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Google Pixel XL review: A U.S. perspective

Though Google's "Pixel" brand has existed since 2013, generating two Chromebooks and a tablet in that time, Google's announcement of two phones under the Pixel umbrella was its real coming out party. So few have used a Pixel computer or tablet up to this point that the phones will be most people's first interaction with the brand. The Pixel name stands for Google's in-house developed hardware designed specifically to leverage its software and services to the fullest, and a phone offers a unique opportunity to take that formula to the fullest with the most personal of devices.

The new Pixel and Pixel XL are magnificently built, include high-end specs and put Google's latest software and features on display in meticulous fashion. Wearing no more than the Google "G" logo on the back, they're clearly a separate line from Nexuses of the past — and Google has much larger ambitions for the Pixel phones. They're high-end and for the mass market, particularly in the case of the $769 Pixel XL.

In the U.S., the significance of the Pixel and Pixel XL is magnified by Google's renewed confidence in being able to work with Verizon to launch them. After having what could be described as a checkered past working with the U.S. carriers, Google's at it again — doing things both bigger and better than before, with substantial ad spending from itself and Verizon.

But no matter how big Google goes with Verizon, there's the feeling that it's going to have to do even more to sell a considerable number of Pixels in the U.S. where a majority still rely on their carrier to sell them a phone. Unlocked availability and band compatibility with the other three major carriers will help some, as will the growing feature list and brand awareness of Project Fi, but does Google have enough happening here to sell tens of millions of Pixels in the U.S.? We're here to discuss just that, and tell you where to Pixel XL fits in the U.S. smartphone world.

About this review

I (Andrew Martonik) am writing this review after five days using a 32GB "quite black" Pixel XL, on both the Verizon and Project Fi networks in the greater Seattle, WA area. The phone arrived on software NAE63P and was not updated during the review period. The phone was provided to Android Central for review by Google.

Pretty moving pictures

Google Pixel XL Video review

To wrap everything up and give you a feel for how I feel about the Pixel XL, the best place to start is our full video review of the phone. See what I think about using it, how it looks and feels in a natural setting, and then read on for my entire written review!

Google Pixel XL

The best from Google

Google Pixel XL Hardware

When you're charging this much for a phone, you have to nail the hardware. We've all heard at this point that HTC is the manufacturer of the new Pixels, but don't let that take anything away from Google's hardware team that designed and implemented everything. The 5.5-inch Pixel XL is absolutely gorgeous, and has the precision build quality to match the looks. And if you've seen any metal phone made by HTC in the past few years you shouldn't be surprised.

More: Google Pixel XL specs

Yes there are clear hints of the HTC One A9 and HTC 10 here, but the Pixel XL has plenty of its own DNA. It doesn't feel like a copy of an old HTC phone, nor does it look or feel like an iPhone any more than the fact that all modern phones kind of have similar shapes and dimensions.

No, it doesn't look or feel like an iPhone.

At first glance the design is quite simple, but when you put your hands on it you realize it's a bit more complex. The first thing you notice is the near-full metal build, but there's a wonderful variation in the surfaces. The back is entirely flat, but despite that the phone doesn't feel slippery — that's because you get a curve around to a flat portion on the sides, which then again bevels in to meet the screen glass on the front. The coating on the metal gives it an additional bit of grip without detracting from the fact that it's metal, something that really wasn't handled properly on the Nexus 6P. There's also an extremely subtle and consistent tapering of the body to make the phone thinner at the bottom, which theoretically makes it easier to hold in the place you most often hold it, while also giving a bit more room for the complex tech inside up at the top.

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At least in the "quite black" color that I have here the Pixel XL is rather unassuming and monolithic, though one big design flourish helps it stand out. A single piece of glass covers roughly the top quarter of the back, housing all of the distracting cutouts and holes, leaving the bottom three-quarters to be clean metal. Aside from when you reach up to touch the fingerprint sensor you'll hardly touch the glass in normal portrait use, but when you do it offers a little extra bit of friction to keep the phone from sliding out of your hand. It's also a magnet for scratches: in the first day I had a gouge in the glass, and a few days in there were several faint lines to be seen when I held it up to the light.

Our complete Pixel + Pixel XL review

This Pixel XL review review is a bit shorter and focuses on where the phone fits in the U.S. market. For the full breakdown of both the Pixel and Pixel XL in extreme detail, be sure to read our complete Pixel XL review from Alex Dobie and Daniel Bader.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL review

Quit worrying about the bezels and just enjoy how the Pixel XL feels.

Though few people have actually held a Pixel XL at this point, that hasn't stopped the angst from building up over how big the bezels are. But they haven't affected me nearly as much as I would have thought. The side bezels are of an acceptable size, and obviously prevent accidental touches on the screen from your palms. Below the screen the bezel is just fine; I didn't even think about it until I had used the phone for a full day and then set it next to some of the competition. I mostly just noticed how it's a bit easier to hit the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen without oddly curling my thumb.

I think the big thing to remind everyone of here is that that isn't just dead space left hollow underneath the bezel. There are components tightly packed into every square millimeter under the glass. Let's all find something else to complain about that actually matters, okay?

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I love holding this phone; you can't find a flaw in it.

Prior to the Pixels the Nexus line didn't always cover itself in glory when it came to design or materials, save for the likes of the Nexus One and perhaps Nexus 6 and 6P, but the Pixel XL absolutely steps up to the highest level of what you can expect from a phone today. I love holding this phone — it gives off the same exact impression of quality and value that the latest phones from Samsung, HTC and Moto do.

For anyone who walks into a Verizon store to see the Pixel XL on display next to the likes of the Galaxy S7 edge, iPhone 7 Plus, LG V20 and Moto Z, the first impression of the Pixel XL is going to be stellar. It just exudes quality in the same way that each of these $700+ phones do, even if it doesn't have as flashy a design as the likes of the Galaxy S7 edge or Moto Z. Nobody will be able to lay a finger on the Pixel XL and find anything unsatisfactory about the execution of the hardware, even if they don't particularly take to the understated design. The feelings are reinforced when you use it a bit longer, noticing things like the extremely sturdy side buttons, strong haptic feedback and powerful (for the size) speaker.

Google Pixel XL

So fast

Google Pixel XL Software, experience and battery life

Prior to the launch of the Pixel XL, the goal of Nexus phones was always to express Google's vision of what Android should be, often at the cost of letting the hardware slip a little. But even with such an excellent execution of the Pixel XL's hardware, Google didn't make any trade-off in the software side of things.

Nice visual tweaks, supported by ridiculously fast performance.

