The Google Pixel and Pixel XL will be available for purchase as from October 20, but preorders are already underway via the Google Store and other retailers, including Verizon Wireless.
These two phones have come to replace the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P released last year. So, how do the two sets of phones from 2015 and 2016 stand up against each other?
If you are a keen follower of Google and its smartphone lineup, you should have noticed the changes the company has been making in the recent past. In essence, Google wasn’t sure of what it really wanted in the smartphone industry, but with the Pixel and Pixel XL, it seems the search engine giant has finally found an identity.
The last time Google went through carriers with its phones was with the Motorola-made Nexus 6 released in 2014. This handset was big, packed with high-end specs, but it was extremely expensive, especially when looking at the standards Nexus devices had set. Offering it through carriers was a way for Google to try and ease the price burden for potential buyers, but the turnout was not good enough. As a result, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P reverted to the usual Nexus standards.
The Nexus 5X was meant for the common man while the Nexus 6P targeted the high-end niche. Many were satisfied with this move as they could afford to have pure Android devices at affordable prices. The Nexus 5X was priced at under $400 while the Nexus 6P had a price tag of under $500 – prices that have been dropping as the release of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL draws closer.
The 2016 handsets have dropped the Nexus branding in favor of Pixel, there is a new, identical design for the two handsets as well as the same hardware specs under the hood. So, let’s take a look at the old versus the new.
Design and price details
The LG Nexus 5X came in at a price tag of $379 for the base model. However, this low pricing also meant that you get a plastic body, less RAM, a smaller, Full HD screen as well as a mid-range processor. As for the flagship Huawei Nexus 6P, the base model cost $499, but this meant that users get a larger screen, an all-metal body and high-end specs, including the 2015 flagship processor from Qualcomm.
Looking at the 2016 Google Pixel and Pixel XL, the company took a different direction, this time using the same metal and glass design on the two phones, but still keeping them different with screen sizes and quality. You find the fingerprint scanner at the same positions as the predecessors and so is the camera. In addition to the different screen size and resolution, the Pixel and Pixel XL also come with different battery capacities as well as pricing.
The base model of the smaller Pixel costs $649 while that of the Pixel XL costs $769. When compared to the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, the 2016 models are some expensive pieces of gadgets.
Hardware specs and features
The 2015 Nexus 5X has a screen size of 5.2 inches and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The IPS LCD panel is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, which is not bad for a phone that now costs less than $300. Under the hood, the 5X has a Snapdragon 808 SoC that is paired with an Adreno 418 GPU and 2GB RAM. As for the storage, there are two options – 16GB and 32GB – but no room for microSD card storage.
There is a 12.3MP snapper on the back of the phone with an aperture of f/2.0, dual-tone LED flash as well as laser autofocus. The front part has a 5MP sensor that should deliver great selfies and video calling services. The phone uses a USB Type-C port to charge its 2700mAh battery. You also get NFC, 4G LTE and other standard connectivity options on board.
The Huawei-made Nexus 6P, being the flagship model, has a 5.7-inch QHD screen with a 1440p resolution. The AMOLED panel is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4. Under the hood, the Nexus 6P packs a Snapdragon 810 SoC that is paired with an Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB RAM. There are three storage options of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB, but still no room for expandable storage.
The phone shares the same rear camera specs with its smaller counterpart, but the selfie camera gets a better 8MP sensor. Its huge size means the phone gets a 3450mAh battery unit that is also charged via a USB Type-C port. Unlike its budget counterpart, the Nexus 6P supports fast charging, alongside other latest connectivity standards.
These two are currently running on Android 7.0 Nougat, which is available via an OTA update.
In comparison, the Google Pixel comes with a 5-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD resolution of 1080p. This screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 4 technology. As for the Pixel XL, there is a 5.5-inch AMOLED screen with QHD resolution of 1440p. Like the Pixel, the flagship Pixel XL has Gorilla Glass 4 technology. The differences in size also mean you get different battery capacities, with the Pixel coming with a 2770mAh unit as compared to the 3450mAh unit you get on the Pixel XL.
As for the rest of the performance specs, these two share the same details. There is a Snapdragon 821 SoC paired with an Adreno 530 GPU and 4GB RAM. The storage options are two – either 32GB or 128GB – and like the predecessors, there is no microSD card storage.
The same 12.3MP sensor is used on the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, with the aperture standing at f/2.0. Other features such as dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, EIS, and HDR+ are also on board. The front part has an 8MP sensor that features an aperture of f/2.4. The company kept on with USB Type-C connectivity as well as fast charging technology for both handsets. You also get NFC, fingerprint scanner, GPS and all latest connectivity standards.
Running on Android 7.1 Nougat, the Pixel and Pixel XL also come with a number of exclusive features that those using the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will not see. Things like the Google Assistant, unlimited cloud storage for full-resolution photos and videos as well as 24/7 customer support, among others.