Google Pixel XL: That Definitive But Long After Review

By - November 2016

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By now if you were truly interested in picking up the new Google Pixel, you should have read every review under the sun for it. So glaze over this if you have and already picked up one. If you have picked up one, then you like me know by now that it is freaking awesome. I’ve had the Google Pixel XL for about a month plus now and it is by far my favorite phone. There was a period where I really did miss my Nexus 6P (as that also is truly a great phone), but now that some time has passed, I haven’t looked back. So if you still on the fence or as it is holiday season and you need a few reasons why you should spoil yourself or a love one with this phone, I’m here to help you out with why!

This Is The Android User’s iPhone

googlepixel-5 Trust me if you are a true Android/Google fan, you cringe of comparing it to the iPhone, but let me explain. The iPhone benefits from being designed to spec on both the hardware and software side and always has been with Apple. Android beginnings were in its variety. Many companies could put their spin on Android and gave people great choice, but never truly has their be one phone to rule them all.

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL is that phone. While the Nexus line has been a great reference guide of what Android could be, the Pixel IS what it can be. This time around Google has designed to spec exactly what they wanted on the hardware and software side. This has created a truly remarkable phone. So while yes I cringe at the comparison, this is truly the iPhone of the Android world and I’m okay with that!

It Looks Good & Just Works

The Google Pixel is a the normal rectangle with curves at the corner slab, and we’re all use to that. But there definitely have been some ugly rectangle looking devices, fortunately the Pixel isn’t one of them. The Pixel is a nice look device coming in the Quite Black (really gray), Very Silver, and the highly coveted Really Blue which is always out of stock when I check. To break from the normal the Pixel has an odd glass panel at the top back of the phone. At first it was a design choice I didn’t get, but now I’ve come to like it. On the front both the AMOLED Full HD on the Pixel and AMOLED QHD on the XL screen is great. From day one I really enjoyed the screen and still do.

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With regards to just works, it just does! This is an Android phone for the masses. Yes the gadget heads and tech savvy will love it, but this phone can appeal to the average Joe who just wants a phone that just works. Thank to that Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and the 4GB of RAM, the Google Pixel/Xl is a phone that is buttery smooth as you use it. And not just fresh out the box but consistently. As I have used this phone now for some time, I haven’t experienced any slow downs or major problems as yet. Apps launch fast, and multi-tasking has been consistent and effective. So far I haven’t had a moment where I had to wait for something to load or had the system get wonky.

The Camera & Battery Is Amazing

If you have read the reviews then you know many have said the camera has been great on the Pixel. Google even proclaim the best camera on a smartphone. While I put no stock in a company’s claims, the real world experience with the Google Pixel’s camera has indeed been amazing. I don’t know if this is really the best, but if you want a good camera in your phone the Pixel won’t let you down. Both the Pixel and Pixel XL have an 12.3MP for the rear cam and 8MP cam for the front. 4K video shooting is also on board. Quality has been very good in both day and night-time shooting. Again the claim of the best is a matter of your perspective but I wouldn’t rule it unjustified!

Another bright point is the battery. The Pixel has a 2,770 mAh battery and the XL a 3,450 mAh one, but the real star is the Google Doze feature. Doze was introduced in Android Marshmallow, but with Android 7.1 Nougat it works expertly! With the Doze feature I can literally unplug my phone at 100% and if I’m not using my phone a few hours later the battery level would only be at 95%. With the Google Pixel and Pixel XL you can expect great battery usage whether you’re a power users like myself or just causally use your phone throughout the day. This is great and something you should expect from a flagship phone by Google!

The Google Perks

googlepixel-2 When you pick up a Google Pixel, there are a couple of features exclusive to Pixel owners (at least for now I would think). The first of them being Google Assistant. Google Assistant is what I think is the next direction for Google and I think we will start seeing more development being done with it. Assistant is an upgrade from Google Now and it is starting to have a more A.I. conversationalist style to it. “Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. It’s your own personal Google, always ready to help. Just start with “Ok Google”.” – Google

Another very great perk is Google Pixel users get unlimited storage for their photos and videos using Google Photos! This is a great feature to have. You not only get unlimited storage, but for your full HD high res pictures and 4K videos. So not need to take up space on your phone itself, but you can back up them up in Google Photos and then remove the files off your phone saving you space! Thinking of buying one now, if you do Google is offering 3 months of Google Play free as well.

Not All Roses

While overall the Google Pixel is an amazing phone, it does have a few minor items I wish it did have. These might not be an issue for some people, but were items that let me down. The first of those is the down-firing speakers. While yes they do sound good and for the most part has been loud enough, nothing will convince me they are better than the dual front-facing speakers the Nexus 6P had. Honestly front-facing speakers should be the norm by now and not having them is a let down.

The other is its lack of water resistance. Don’t get it front if you get caught in a little light rain your phone won’t die on you, but it definitely might not last a drop in the toilet. This isn’t as much a concern for me as I don’t generally use my phone in the rain or make it a habit to hover over toilets, but Google could have done better in this department.

Wrap Up

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The Google Pixel and Pixel XL is the first Android phone designed top down by Google and it shows. The Pixel looks good, works well, and takes a mean picture! All this does come with a higher bar of entry than Android users may be use to, especially with the departing Nexus line. The Google Pixel starts out at $649 and could top out at $869 if you go Pixel XL with 128GB of storage. Make no mistake, this isn’t your Nexus pricing here. This is a premium phone by Google and the price will reflect that, but you will the bang for you buck here. Free unlimited storage with Google Photos, 24/7 support via Google, Google Assistant, and an awesome device. This holiday, this is a phone that should be on some gift lists!

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Jason Anderson is the Publisher & Editor At Large of G Style Magazine. A known gadget head and lover of all things digital. Some of his favorite movies include Hackers, The Net, The Matrix (1, 2, & 3), and Transformers.....see a trend here lol.