Android 7.1 Nougat with the so-called "Google UI" inclusions is masterful in its design. It's clean, simple and powerful at the same time. The new launcher takes a bit of getting used to with its permanent Google Search tab and weather information at the top of the screen, but the swipe-up to reveal the app drawer became second nature almost immediately. The one downside is Google's odd decision to switch to rounded app icons — not only are Google's own icons a hodgepodge of ideas, they absolutely clash with the various sizes and shapes of non-Google icons. It's a weird decision, and unless Google wants to put its foot down and force all apps to follow the shape, I just can't get on board with it.

The little visual changes are one thing, but what really makes the Pixel stand out to me is the extreme speed and fluidity of the whole software experience. I'm not sure how much weight can be put behind the Snapdragon 821 processor versus general software optimization, but whatever voodoo Google has managed to get into the Pixel XL really blows me away.

Every app opens immediately, multitasking is fluid and not a single app has crashed or hung when it tried to do something. I never noticed a dropped frame, jerky scrolling or received any sign that the hardware was being pushed beyond comfort. It's something that's hard to explain because it's not doing anything as much as it's not doing the bad things we've seen from Android phones for years. The Pixel XL is faster than any Nexus I've used, while being smooth throughout the interface like an HTC 10 or Galaxy S7 edge but of course without the extra burden of additional software cruft and duplicative apps and services.

Google Assistant on the Pixel XL

Google Assistant

The much-lauded feature of Google Assistant hasn't worked itself into my daily life as much as Google may have hoped. Having it readily accessible behind a long press of the home button or from the excellent recognition of the "OK, Google" trigger phrase has certainly led to an increase in use over my Nexus 6P. The conversational nature of asking a question, getting detailed information and then asking follow-up questions also keeps you more engaged with Assistant than you would have with standard Google Search. But that doesn't mean Assistant is the perfect AI helper we've all dreamed of.

You can quickly outsmart Assistant with seemingly simple queries.

The first real issue is how quickly you can outsmart Assistant by assuming it can handle some relatively basic tasks. Simple commands like "how's the weather tomorrow?", "what's coming up on my calendar today?", "Open the Alaska Airlines app", "turn off Wi-Fi", "remind me to check the mail when I get home" or "show me photos of the Eiffel Tower" all work. But asking it seemingly simple questions like "is my flight home on time?", "when can I check into my hotel?" or "when does my package arrive?" offers incorrect results or a note of "I can't do that yet."

Despite being shown off as a conversational assistant that forms into "your own personal Google," Assistant forgets the context of what you were just talking with it about the moment you leave. Whether that means tapping on a card inside Assistant or hitting the home button to switch to a new app, when you come back to Assistant your interaction starts all over as if you've never spoken before. It's like you hired a personal assistant with amnesia — not a great trait for that line of work.

This is miles ahead of Google Voice Search and Now on Tap, but has room to improve.

The other issue is being pigeonholed into using just your voice. Though you can trigger Assistant without your voice, it's always going to sit there waiting for your commands audibly. As we know that's not always the best way to interact with our phones in situations when you're with other people, in a loud environment or perhaps a very quiet situation; at the same time, an audible response from Assistant when it answers your query causes problems for the same reason. The one exception here is its replacement for Now on Tap, which lets you launch Assistant when you're in an app and simply swipe up, where you'll get search results with additional information based on what's on your screen — it's amazingly quick, and better than the old system.

Assistant is absolutely better than Google Now on Tap for reading your screen and giving you contextual information, and takes less effort to use than Google Now's voice interactions, but its content and answers aren't much more useful than those old features. The smarts behind Assistant can be seamlessly updated in the background on Google's end, and will only get better as more people use Assistant on their Pixels, but right now it hasn't been the big selling point it was hyped to be.

Google Pixel XL charging

Battery life

On paper a 3450 mAh battery for a 5.5-inch phone is plenty, but after seeing how squarely average battery life is on the Nexus 6P with the same capacity, there certainly wasn't a guarantee that the Pixel XL would be much better. Thankfully the Pixel XL has met my battery life expectations, landing right in the range of other flagships.

A regular weekday for me starts a bit before 8 a.m., includes three to four hours of "screen on" time, and mostly focuses on lots of music/podcast listening, tons of emails and messages coming in, a little browsing and light app use, plenty of time spent in the likes of Google Calendar, Google Maps, taking plenty of photos and using a handful of social media apps. I always keep everything fully syncing, and my screen brightness set to automatic.

The Pixel XL offers a full day with plenty to spare.

This regular day of use hardly taxed the Pixel XL's battery, leaving me with roughly 30% left in the tank at about 10 p.m. when I started to think about heading to bed. On a lighter weekend day where I slept in a little and didn't use the phone as much, I was looking at 50% battery left at the end of the day. Those numbers both line up with the likes of the Galaxy S7 edge, while outperforming the LG V20 (which I'm using on pre-release firmware).

It's clear to me that Doze is doing its job here, with incredible longevity when it's resting but also while in my pocket or bag as I walk around the city. When the screen is off, the Pixel XL really just sips power, and that's the result we were all promised when new improvements to Doze were announced in Android 7.0.

In terms of charging back up, the Pixel XL isn't much different than the Nexus 6P. The USB-C charger in the box is slightly different and supports USB-C "Power Delivery" for quicker, adaptive charging; that lets Google tout the "seven hours of usage in 15 minutes" metric. The phone charges very quickly when it's at a lower battery level, but it also keeps up a solid clip when it's at 40% charge and higher, charging at about 1 percentage point per minute. It's also worth noting that the Pixel XL played nicely with my Pixel C as well, letting me charge the phone off the tablet at "Charging on AC" speeds.

Google Pixel XL camera

Top of the line

Google Pixel XL Camera

With the Nexus 6P last year we got a glimpse of what Google was working on when it came to camera technology. A 12-megapixel image sensor that lacked OIS (optical image stabilization) but instead used very large pixels and lots of software processing to take really good photos. The same formula is in play a year on with the Pixel XL, but component changes and dramatically improved execution make all the difference.

Giving the Pixel XL an advantage right from the start is the new version of the "same" Sony image sensor, which is still 12MP and has 1.55-micron pixels, but has new features as well: native phase-detect auto focus, a stacked BSI CMOS design, improved on-sensor HDR and higher frame rate support.

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The results absolutely speak for themselves. Leaving the camera in Auto HDR+ for the entirety of my shooting, the Pixel XL handled every scene just about perfectly. Photos are natural with just the right amount of punch, and even in extreme low-light conditions I rarely saw any grain or blur. All of the photos had sharp lines and quality colors. I quickly got in the habit of just taking one photo and pocketing the phone, not being worried about whether it "turned out" or not — confidence in the consistency like that is wonderful.

Who needs OIS when the photos look this good without it?

