The Pixel 3 - my first foray at ROMs with relockable bootloader (Graphene, Calyx, & Divest).
Summary : A small surprise (mostly with its small size) whose only notable gimmick (ROMs with lockable bootloaders) are probably not worth dealing with when its tradeoffs (no headphone jack & microSD; OLED display) suck.
The Pixel 3 is one tiny device, when compared to most of what I've held & used.
The Pixel 3 only comes with front-facing stereo speakers which sounded pretty decent, if somewhat boxy. However, as there's no headphone jack on the Pixel 3, good luck finding a dongle (the only dongles known to work with Pixel cellphones are the ones with an inbuilt DAC chip) for it if you either lost the one that came with it, or didn't get one (or find some USB-C headphone that works).
The 5.5' 18.9 OLED display is fine enough (turned-off blacks are good). Since it's an OLED, burn in will eventually happen. As it's a 18:9 display, games with colored letterboxing (Fate/GO is a notorious example for this, back when it displays 16:9 content only) is a burn-in incident waiting to happen if you're playing it.
The bootloader unlocking process is foolproof & simple : plug device to PC, enable OEM unlocking & USB debugging in stock OS' developer options, boot to fastboot & fastboot oem unlock in fastboot. No connecting to internet (if you have the adb/fastboot tools ready).
Disclaimer : I haven't opened up the Pixel 3 yet, so this section is based on the video linked below.
Repairability seems to be pretty similar to most normal glass-backed devices - beginning with the heating up & careful removal of the back glass.
iFixit's teardown | Wit Rigs' teardown | Hugh Jeffreys' Pixel 3 restoration video
When it comes to custom ROMs, there's PixelDust, Lineage, Calyx, Divest, & Graphene (with Calyx, Divest, & Graphene having fully relockable bootloader). However, with the debut of A13, Calyx finally supports the Pixel 3; Graphene drops support & DivestOS A12 doesn't boot on Pixel 3, making any prospects of a functional DivestOS on Pixel 3 questionable at best. Lineage & PixelDust remains untested as I no longer have access to the Pixel 3.
As for the custom kernels, there's Kirisakura, which was last updated in June 2022. However, I haven't tested them (and probably will never do at this point), so I can't say anything regarding its compatibility with locked bootloader.
For the recovery, official TWRP development seems restarted, with the last release being known to work with A11.
Let's start out with the bad ones:
Then, the less bad ones
And, finally, the actually good ones:
The Pixel 3 is pretty much a forgettable phone if not for its sole gimmick in having full support for ROMs with relockable bootloader such as Calyx, Graphene, & Divest; though only CalyxOS is the one that can be considered relevant (Graphene drops support & Divest just doesn't boot). Personally, I'm not recommending it. Relockable bootloaders are great, but I'm not sure about having it if I have to sacrifice the headphone jack & microSD slot.Back to top
Index - cellphone