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The Google Pixel review: Notes from a smaller phone

It's been a fun few days, what with unboxing the Pixel and trying to get to know it as quickly as possible.

And in that time, I've realized a few important things about the device, from its feel in the hand (great!) to the Assistant (WIP!) and everything in between. Andrew and Alex have each put their thoughts down on paper already, but since I'm the only one of the three to spend any length of the time with the smaller Pixel so far, it's a good opportunity to give my less formal take on this new phone.

More: Google Pixel specs

Hold me

This is the right size for me

The Pixel is not a big phone. Seriously, get over those chins, because in person — at least on the smaller version — they just aren't distracting. In fact, the bezel below the screen is perfectly sized for holding the phone in landscape and manipulating the screen — especially the camera— with your thumb.

Using the Pixel is like taking a masterclass in regression: trying to use a 5-inch phone after spending years manipulating ones up to 20% larger forces you to relearn the basics in some ways. With the Pixel, I end up using it in one hand for almost everything except typing, and effortlessly reaching up to the notification shade with my thumb is a pleasure.

Seriously, get over those chins, because in person they just aren't distracting.

To be fair, this isn't the first "small" phone I've used in 2016: I've spent plenty of time with the Honor 8 (5.2 inches, but almost the same physical footprint), the Sony Xperia X Performance (5 inches, slightly smaller footprint), and even the iPhone 7 (4.7 inches, notably smaller footprint). But it's the one that, in its smaller size, convinced me almost immediately that there are no real compromises with the product.

I'll talk about it in the next section, but it's more important that a phone feels right than looks good, and the Pixel was designed to be held. Its rounded bevel meets the contour of your hand perfectly, and the smaller Pixel's narrowness means it's easy to grip comfortable and securely.

Don't stare

If looks could kill

An inordinate number of people find themselves comparing the Pixel to the iPhone — mainly the 6s, but also the 7 — of which the phone looks nothing alike. Sure, there are generalities some could point to — exposed antenna lines, aluminum chassis, chamfers — but the two phones are in a world where devices need to look a certain way to perform their function.

Anyone calling the iPhone 7 ugly and boring hasn't used an iPhone 7. Anyone who says the same of the Pixel hasn't used a Pixel.

People accusing the Pixel of looking like the iPhone 7 are, in the next breath, defending the iPhone 7's familiar design against calls for drastic change for change sake. When my colleague Rene Ritchie talks about grading the Pixel on a curve, he means that people are willing to look past the phone's purported similarities to the iPhone — or its inherent ugliness, which is it? — because Google is finally, finally making its own phones. He writes:

I even get the reception we're seeing. After years in the Google desert, we're finally being thrown a cracker, and so we're so hungry for it, we're telling ourselves it tastes like a Ritz. Meanwhile, we're taking Apple's year-over-year crackers for granted, and looking at them like they're just regular old saltines. The human brain is a real jerk that way. It only takes perspective when you force it to.

The problem with that argument, in my mind, is that you're inserting Apple into the wrong end of the argument: Anyone calling the iPhone 7 ugly and boring hasn't used an iPhone 7. Anyone who says the same of the Pixel hasn't used a Pixel.

The Pixel isn't beautiful; it's modern and utilitarian, as if it were designed to get stuff done. Which is exactly what I want.

But the Pixel isn't beautiful; it doesn't have the sleek curves of the Note 7 or the flashiness reflectiveness of the Honor 8. My "Very Silver" Pixel is modern and utilitarian, as if it were designed to get stuff done. That suits me, because as much as I enjoy affectionately staring and purring at my devices, I prefer to actually, you know, use them. And for that purpose, the Pixel performs its job admirably. While I'm not a huge fan of the distracting white front of the Very Silver model — I wish there was an option for a black front with the same white-on-silver rear, but that will never happen — I like the dual-toned nature of the phone's back, and think it plays well into Google's design ethic.

Speed demon

The Pixel is the fastest phone I've ever used

The iPhone is fast. The Galaxy S7 is fast. But the Pixel is uproariously quick. Using off the shelf components, with few, if any, customizations, Google has pulled off the greatest platform coup yet: making Android instant. The progress started way back when Android 4.1 was released, with Project Butter, and has progressed rapidly since then, but the Pixel is the something else.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Android head Hiroshi Lockheimer said that the Google hardware team behind the Pixel gets access to the same underlying Android code as Samsung or LG, and is free to "build on top of it" like those OEMs. The difference, though, is that despite the firewall within Google, there is a clear parallel intention: to simplify and optimize Android as much as possible. Like Motorola, the progenitor of the company's current hardware strategy when it was inside Google (run by the same guy, Rick Osterloh), Big G has no reason to undermine its approach to software development.

