Pixel announcement

Google’s Nexus line has been around since 2010, and it’s changed a lot over the years. It all started with the HTC-built Nexus One, which acted as almost a reference device that showcased the Android platform to developers and OEMs. It didn’t feature any crazy Android skins or bloatware, and it wasn’t locked to any one carrier.

And it wasn’t just HTC; Google has partnered with numerous different OEMs over the years – Samsung, LG, Motorola and Huawei – all of which brought their own flair to the Nexus line. Overtime the name Nexus began to change, but the underlying philosophy of the smartphone line remained the same – unlocked, developer-focused smartphones without the unnecessary extras thrown in by manufacturers or carriers.

What we’re trying to say is, we’ve come a long way since the Nexus One. Now things are changing in a big way.

Don't miss:
History of the Nexus family

History of the Nexus family

February 17, 2015

Things are coming full circle in a sense. Google chose HTC as its very first Nexus OEM partner, and now the same can be said for the Pixel line.

After a seemingly endless array of rumors, leaked images and specs, Google has finally taken the wraps off the new Pixel and Pixel XL. Both devices feature top-of-the-line specs, exclusive software features and many more interesting things you’ll want to check out, so be sure to read on for the full rundown on these new smartphones.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL design

pixel -Google 2016

While the Pixel and Pixel XL are Google phones through and through, they’re actually manufactured by HTC. Say what you will about the One A9 (HTC’s iPhone clone), but the Taiwanese company really does know how to make a solid smartphone. Both the Pixel and Pixel XL sport an aluminum and glass construction. You’ll notice the back panel is made mostly of aluminum, save for the small glass section on the top of the device that surrounds the camera sensor and fingerprint reader.

Neither the Pixel nor Pixel XL will ship with HTC branding

Both the Pixel and Pixel XL come in three different color options: Very Silver, Quite Black and Really Blue. I’m not making this up.

pixel colors -Google 2016

It should also be noted that, unlike other Nexus devices on the market, the Pixel and Pixel XL are shipping without any HTC branding whatsoever. Instead, a small ‘G’ logo is present on the back of the phone, indicating that these are, in fact, Google phones.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL specifications, software and features

 Google PixelGoogle Pixel XL
Display5.0-inch AMOLED
1920 x 1080
441ppi
Fingerprint- and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
Gorilla Glass 4
5.5-inch AMOLED
2560 x 1440
534ppi
Fingerprint- and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
Gorilla Glass 4
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 821
2.15Ghz + 1.6Ghz, 64Bit Quad-Core
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
2.15Ghz + 1.6Ghz, 64Bit Quad-Core
GPUAdreno 530Adreno 530
RAM4GB
LPDDR4
4GB
LPDDR4
Storage32/128GB32/128GB
MicroSDNoNo
Cameras12.3MP rear camera with f/2.0, 1.55μm large pixels, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), Laser Detection Autofocus (LDAF), 4K (30fps) video capture, HD 240fps (8x), Full HD 120fps (4x) slow motion video, broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual-LED flash

8MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture, 1.4 µm pixels, Full HD video capture (30fps)
12.3MP rear camera with f/2.0, 1.55μm large pixels, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), Laser Detection Autofocus (LDAF), 4K (30fps) video capture, HD 240fps (8x), Full HD 120fps (4x) slow motion video, broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual-LED flash

8MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture, 1.4 µm pixels, Full HD video capture (30fps)
BatteryNon-removable 2,770mAh
Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging
Non-removable 3,450mAh
Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging
MediaSingle bottom-firing speaker
Adaptive audio amplifier
3 microphones (2 front, 1 rear) with noise cancellation
Single bottom-firing speaker
Adaptive audio amplifier
3 microphones (2 front, 1 rear) with noise cancellation
Wireless and location4G LTE with 3x Carrier aggregation
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS and GLONASS
Digital compass
4G LTE with 3x Carrier aggregation
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS and GLONASS
Digital compass
NetworkWorld-wide network/carrier compatibility with:1
GSM: Quad-band GSM
UMTS/WCDMA : B 1/2/4/5/8
CDMA: BC0/BC1/BC10
TDS-CDMA: N/A
FDD LTE: B 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30
TDD LTE: B 41
LTE 2xCA: B2+B2, B2+B4, B2+B5, B2+B12, B2+B13, B2+B17, B2+B29, B2+B30, B4+B4, B4+B5, B4+B7, B4+B12, B4+B13, B4+B17, B4+B29, B4+B30, B5+B30, B7+B7, B12+B30, B25+B25, B29+B30, B41+B41
LTE 3xCA: B2+B2+B12, B2+B2+B13, B2+B4+B4, B2+B4+B5, B2+B4+B12, B2+B4+B13, B2+B4+B29, B2+B5+B30, B2+B12+B30, B2+B29+B30, B4+B4+B12, B4+B4+B13, B4+B5+B30, B4+ B7+ B12, B4+B12+B30, B4+B29+B30, B41+B41+B41
Pixel is an unlocked phone and works on major carrier networks.
World-wide network/carrier compatibility with:1
GSM: Quad-band GSM
UMTS/WCDMA : B 1/2/4/5/8
CDMA: BC0/BC1/BC10
TDS-CDMA: N/A
FDD LTE: B 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30
TDD LTE: B 41
LTE 2xCA: B2+B2, B2+B4, B2+B5, B2+B12, B2+B13, B2+B17, B2+B29, B2+B30, B4+B4, B4+B5, B4+B7, B4+B12, B4+B13, B4+B17, B4+B29, B4+B30, B5+B30, B7+B7, B12+B30, B25+B25, B29+B30, B41+B41
LTE 3xCA: B2+B2+B12, B2+B2+B13, B2+B4+B4, B2+B4+B5, B2+B4+B12, B2+B4+B13, B2+B4+B29, B2+B5+B30, B2+B12+B30, B2+B29+B30, B4+B4+B12, B4+B4+B13, B4+B5+B30, B4+ B7+ B12, B4+B12+B30, B4+B29+B30, B41+B41+B41
Pixel is an unlocked phone and works on major carrier networks.
PortsUSB Type-C
Nano SIM
3.5mm audio jack
USB 3.0 data transfer
USB Type-C
Nano SIM
3.5mm audio jack
USB 3.0 data transfer
SensorsPixel Imprint
Accelerometer/Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Barometer
Proximity sensor/Ambient Light Sensor
Hall sensor
Android Sensor Hub
Pixel Imprint
Accelerometer/Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Barometer
Proximity sensor/Ambient Light Sensor
Hall sensor
Android Sensor Hub
OtherRGB LED notification lightRGB LED notification light
Wireless chargingNoNo
Water resistanceIP53IP53
SoftwareAndroid 7.1 NougatAndroid 7.1 Nougat
ColorsVery Silver, Quite Black, Really Blue (Limited Edition)Very Silver, Quite Black, Really Blue (Limited Edition)
Dimensions and weight143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm
143g
154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm
168g