But just as I covered in the general software section, what really makes the camera experience come together is its blistering speed. The camera launches near-instantly to let you start taking photos, and with every tap of the shutter key you immediately take a photo — no capture lag, no on-screen processing or hiccups. You can press and hold the shutter key for dozens of simultaneous photos, and the camera will automatically process them into animated .gifs and collages while also picking out what it deems to be the "best" photos.

Not only does the Pixel XL's camera put even the likes of the Nexus 6P to shame, it runs right alongside — or ahead of — the Galaxy S7 edge and LG V20 in terms of photo quality and usability.

Google Pixel XL and SIM cards

Take your pick

Google Pixel XL Choosing a carrier

Google has an odd relationship with the U.S. carriers, starting with the failed attempt to launch the Nexus One with carrier support back in 2009. We also had the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, the Nexus 5 kind of available on T-Mobile, the Nexus 6 on AT&T and so on. Nope, Google hasn't done well with this — but the Pixel XL is available from Verizon, and promises are that things are different this time around.

It's not that buying from Verizon is bad per se ... there's just little reason to so.

Unlike many previous Nexuses, the Pixel XL isn't dramatically modified for its availability on Verizon. Instead, there are just a few simple changes, including three Verizon apps, an encrypted bootloader and perhaps most importantly Verizon's certification in order for software updates to hit the phone. The apps can be uninstalled and most people don't care about an encrypted bootloader, but the potential for Verizon to slow down updates will rub people the wrong way. Verizon claims its updates will hit at the same time as Google's arrive on the unlocked Pixel XL, but we've seen enough updates delayed in the past to be skeptical of that situation. It's because of this that I don't recommend you buy a Pixel XL from Verizon, and instead buy from the Google Store — it'll have Google's direct support, no carrier involvement and yet still supports advanced features like VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling if you choose to put a Verizon SIM in it.

With that being said I think it's generally great that the Pixel XL is available from Verizon from the standpoint of getting the Pixel XL out in front of "normal" customers who wouldn't ever order from the Google Store. The Pixel XL is on the front page of Verizon's website, will be in every retail store and on TV commercials with Verizon's branding. That's big, and it's being done this year in a way that isn't going to bastardize the experience the way past carrier-involved Nexuses were.

Project Fi won't save you much money, but it'll save you from headaches.

Putting all of this talk about Verizon aside, we shouldn't forget about Google's own carrier Project Fi. Well over a year into its life and with the addition of a new "group plan" structure Project Fi isn't much of a project anymore — it's a carrier I'd personally recommend to just about anyone going to pick up a Pixel XL today. Google has pulled Project Fi up front-and-center with the option to include a Fi SIM in the box with every Pixel order, and the Project Fi app is pre-installed on the phones as well.

Yes I know there are still reasons to go with a "traditional" carrier in the U.S., but I still encourage everyone to at least consider what they could be getting from Fi. You honestly won't likely save a bunch of money on a monthly basis, but what you get for that cash is what's important. Simplicity of billing, great service, slick international use and the knowledge that you'll never pay for data you don't use are powerful features for a carrier to offer.

Google Store financing

No matter what carrier you intend to use, Google has made a fantastic decision to start offering financing from the Google Store for the Pixel and Pixel XL. The U.S. market has very much shifted away from buying phones on contracts, but it surely hasn't started paying for phones full price up front. In a shrewd move, the Google Store offers 24-month interest-free financing just the same as the likes of HTC and Moto have done, of course in addition to the carriers, to help lessen the blow of these high-priced Pixels.

Yes there's absolutely sticker shock for the Pixel XL, especially if you load it up with 128GB of storage and add insurance and are looking at a bill north of $1000 after sales tax. But the 32GB Pixel XL starts at "just" $32 per month if you finance it ... a system and monthly payment that anyone who has bought a phone from a carrier in the past year knows very well and has accepted as the new normal.

Google Pixel XL

Worth the money

Google Pixel XL in the U.S. Bottom line

The best smartphones are those that don't lean on a single feature or headline-grabbing spec to try and sell, but instead offer a great overall experience with several features that combine to be excellent every single day. This is the best way to explain why the Pixel XL is so great.

The Pixel XL gets the core smartphone experience dead-on, and then adds a little extra.

The hardware is fantastic the moment you pick it up, but you also retain that feeling a week on. The camera takes excellent photos every single time you touch the shutter key. The software is blisteringly fast and never lets up. Google's apps and services are top notch, and the Pixel-only perks of 24/7 support and unlimited Google Photos backup are a little extra treat. The Pixel stands out in all of these areas, while checking off other boxes like a bright screen, solid battery life, better-than-average speaker, a great fingerprint sensor and guaranteed software updates.

There's no doubt in my mind that the Pixel XL is a fantastic phone from top to bottom, with very few compromises or shortcomings to be pointed out — I think waterproofing is all you can realistically desire.

It's not so often that we say it, but the Pixel XL's best feature is simply being a great smartphone. It doesn't rely on a ton of gimmicks or weird features that you'll use one day and then forget about. It gets the core of the smartphone experience dead-on, and then adds to it several great features that surprise, delight and enhance your time using your phone.

If you think any phone is worth $769, the Pixel XL absolutely is.

The only real issue, as ever, is how much you have to pay. The Pixel XL starts at $769 unlocked, plus an extra $100 if you want 128GB of storage or additional insurance, and even when you're financing that over a longer period of time that's still a big price to stomach. That price knocks a large chunk of the market out of contention, and Google knows that — but it also couldn't make this level of phone and sell it for $399, either.