Though the Pixel's version of Android 7.1 may have a few visual and function tweaks, Google's approach to building software for it has not fundamentally changed from its years of building Nexus. The main difference is that the hardware team, in choosing the right camera sensor or GPS chip, could walk over to the people optimizing Android's software and tell them explicitly to focus on making this happen, or that work better. It's a strategy that Apple has been improving for years, and Google's next step — if it wants to take the Pixel seriously — will be to customize its hardware components to a fine tip.

Samsung is already most of the way there, building its own screens, processors, RAM, and many other parts of the animal, but its fundamental inability to control Android is what keeps its software mired in occasional slowdown. Admittedly, Samsung has improved dramatically in this regard in 2016, but it's not all the way there yet. Google, with the Pixel, not only got there, but lapped Samsung — twice — and isn't even out of breath.


Battery life is a concern

I'm a week or so into this phone, so I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but the 2,770mAh battery in the smaller Pixel is definitely a concern for all-day usage.

I get the impression that the combination of Android 7.1 and very efficient Snapdragon 821 chip does perform some measure of magic.

I've managed to eke a full day several times — 7 a.m. off the charger to midnight — but more than once I felt the need to top up for half an hour during lunch, or risk seeing the scary red exclamation around dinner. That's par for the course on any phone of this size these days, but I was kind of hoping for Google to, with its aforementioned control of the hardware and software, pull a magical battery rabbit from its hat and optimize the hell out of this thing.

I do get the impression that the combination of Android 7.1 and a very efficient Snapdragon 821 chip does perform some measure of magic, and that with the same software running on, say, a Snapdragon 810 and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow the phone would shave a couple of hours off its uptime, but that's conjecture. What I do know is that in switching to a 5-inch phone with a comparatively small battery, I'm opening myself up to the kind of charging anxiety I used to feel on a regular basis, and haven't since moving to a combination of Galaxy S7 edge, OnePlus 3, or iPhone 7 Plus. (I felt a very different type of battery anxiety with the Note 7, but I digress.)

Sweet as Nougat

The software improvements are substantial

Even without the Google Assistant, the assiduously considered software improvements on the Pixel make it, in my opinion, the most mature and interesting implementation of Android yet. From the Pixel Launcher, which right now looks like it will stay a Google hardware exclusive indefinitely, to the resurgent Live Wallpapers that take advantage of the Pixel's ample graphical abilities, everyone can find something to like here.

I am less critical of the Pixel's rounded icons, and the inconsistency derived from the early state of Google's admittedly haphazard promulgation of that strategy — a round icon API is only available on the Android 7.1 Developer Preview right now — than my peers. Some icons do look better than others, but that's been true of Google's own apps, rounded or not, for years. The company can't seem to settle on an aesthetic for its many brands, and though I am no fan of indecision, I find them neither distracting, nor the heavy criticism against them justified.

I can find more things to criticize about Google Assistant, which is definitely disappointing in its current state, not because it is "dumb," as some others have said, but because it overemphasizes voice interaction when it should operate, like it does in Allo, as a bot. Even the flawed Now on Tap, which Google deprecated on the Pixel in favor of Assistant, offered a search bar if the contextual offerings weren't sufficient. By forcing users to head to the Feed (nee Google Now) for a search bar, Google is adding an unnecessary step to the proceedings.

Most of the frustration with Assistant comes from the fact that we know where it is going, and we don't want to wait the two or so years until it gets there.

Assistant as a product is fine right now. I've yet to be wowed, and I've yet to yell out in frustration. As Alex said in his review, it's a 1.0 product that fakes its way to a 1.5 every once in a while. Most of the frustration comes from the fact that we know where it is going, and we don't want to wait the two or so years until it gets there.

Let's also talk about notifications. I know there's nothing especially new about them on the Pixel, but this is my first time spending a large chunk of time with a phone running Nougat, and I have to commend Google for improving and standardizing a system that was already way beyond iOS and Windows 10 Mobile. Kudos.

Imperfect formula

There are still problems

The Pixel isn't perfect. I am that guy who leaves his phone on the table at lunch, or next to him while working. I want to be able to quickly check it and get back to what I was doing. (Don't tell me that's what a smartwatch is for :P)

Having the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, combined with an ambient mode that isn't nearly as useful as Motorola's Moto Display, makes it hard to quickly check my notifications and get back to it. You also can't double-tap to turn on the screen, which I feel is a wasted opportunity to alleviate the awkward motion of picking up the phone and holding one of your index fingers to the sensor just to turn it on.

