Meet the New Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL

Meet the New Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL

After months and weeks of leaking little by little, the newest phones from Google have arrived. This time, there is a special emphasis on the “Made by Google” part, much more than what we have been used to with the Nexus lineup. The Pixel lineup is Google taking the reins back in its own hands, as the devices no longer remain content with just being developer reference devices. These are the phones that are made with the end consumer in mind rather than enthusiasts, with a view to pull a consumer deeper into the Google ecosystem with a slew of exclusive (as of now) features.

Starting off with the design of the phones, the Google Pixel comes bearing a 5″ FHD AMOLED display, while the Google Pixel XL bumps the spec up to 5.5″ QHD AMOLED. Outside of the difference in the sizes, the devices are near identical when it comes to design. The front of the devices looks simple and plain, and also has sizable bezels on the top and bottom despite not having a front fingerprint sensor or front facing stereo speakers. The back of the phone shows off the flat, metallic chassis of the device, but also a glass window on the top half. The window adds a bit of contrast, color and means of differentiationm ultimately giving it a rather interesting look. The bottom of the back also sports a “G” logo, indicating its “Made by Google” origins. There is no HTC branding visible on the device.

On the inside, both the Pixel and the Pixel XL sport the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, coupled with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. Storage options on the device consists of either 32GB or a healthy 128GB. There is no microSD expandability on the device, but we expected as much out of a Google device. The smaller Pixel sports a 2770 mAh battery, while the larger Pixel XL sports a 3450 mAh battery. The devices come with a USB Type-C connector, and have Quick Charge 3.0 support.

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The camera setup on the device consists of a 12MP rear camera with f/2.0 and PDAF, capable of video recording 4K at 30fps. The front is a 8MP shooter with f/2.0. There were no mentions of OIS specifically for either spec, so we assume it to be absent (Google did say they tie the gyro into the camera to stabilize video, though). Google dd mention that DXOMark rated the Pixel at 89, which is the highest they have rated any smartphone that they have tested. The complete camera package just on specs is not the most exciting when compared to the current competition, so we are curious to see what Google has done behind the scenes to make the setup competitive.

The most important part of the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL is the software. The devices launch with a new version of Android, Android 7.1 Nougat. Google has made a few changes to stock Android for these devices, making Google the centerpiece of attraction. The launcher on the device, aka the Pixel Launcher, replaces the Google search bar on the homescreen with a Google Search button, much inline with their current branding choices. The Pixel is the carrier for all things Google Assistant, so you have easy access to the Assistant at every step. Google is also offering free unlimited Photos storage for full resolution videos and images on the Pixel. And then, there’s also 24×7 Customer Support present within the phone. Finally, there’s automatic and seamless updates, where the update is downloaded and installed in a new partition and the phone then just switches over.

The Pixel devices come in Very Silver, Quite Black and (limited edition, for US only) Really Blue colors (much wow). The Google Pixel starts at $649, and is available for preorder from today in the US, UK, Canada and Germany. Pre-orders begin in India from 13th October. For the US, you can also get the Pixel from Verizon, but in case you want your bootloader to be unlockable, you can buy it off the Google Store unlocked as well.

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Phone Storage US Price Before Tax
Google Pixel 32GB $650
128GB $750
Google Pixel XL 32GB $770
128GB $870

These prices mentioned are before taxes, so you can expect it to go up on your final bill.

The Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL, on the hardware front, do not hold any edge over the competition. This is an approach to smartphones seemingly without stand-out gimmicks nor clear selling points beyond the Google branding: the camera setup is not the best, there is no modularity at play, nor is there any waterproofing either. Google is banking hard on the Google experience (and marketing) to sell the device. It remains to be seen if the average consumer finds this experience worth spending money on, but we certainly can’t wait to take it out for a spin!

What are your thoughts on the Pixel and the Pixel XL? Let us know in the comments below!

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