Google Pixel in-depth review - Hands-on review

Google have rebranded their line of smartphones and it is bye-bye Nexus and hello Pixel

 Google Pixel Review - Hands-on review

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,10/4/2016 12:27:51 PM


out of 10



out of 5

Look and feel


out of 5

Ease of use


out of 5



out of 5

Battery life


Good build quality | Android N | Google Allo on tap


- By Sunetra Chakravarti

Google launched its Nexus line of smartphones in Fall-2015 and they were received very well. The Nexus 6P is still, a year later, one of the best smartphones out there with brilliant camera tech and a fantastic unimetal body manufactured by Huawei.

A year on, we have the Pixel and although the name is not entirely new, Google launched their Pixel C chromebook in Fall-2015, it is an entirely new product as far as the operating system and search giant are concerned.

Google Pixel: Look and feel

Google haven’t steered away from the sandblasted all-metal number that the 6P was, too much. Infact, they have gone a little more risque and gone for a half-n-half look which is quite marmite at first sight. We agree that the 6P was pretty ‘out there’ as well with the length of black glass across the top half of the phone.

On the Pixel and Pixel XL, the top half, until just below the fingerprint sensor on the back is mirror polished glass to perfection whereas the bottom half is a very matt metal. In fact, matt enough to not reflect anything in front of it.

The Pixel branded phones measure 5-inches and 5.5-inches putting the Pixel XL firmly in the same camp as the LG G5 and HTC 10.  

Google Pixel: Display

The 5.5-inch Pixel XL has a Quad HD display with a 2560x1440 resolution. The AMOLED screen is the same that is found on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge and despite some claims that the temperature tends to run a touch warmer than what you would expect, it is still the best, most gorgeous display out there. And just so you don’t go smashing your phone anytime soon, the Pixel and Pixel XL displays come sheathed in Gorilla Glass 4. The best in class, they should be able to fend off chips and scratches to some extent!

The Pixel has the same display as its bigger sibling and the 5-inch display has a resolution of 1920x1080 and an AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4 as well.

Google Pixel: Camera

The camera specs on the Google Pixel phone and Pixel XL are the same. So the primary snapper is a 12-MP number with an f/2.0 aperture and an 8-MP selfie camera.

While the aperture at f/2.0 isn’t really a patch on the Huawei P9 or the LG G5, optical stabilisation means that where it falters on letting light in, it makes up for with its great stabilisation options, both optical and digital.

Camera face-off! Huawei P9 vs Samsung Galaxy S7

Google Photos will let you upload and store photos for free in the cloud, so you can pull them onto your devices at any point as well as search for specific words.

And because the phones have been manufactured by HTC, the HDR mode is as fantastic as the one on the HTC 10.

DxOMark have given the Pixel the highest rating ever on a smartphone. The 89 percent score, according to the company is down to 'relatively low levels of noise for every tested lighting condition. It also provides accurate exposures with very good contrast and white balance, as well as fast autofocus, and racked up excellent results in Video testing, consistent with other top-scoring smartphones.'

Google Pixel: Processor, battery and software

Qualcomm’s brand spanking new Snapdragon 821 makes its debut on the Pixel Phone duo and launched just in time for Google’s flagship, it does pack a wallop.

The custom-designed 64-bit quad-core CPU, the Kryo CPU uses Qualcomm® Symphony System Manager and promises a 10% bump in performance from the Snapdragon 820 processor. Expect shorter boot times, faster app launch times, and smoother, more responsive user interactions.

The processor gives LTE Category 12 download speeds of up to 600 Mbps, and LTE Category 13 uplink speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

The CPU has 2x performance and efficiency when compared to the CPU of the Snapdragon 810 processor and comes with either 32GB or 128GB of internal memory.

The battery on the Pixel Phone is 2770mAH and the one on the Pixel XL is 3450mAH. Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0 is present and correct and is up to 4x faster than regular charging and 38 percent more efficient than Quick Charge 2.0. Google say a 15 minutes of charging gives you 7 hours of power.

Downloading and updating your phone is easier as well because now software updates are automatically downloaded and installed in the background on your phone so when you restart your phone, it is ready for you to use. 

Software-wise, there is Android 7 Nougat onboard and it brings with it nice to have features like double-tapping to activate Ambient Display, a Night Light mode and a live Support tab within Settings so you have help on tap directly from Google. This 24/7 customer care support further comes with a screen share option.

You will further be able to swipe down on the fingerprint reader to open the notifications panel.

Google have made it easier to transfer content over so have included a new tool to transfer contacts, emails, photos and even iMessages to Pixel, and include adapter in box.


Google Pixel: Early verdict

Pixel and Pixel XL have the processing power you would need to be best in class. The 4GB RAM is the perfect size to ramp up the power of Qualcomm’s latest processor the 821 and all that is within its might and the camera looks good and unlimited storage on Google Photos with means you will not miss the absence of adaptive storage.

However, the proof of the pudding lies in the eating and we will only be able to tell you how amazing it is when we actually use it.

Google Pixel phone availability and price

Google Pixel Phone is priced at £599 while the Pixel XL will set you back by £719 . Although it is more than you would expect for a demure set of specs as you see on the Pixel Phone, they are still at the top of the pecking order.

Carphone Warehouse have confirmed they will be ranging the handsets as well as Amazon and . You will additionally be able to buy the phones online from Google with several financing options available to sweeten the deal considerably.

Google Pixel specifications


Price: £599 (32GB) and £699 (128GB) and Pixel XL at £719 (32 GB) and £819 (128GB)

Operating System: Android 7.0

Dimensions:138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight: 138 g

Resolution: 1334x750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi

Display: 5-inch AMOLED 1920x1080 and 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED 2560x1440

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821; 4GB RAM

Camera: 12-MP primary camera with f2.0 aperture, 1.55-micron pixel, 8-MP selfie camera

Memory: 32GB/128GB 

Battery: 2,770mAh and 3450mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Yes

Misc: IP53; USB Type-C, Bluetooth 4.2; 2 colours available, cases available to match wallpaper