The way I view the situation is this: if you're someone who has historically determined that flagship phones are worth $650 or more, and in 2016 are of the mind that the competition of the Galaxy S7 edge, Moto Z, LG V20 and iPhone 7 Plus are worth that kind of money, then the Pixel XL is absolutely worth it as well. The Pixel XL does what these phones do, executes it better in many ways and exceeds expectations in key areas of software performance, hardware quality and camera prowess. It's simply the best Android phone available today.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Does it have a fm radio in it Andrew? I haven't seen anywhere that says it it does?
  • No radio I can see, and doesn't show as compatible with FM radio apps.
  • OK.. Thanks for this.
  • yet another missing feature to add to the list
  • Hi Andrew, Great review. Any chance of seeing a review of Pixel vs Lg V20 (another flagship)?
  • Is the camera really that fast? Because from the time I had my Note 7, that had a seriously fast camera. If the Pixel matches or even surpasses it in even one area, color me impressed. Still think the price is a bit on the steep side, IMO, but that's how I see it. Others will see it differently. The best Android phone you can buy? Depends on what you're looking for and what your preferences are. But even though I haven't warmed up to it, I'm inclined to say that if you can afford one or get it on a monthly payment plan, it's one of the best Android phones you can buy overall, especially if you value fast software. If you value features, something like a V20 or S7 edge may fancy your tastebuds more, but that's where choice comes in.
  • from hands on review people said that they are really fast even with the HDR on
  • My personal opinion is that it is only a question if you value hardware features (waterproofing, wireless charging, etc.) that the other phones are worth considering. If you value software experience, then the pixel is the best phone you can buy (based on the reviews of course). I have still never been convinced that Samsung and LG have anything other than horrible software. Jankiness all over the place. Random changes to UI and colors that do not make sense and are not consistent with anything else. Changes and "additions" without any consideration with how the entire experience comes together. HTC is also an offender of all this, but to a lesser extent in recent history. Nexus and now pixel lead the way when it comes to software experience when it comes to Android. This is the reason I am a customer of Nexus and will probably one day be a Pixel owner.
  • Its obviously been a long long time since you used a Samsung. None of this is true about the user experience on a galaxy any longer. There's a reason why the s7/edge has been regarded as the best phone of 2016 besides the unfortunate note. My S7 edge is butter smooth in all aspects of performance.
  • I used an Exynos-powered Note 7 as my daily until it got canned. I'd say performance is a massive improvement in all aspects compared to previous Samsungs and for the most part, performs reliably well. One thing they have to sort out though are some random stutters here and there. Not something aggravating, but they're sometimes annoying.
  • The camera really is that fast. Right on par with Samsung's 2016 phones in terms of launch and capture times. I don't want it to seem like this is just fast compared to previous Nexuses — it's fast in terms of modern flagship phones. And to your other point, I totally get it. If you want to get as many specs and features as possible for the money, the Pixel XL may not offer the same amount of "value" as the GS7 edge or LG V20. I tend to put more weight on the overall experience and quality of the phone, rather than individual specs and features, and that's why I rate the Pixel XL so highly.
  • I agree. It seems that the Pixel seems to focus its value more on the user-experience and quality rather than just a raw featureset. That reminds me a whole lot about the HTC 10, a very solid device that offers a very solid user experience at a premium but doesn't have a boatload of extra features. Even though it is expensive, as the first actual Google-branded product, I think it's a very solid first step. Knowing how second-gen products tend to be like, the second Pixel ought to be even better. Maybe we'll see dual-speakers by then. ;)
  • And a decent degree of water resistance? Hopefully. Also, utilize the earpiece as a second speaker.
  • But what other quality and experience are you getting with the pixel that you don't get elsewhere? What is great about the overall experience? Im just not getting why this phone is supposedly so amazing. Its apparently no faster than a samsung. even running stock android. It's like people decided they wanted it to be great from the beginning, and are holding fast to that regardless of it's deficiencies. Less stuff in a bigger/ easier to damage package(no waterproofing), for the same amount of money makes no sense to me.
  • The more stock UI, no overlap of services, and integrated Assistant. The integration of Assistant is vastly different than access to Assistant in Allo on other devices.
  • I believe it's for people who want a different experience. And that's fine. No phone is designed with every user in mind.
  • I had the chance to test it out yesterday at a local wireless shop in Toronto. *how i got my hands on it is not an important story* But the camera is fast. Its comparable to the s7, s7 edge, note 7 in terms of speed and AF. That video EIS is like watching a video game which i still have to get used to. As far as the price, I thought exactly like that up until yesterday when I got the chance to play with it. I still hold samsung and apple a few notches above in terms of luxury/pristine hardware feel. But Google surely knows how to push for great build quality. Software (being a lover of vanilla android) is what sold me. But, let's be honest. That price tag is more for marketing than it is for anything else.
  • At least someone is being somewhat honest.
  • Does it have all of the radio's? Can I travel to Europe and jump on T-Mobile 4G LTE or is it like the normal Verizon phones that I only get 3g?
  • Google lists the full set of radio bands on the Google Store page ... UMTS/WCDMA : B 1/2/4/5/8 FDD LTE: B 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30 That is to say generally "yes" — it has pretty much every band you'll need in North America and Europe.
  • I guess they are hitting people hands
  • Does it have the option to keep all photos taken in burst mode? What Google thinks is the best shot of my son doing something fun might not be my choices, so I'd like to just keep all of them. That's my biggest gripe with my Nexus 6. The camera, or more specifically the Google camera app, is horrible and basically unusable for anything short of still life pictures of bowls of fruit. It stutters, freezes, crashes, doesn't save pictures and lacks burst mode that phones from 5 years ago had. Missed so many pics of my son the last year or so because the phone just couldn't or wouldn't take the pic.
  • Yup it saves every shot from the "burst" mode — it just surfaces what it thinks is best. You can keep one, some or all of the photos if you want.
  • Couldn't you use another camera app?
  • kinda sucks cause Ill be getting this one for 850$ anyway but can't help to think in a year or less the pixel 2 will come out and be waterproof. sigh. getting expensive.
  • Get an Aquapac case for £20?
  • I doubt they'd refresh it in under a year, and if that's all they add next year (+ new SoC) it'll underwhelm (but sell), in two years you can hopefully upgrade to something that's water resistant and also offers something extra. Unless you're just that carefree with your phone, then get something water resistant now. :p My non resistant phones (3 EVOs & a N5) have always endured the occasional drops of rainwater with no ill effect, can't say I've ever actually needed more water resistance than that. Sure it'd be nice, I'd be more carefree with it and probably rinse it every once in a while but ehh... It's not like I'd trust a resistant phone enough to take it to the beach naked or something, salt water and deep immersion are another ballgame.
