police says we can expect this to hit older devices in December of 2019.
Top Shot for Videos
Top Shot on the Pixel 3 is an AI feature that uses artificial intelligence to save a better photo than the one you snapped at any given moment. It basically takes a burst of images when you hit the shutter, and looks for mistakes like hair in your face, closed eyes, or blurry subjects. If any moment before or after you clicked was better, it’ll choose and save that for you — automatically. It’s just one of many things that makes the Pixel phone smarter than most.
And, surprisingly, Google’s working on this same technology for videos, or what they’re calling “short videos”. When taking a photo, if you tap and hold the shutter button, it will also save a mini video. You can get the best shot of that video, or great photos, all automatically. This isn’t available on the Pixel 4 yet, but when it arrives, it’ll come to the Pixel 3 at the same time.
Recorder App & Live Transcribe
Google’s all-new Recorder app looks like a powerful tool for students, journalists, business users, or anyone really. It’s a recording app that can also transcribe everything it hears, in real-time, without an internet connection. Furthermore, you can search for specific words, sounds (like music or clapping) and it’ll find those for you.
So, you could record a 2-hour lecture in class and find specific areas or subjects in a matter of seconds. It looks pretty neat, and we’re fairly confident it’ll be available soon for the Pixel 3. While Google’s videos all say “only on Pixel 4” we’ve already installed the app on our Pixel 3 and it works great.
Furthermore, Google recently confirmed that the Recorder app will roll out to older Pixel devices in a future software update. That comment doesn’t specifically say the Pixel 3 either, which leads many to believe all Pixel devices will get the new Recorder and live-transcribing features.
A Few More Details
That’s all we know about so far, but we have a feeling more are on the way. Google didn’t share a list of every feature older Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a devices will get, or when they’re coming. So while we’ve detailed some here, we could see even more arrive in the near future. Like that neat new Dual Exposure control in the camera, or car crash detection emergency controls.
That said, don’t expect things like Motion Sense, as that’s using an actual radar chip inside the phone that older models simply don’t have. Either way, while Pixel 4 is a great phone a lot of people will love, if you have the Pixel 3 you might not need to upgrade. And those with an older Pixel 2 might be just as happy spending less on a Pixel 3a XL instead of the Pixel 4 XL.
In closing, Pixel 4 is available now so get yours by clicking here.
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