Google has finally stamped its authority on the fact that it is a bona fide hardware manufacturer by launching the Pixel and Pixel XL phones.
Like Apple’s iPhone that is usually made by Foxconn, the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL are made by HTC and the Taiwanese name or logo is nowhere to be seen. In short, Google is the one taking all the credit for the two phones, just like Apple does. But this really matters less as everyone is still happy that the two phones, alongside the much-hyped Google Daydream View VR headset, are finally here.
Here’s an early look at these two major introductions.
Google Pixel and Pixel XL
Google has officially entered the Apple and Samsung games where two high-end phones are released with basically the same design language, hardware specs, software, features, but are mainly differentiated by the screen size.
There is a 5-inch Google Pixel and a 5.5-inch Google Pixel XL. Where the former has a Full HD screen with 1080p resolution, the latter is an AMOLED panel with QHD 1440p resolution. As note earlier, you get the same design that includes an aluminum build and glass backs, with the fingerprint scanner resting just below the main camera. There is fast charging support, which should mean you get about 7 hours of use with a 15-minute charge, but there is no wireless charging.
It was rumored that the Google Pixel and Pixel XL will come with some form of water resistance, but this did not materialize. It comes as a surprise given that both Apple and Samsung came in with devices that have this feature. The microSD card slot is missing as usual, but you get 32GB and 128GB storage options. To get the former storage option on the smaller Pixel, you need $649 while the larger variant commands a fee of $749.
Google says that the 12.3MP sensor on the back of the phones will make it to the top as the best cameras in 2016, however, this has to be taken through real world tests first in order to confirm the claim, especially since it lacks OIS. The front panel has an 8MP sensor with f/2.4 aperture. Google Assistant is another major highlight of the Pixel and Pixel XL phones, accessible by long-pressing the home button. The assistant can be asked anything and give back reliable responses. The software changes go as far as the icons, with the new Android Nougat featuring rounded versions as well as a new G button on the home screen for accessing the search bar. With a missing app drawer, the apps can now be accessed by pulling up a tray that is pinned to the bottom of the handset’s home screen.
If you love taking photos and videos, the Google Photos app on the Pixel and Pixel XL phones will be able to automatically sync with captured photos and videos, creating a full-resolution copy on the cloud.
Google Daydream View VR headset
The launch of the Google Pixel phones also brought to life a new Google Daydream View VR headset that is priced at just $79. This headset represents a significant step up from the inaugural Google Cardboard.
In addition to the Pixel and Pixel XL, Google mentioned that a number of other smartphone OEMs are busy making phones that can work with this gadget, but this should be happening later in the year.