A lack of waterproofing is a regression after spending most of my year with a Galaxy S7 edge.

There are a couple other nits to pick, too: A lack of waterproofing is a regression after spending most of my year with a Galaxy S7 edge, though I'm still aware that neither LG's nor Motorola's flagships are IP67-certified, either. The speaker, while loud, lacks HTC's manufacturing legacy high-quality stereo components, and the AMOLED screen, while vivid and sharp, doesn't get nearly as bright as the Galaxy S7 or iPhone 7.

None of these issues nags at me, but they're present, and will continue to be justifications for people to rail against the Pixel's high asking price in relation to its forebears, the Nexus line.

Better than you hoped for

This camera...

I don't know what else to say besides, Holy Shit. This camera is amazing. I'm not saying it's the best camera out there, because I haven't tested it enough against our current champ, the Galaxy S7, to make a determination.

And yes, the Pixel sometimes screws up white balance and makes everything — especially indoor scenes — far too yellow. But that doesn't happen often enough, or severely enough, to distract from the incredible photos, in almost any condition, this phone takes.

But the Pixel, even without OIS, manages to frame the beauty of a world that's not always easy to capture.

Here's my typical test for a phone camera: my friends sitting around a dinner table, doing their thing, a candid moment with a bit of movement and little preparation. If the shot comes out usable, without too much grain, properly exposed and in focus, the camera has my utmost trust for almost every other scene. And the Pixel not only passed the test, but it generated shots that I'd actually want to share with said friends.

Every phone takes great photos of the Statue of Liberty or Chicago's Bean. Every camera focuses quickly on someone's steady hand holding up a beautiful craft hamburger on a sunny patio. But the Pixel, even without OIS, manages to frame the beauty of a world that's not always easy to capture.

Buy it

...Is worth the price

The question posed to me most often about the Pixel, and the criticism I see most often levelled against it, is its cost. How dare Google price this ugly, boring phone at the same level as the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7?

But if you were following along with the themes I presented above, I feel I more than adequately explained the reasons for the Pixel's $649 starting price. This is a well-made phone that performs its function as a mobile computer better than any Android phone currently available, and potentially better than any phone, period. Some of that is thanks to its portability, which despite the slight battery shortcomings is, to me, a huge boost to one-hand friendliness and therefore productivity, but much of it is due to a no-BS design that just makes it easier to use the phone.

