Pixel phones featuring Google Assistant are official as Verizon and Project Fi exclusive and are freaking expensive… really Google?
For many years, if you wanted pure Android experience, Google’s Nexus was the brand to choose. However, it’s changing today. October 4 2016 will go down in history as the day Nexus brand was discontinued. Don’t worry, though, as Google has something new for you which promises Android experience at its best. At an event in San Francisco, the company unveiled a new series of smartphones called Pixel, which as of now includes two models, the Pixel and Pixel XL. The phones powered by Google Assistant went official as Verizon and Project Fi exclusive and are freaking expensive… Really Google?
Google just announced Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones – devices which promise to offer Android experience at a whole new level.
It’s (almost) all about the software
The new Pixel phones will be the “googliest” phones Google has ever made and are expected to offer the best and purest Android experience of all smartphones. The devices will come with the latest version of Android which is Nougat 7.1 and will offer a bunch of cool software features.
For starters, the Pixels have Siri-like assistant called simply Google Assistant which means that you will be able to communicate with your phone on a new level using your voice, that is ask for directions, set reminders, ask to send texts, etc. The devices also have their very own Pixel Launchers. Moreover, just like it was the case with Nexus phones, the Pixels will get software updates immediately after Google releases them. What’s also pretty cool is that the phones offer support for Google’s new Daydream VR platform as well as the company’s new View VR headset.
Premium hardware counts too
Google may have focused mostly on software with its Pixels but hardware is nothing to complain about either. In fact, the devices are on par with other high-end phones of this year. Google announced two models, but the phones actually share most of the specs. The only difference is screen size and resolution, and battery capacity – the Pixel comes with a 5-inch Full HD AMOLED display and a 2,770 mAh battery while the Pixel XL sports a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED screen and a 3,450 mAh battery. Other than that both versions are identical.
One of the most exciting features of the new Pixel series are the cameras. The main shooter on the back has a 12.3-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture and, as Google claims, is the best you can currently find on a smartphone. The camera also offers built-in image stabilization also for video, HDR+ with basically no shutter lag and Smartburst feature which takes a number of pictures at once and the chooses the best one. The selfie camera with its 8-megapixel sensor is pretty impressive too. Moreover, Google will give users free unlimited cloud storage using Google Photos so you won’t have to worry about not enough space for your photos.
Speaking of space, the handsets will come in two storage options – 32GB or 128GB, though neither will be expandable. The Pixel duo is powered by Qualcomm’s new 2.15 GHz Snapdragon 821 processors and there is 4GB of RAM. Other key features include fingerprint scanner, NFC, fast-charging battery, USB Type-C charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack (yay!!!).
Let’s not forget about the design
Except for the size, the Pixel and the XL variant are identical on the outside and look very elegant with their rounded corners and curved edges. The phones are made of aluminum with glass covering the front and upper part of the back where camera and fingerprint scanners are located. On the lower part of the back you can find only one letter “G”. The Pixels will be available in three funny named color options – Quite Black, Very Silver and Really Blue. The blue version will is limited edition and, as Google puts it, it’s “a blue so blue we created it new.” It’s unclear what’s so special about this particular shade of blue, but apparently there is some difference, since it’s such a big deal.
Pricing and availability
Here’s where things get a little less exciting – the phones are not cheap. The basic Pixel with 32GB of storage costs $649, while the 128GB variant will set you back $749. The larger XL model is obviously even more expensive – the 32GB and 128GB versions, are priced at $769 and $869, respectively.
To help you handle such expense, Google is offering financing option which allows you to spread the cost over 24 months which works out to $27.04 per month for the cheapest model. The Pixels are already available for pre-order from Google Store unlocked to use on a carrier of your choice or together with Google’s Fi service. If you want device protection, it will add another $99 to the cost. However, to sweeten the deal a bit, Google will throw in a free VR headset for pre-ordering users.
As far as carriers are concerned, Verizon will be the only US service provider officially carrying the Pixels, at least for the time being. The network opened pre-orders today too and is offering the phones at basically the same price as Google, also with monthly payment option. The Pixels are expected to start shipping on October 20.