  • Solid review! When the time comes to part ways with my Note 4, I'm definitely checking the Pixel XL
  • Thank you!
  • Hard to part with the Note 4, but I tend to seek "the better camera" as a key feature. Actually, though, this review of the Pixel (at $800) has me taking a new look at the Samsung S7 or possibly S7 edge. Costco has some very juicy incentives. The S7, brand new, can be had for under $500 last I checked. You buy it for $660 or so, and they give you $170 in Costco cash. Something like that. I have very few complaints about my Note 4, though.
  • Google should be offering 6P and 5x customers some kind of trade incentive.
  • that almost wont happen. since googl didnt build 6p and 5x they dont have any incentive towards getting back those phone
  • Why? They've never done it before.
  • Well, yeah, that's when they were still making and putting 100% of their efforts into the Nexus phones. Now that the Nexus line is dead and support is taking a backseat, I think this situation is a bit different.
  • No one has ever said support for Nexus is taking a back seat
  • Since when was Nexus support "taking a back seat"? This is news to me. Just days after the Pixels launched, Google announced the Android 7.1 Developer Preview would be coming to Nexuses ...
  • People are just upset that all of the Pixel specific features aren't being made standard for all Nexus devices. Somehow people's heard they as they aren't getting updated anymore, which as you just said isn't true.
  • keep dreaming
  • there are only two phones wearing the google brand... both being called pixels... so saying this is the best phone to wear the google brand doesnt really say much :-)
  • Every Nexus has had the "Google" brand attached.
  • Comparing it to the Nexus 6P how loud and crisp are the speakers?
  • Bezels matter!
  • To some. I am in the camp of not caring. It just seems nitpicky to me. I get that many disagree.
  • Bezels matter, but this phone's bezels are not the "issue" that some are making them out to be (before even using the phones).
  • Sounds a lot like an iPhone
  • Sounds amazing. I'd love to have a phone like an iPhone that's not an iPhone
  • I'm with you on that
  • iPhone smoothness with Android experience sounds excellent!
  • iOS to achieve that good smothness, had to sacrifice a few things (i found this issues (to me) yesterday after 60 minutes with the iphone 7): - Multi tasking: you can't switch more than 2 apps in a row (after you switched one have to wait before double tap the home button again).
    - Scrolling, you can play with different scrolling speeds like in Android (Open Safari and a site like theverge and try to scroll from the top to the bottom, it will take some time compared to Android).
    - Anticipation in some apps, you can't tap an action as soon as the app finishes loading, in some apps you have to wait before doing another action. So all these retarders in iOS generates a pretty good smooth experience. But at what cost? 1/3 of my actions over the iPhone 7 failed because I wasn't waiting the iOS enough.
    I prefer Android's unlimited speed with some animations stutters off and on, rather than iOS perfect smoothness at a bit slower "Senior Speed".
  • waterproof and front facing speakers would of completely made this untouchable.
  • A couple of things, and let me preface it that this was a great review, Andrew! First, is high cost really expected if it's a flagship device? I thought last year, the Nexus 6P was an excellent phone, had flagship specs and build, yet undercut all the big names. Though the Pixel does have a few notable improvements, I still can't make the connection why it would cost $150 more (32 GB 6P vs. 32 GB XL). Second, why did Google pick Synchrony Bank for their financing option? A number of people here that have used their services have commented were not impressed. They don't exactly have a good rating, and that's not including Amazon Prime customers that deal with Synchrony as well. Why not Affirm, which is better rated? Or, if Google wants to compete with PayPal, do something similar with Google Wallet?
  • In my opinion, the answer is because that's what the carriers want. The carriers don't want to sell a phone that costs less than the iPhone. Carriers overcharge for phones to get you to sign a contract. It's as simple as that. Look at the Honor 8 and the OnePlus 3. It is absolutely possible to deliver high-end phones for under $500. But it's it's not $650 or up, the carriers don't want to waste their time with it.
  • Only one carrier is selling the phone though
  • The fact that only one carrier is selling the phone can mean one of two things, and either one proves my point. It's possible that none of the carriers was interested been carrying the phone, but Google was able to make concessions to Verizon to get them to sign on. I'm like either of the GSM carriers, the only way to get a phone on the Verizon network is to deal with the devil, so Google gave Verizon a deal. The other possibility is that everyone carrier wanted the phone, and Verizon won the bidding war. Verizon's winning bid was, "we will give you the same deal we gave Motorola, we'll set the prices, and you can't undercut us."
  • Other than the locked bootloader there is no difference between the Verizon Pixel and the Google Store version. The Verizon version does not have any preloaded bloatware apps preinstalled. Verizon is using Google's Virtual Preload feature which checks to see what type of SIM card is installed during initial setup and downloads the bloatware apps to the user partition. The apps are not installed to the system partition so they can he uninstalled like any other app. Google has confirmed that Verizon Pixel phones will receive updates at the same time as Google Store Pixel phones. Google will delay all updates for the Google Store phones until Verizon has completed carrier testing for their branded Pixel phones.
  • In other word they slowed it down to anyone else, how nice!
  • No more than they slow down iPhone updates. Verizon tests them too. They just don't go through the full scale testing other devices do because Apple does all of the support for iPhones.
  • Nice review
  • Much appreciated!
  • "most people don't care about an encrypted bootloader," I've got to disagree with you on that one. I'd bet a LOT of people who are buying the Pixel phone is because it's the new Nexus, known for it's tweakability. Buying it from VZW sounds like you're locked down. At that point, you might as well buy a Samsung. Luckily VZW didn't take the same course of action with the Nexus 6 (Shamu). Overall, great review! Looking forward to ours coming in (hopefully) this week.
  • Maybe he should have said "Most people buying from Verizon" won't care that the bootloader is locked. Those that care will already know to buy from the Google Store. I also wonder how many Nexus 5X and 6P owners tweak their phones. I have a Nexus 6P and it's as stock as the day I got it. Things have changed from my Droid Incredible/Galaxy S3/Droid DNA days and I couldn't tell you the last time I visited XDA.
  • That would have indeed been a better statement. That's why bought it from Google. Plus, I would rather support Google that put more money into Big Red.
  • Unless your definition of "most" is 5%, they are still correct. Nexus/Pixel or not. There is no way >50% of people are unlocking their bootloader, rooting, and loading roms. You've got be be batty to think otherwise. Sure, it's going to be more than other phones, but still nowhere near towards moving the needle.
  • If you care about having an unlockable bootloader, just buy from Google. "Problem" solved. But really, very VERY VERY few people in the grand scheme of Pixel sales will even know what a "bootloader" is, let alone care about unlocking it.
  • Then this people were not paying much attention as its a new day. And Google are not some much catering to the tinker but the person. Who were not aware that Google makes phones and want the basics done right
  • Except, it's not the New Nexus (a phone for devs). It's Googles consumer focused phone, hence why it's not called Nexus and focus on tweaking isn't a priority.