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

  • What's your average screen on time if you had to guess? My 5X gets me through the day fine and I average around 3 hours screen time. If this smaller pixel can do that I will be happy.
  • Yeah, three to four hours per day usually.
  • Really Hoping that I can get at least 3 hrs screen on time out of this but coming from a Nexus 4 anything will probably be an improvement.
  • Nexus 4 has poor battery life or something?
  • They all did back then and the N4 was one of them. It wasn't horrible but compared to today's phones it wasn't great.
  • About a quarter of the way through reading the article, I could only picture Bader staring and purring at his phone while he wrote this review.
  • Purring? More like barking!
  • "This is a well-made phone that performs its function as a mobile computer better than any Android phone currently available, and potentially better than any phone, period. Some of that is thanks to its portability, which despite the slight battery shortcomings is, to me, a huge boost to one-hand friendliness and therefore productivity, but much of it is due to a no-BS design that just makes it easier to use the phone." This exact same excerpt could be applied to the Nexus 5 upon its release, and it was $350.
  • You mean that phone with the middle of the road camera, bad battery life and lackluster LCD screen? Let's not kid ourselves: The Nexus 5 was great... for its price.
  • Yes, that was an excellent for its price, phone. Which I loved. If I could afford this new pixel, I'd snatch it in a heartbeat cause these reviews really made light of the premium price for a premium phone. That's what Google needed to do and they did it!
  • The Nexus 5 wasnt just a good phone for the price, it was a good phone for its day. It still performs well today and has several features that Pixel doesn't such as wireless charging and Slimport for HDMI out.
  • I'm still using my N5 daily, the battery degraded severely over time but a swap was simple... I'm not sure if the Pixel will be as huge an upgrade as my previous jumps were (EVO -> EVO 3D = more cores & RAM & better multi tasking, 3D -> EVO LTE = much thinner, ICS, etc), despite the N5 being 3 years old. The N5 has held up hella well, far better than most IMO, but it is getting a bit long in the tooth in other regards tho (and now out of the update loop) and the Pixel seems more appealing than anything else despite the price, the lack of wireless charging, HDMI out, or Miracast. Now if Google could only fix my randomly cancelled Pixel order...
  • Nexus 5 is still my favorite phone.
  • and the best looking imo
  • A smaller phone does NOT mean smaller battery or worse battery life. My Z3 Compact (considerably smaller than the Pixel) still beats most of the 5.5" phones out there.
  • Not to mention the iPhone SE is supposedly one of the best out there with only 1624 mah... The Pixel SHOULD be quite a bit better than the Nexus 5X at the very least with what they've told us. It has a slightly smaller screen and is AMOLED (battery use can very depending on what you view on the device) and the processor is supposed to be more efficient.
  • Yes, the battery life of the SE is great! I get the same battery life with my Honor 8 (a day+ and with the Honor, at least 4 hours of screen on time).
  • My wife has an iPhone SE, and the battery life on that thing is astonishing. She charges it 1/3 to 1/2 as often as I charge my GS7.
  • Agree. The Z3 Compact is a battery champ, even though it carries a 2600 mAh battery.
  • I have chosen to get the Pixel 128 Gig in Black. I have been a faithful user of my Z3C for 2 years and have loved its battery and well.. total performance. Sony sucks at updates which is the main driver to a Pixel. Also, I trust that the other s/w integration that I'll get from being all in with Google will be a tipping point for me. I'll miss waterproofing (which I have had to use as I often live in fire proof coveralls in the energy sector). I am very concerned about battery life as my Z3C has never let me down sometimes taking me in Day 3 with real use. Time will tell. Wish google could have kept up with that old Z3C in battery life. Prove me wrong. ETA for my Pixel Oct 26... Hurry up Canada Post.
  • Yeah.. updates. I wouldn't get my hopes up. Google has a history of dropping updates, as not all SOC's support newer OS's, same as with all other manufacturers. So it doesn't all depend on Google alone. They simply can't do what Apple does. This is the main reason I regularly contemplate switching to iOS :) I haven't had the courage yet, but if I ever want to spend 650 on a phone, it'll definitely not be a Google phone, if you know what I mean :)
  • Lifeproof is coming out with a case for it, if I decide to get this phone, it will be living in a lifeproof case to bring the ip rating up to where it should be to begin with, plus add ruggedness.
  • Yep, never have any battery issues with the Compact. Sent from my Sony Xperia X Compact
  • Subjective and anecdotal battery life comments are also so pointless... And I'm not talking about your comment regarding the Z3c, my sister had a Compact and I've seen first hand it's endurance plus other sites have tested it, it's a known quantity. I'm just disappointed that AndroidCentral still doesn't have a repeatable battery life test despite the excellent writing. I get that getting mired in that kinda geeky thing isn't their thing and their reviews don't feature benches etc, but battery life isn't an ethereal thing or subjective. Anandtech does the best battery life testing but they're slow and don't review every phone, and there's only like one or two other sites that even attempt to tackle the subject in a usefully empirical way.
