Pixel and Pixel XL Review

Review Score


Overview

Google finally revealed its latest smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, at an event in San Francisco.

Picking up the place the Nexus handsets moved off, The Pixel XL and the Pixel are the first phones to be offered by Google.

They’re also the first phones to ship with Google’s latest operating system, Android 7.1 Nougat, and provide the “cleanest” Android experience you’re likely to get on a smartphone.

Google has dropped the name Nexus in favour of the Pixel moniker. In the past, the company has managed the Pixel name on its premium laptop and tablet products.

Design

Pixel and Pixel XL

The white Pixel has a stunning resemblance to the iPhone 6 still it has the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner popular with other Android handsets. Google has opted for industrial design, with an aerospace-grade aluminum body and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen. The Pixel comes with a 5-inch display, though the Pixel XL’s display is 5.5-inches. A thin bezel provides both phones a close to edge-to-edge display. Just like the Nexus 5X and 6P that came before it, the Pixel has a fingerprint sensor on the back, putting it in simple reach if you’re holding the phone in one hand. The fingerprint reader isn’t only used to unlock the phone however also to entry and scroll via notifications by swiping from top to bottom.

Display

Pixel and Pixel XL

The Pixel XL has a 5.5 inch a panel with a higher pixel count, and the Google Pixel comes with a 5-inch screen. Both use AMOLED technology. However, resolutions change between the two: QHD with 534ppi and 1080p with 441ppi. It was tough to make a full assessment under the hard fluorescent lights at the launch event. However, the displays on both appear to pack a punch, and readability was impressive from all angles. The smartphones are certified Daydream prepared so that they can be used with Google’s new Daydream View headsets.

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Other features

Pixel and Pixel XL

The Pixel phones include Google’s latest apps Allo and Duo pre-installed so you’ll be able to text and video call with all your colleague if they’re on Android or iOS. They also include quick charging technology, so you’ll be able to get up to 7 hours of battery life with simply 15 minutes of charging.

However, perhaps the best perk for Pixel owners is free limitless online storage, that means you can save all your images and video in their unique quality and full resolution in Google Images.

For anyone who struggles to preserve the contents of their smartphone due to the shortage of storage space, or continually finds themselves deleting images and movies to free up space, this could explain to be a killer feature.

Price

Pixel and Pixel XL

Buying direct from Google or Carphone Warehouse means you’ll be able to choose up the phones unlocked and SIM-free for the one-off price of£719 for the 5.5-inch Pixel XL and £599 for the 5-inch Pixel.

That puts them in the same type of territory as Apple’s iPhone models. It seems like EE is the only network in the UK and we’ll renew this as soon as we know for certain.

Release date

Pixel and Pixel XL

Google has mentioned that pre-orders for the phone will start (October 4) in the US, Australia, UK, Canada, and Germany. The phone will direct to customers and be available in workshops on October 20.

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Specifications

Pixel and Pixel XL

The Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch with a 4GB of RAM, 2,560 x 1,440 AMOLED display, quad-core Qualcomm processor, rear-facing fingerprint reader, USB Type-C port. It comes with a 12-megapixel rear camera and also has an 8-megapixel front-facing one. It’ll also have a beefy 3,450mAh battery and also has a 32GB of storage, with the option to improve to a 128GB if require.

The normal Pixel has similar specs. However, it’s clearly the lower-end of the two flagships. It’ll sport a 5-inch Full HD AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM, quad-core 2.0GHz 64-bit processor, the same cameras because of the XL and a smaller 2,770mAh battery. As expected, it’ll also include a rear-mounted fingerprint reader and a USB Type-C port.

Camera

Pixel and Pixel XL

The Pixel scored 89 in DxOMark, earning it the accolade of highest rated smartphone camera. The ultimately disappointing Ultrapixel-toting HTC 10 came in with a score of 88, so we don’t know how much emphasis we should place on such a result.

The rear-facing 12.3MP sensor is devoid of any camera bump and adds to the Pixel’s unremarkable design. The f/2.0 aperture isn’t as wide as, say, the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7, however, Google’s phone advantages from a bigger 1.55um pixel density, so it should excel in low light. The Digital Picture Stabilisation should help to prevent judder captures.

Additionally worthy of mention is the ability to gently twist/shake the phone to switch to the front-facing 8MP camera. It’s a good touch that saves having to look at the screen.

However, both use Google Cloud for an unlimited photograph and video storage (at full resolution, 4K video included), so even if the handset runs out of the room, you will still be able to snap away.

Battery

Pixel and Pixel XL

Battery capacity depends on the model. The Pixel has a 2,770mAh cell, whereas the Pixel XL will get 3,450mAh. Charging is achieved via USB Type-C, and Google promises seven hours of life in simply a 15-minute charge.

Software

Pixel and Pixel XL

We received the sense that, much like BlackBerry’s DTEK50, the Pixel is just the window dressing for Android 7.1 Nougat and its software tricks. The handset debuts a new Home screen, and the revamped environment includes modifications to the icons (everything is now circular) as well as a new look for the apps drawer. The Pixel is also the first phone with Google Assistant, which is activated by touching and holding the Home button or via the new Pixel Launcher.

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Conclusion

Pixel and Pixel XL

We can’t help however feel that the Pixel is a little bit of a wasted opportunity. The handset has a largely boring design and doesn’t provide much in the way of innovation.

It’s also very costly compared with previous Nexus phones, so it’s hard to tell who exactly Google is hoping to win over. We’re intrigued by the camera technology. However, Google is enjoying a dangerous game by not embracing microSD expansion in 2016. Certain, Apple gets away with it on account of being Apple. However, the Pixel isn’t tied down by its OS.

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Where To Buy


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