The Pixel and Pixel XL may be produced by HTC, but they’re unquestionably “Google phones” — they are the first handsets in history to carry the company’s new “made by Google” brand, in fact. And they’re an impressive first attempt.
Price and availability
Since its release, the Pixel phones have proven popular and, unfortunately, very difficult to find. Nearly a year later, Google finally appears to have a stable stock going — and with the Pixel 2 available, the company has already started slashing prices.
In light of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL’s launch, the Google Store is offering steep discounts on all first-gen Pixel models. Be forewarned that quantities are limited, though.
- 32GB Pixel: $550 (down from $650) or $22.88 per month for 24 months
- 128GB Pixel: $650 (down from $750) or $27.04 per month for 24 months
- 32GB Pixel XL $670 (down from $770) or $27.88 month for 24 months
- 128GB Pixel XL: $770 (down from $870) or $32.04 per month for 24 months
Both the Pixel and Pixel XL come in 32GB and 128GB storage capacity options, in black, silver/white, or blue colors. Google cheekily calls these “quite black,” “very silver,” and “really blue.” The blue version can only be had with 32GB storage.
In the United Kingdom, the Pixel and Pixel XL are sold through the Google Play online store. The 32GB Pixel is 600 British pounds, and the 32GB Pixel XL is 720 pounds. Opt for the 128GB model and you’ll pay 700 pounds for the Pixel, and a massive 820 pounds for the Pixel XL.
For a start, only the black and silver versions were sold in the country, but from February 24, the “really blue” limited edition model will arrive. However, it appears to only be available through Carphone Warehouse and the EE network. Shortly before the U.K. announcement of the blue Pixel, Canadian network Rogers exclusively secured the limited edition model.
Both phones, differentiated more by size than hardware, bear the hallmarks of high-end
Google’s new phones aren’t just pretty faces, though: they’re powerhouses. The Pixel XL packs a 5.5-inch, Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) AMOLED screen with an impressive density of 534 pixels-per-inch. The Pixel packs a smaller and lower-resolution AMOLED screen at 5 inches and Full HD (1080 x 1920 pixels), respectively, but squeezes it into a slightly more compact package.
Beneath those displays is one of the fastest mobile processors around. The Pixels have the distinction of packing Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor, a chip 10 percent more power efficient than the predeceasing Snapdragon 820. The variant in the Pixels is clocked at a 2.15GHz and paired with 4GB of
Those aren’t the only highlights. The Pixels share a pair of cameras that promise impressive captures in both daytime and dim surroundings — Rick Osterloh, Google’s head of hardware, called them the “best
Powering all those features are impressively large batteries. The Pixels sport Lithium-ion power packs of capacities that promise hours, if not days, on a charge: the Pixel XL packs a 3,450mAh battery, while the Pixel sports a 2,770mAh pack. Better yet, both support quick charging, which Google said can deliver up to 70 percent in after 15 minutes on a charger.
Familiar accouterments abound on both Pixels. Both feature USB Type-C connectors, Bluetooth,
Hardware is only part of the Pixels’ appeal, of course. Android 7.1 Nougat is the other, and it’s a doozie of an upgrade from the version of Android — 6.0 Marshmallow — that shipped on Google’s Nexus 6P and 5X. Launcher Shortcuts provide quick access to activities and settings menus within apps. Pressing and holding a Google Maps icon, for instance, might surface a pop-up for turn-by-turn navigation to saved locations; a Google Calendar icon might include buttons for quickly creating a new event or reminder, and a Google Play Music icon might include shortcuts to a saved playlist or recently played songs.
The original Pixel and Pixel XL could also be benefiting from the launch of the latest generation with more than just a lower price, Android Police reports. An update to the Google Photos app is also bringing Google Lens to the older devices. Lens is a computer vision program that allows you to say, snap a photo of a flower you don’t recognize and find out its name.
Beyond the Google Assistant, the Pixel Launcher sports a pull-up dock provides quick access to apps, plus a search bar for quickly parsing through software previously installed.
The Pixels also include a Google Photos benefit: Free “unlimited” storage for full-resolution photos. And they pack an app that provides 24/7 live customer care. If you encounter an issue, you can reach a support agent via chat and even share your screen to let the agent see what you’re seeing. The Pixels also ship with Allo and Duo, Google’s latest text and video messaging apps, pre-installed.
If you want to know more about
Update: Added news of Google Store discount and addition of Google Lens.
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