  • Yeah, I know what you mean. It's absurd really, that people don't wanna test battery endurance on MOBILE phones. I mean, it's almost like mobile phones being MOBILE is just a side effect :)
  • Very glad to see this review. This is actually the pixel I am considering. I'm thinking about taking a break from large phones after 4 or 5 years and checking out some true one handed ease of use. The battery section has me a bit concerned. I guess that sort of goes with the territory in this size range. Thanks again. If only they had made the battery 3000 mAH.
  • I agree, same here. Every one reviewed the huge one and said that the battery life is good but that doesn't say enough about the battery life of the smaller one.
  • Also, notice how this review was being scammy by talking about a mediocre battery life but showing a screenshot of 16 hours of battery life without showing the screen-on time. Not to mention, a lot of the reviewers are probably using minimum apps. Give this thing 30-40 apps, a month of usage and then we'll know where the battery truly stands.
  • You got that right, I just went and looked at the phone at my local Verizon store, and I do love the size of it and the feel in hand. I'm going to give it about a month(or a couple of weeks,more likely) like you said and see how it seems to be going. I especially want to see battery life ratings from GSM Arena and their breakdown. Phonearena is useless trash for that sort thing.
  • But if they waited a month you'd be complaining about how long it took to get the review. Maybe if we're good they'll revisit it in a month. Personally when i get a new phone I use it a heck of a lot more just messing with settings and playing with things that I don't do on a day to day basis normally. My first week with a new phone battery life sucks big time because of that.
  • I received the standard Pixel by mistake (XL on order) and for me, it is too small as my eyes are struggling to adjust. But it may be perfect some some. And I have to say, I no longer feel I need to charge mid-day as I did with my Note 5 and 7 phones.
  • One handed usage is a big deal for me, even 5-5.2" is kinda pushing it IMO (and I'm not tiny, 5'11" w/long fingers)... The fingerprint swipe shortcut on the Pixel for notifications will help since that's often my most awkward reach (and yea I know other launchers have their own shortcuts for that).
  • Three days into using the Pixel (after several years with large phones), the Pixel feels wonderful in the hand and one-handed usage is possible for most things. The fingerprint swipe down for notifications is major boon for usability, since the normal swipe down is one of the most awkward gestures when using one hand.
  • Hahahaha.... I reread it and laughed my butt off at what is the quote of the week: "I don't know what wise to say besides, Holy ****." My initial thought: stop the review, drop the mic, get the phone and take pictures ASAP. Great post, sir!
  • I think I can get through a night at work just fine. Will be sitting in a drawer anyway. I appreciate the heads up on battery life. Waiting on my Blue Pixel to arrive next week.
  • Man that Renee article was painful. I have never seen someone so obsessed with beating down the competition, it makes no sense to me. I don't know if it is insecurity or just for page views but man he has a serious obsession with writing articles about why iPhone is hero and Android is zero. This is a good review, I think y'alls time with the iPhone has given y'all a very balanced and interesting perspective on the Android space. Keep up the great work!
  • That's René. Painfully obvious bias and an awkward, labored writing style. Not sure why anyone on AC bothers with him anymore
  • They have no choice, they are colleagues.
  • Nice initial review.  Everyone wanted flagship specs in a small package.  Here it is folks!
  • Well, smaller, not really small... It's the same size as a GS7 and the HTC 10 is just slightly thicker/heavier, and those get away with slightly bigger screens thanks to smaller bezels and capacitive buttons (and I actually prefer on screen buttons btw). Point is the form factor doesn't break any new ground, same size as a Nexus 5 too and the 5x was just slightly taller (that phone had even bigger bezels and I don't remember as much complaining, shoot the 5 did too and they were asymmetrical).
  • this is satire surely...
  • oh no someone likes something i don't clearly that is impossible because my opinion dictates reality
  • Must have sounded clearer in your head.
  • "The Pixel isn't beautiful; it's modern and utilitarian, as if it were designed to get stuff done. Which is exactly what I want." Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Those that are so obsessed with what a phone LOOKS like that they feel a need to continually comment on it, drive me a bit batty. I am a believer in the form of something taking a backseat to the function. There is nobody that I feel the need to impress because I have a prettier phone. "Does it feel good in the hand and make using it easier?" is the question that I ask myself. In prioritizing what I want, "looks" is far down my list.
  • Here here! I'm so sick of my big @ss G4 I've already ordered the Pixel. I was a lil worried because every review was for the XL. But I'm good with my purchase. Says it'll be here right in time for Thanksgiving. (not sure why it's taking so long tho..)
  • Daniel, I believe it's fair to note that the Galaxy S7, arguably the best Android smartphone right now, has the same size as the Pixel.
  • For the price I think the S7 pips the Pixel to best "small" Android phone. The software experience will likely be better on Google's offering and USB C is a bonus, but I'd still rather have waterproofing and wireless charging than a beta release of an AI assistant and a chin bigger than Bruce Campbell.