  • I came to android because I didn't want to pay iPhone prices for a mobile phone. I have the Nexus 5 and Nexus 5X, but these will probably be my last Google phones if these prices are anything to go by.
  • That's why choice is great. There is a lot of variety from a spec and cost selection when it comes to Android devices. As we keep seeing, there are a lot of great options at $400 and less.
  • Exactly
  • The great thing is that the Pixel and Pixel XL aren't the only Android phones out there. There are hundreds of options, and dozens of great ones in the "mid range" price point.
  • True but Google phones are the only ones with stock Android and get immediate updates. Thus by eliminating any midrange Google offerings you need to pay flagship prices to get that now. I currently use a 5x and though it has its issues I like the price (got Project Fi deal), the stock Android and immediate updates, and its performance is good enough for me. Now if I want a solid midrange offering with stock Android I'm out of luck and the next best thing is probably a Motorola offering like the Z Play (if an unlocked one works on Fi) and hope for the best with updates. I'm not knocking Google for releasing what are excellent flagship phones with flagship prices, I just wish they also released a new midrange offering as well.
  • You need a supported device (like a Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, Pixel or Pixel XL) to activate a Project Fi SIM. Once activated, you can use it in other phones but it will essentially only use T-Mobile towers.
  • Yeah I can take my sim card out of my 5x and stick it in another phone but if it's just using t mobile towers what's the point?
  • I suppose the benefit is unlike a T-Mobile plan you're only paying for the data you actually use, and Fi's latest ability to group multiple users under one account at reduced basic rates ($15 vs $20 for talk/text for every addition to the primary) creates further value.
  • I find it interesting that the cover image for this story shows the phone next to a macbook. I love the idea of a pure android device designed by Google. But, seriously, why did they make it look just like an iphone. I don't want to be part of the standard masses who own the iphone.
  • Most of the people in Mobile Nations use MacBooks. Not just the iMore crowd. And they didn't copy the iPhone. They copied an HTC design that Apple based the iPhone 6 on
  • Remember, it's no longer Pure Android! I guess all phones look like an iPhone. Samsung has been sued for it, Xiami doesn't hide it, and HTC apparently doesn't have any original design. But what sells? The LG G5? Um, apparently not. The LG V10/20. Not really/not yet. The Nextbit Robin? Yeah, but at what scale? Do we complain that all of our computer monitors look the same?
  • In all honesty, I couldn't care less about the looks of a phone. It's probably last on my list of deciding factors when choosing a new phone. I always put a case on it. Just give me a great screen, which is what I'm looking at, and I'm good (nice innards and software are a given requirement)
  • What even is "pure" Android anymore? What's shipped on Nexuses for the past 6 years surely hasn't been "pure" Android as Google has always tweaked things from AOSP. I think people get hung up on this word of "clean" or "pure" or "vanilla" without actually knowing what that means or what they want it to mean. The Pixels run Google's interpretation of what Android should be. I think that's what matters.
  • Exactly
  • Just to be clear, the build of Android on the Nexus isn't Pure Android too
  • HTC paid Apple Billions to have the right to "Likeness" of an iPhone, so that's what they are going to use, and why the chassis Google is using is very similar.
  • Any testing done with Android Auto?
  • I don't have an Android Auto head unit ... that'll have to be left up to someone else to test right now.
  • Phil!
  • Hi Andrew, thanks for providing the review. Quick question regarding one point, if you have a moment... At about 4 1/2 minutes in, you appear to indicate that the Pixel XL is faster and smoother than prior Nexus phones, but not smoother than phones by HTC, Samsung (and Apple). For purposes of the Android OS counterparts which are notable for having occasional lag and hiccups due to their skinning, should we take this to mean that you did experience such issues with the Pixel XL?
  • The Pixel XL is just as fast and smooth as the latest flagships from HTC and Samsung, with all of the special sauce they toss in to smooth out their interfaces. And no, as I wrote in this review, I didn't experience a single slowdown, jitter or lag while using the XL.
  • You think Samsung is as smooth as a nexus? And more so an iPhone?
  • Looks great, but going thru only Verizon is weak, do all major carriers plus an unlocked version if you want more adoption. Also way overpriced, this is right next to the iPhone 7 (and I am not an iPhone fan btw), but Apple has a large established base that will upgrade every year, Google not so much. 2 critical flaws, whoever made these decisions at Google should be demoted and moved to another department. The Nexus line has always had a relatively small market share - the new Pixel line will, a year from now, also still have a relatively small market share.
  • you underestimate the power if Verizon's marketing machine. This is being given the same treatment as the others top tier flagships: iPhone and Galaxy S. Will the market share change overnight? No. But this will definitely be the most successful Google phone of all time.
  • Great review as always. I really like this phone. I'm tempted to try it. But, I just don't see enough to get me to switch from the HTC 10. I did have the note7, which was a great phone. After trading it in for the 10, I'm actually quite pleased. It's a great little phone. I'm going to sit on the sidelines for the first generation Pixel phones. If they add waterproofing and a few other items and don't go up in price, I'll very likely be getting the Pixel 2 XL (or whatever it's going to be called) debuting Android 8.1 Oreo.
  • Nice phone, overall, hopefully version 2 will address it's shortcomings. (OIS, higher water resistance, stereo speakers, wireless charging, and to a lesser extent, expandable storage) You're playing in the big leagues, price wise, and you need to have these things, as others do, in this price range.
  • so u want it to have what every other phone has and have it's own extra features but stay the same price?
  • Yes,features that are present on others for the money, and it's few specialty features. You got it exactly right. They do want to go toe to toe with Apple & Samsung, right? And yes, they already have plenty of pad built into their price for it to be a non issue.
  • Yeah, and I'm still wondering what these great premium features are exactly. I'm not seeing or reading anything about this phone that says "premium".
  • Google logo, apparently...
  • You're paying for the experience, and that doesn't always translate into a specific sheet.
  • And no other Android phone has the optimization and fluid experience of the pixel. Thats a shortcoming no other manufacturer has the ability to "add"
  • Yeah, that sold nexus phones by the tens of millions, didn't it? Welcome to a much bigger playing field, with a lot more expected, especially at full boat prices. Apple & Samsung are their targets or main competitors(given their price points), right?
  • I wonder if the pixel phone will start to have a negative affect on who makes android a little bit like Nokia with windows phone. Its good to see Microsoft Apple and Google all making a solid phone with their own OS but you do think it could hurt some of the bigger names like LG HTC ext who are struggling as it is. It will also be interesting to see how the note/next big Samsung phone dose against the bigger pixel phone.
  • In terms of sales or in terms of how they compare phone for phone? Either way I think the next note will best it. Sales wise no contest, pound for pound note phones are usually the best spec phones. Software wise Google phones will be cleaner but note devices offer more as a package. My 2 cents.
  • Lol the Samsung Galaxy S8 will DESTROY the Pixel. Samsung has to make things right after their Note 7 debacle. Their next phone will be head and shoulders above the competition and that's the phone that will replace my S6.