Google decided to make two smartphones this year, similar to what it did last year with the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. This time around, though, there are barely any differences in specifications – only in screen size, resolution and battery. The larger Pixel XL sports a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, while the smaller Pixel has a 5.0-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Both devices are covered in a panel of Gorilla Glass 4.

Because the Pixel XL has a larger chassis, that leaves more room for Google to pack in a larger battery. It has a non-removable 3,450mAh battery that Google says will be able to get you up to 456 hours of standby time. Alternatively, the Pixel has a non-removable 2,770mAh battery.

Pixel owners get free unlimited Google Photos storage at full resolution

Under the hood, both devices come with a 2.15GHz Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. We’ve been really impressed by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 CPU this year, so we’re sure the 821 can handle everything power users throw at it. You also get either 32 or 128GB of on-board storage here, though there’s no 64GB model. Both devices also don’t support microSD expansion, but luckily Google is throwing in a special treat for Pixel owners. Pixel and Pixel XL buyers get free unlimited Google Photos storage at full resolution, which will definitely come in handy for many folks out there.

dxomark rating pixel-Google 2016

Speaking of taking photos, both devices come with a 12.3MP rear-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture, big 1.55μm pixels and optical image stabilization. Google says these phones offer up improved low light photography as well, though we’ll need to judge that during our review process. Both phones also have 8MP front-facing cameras. Oh, and DxOMark gave it a rating of 89, which is the highest rating of any smartphone ever.

pixel costumer care -Google 2016

The Pixel and Pixel XL also both have 24/7 customer care built in. You’ll be able to call or chat with a representative at any time, and also share your screen.

We’re still getting all the software details for the Pixel, but Google does say it’ll be able to download software updates in the background and install them on your next reboot.

We’re still getting all the details, but we do know that the Pixel will bring an all-new launcher (the Pixel Launcher), as well as Google Assistant. We’ve been playing around with a leaked version of the Pixel Launcher for a few weeks now, and we must say, it’s really great. It features a new folder style, a new slide-out app drawer, static date widget, and new Google search “pill” widget, and many more visual tweaks we think you’ll enjoy.

See also:
Google Assistant: The top features you should know

Google Assistant: The top features you should know

March 8, 2017

brian rakowski assistant demo -Google 2016

Google Assistant is baked into every corner of the Pixel and Pixel XL

The Pixel also brings along with it Google Assistant. This is basically the smarter, more chatty version of Google Now. You can access Assistant by saying ‘OK, Google’, or by long-pressing the home button (which would previously launch Google Now on Tap). Google Assistant is the bot that’s built into Google Allo, the company’s new smart messaging app. Instead of only existing in Allo, though, Assistant can be accessed from pretty much every corner of your device.

As you’ve probably noticed, these new Pixel devices also feature new navigation buttons. Gone are the white outlined back, home and recent apps keys. These new on-screen buttons are filled in, and the home button has a small white outline around it. Also, when launching Google Assistant by long-pressing the home button, the button will perform a cool little animation when you’re talking to Assistant.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL pricing and availability

The Pixel and Pixel XL will be available from Verizon and unlocked through the Google Store, with pre-orders starting today. They’ll be compatible with all four major U.S. carriers, too, as well as Project Fi. Pricing starts at $649 for the base model Pixel, or you can pay monthly for $27/month.

See also:
Google Pixel and Pixel XL now up for pre-order

Google Pixel and Pixel XL now up for pre-order

October 4, 2016

Google says the Pixel and Pixel XL will be available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany and the UK. It’ll also be available in India, with pre-orders starting October 13.

pixel cases -Google 2016

Google is also making Live Cases available for the Pixel and Pixel XL. You’ll be able to customize the cases with art, locations or your own photos, and each one also ships with a companion live wallpaper.


So, what are your thoughts? Will either one of these devices be your next smartphone? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Jimmy Westenberg
Lover of all things Android, Star Wars, dogs, coffee, and music.