  • Not to mention the larger battery and better camera. 
  • But the Pixel has the highest scoring camera of any smartphone.
  • Used to have the best camera
  • Yess, thank you so much for this Daniel! The battery life is my only concern but you have me very curious to try this phone next year. I really like this, because I'm tired of the big phones deal. The Honor 8 is the biggest I would go, but I wish it was smaller a good amount of the time. Great review.
  • Battery life on the regular pixel seems to be a big shortcoming esp if that is all you are getting fresh out the box.
  • It's a valid concern, particularly over time, my N5 needed a battery swap to make it to year 3... If my Pixel proves useful for the same amount of time it might meet an untimely fate at the end of the extended warranty ($180 battery swap?). I wonder if they'll provide some sort of battery swap service, doesn't Apple?
  • They do, you just pay $79 to get a new battery.
  • I'm considering the smaller Pixel as well. Concerned about your battery life impressions though.
  • You mention being at lunch with the pixel sitting face up. When it's sitting on a table and you need to take a quick look at the screen for a message can't you unlock it just flicking up the lock screen and punch in a quick 4 digit code or do you always have to use the FPS on the backside? It would be nice to not have to pick it up all the time. My HTC 10 allows this, hard to believe the pixel doesn't. Or would most feel it is easier to just pick it up and do the FPS all the time. I find the FPS annoying quite often.
  • That part of the article made me lol. So many people complain about fps on the front but don't even consider the functionality of it all. I'm still trying to figure out how a fps placed on the rear has any functional advantage over being placed on the front. But either way, trusted devices are your best friends
  • Don't forget about the LG G5! Excellent phone with one of the best cameras available on any phone! You can't sleep on it at all!
  • I like the phone and may end up purchasing it, but I am still going to wait for a drop in price.
  • Google killing it... Nice to see competition between the two best companies Google and Apple. Move over Samsung.
  • I find these kinds of reviews interesting. Does that mean that we should all recycle our current phones, rush out, and drop $700? No thanks, when it comes to Android, my Blackberry PRIV running Android 6.0.1 is just fine. At my age, 75, I will be able to pass it on in my will. I am always amazed how reviewers always fail to even mention Blackberry now that it has its feet in both pools: Android and BBOS10.
  • It's mentioned when it's relevant.
  • Daniel, I don't know if you guys have a way to measure it or not, but it certainly would help to know how bright in nits the smaller Pixel's screen gets. Phone Arena measured the XL and it's a poor 433..I'm hoping the smaller has a brighter panel. Any way you can confirm?
  • My 6P currently averages around 8 hours per charge with about 1 hour of screen on time so yeah this wouldn't have me concerned all it would be practically doubling my current situation.
  • You need to investigate your configuration - I'm currently at 17.5 hours off charger; 3.5 hours SOT; 50% remaining; 77 apps installed. This is pretty normal for day-to-day usage for me. Currently running the 7.1.1 Developer Preview but 7.0 was about the same. You should try something like GSam Battery Monitor Pro (there's also a free version) to see if you can find out what's keeping your device awake.
  • Yeah something is off some rogues apps depleting your battery...
  • 1 hour screen on time. LOL. That ain't right.
  • The best small Android smartphone is the LG V34.
  • It does look great and LG is being stupid as usual.
  • Could any reviewer please comment on the speed/accuracy of the fingerprint sensor?? Namely compared to the one plus 3.
  • Nicely written. Went to a Verizon store to look at one and YouTube opened and play almost instantly. :-O
  • I opened some sites that are ad ridden pieces of garbage, if you don't use an ad blocker, like PhoneArena, pocket now, Android authority, etc., And I was impressed with the performance.
  • Relax people, if you don't want to buy the pixel you don't have to criticize stupidly.
  • Just Samsung guy threatened for some reason. People take this way to seriously.
  • I missed something, what are you guys talking about?
  • I don't think we even know.
  • Lol.
  • Tsk, intelligent criticism is sorely lost on the general public.
  • You're right - I can't find intelligent criticism anywhere :-)
  • I have the S5 , this is tempting as an upgrade - you out gain what you lose from the prior features .I will miss the FM radio, IR blaster, removable battery and wireless charging . ie : who has to have sdcard if the phone is 128G? No other phone supports Daydream , except the Nexus 6P 'partially' . Will Sammy adapt or keep their device from being compliant ..time will tell . Will LG change in favor of a AMOLED screen ,, the V20 processor wise is on par but lacks the approved screen ...will they change ? Will get interesting .. SAMSUNG will not abandon their VR , LG is a mfg of the other than AMOLED screens .. Will HTC release a competing flagship or fight it out with others on Midrange (actually more crowded tier) - they haven't released anything to compel a major shift from Samsung in the last 2 years (my s5 is 2.5 yrs oid now) Kenny
  • They optimized it so well, that a phone w 2700 mAh, 1080p 5in screen, has to be plugged into a wall before day ends. Great accomplishment,Google. Bravo! So, wish that Lenovo releases Z Play Mini or something.