  • OEMs didn't stop making Windows Phones because of Nokia. They stopped making them because no one was buying them. They couldn't even make money recycling R&D by putting WP on handsets designed for Android
  • I can only hope Google sells this worldwide. Brazil here
  • Brazil eh? I can't imagine the high cost this phone will be in Brazil, especially with its current political climate!
  • Great review Andrew, next week can't come soon enough! Have you had any experiences with the phone unlocking unexpectedly in your pocket? I've had so many issues with my HTC 10's over-sensitive home/fingerprint button that I've had to turn off SmartLock when connected to my bluetooth headphones as the phone will unlock itself in my pocket because apparently the movement of my leg walking is enough to trigger the capacitive home button (i.e. I'm listening to a Kindle book and as I'm walking and suddenly it starts skipping pages because it interprets my leg as touches!). I've never experienced this problem with a phone before, but the 10 is my first with a fingerprint sensor. I'm guessing this won't be a problem with the Pixel because the fingerprint sensor isn't a home button, but was just curious. Thanks!
  • Thank you AC. It is nice to get a review from the perspective of someone that has used all (close enough) of the phones. It is even nicer that questions, comments, and concerns from the community have follow up here. Sometimes I forget how nice that is.
  • Is the Hotspot locked Verizon style / open with a fee - or already open like a Nexus / Project FI ? Kenny
  • Again I'm using the unlocked model ... hotspot works fine. Verizon can always block hotspot whenever it wants ... but does it do that anymore? only on unlimited plan people, right? that's on their end, not the phone.
  • Does everyone just ignore the Nexus 4?
    "We also had the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, the Nexus 5 kind of available on T-Mobile, the Nexus 6 on AT&T and so on."
    The Nexus 4 was available through T-Mobile
  • Please give some more info on the quality of the audio speaker. How is the ear speaker, more specifically is it loud and clear ? Do you need to move it around your ear to get decent volume ? Yes I actually do talk on the phone so those things are important to me. Lastly, thanks for the great review.!!!
  • I made several phone calls on Verizon and Project Fi, and they were fine. The ear speaker is plenty big and plenty loud. I didn't feel like I had to hunt around to hear properly.
  • Great Review Andrew! Will Pixel users need a malware and antivirus app with this phone? How does the audio sound streaming to a speaker? Thanks
  • 1) No. Just don't install shady apps. 2) Bluetooth audio sounds just fine.
  • Android doesn't need antivirus, it doesn't operate like Windows. Just don't install shady apps from 3rd party sites. Stick to play store and read reviews. Antivirus apps don't work on Android, the OS makes them severely limited, and more trouble than they are worth.
  • Sooooo, what your saying is that the phone is Dope? Cool, I'm sold! Was really looking forward to the Note Grenade, but this phone sounds amazing....and safe. Google does it again!
  • Nah.. It's fly
  • Dope for sure.
  • Yet another great review, Andrew! After being somewhat on the fence about "upgrading" from my 6P, all of today's reviews now have me refreshing my Google Store purchase page constantly!! One simple question that I haven't seen mentioned in any review anywhere...... does the Pixel use a 2.5d screen, where the glass rolls off the edges, like the HTC 10... or a flat panel that ends abruptly at the metal a-la 6P? Images seem to show the former. Thanks!
  • Is low light pictures better on the Pixel than the 6P?
  • Can any of the reviewers comment on how quick the fingerprint sensor is?? If possible to compare it to the one plus 3? That the quickest and most accurate phone I've used and it's spoiled me! Lol my Nexus 6p seems like it take ages to recognize now!
  • Wish I could order a 128 GB pixel xl quite black. Google needs to restock, same problem every year.
  • As always, a completely artificial shortage to say, look, we're sold out. WOW! Good thing nobody's caught on to that marketing ploy, yet. Lol.
  • Apple does the same thing, look we sold out the first weekend. There must a huge demand for our product. If you make 10 and you get 11 orders you've sold out. Lol.
  • Ha, right...
  • I'm not sure if it's the shortage was done on purpose, or if they weren't sure just how well it would sell? To be honest, I tend not to buy new phones (as well as other things) when they're first released. Seems so far and it's still to early to tell, there are no issues. If I plan to buy an XL, it would probably be in Dec. or January with the hopes I can get the size and color I want.
  • no ip68, nah... I'll wait for Nokia
  • That camera does too much post processing. It's worse than Samsung has ever done. Some of those colors are eye-popping. I seen some comparisons on YouTube and other reviews and the phone produced blurry pictures where the iPhone 7 didn't, likely due to the lack of OIS. Video was often very jittery compared to that of the iPhone. (Sorry, that's the comparison that was used in most.) I prefer the Wide-Color Gamut, "faithful" to the scenery cameras on the iPhone. I just do, and I always have the option to go to something more eye popping if I choose. You can't go back to Natural from this, and most people aren't good enough at self-processing RAW files to make that a usable avenue for them. The Unlimited Space is nice, but it's only for pictures and video taken by the phone. 50GB is dirt cheap form Apple and allows me to add anything to that storage without having to pay (with Google, you'll have to pay up anyways if you use a separate camera, and the prices are comparable). Since I own a Mac, workflow is far superior with Apple Photos and the way apps like Affinity Photo (which can use more Nik Collection Plug-ins) integrate with it. Can't really get that with Google. The lack of Waterproofing is unforgivable, especially given the dimensions of this phone (the same could be said for OIS). Having one mono speaker, ditto. I was looking forward to this phone, but the reviews have left me thoroughly uninterested in it. It's ugly as hell, but at least that can be remedied with a case (which most people are likely to use, anyways). It seems decidedly mid-range for something selling at that price. Don't really care about the CPU. Can put a SD800 in it and it would probably perform more than well enough for general uses.
  • Decidedly mid-range to you. Pretty much all the reviews I have read/seen have said the high price and Flag Ship title is well deserved.
  • Reviews usually do that. They're typically biased. Pretty much 90%+ of them. They are not gospel. Most try to justify the price by giving some heavily subjective sugar. None could name one vaguely objective reason why this phone carries this price tag. None of them.
  • Very true. I've seen nothing yet that says why this is a flagship. Google software optimization? Pleeeeease. "Best camera"? Come on. Price? Oh there it is... Seems the only thing this joke of a phone has in common with true flagships is the price. If I sound bitter it's because I am. I expected so much more from Google. Very disappointed.
  • Every video I've seen showed a smooth camera & video capture.
  • Then you're blind.
  • Really jittery and loses focus when npannjng fairly slowly and smoothly. IPhone 7 right next to it. It's also kind of crappy in low light, even with all the fancy processing. Likely to be a worse choice if you prefer to pull DNGs off of the phone due to physics, as well as the lack of OIS. Watch more videos. It takes 30 deck do to surface 15+ on YT and the results are the same in each one. The EIS is jittery as hell in daylight. In low light, it's absolutely horrible.
  • I think your seeing what you want to see.
  • The video thing you're seeing is definitely subjective. Could prefer either for different reasons. The iPhone pic in super low light in the video you linked IS superior. But in the majority of photos in that video, the pixel is superior. The windowlit portrait is spectacular for a phone. Every iPhone vs X comparison I ever see shows the same thing - iPhone leans cold and overexposed. Not disastrously so, but it leans that way. Very subjective, take your pick. And stop denying your inner ifanboy.
