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Google Pixel review

8.6/10 AVG.
RATING



8.6/10
Informr score
The Google Pixel currently has an Informr score of 8.6 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 44 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Fast, detailed camera with great low-light performance
  • Built-in support for technical issues
  • All-day battery
  • Fast charging support
  • Vibrant, bright display
  • Fast performance
  • First access to Android updates

What's bad

  • No microSD support
  • Single, weak down-firing speaker
  • Possibly bland design

Google’s Nexus series offered a mid-tier option for those looking for fastlane access to the best of Google’s Android operating system. However, Google never made their own handsets. Instead they handed the reins to other manufacturers and focused on the software. Until now that is. The Google Pixel is the first completely Google phone and they have made bold claims about what to expect.

The phone is finally out and reviews are rolling in. Does the Pixel have what it takes to compete with the big names in Android flagship phones? Let’s see what others are saying!

Reviews on the overall design of the phone are divided. One group feels the phone is bland. The other feels that it’s a perfect take on the designs of the other flagship phones this year. However, no one had issues with quality or comfortable usage. The Guardian noted, “The Pixel feels great in the hand, with nicely curved edges and flat sides that make it easy to grip and hold on to.” Android Police sided with the critics, saying, “The Pixel is a phone that seems to say "You're just going to put a case on me anyway, why should I dress up for the occasion?"

One novel feature of the design is the wedge shape to the rear cover. This eliminates the camera bubble, allowing the phone to lie flat on most surfaces. You’ll also find a fingerprint scanner on the rear which reviews loved.

Flipping around front you’re greeted with a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED panel. Reviewers loved the color balance, noting it wasn’t prone to the color saturation of other AMOLED-equipped phones. Android Police declared, “The Pixel offers an excellent display, if not one that's going to have Samsung looking over its shoulder.”

Underneath the hood, the phone has a Snapdragon 821 processor running at 2.15GHz. There’s also 4GB of RAM to keep apps moving along during multitasking. The UK’s Telegraph tested the phone for a week and said, “The device is blisteringly quick: you can zip around menus and apps with ease. The fingerprint reader responds instantly, and in five days of testing I’ve experienced no lag across the phone.” The Verge was equally positive, saying, “On performance alone, these are easily the best Android phones you can buy.”

The phone is the first to run Google’s latest Android 7.1 Nougat operating system. New features include quick menu icons, a redesigned app drawer and baked-in gesture support. There’s also the Google Assistant. Reviews were generally positive on all fronts, though the service is still new.

The Pixel doesn’t offer microSD card support, so it’s important to consider how much space you’ll need for your apps, games and media. The stock model comes with 32GB of internal storage and the high-end tops out at 128GB. However, all Pixel phones get unlimited Google Drive storage for photos and video. This might help to conserve space.

The phone’s 2,770mAh battery might seem small on paper, but reviews had no problems getting a day of use out of a single charge. Pocket-Lint noted, “With light use, our Pixel got from 07:30 to 18:00 with 60 per cent of its capacity left. For light users, this Pixel phone could even be a two day phone.” Even power users have little to worry about with support for USB-C fast charging offering a 40% charge in roughly 25 minutes.

Google made big claims about its 12.3MP rear camera and 8MP front-facing lens. Reviews seem to back up these claims. While the rear camera lacks optical image stabilization, it does include laser and phase-detection autofocus as well as two-tone flash. Reviews were positive on picture quality, ease of use and responsiveness. Android Police praised the camera, saying, “In my opinion, the Pixel is the best smartphone camera on the market. It's not just the quality of photos, it's everything that makes the camera so capable and simple.”

One additional feature you’ll find on the Pixel versus other Android phones is the built-in support. Through the settings menu you have 24/7 access to phone and chat support--complete with screen sharing--to resolve any issues you might have. Reviewers tried the service and found it worked as expected.

Overall, the only question raised by some was pricing. While the phone is priced to compete with flagship phones, reviews agreed it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. However, they also agree that what the phone does--it does extremely well. PC Magazine summed up opinions well, saying, “If software is of paramount importance to you, no other Android phone on the market can match the Pixel.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
2.15 GHz
Screen Size
5"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Recombu

The Pixel phone is still a great handset a year on, offering a solid and satisfying user experience in pretty much every department. Battery life has actually improved and you can still expect premium performance from the camera and the handset itself.

- Chris Barraclough, Recombu
TechRadar

The Pixel XL features top-of-the-line specs to introduce Android 7.1 Nougat to the world. This VR-capable phone has a fast processor, smart AI software and a superb camera, all sandwiched into a funky design.

- Matt Swider, TechRadar
Android Police

Google made a great phone when it built the Pixel. Now Google needs to be a great phone company. I'm curious to see if they can pull it off.

- David Ruddock, Android Police
Tom's Guide

The Pixel isn't a perfect device, but it captured me from the moment I took it out of the box. It's compact and has a great in-hand feel that makes me wonder why I didn't buy it over the Pixel XL in the first place. The new Pixel Launcher brings some functionality (though it's iPhone-inspired) to th...

- Deidre Richardson, Tom's Guide
The Next Web

The one thing the Android ecosystem has always lacked was a cohesive hardware and software experience that was also widely accessible. The Google Pixel solves that (well, except for being sold out all the time). It may not be the Android phone for everyone, but it’s the easiest to recommend.

- Napier Lopez, The Next Web


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Quick view

Screen Size
5"

The Google Pixel's screen size is 5 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.15 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 pro Quad core 2.15 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 7.0 Nougat (Update Available: 9.0 Pie) operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
32/128 GB

Internal memory is 32/128 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
2770mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2770 mAh battery. HTC's performance ratings are 1560 minutes, 780 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Google Pixel Specs

Overview
Release date October 20, 2016
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA:
800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/2100 /800/850/900/1800/2600/2300 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat (Update Available: 9.0 Pie)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 pro Quad core 2.15 GHz
Internal Storage 32/128 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.89 W/kg
Body: 0.56 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2770 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 780 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 780 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 780 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1560 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 19 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Quite Silver, Very Black, Really Blue
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.2 x 6.9 x 0.5 cm (5.6 x 2.7 x 0.2 in)
Weight 143 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 441 pixels
Size 5 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating Yes
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 2
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer, HDR, Slow motion recording
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
HD (1280 x 720 pixels), 30 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, M4A, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments
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