Pixel XL Review – Google’s iPhone 7+ Killer?


[Kevin] What was once the Nexus, is now the Pixel This is the Google Pixel XL, the larger version of the Pixel

And this is Google's flagship for 2016 This is the first time Google has taken control, not only of the software but also of the hardware of this device Sure, the device certainly is made by HTC, but it's branding certainly doesn't suggest that, but is Google's first attempt at a complete phone worth taking a look at? I'm Kevin the Tech Ninja and let's find out (upbeat music) Looking at the Pixel XL is not the prettiest thing in the world The metal and glass hybrid design won't turn many heads and neither would that bezel up front

Now all the stuff does make the Pixel look just like the iPhone and that's not really a good thing The usual volume and power buttons are found on the right and the top houses the headphone jack No, Google did not have courage this time around On the bottom is the speaker, microphone, and also the USB C port, while the right houses the space for the sim tray The camera's are in their usual places on the front and the back and then you also have your fingerprint scanner on the very back as well

Combine all that with the 55 inch display, and it makes for a rather chunky design, which the Pixel XL is at 45 millimeters thick The glass panel on the back is also a interesting design choice It's not grown on me just yet neither, it actually is pretty annoying because it can crack and this thing gets fingerprints like none other, so of course, if you don't like the color options, you always can debrand your device

For just a few bucks you could upgrade the look of your phone, you can change it up a bit, and you can also help your device from being so slippery On a side note, I'm not sure if this is my model or not, but my volume button up is very loud versus the bottom button, it feels a bit more chintzy as well and it's something that I'm going to keep my eye on Now despite of it's design not being its strong point, there is so much to like about the Pixel The vivid contrast on the Amoled display looks great, all the colors pop and when you combine that with the Quad HD resolution, you have yourself one great looking display Overall, it may be bit on the cool side for some people, but I think it looks really, really good

Over the years we've seen Google step up and bring flagship specifications on their phone, and this year continues the trend The Pixel XL comes with the latest Snapdragon 821 processor at 22 gigahertz and the matching Adreno 530 GPU That extra 10% boost is welcome and combine that with the latest Android 71 makes every task fly with both real-world usage and also in benchmarks

Since the OS is light, you don't have that Sam lag that you see with TouchWiz Boom Apps open up with no shutter or lag As you'd expect, the software is clean, but for me, I'm a bit disappointed with the design I know I'm nitpicking but the icons seem to be inconsistent and the folders are ugly

Also they changed the way you access the launcher, it's now a swipe up instead of a tap Even so, little things like this isn't really a big deal for some people and they made some pretty decent changes too Like you can access the notifications using the fingerprint scanner on the back and also you do have true multitasking support baked in, which is really nice I ended up going with Nova and I tossed on the icon pack as well So I have the links down below for my setup, but I do change it often

Now Google Assistant is one of Google's selling features for this phone, and it does make a really nice appearance on Android 71, and it's actually only officially available for Pixel devices right now The assistant is great and it's smart enough to pick up on a variety of different phrases and when given very specific information It serves as a large refinement over Google Now, combining not only it's factual expertise but also the ability to have general conversation I do wonder if this will make it to other Android devices eventually, but I'm not quite sure

Google Assistant is amazing already and now it works with If This Then That, so it just makes me really excited about what's coming out for Google Assistant and I have it actually hooked up to my TV, so check this out Okay Google, turn on my TV – [Automated Voice] TV on, my ninja – [Kevin] This is Google's best attempt at a smartphone and rightly they're best attempt at a camera too The 12

3 megapixel camera received their best score on DxOMark thus far, but numbers don't tell the full story In good lighting, the Pixel XL takes very nice images with better dynamic range than most devices It has a very fast shutter speed which is good for capturing really fast moments, and also it does have a lens blur effect which requires a steady upward movement on the smartphone Now that's not super intuitive, and Google really did make an attempt to add a couple new features on the camera but auto mode usually is the one that I fall back on anyways, but at night is when the situation changes The camera suffers a lot and it doesn't have a ton of detail

Pictures don't come out as sharp as the competition and this might be due to the lack of optical image stabilization on the device This omission is very disappointing, but it does not hurt 4K video too much, which is not only stable, but it captures tremendous detail, switching to a 8 megapixel front facing camera with just a twist of your wrist, it performs very well too, and it actually does decent in dark scenarios It has tremendous dynamic range and a slightly wider angle lens, so you can take a selfie with multiple people Now there is something that I have to mention, it's sort of the elephant in the room about the Pixel's camera, there is a halo effect that's affecting some units It seems like it's letting in too much light, but I will refer you to Jeff Springer's channel, he has a full video explaining this, links down below

The 34 thousand 50 milliamp battery seems a bit overwhelming for a chunky phone like this, but in spite of it's size, I've been actually having some really good battery life and I like to thank Android Doze for this, thank you Android Doze And also, it seems that the antennas are better on this device I actually have two bars in my basement and that helps with battery life too, versus a phone that's always searching I average two more hours of standby time and around 45 minutes of screen on time on this device, so that's good Speakers onboard are meh and they lack depth and just sound bad

I know some people like the speakers but for me no base at all in your music is something that makes it sound tinny and reminds you that you're using a cell phone and not like an actual speaker It's a downgrade from the 6Pfor sure But the fact is this, the Pixel XL is a great, great first attempt from Google If you take away its looks and its slightly bulky build, the smartphone manages to do almost everything right At 749 dollars, Google's days in the affordable market are long gone, but if you're charging this much money, make sure you make the phone right and make sure it competes with other flagship phones, which it does

I think Google is in the flagship market and I think they're price is what it is Sure this phone looks like an iPhone without a button, but when you compare this phone spec to spec and performance to performance, this phone does deserve to cost what it costs The Pixel phones are the next flagship phones for Google and they're gonna be at the flagship price for better or worse.
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