  • Mid to low range. With all the missing features this should be free.
  • "Pixel XL is a fantastic phone from top to bottom, with very few compromises or shortcomings to be pointed out — I think waterproofing is all you can realistically desire." stereo speakers.
  • THANK YOU! Seems like no one cares anymore! I'm holding on dearly to my M8 just because of that! The only other option is the nexus 6P but it's a phablet.
  • My main 'concern' is that it isn't offered on all the carriers. I don't understand how Google thinks they are going to sell a ton of phones when John Q. Public can't walk in to any store and buy one from AT&T or Sprint or T Mobile. Maybe I am wrong, and maybe they don't care.
  • I believe eventually you will be able to buy or through any carrier and that the Verizon exclusive is at launch.
    That said, I think it's a massive marketing blunder because most people don't understand that they can buy it unlocked from Google and use it with any carrier.
    The confusion creates a barrier to purchase and any carrier to purchase is a mistake.
  • Verizon phones are factory unlocked. They have stores everywhere. How can so many geeks lack in common sense. Use Verizon the way you would use Best Buy. It's not hard. Phone is identical except locked boot loader, which John Q. Public won't GAF about, anyways.
  • Thank you! I've been saying the same thing to people complaining about the Z Force bring exclusive.
  • Halo Andrew, As a father of two toddlers, the camera is one of the most important feature of a phone. The photos look great, but they are all shots of still objects. I was wondering if you tried taking shots of moving objects and people to see how they turn out. I'd be coming from an LG G4, would you recommend the Pixel XL in my usage case?
  • Good stuff! What does google insist on an artificial shortage of the pixel XL? I have had a nexus since the 4 and have seen less than 5 in the wild. Why does google try to make it look like they are sold out when I doubt they are selling that many?
  • $800,but people scoffed at the orignal htc 10s pricing.
  • Still scoffing at HTC10 even at $550, 6P set the bar low financially. It's hard to justify a more expensive phone (and a lot more expensive if you want 128GB) for some features that are gimmicky at best ( The dumb intelligent assistant) and cloud storage. DO those features justify it's price tag? No.
  • Impressive review. But with the BB DTEK60 on the horizon for $600, where you get it unlocked, sd card slot, and top notch security software, it's hard to see me paying $1000 for a device like this. So many choices of great devices in the $500-$600 range makes it hard for me to push the button for one of these.
    Although the unlimited full photo storage is a tempting feature.
  • Cloud storage is too cheap to fall for that, especially when they limit it to content from a specific device.
  • Just to let anybody know that bought 1.. my pixel order has moved from pending to processing. And Google tapped my bank account for the funds... Now they just need to ship
  • And it just shipped.... Shipped at 835am oct19....
  • Looks like some of us will be playing with our pixels tomorrow
  • Ay least the people that aren't complaining about the price....will be playing with their pixels...
  • Man you should have a Pixel Party and invite me! LOL
  • How does the 3.5 mm jack sound wise compared to the S7 edge and iPhone? I've been disappointed by the Nexus 5 sound output.
  • Would love to see a side by side type of comparison to Google Now and Assistant. Because most of what assistant does seems to be the same as Google Now does in my N6. I can do hands free text writing, open apps, but not work inside apps, like open Tune-in radio pro, but not turn on a station. If assistant can do this, work inside the apps hands free then that would be really innovative. But Hands free searching for stores/ restaurants, locations and maps, weather, even asking if it's raining out after a storm with good accuracy, GNow does.
  • They should fire the designers and everyone that approved this design. Talk about uninspired and weird looking.
  • Hopefully it will be sold in Best Buy. where I can put half the amount or so down and pay it off in 2 or 3 months, don't really want a 2 year or so charge going to my credit card or bank card. Even Amazon, where I can just break the payments down over 4 months, and be done with it.
  • Is it twice as good as the $399 flagship killers out there?
  • No.
  • "Magnificently built, high end specs... ". Sorry I stopped reading there. Perhaps I'll try to read the rest, but you have got to be joking.
  • I'm sure the Pixels are nice, for we Android nerds. I want one to ply around with but ot couldnt be my daily driver. But for regular folks, HTC, Sammy and LG offer more for the same coin. HTC has been doing huge chins since the One M8 and it's indicative of inefficient design. LG'S are much smaller and Sammy's house buttons. Even on the One, it at least houses the FPS. Also, the pixel's biggest feature is what exactly, a fluid OS? That won't resonate with mainstream consumers. The camera seems great, and I'm happy to see that, but the others have those too. It has no water proofing, not high end audio, dual speakers, no replaceable battery, no SD card slot, no wireless charging, etc. To say it's worth the same as the other flagships while missing flagship level features is irresponsible. Statements like that are why people claim AC is biased. Also, we all know that certain editors hate SD cards and dismiss them yet the market says otherwise which is why Samsung and HTC added them back after deleting the feature. Someone like me, who doesn't stream terrible quality music from GP or any of the other services has a 30gig library of lossless audio on his SD card. I just wish this review was written from the perspective of consumers since the Pixel are now geared toward the mainstream unlike the nexus line. I can't for the life of me understand how the Pixel is considered the best Android phone for anyone who is not an android nerd. I certainly hope AC doesn't let Andrew review the V20 since he clearly won't give it a fair shake. Think outside the blogger bubble for once...
  • After using the phone for three days I will agree the price point on the XL is about 150 to much. Looking past price which I understand is hard to do for many... This is really a fantastic phone. Listen the whole idea of this phone was to deliver a simple to use straight forward design with top camera and battery life. Google nailed it.. I use to always say I too needed an SD card truth is cloud storage is inexpensive and now that photos don't use any space it's even better. 128 GB is plenty when you remove photos and videos from the equation. Would be nice to have it but again going after the average consumer who buys an iPhone trust me they just want a phone that works, takes great pictures, last all day and has support when they need it. I believe the phone delivers on all of these.
  • I had the opportunity to play with a Pixel XL this evening at my local Verizon store while my girlfriend was upgrading from a dying Note 4 to an LG V20, and frankly I was disappointed to discover the while it does have a 12 megapixel camera it only shoots in 4:3 aspect ratio at 12 MP; when you go into the camera settings to change the aspect to 16:9 it's limited to 8 megapixels, this is something I would expect to see in a device in maybe a mid-range price point but to see it in what is being hyped as a flagship phone with a price to match... Sorry, but no. I think that I'll keep my Note 5 for a while longer and either upgrade to an LG V20 early next year or hold my breath and see if Samsung can produce a Note 8 without the death and destruction feature of the Note 7. * On another note, I think that this is something that should have been disclosed in the review; my Note 5 can do 12 megapixels at a 4:3 aspect ratio, it can also do 16 megapixels at a 16:9 aspect ratio which is quite a bit more than 8 megapixels at 16:9.