Google’s First Ever Phone, Is It Worth It? (Pixel XL Video Review)

The first phones actually designed by Google called the Pixel and Pixel XL are finally here. Unlike the Nexus devices before, these phones aren’t just guidelines by Google that were then handed off to a manufacturing partner, but rather were completely designed by Google and just brought to fruition by HTC.

Knowing this, two questions arise immediately. One, what does Google actually think a phone should be and, two, do you want what Google thinks a phone should be?

Pixel vs Pixel XL

Pixel vs Pixel XL

So I have here the Pixel XL, the larger and more popular of the two judging by which models/colors went out of stock the fastest. Despite the larger size though, there isn’t much difference between the two devices. A bigger 5.5″ screen and a 2.5k resolution on the Pixel XL and a 5″ 1080P screen on the Pixel. A larger 3450mah battery in the XL and a 2770mah battery in the Pixel. And finally, a $120 price difference.

Other than those things, a review of the Pixel XL basically covers the Pixel and vise versa.

Design

The Pixels both have this honed aluminum body with chamfered edges that actually make them feel great in the hand with a good weight and solid feeling. The top half of the back is covering in this glass that, while unique, was probably put in here to allow for better cell reception and connectivity. The front of the device, however, looks, well, oddly familiar with two similarly sized bezels at the top and bottom of the screen. And, yes, I have numerous times tried to tap a home button that doesn’t exist because of this.

Pixel XL and iPhone

Above that though, we have one of the nicest screens available on a phone with deep blacks, and vibrant colors that pop.

All in all though, the design of the phone isn’t anything spectacular, and isn’t going to turn any heads (except that the really blue is really freakin’ blue), it doesn’t feel cheap at all and does have that premium hand feel that’s a bit harder to describe.

On the back there is also a fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the glass portion that I like a lot. If we’re honest, a fingerprint sensor on the back of a phone is going to be where your hand is more naturally than, say, at the bottom of the front. It works super fast (as like on most phones with a fingerprint sensor like this) and the only time it isn’t convenient, is if it’s laying face up on a table.

Lockscreen on Table

At the bottom of the device we have what looks deceivingly like stereo speaker grills that are in fact a microphone and a mono speaker instead. The sound coming out of the one speaker is loud enough though for my taste without getting distrorted as I usually use headphones when listening to music on my phone anyway.

Speaking of, there is a headphone jack at the top of the device. And I feel quite odd having to point that out, but people seem to be really polarized by Apple’s removal of it so, there we go.

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  • Major Sceptic

    The pixels need to be a lot cheaper .

    • I mean every phone would be better if it was cheaper no? 🙂

    • Goran

      Ppl are crazy for buying these phones for present price. Totally Aplleish design, features and price.

  • Barry Moore

    It’s an iPhone ripoff. If I wanted an iPhone I would invest nearly a thousand dollars on an iphone. The things that make Android phones better, like expandable storage, or simply getting a solid device that does everything an iPhone does at half the price, are missing with this Pixel line. Its not the phone for me, with so many options out there that can perform as well or better than Pixel phones at far less cost. Sheesh the last Nexus phones are almost as good, for half the price.

    • Yeah, I agree the price is a bit steep. I mean, finally a good camera on a “Nexus” device which I’m super excited about. Great processor, etc. but I have a feeling they made the price what it was just so they could be “on par” with iPhones –so they aren’t viewed as less than. We’ll see how it sells, I suppose.

  • Goran

    Simply too expensive. And double standards in reviewing phones are irritating. Htc 10 was crucified for not being watterprof and not having so called WOW factor. Pixels are glorified inspite offering the same or even less than 10. Simply disgusting. Htc 10 for 550 is much better buy.

    • Did you watch my review? And my review of the HTC 10? Don’t compare my review to someone else’s and call it a double standard. Two different perspectives –and I try and keep mine consistent 😉

      I actually liked the way the HTC 10 looked and waterproofing wasn’t becoming a common feature back then so who cares (even now it’ll take a while for it to become a standard feature).

      • Goran

        I didn’t see you’re review of htc 10 before, and today I looked for review on this site, it doesn’t exist. Only few for rooting and one before you even had it, pre review kind. But anyway, double standards are present on most reviews of pixels I’ve seen. Reviewers just seem to be scared to criticize pixels. Their abnormal price, non existent htc audio quality, DAC, amp and htc enchantments (was google cutting edges and expenses with not requiring htc to build in their audio? Is 3.5 on them pure marketing and antiapple commercial?) Why 64gb model is missing? Did Google copied only apple iPhone look or google is copiing apple strategy completly? Is move to put glass on part of the phone that ppl will touch the most, wise? Practical? Is really fingerprint on their back better and more natural then in the front? Are pixels smoothest and fastest Android phones if op3 opens apps faster and s7 edge smoother and faster in games? Why should one pay 850$ for pixel xl if htc 10 is 550? Are fast updates, beta google assistant and few tweaks worth 300?

  • Azor Ahai

    Google’s first ever phone? What is Nexus then?

    • Nexus devices were guidelines given by Google to a manufacturer and then that manufacturer designed the phone around that. The Pixel, on the other hand, was a phone the Google actually designed, then handed the specs to HTC and said build it. Does that make sense?

      • Nix !

        How about the T-Mobile G1 aka (HTC Dream) ? Last I checked Google designed it, then handed it over to HTC and said build it! Pixel maybe a remake but not the first.

        • Nope. They were partners on it. HTC helped with the design.