Google Pixel and Pixel XL remain up for pre-order through Google Store, JB Hi-Fi and Telstra
Google’s first ‘made by Google’ phones, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL were announced recently, and still remain available for pre-order ahead of launch on October 20.
Locally, Google’s Pixel phones were made available through limited channels, the Google Store being an obvious choice, with JB Hi-Fi grabbing exclusive retail rights, and Telstra the same as a network provider.
Available in 32GB or 128GB storage models, the base Google Pixel 32GB in Quite Black or Very Silver attracts a $1,079 price through Google and JB Hi-Fi. The 128GB variant of the 5-inch 1080p model is a $150 premium at $1,229. To those after the larger Pixel XL with its 5.5-inch QHD display and battery to boot, its 32GB flavour is possible for $1,269, while the 128GB gran-daddy commands $1,419. Worth noting is at time of writing, is the 128GB Very Silver Pixel XL on the Google Store happens to state it’ll deliver in 5-6 weeks, while the rest of the configurations are still expected to be dispatched on October 20 as expected, with estimated delivery times varying on location and shipping method.
Telstra’s plans for the Pixels start at $85 per month for a 32GB Pixel, offering a measly 1GB data along with $550 worth of calls and unlimited texts. Getting any real value out of the plan will see a jump of $14 to $99 per month on their ‘L’ plan, with 10GB data comprising 8GB and 2GB bonus, along with unlimited calls and texts. A 128GB model on the equivalent plan is $113 per month.
The Pixel XL 32GB starts at $92 per month, and on their 10GB unlimited talk and text plan works out to be $114 instead. If it’s the 128GB model you crave through the carrier, expect $121 per month for those same inclusions.
The Pixel phones themselves have been a poorly kept secret in recent weeks, so there’s a good chance if you’ve been on the hunt for Pixel related rumours, you already have a fair idea, but to those who haven’t, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL offer top-shelf specs and features at a price reflective of this. While much of what we came to expect from leaks of the new handsets ended up a reality, both devices carry rather impressive specs despite their steep cost.
Across both devices, there’s Qualcomm’s latest 64-bit Snapdragon 821 quad-core chip — with two cores clocked at 2.15GHz and the other two at 1.6GHz — a healthy 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, fast USF 2.0 storage in both 32GB and 128GB storage models, a single bottom firing speaker with an ‘adaptive audio amplifier’ for enhanced speaker performance — according to Google — along with a ‘Pixel Imprint’ fingerprint reader. It’s all encased within a unibody aluminium design, with a Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and an interesting — to say the least — glass panel on the rear, for various wireless antennas and the like.The rear camera is a 12.3MP Sony sensor with large 1.55 micron pixels, f/2.0 aperture and a combo of phase detection autofocus and laser autofocus, making it capable of greater low-light photography despite going for electronic image stabilisation — Google calls it EIS 2.0 — over hardware-backed optical image stabilisation (OIS) found in the likes Samsung’s Galaxy S7 range and Note 7 devices. The camera is capable of 4K video recording in 30fps and slow-mo recording at 240fps in HD, or 120fps in Full HD. The front camera on the other hand is 8MP and shoots with smaller — though still quite large — 1.4 micron pixels for greater light sensitivity, but it’s backed by a f/2.4 aperture. Google has claimed the Google Pixel offers the best smartphone photography available on the market right now, and this is backed by its rating of 89 on DxOMark’s review, placing it currently at the top of its ranks for smartphones. How the Pixel’s imaging performance will work out in the real world remains to be seen in depth, but at least for now it’s a strong selling point for the devices.
The main differences between the Pixel and Pixel XL besides size is in display resolution and battery. The standard Pixel measures in at 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5 mm (7.3mm at its thinnest point), weighing 143g and housing both a 5-inch Full HD AMOLED display outputting 441ppi, along with a 2770mAh battery, 700mAh larger than last year’s 5.2-inch Nexus 5X. The Pixel XL is 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5 mm (again 7.3mm at its thinnest), and weighs 168g, offering a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED panel with 534ppi and 3450mAh battery, the same as that of last year’s larger Nexus 6P.
Google also claim their USB-C fast charging will offer up to 7 hours of use off a 15 minute charge, and while wireless charging remains unsupported from last year’s Nexuses, the ability to make pit-stop charges should be handy for power users.
This year Google is making it all about the hardware and software. The Google Pixel and Pixel XL represent the first smartphones wholly designed and engineered by Google from the very ground up, with HTC signed as a manufacturing partner for the sole purpose of, well manufacturing the devices themselves. As such, as Google is going all in with these devices with marketing, the Pixels offer a few exclusive features — at least for now — that won’t be made available to current Nexus handsets. For one, it features Google Assistant — the evolution of Google Now and Now on Tap — baked into the core OS itself. Instead of having to pull up the Allo messaging app to access Google Assistant, it’s available to Pixel through a long-press of the home button, offering fast access throughout the OS, no matter the task you’re in.
The UI has seen significant changes with the new Pixel Launcher, which does away with the app drawer icon in the dock, in favour of a pull-up drawer instead. Google’s own applications are all round, though third party apps will remain unchanged, while the navigation softkeys are solid white instead of outlines, and the dock features a translucent background. These features will remain Pixel exclusive, unless you were to manually sideload the launcher, or modify navigation keys yourself.
Those mad on their photography can exclusively enjoy unlimited Google Photos storage of photos and videos in their original quality — that’s including 4K video by the way — for the lifetime of their device, provided those photos and videos are shot through the Pixel’s camera and not other devices.Pixel and Pixel XL also offer 24/7 support, and a dedicated tab within the Settings menu will offer phone and chat support whenever needed, as well as screen-share support for such support-based interactions.
Android 7.1 Nougat will debut on the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, and it’ll be the only device running it for some time, with Google expected to release developer previews for compatible Nexus devices by the end of the year.
Have you pre-ordered the Pixel or Pixel XL or plan to? There’s a 32GB Pixel in Very Silver with my name on it.