  • Just got mine today and was pleasantly surprised to see they added a new feature to their moto app suite to shrink the screen down to a more manageable size (compared to my 1st gen moto x it's about equal to a 4" screen, maybe a smidge less).. soooo just keep that mode on and there's your Z play mini Btw I been basically on this phone for about 3.5 hours straight downloading/installing/setting up all my apps and I'm still at 66%. Suck it, Google (because I couldn't care any less about such "phenomenal" camera performance but at least I got a 200gb sd card to fill up with all my ****** photos plus an $200 extra in my pocket --of course to waste on moto mods haaa)
  • Well that should count for something :)
    If I wasn't still on VZW I would get it for sure. This way it's hard , bc unlocked is not compatible w Verizon bands and I just can't go back to anything w their hands on OS.
    If it wasn't for my UDP would have looked elsewhere long ago. Only Att can match them w coverage quality and can't get unlimited data with them at this moment
  • I'd be all over a Z Play Mini... Going smaller would break compatibility with all their Mods tho wouldn't it?
  • I still don't understand the insistence on calling it a small phone. It is slightly bigger and thicker than the s7 and has worse battery life and a slightly smaller screen without even having off screen buttons. I don't see any particular reason to get this over the s7 unless you really don't like touchwiz or you really like google. The only proper usp seems to be the assistant, which is overrated and beta-ish.
  • I don't like Samsung's UI. Additionally, I prefer onscreen buttons.
  • ^ Sent from my Sony Xperia X Compact
  • Regardless? All those points still stand. It's outrageously bigger than it should be for its display size
  • I wouldn't say outrageously, but yeah, I feel they could've gone with slightly smaller bezels... But they probably couldn't, and they'll never do capacitive buttons again, so it is what it is. I'd actually like to have water resistance and wireless charging but i hate Samsung's software enough and care about updates enough that this proves to be the overriding factor. I prefer on screen buttons, and a slightly beefy bottom bezel makes them less of a reach... I think going for symmetrical bezels may have been spurred in part by the push for no camera bump.
  • People, don't believe the haters. This phone is a beast. I have had MANY Android phones. This thing is super polished, fast , responsive and just an all together great device. I believe this will be the phone I can finally hold onto until the next Google devices. Personal opinion obviously but we have a winner here.
  • The best small phone is the S7. Nothing you said in this review or any other review ive seen regarding this device says anything other than paid advertisement brought to you by google.
  • Stick with your S7 and be happy.
  • Oh please..
  • Everyone's entitled to their own opinion.
  • "Everyone's entitled to their own opinion"
    Quite true.
    Then again:
    A paid advertisement should be listed as such.
    Not as a review.
  • The S7 is certainly NOT a small phone, nor is the Pixel. They are both far too big. 4 inch screens are perfect for single-handed use. I have an Xperia Z3 Compact and, although I love it, even that's slightly bigger than I would prefer.
  • You mentioned the sound of the pixel but didn't expand on that statement. Were you talking about the on board speaker or the overall quality of the sound reproduction? How does the pixel sound with wired headphones or Bluetooth ones? Haven't heard anything about audio yet.
  • Great review Daniel! I bought the silver Pixel today. It's been great so far! I do wish the bottom speaker produced better sound though. Otherwise it's terrific.
  • The xl is brighter than the note 7 that I have.
  • Return your Note 7 :)
  • The note 7 screen would kill the pixel, its a great phone but it can't compete with Samsung Amoled, i wish i still had my note 7, return it mate, if you keep it and its melts down even in 5 years time you won't be able to claim insurance for that house it burnt down!
  • It may be a good phone but it's rather expensive. I'd rather wait for this one to iron out any faults and see user reviews after a year and maybe go in for the new model, in case Samsung disappoints.
    Looks like Android Central has a new cause to champion now. Reviewers seem to be head-over-heels in love with it or are they just building up sentiment?
  • I overall disagree with your review of the pixel android central. I watched Jon Rettinger's review over at technobuffalo and I think his review is more accurate. First off crazy pricing, ugly hardware design (yes that chin was pointless and just makes it look like an iPhone. But the pixel has no physical home button which is what occupies that space on the iPhone), no water resistance, no expandable storage, no wireless charging?? Seriously? I cannot justify buying this phone when there are far superior flagships at that price point. Unlimited photo backups is probably the only thing that's cool, but who knows how long that'll last. And it's not a big enough feature to sell this phone for me. Happily typing away on my blackberry priv physical keyboard btw.
  • You know what was crazy expensive even more when it came out? The Priv.
  • If it weren't for the lack of a round home button, I would say it looks exactly like an iPhone, with those thick bezels. It no doubt is a good phone, but dang it's ugly as hell...
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  • So battery is bad on pixel he
  • Not really "bad", per se, just not quite as good as Daniel thought it could be. It is, however, much better than the Galaxy S6 was with it's 2550 mAh battery, which needed the be charged two or three times a day (going on personal experience here).
