Google Launches High End Pixel Smartphones

Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2016 - 11:47 PM |
Tagged: usb-c, Snapdragon 821, pixel, Kryo, google, android assistant, adreno 530, 802.11ac

Google introduced its own premium smartphone today in the form of the Pixel and Pixel XL. Running Android Nougat 7.1, the Pixel smartphones will not only run the latest operating system but will be the new premium experience with the best Android features including Google Assistant and Smart Storage with unlimited cloud storage of photos and videos.

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Google is definitely taking a greater interest in promoting Pixel than they have with even their Nexus devices. It will be interesting to see how other Android manufacturers react to this news but I would imagine that they are not all that pleased and Google will be in a similar position to Microsoft with its Surface products and Nvidia with it's Founder's Edition graphics cards. 

Google's Pixel lineup includes the Pixel (5.6 x 2.7 x 0.2-0.3") and the Pixel XL (6 x 2.9 x 0.2-0.34") that wrap their respective 5-inch 1080p (441 PPI) and 5.5-inch 1440p (534 PPI) displays in a full aluminum and glass unibody design that will come in one of three colors: Very Black, Quite Silver and Really Blue. The smartphones feature curved corners and rounded edges with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and half of the back. Google has put a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone and power, volume, three microphones, a USB-C port, and, yes, a 3.5mm audio jack. 

There are both front and rear cameras and Google is claiming that the rear camera in particular is the best smartphone camera yet (with a DxOMark score of 89 points). The rear camera (which sits flush with the back of the phone) is rated at 12.3 MP with a f/2.0 aperture, and 1.55µm pixels. The camera further features an IMX378 sensor. electronic image stabilization, and both phase detection and laser auto focus. The Pixel can take HDR+ photos and videos at up to 4K30, 1080p120, or 720p240. Users can adjust white balance and use automatic exposure or auto focus locking. The front camera is less impressive at 8MP with fixed focus lens and f/2.4.

Internally, Google has opted to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (MSM8996) which is a 2+2 design that pairs two Kryo cores at 2.15 GHz with two Kryo cores at 1.6 GHz along with an Adreno 530 GPU, an impressive 4GB of LPDDR4 memory, and either 32GB or 128GB of internal storage which is regrettably non-expandable. The smartphones can tap into up to Category 11 LTE (Cat 9 in the US), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC. Sensors include GPS, proximity, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, barometer, and hall sensors.

The Pixel features a 2,770 mAh battery and the Pixel Xl uses a slightly larger 3,450 mAh battery. In either case, Google rates the Pixel and Pixel XL at 13 hours and 14 hours of internet browsing and video playback respectively. Further, the batteries are able to be quick charged enough for up to "seven hours of use" after just 15 minutes of charging time using the included 18W USB-C charger.

Pricing works out to $649 for the 32GB Pixel, $749 for the 128GB Pixel, $769 for the 32GB Pixel XL, and $869 for the 128GB Pixel XL. In the US Google has partnered with Verizon for brick-and-mortar availability in addition to it being available on the Google store and other online retailers.

Google is banking a lot on these devices and asking a very premium price tag for the unlocked phones. It is certainly a gamble whether users will find the unique features enough to go with the Pixel over other flagships. What do you think about Google's increased interest in the smartphone space with the launch of its own hardware? How well will Pixel fit into the existing environment – will Pixel lead Android hardware and the OS to success or simply fragment it more?

I do like the look of the Pixel (especially the blue one) and the feature lists sounds good enough that maybe I could live without a removable battery and non-expandable storage (I'll be holding onto my old T-Mobile unlimited plan for as long as possible! heh). Pricing is a bit steep though and I think that will trip a lot of people up when searching for their next device.

Source: Google

October 5, 2016 | 12:14 AM - Posted by disgruntled Nexus 6 owner (not verified)

So much for wireless charging, OIS and dual speakers. Google FI might be good for me, but the Pixel is not. Engineers seem to be living in Neverland and prefer to take features away rather than add on to a standard that they helped bring to the mainstream.

October 5, 2016 | 01:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

A flip phone or low end smart phone and a very nice laptop could be had for the price of one of these Google phones.

$869 is more than I paid for my probook laptop and the probook came with a quad core IvyBridge core i7 and an AMD descrete GPU! What a total ripoff the smart phone market is.

October 5, 2016 | 02:22 AM - Posted by Happy Nexus 6 owner (not verified)

My Nexus 6 64gb that I paid $300 for back in January now looks WAY better than it did before considering the price difference between this and the Pixel XL. Even better is I get to wireless charging and dual speakers as noted above.

When I do upgrade it looks like it will be next year when the One Plus 4 comes out or even if I get a super low price on a N6P. It would have to be below $200 now though as I really like my wireless charging and going back to a cable is regress.

October 5, 2016 | 06:16 AM - Posted by Shadowarez

Man someone must pissed in op cornflakes took a shit in his coffee got his gf / wife pregnant and took his job all in one day there's always a better way for ppl like you long walk off short plank. Do rest of humanity a favor go play in traffic on a freeway with blind fold on.

October 5, 2016 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Why do you say that? heh

October 5, 2016 | 08:31 AM - Posted by CB (not verified)

In for one when they are $400 on Swappa. Should be about 3-4 months.

October 5, 2016 | 10:04 AM - Posted by boidsonly

@ those prices?! LOL
No thanks...

October 5, 2016 | 11:07 AM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

We should really just call this story "How Google burned bridges with every Nexus user they used to have with the new Pixel phone"

October 5, 2016 | 04:47 PM - Posted by Lance Ripplinger (not verified)

Yay, Google launches an iPhone.....err....Pixel.....

October 5, 2016 | 05:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No keyboard is unacceptable, especially at that price

October 6, 2016 | 08:26 PM - Posted by LegoGuy (not verified)

Where have you been the past 5 years?
Assuming you're not a troll, physical keyboards are all but gone on cell phones.

October 5, 2016 | 10:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I bought the GNex from an international retailer, I skipped the 4 because of the lack of LTE. Bought the N5 and N5x on their launch days respectively.

The pixel looks like a solid phone, but I can't get down with the price/performance. Also I'm still burned from the lack of wireless charging from N5 to N5x and here. Maybe when it gets cheaper.

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