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Here are some initial thoughts:
The devices look very similar to last year's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, though the Pixel 3 XL has a notch, sort of like the iPhone XS. The design is vastly improved, though. While the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL felt cheap, the new models have a more premium quality thanks to the glass back panels. I also like how the white and pink versions have a different accent color for the power button, which is unique to Pixel phones.
It's hard to judge a camera in just a few minutes with a phone, but I can already tell this one is good. It shoots pictures quickly, colors look accurate and I like the nice wide-angle lens on the front-facing camera for getting more people into a frame. It's not something I need, but I can see how teens might like this with a group of friends.
The screens look really good, and the notch doesn't bother me on the larger model. Last year's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL adopted new OLED panels for the first time, but they looked way too washed out until Google launched a software update. That's not a problem this year, and colors look just as bright as they do on my iPhone XS Max or Galaxy Note 9, at least at first glance.
CNBC will spend more time with the Pixel 3 before providing a full review. Things like battery life, software performance and more can really only be judged over a longer period of time. But these phones already look more promising than last year's. They're available for order now for $799 and launch Oct. 18.