  • Real interesting that what's considered quite big 3 years ago is now considered small. How much has changed in those years....
  • Yeah it's still large-ish for me, I'd go smaller still if there were any decent non-Apple flagships under 5"... Even Sony kinda gave up and made their X Compact more of a midrange model, bleh.
  • The Pixel is definitely ugly. The iPhone 7 is definitely good looking at least in black. I don't need the phone in my hand to understand something I can obviously see. You saying otherwise is insulting.
  • I don't think the Pixel is ugly (IMHO), but I think the back will take some getting used to. I agree with you completely that the iPhone 7 looks good in black, and I think it looks better than the Pixel (also IMHO). There are times that a phone looks better in person than it does in photos, like the Nexus 6P. I know *I* don't look good in photos, lol, but in person I still get girls half my age asking for my number ;)
  • About notifications, i don't see how android is better than ios. You jave the same features on both, some like interactive notification even came first on ios i think
  • The Android notifications have more options. On iOS, the notification says "Slide to open", and there is no other choice (I have three iPhones). On Android, tapping the notification opens the notification in it's respective app (same as Slide to open in iOS). But, you also have the choice of pulling down on the notification to show more information, or dismissing the notification altogether. The other factor is when a notification comes up if the phone is set to silent or I step out of the room. I won't know my iPhone has a waiting notification until I pick it up and turn on the screen. My Android has a blinking notification light.
  • Well other than the notification light, it seems to be equal features wise, just two different methods to get the same thing
  • This blinking light is one of the huge reasons my wife is asking to go back to Android. She leaves her phone on the desk and always has to "wake" it to find out whats going on. Not sure why the iPhone refused to put such a simple item on theirs. *shrug*
  • She cab use the flash as the blinking light (granted it's not as useful for people who love that light)
  • The battery comments make me wonder what went wrong. Obviously no magic going on here, as the HTC M8 had a 2600 mAh battery, and did better with an 801 SOC. I'm only referencing the M8 because it's the one I've done the most extensive testing on, and still use as a daily driver more than my S7 Edge and iPhone 6S Plus. This device is over two years old, and is used hard with 116 apps loaded right now. My SOT as calculated by GSam Battery Monitor is 3 hours 58 minutes AVERAGE over the last half year, with a max SOT of 6 hours and 8 minutes. I frequently leave work with the phone still at 70%. Maximum documented runtime with powersave on and the phone being used?: 5 days on 1 charge. Not a critique of the Pixel, and I know it has a higher resolution screen, but I'm wondering if perhaps the Pixel battery life would be a touch better if Google had let HTC optimize battery life.
  • I hope to see people using GSam get a thread going in the Pixel forum with results. It does help people figure out real time usage. On my 10 I was worried about getting a full day...but I get WAY better than that for how I (me, myself and I) use the phone. I also think that if Google watches; since they are responsible for delivery they can make tweaks a lot easier and deploy them a lot easier which is a huge draw for me (I develop software for a living).
  • After kill Nexus devices Google is now made its own device and this is a good news and i am a big fan of nexus devices, Google pixel devices is too good as compare to Nexus latest phones, i want to buy this phone but unfortunately Google pixel is not available in Pakistan and i want to buy it right now, just 2 websites of Pakistan have these phones listed but they can't sell it right now. Can anyone tell me where i can buy this device ASAP ??
  • Since I am a fan of keeping everything in one cohesive form…..I like the fact that goole is moving in the direction they are. Pixel phone, pixel tablet and pixel computer! Hopfully they flow all three together and make an APPLE like user experience in that everything works together as one unit. I am down for a pixel phone, pixel C and pixel 2 notebook if they gel al three together a little more.! great work google on the first step!
  • I don 't understand why people want to buy an iphone clone, if you want a phone that looks like an iphone why not just get the iphone? Especially since they are priced the same.
  • Some people want android. I, myself use both. I love the new pixel. For the fact that they (google) are starting to do what apple is doing which is optimizing android for THEIR device. More so than the others like samsung, LG and so on. They have control over many more aspects of hardware/software optimization now. Its not the fact that it's and iPhone clone on the outside, its the fact it's an iPhone clone in implementation. If it looked like a galaxy, it would still be the only android phone I would get. Optimization is key!
  • Can someone please tell me how to put my Pixel on vibrate only. The software is not set up like a normal phone to achieve this.
  • Volume down, then touch the "bell" icon. Stock Android not having this quick toggle is dumb
  • Hey thanks, you are so right
  • Too small for me, I'm used to my Huawei Mate 8
  • SOS Anyone able to tell me if they encountered issue with going Live on FB with their Pixel? Google Support Couldn't help me.. I'm hoping a fellow Pixel User might help?