The Google Pixel and Pixel XL took a different direction with respect to last year’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, not just in the design and branding process, but also in the channels for selling them.
In 2014, the Google Nexus 6 was launched and to ensure the Motorola-made handset reached many users, it came with a carrier-based version. This did not materialize with the 2015 Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P – phones that were only available via the Google Store and other third-party retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy. These models were selling as unlocked variants with an outright payment policy.
Now, in 2016, Google has reverted to its 2014 plan and it is offering the Google Pixel and Pixel XL via Verizon Wireless. What this means is that the device will be locked to the carrier’s network and unlike the unlocked models, only a Verizon SIM card will work on the phones. If you have a different carrier in mind, you’d better get the Pixel or Pixel XL from the Google Store.
One advantage of getting the Google Pixel and Pixel XL via Verizon Wireless is access to many carrier-exclusive services on offer, for instance, Wi-Fi Calling and HD Voice. In addition, you also get to buy the phone via contracts, which is more convenient that paying for it outright. The latter reason is nothing concrete to make you stick with Verizon as the Google Store version also comes with financing options.
Speaking of the Google Store version, this variant is unlocked and can be used on any carrier, including Verizon Wireless. The good side of the story is that this unlocked Google Store variant will also offer support for the earlier-mentioned Verizon Wireless services, that is, Wi-Fi Calling and HD Voice.
This case is also true if you buy the Google Pixel and Pixel XL via the official Google Project Fi page. While this method will earn you a free Fi SIM card, you will still be able to access Wi-Fi Calling and HD Voice features.