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Google Pixel review

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Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Stunning camera
  • The best version of Android
  • Good size for one-handed use
  • Super fast

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Back panel prone to scratches
  • Would like more storage options

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Key Features

  • 5-inch, 1080p display
  • Snapdragon 821
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32 or 128GB storage
  • Android 7.1
  • Google Assistant
  • Pixel Launcher
  • 12MP and 8MP cameras
  • USB-C and fast charging
  • 2,770 mAh
  • Headphone jack...
  • Daydream VR ready
  • Manufacturer: Google
  • Review Price: £599.99

What is the Google Pixel?

The Google Pixel is a landmark device, signalling the first proper foray into phones by the search engine giant. And boy, has it done a good job.

The Pixel is available in two sizes – the smaller one reviewed here and a larger 5.5-inch Pixel XL – and has one of the best cameras on any phone, along with a software experience that's better than any other Android device.

You have to pay a premium for these features – this certainly isn’t a Nexus-priced device – but it’s far from the first phone to cost a pretty penny. And when it’s this good, it’s worth paying that bit extra.

Related: Our review of Daydream View – the best mobile VR headset?

Google Pixel – Design

The least exciting part about the whole idea of the Google Pixel is its design. I know many people who dislike it completely, but I find it perfectly serviceable. It isn't as flashy as Samsung’s Galaxy S7, but it's much nicer than than the latest batch of iPhones.

The body is made from metal and glass – pretty much a given these days – and it tapers down ever so slightly on the rear to help avoid any unnecessary camera bumps. A circular fingerprint sensor sits below the camera sensor, and both are encased in a divisive glass panel that runs about a third of the way down the back. Some in the TrustedReviews' office hate it, but I think it adds some flair, catching the light nicely. It is a fingerprint magnet and scratches very easily, however.

Related: iPhone vs Pixel

Google Pixel and Pixel XL video review

Unlike Apple, Google includes a 3.5mm headphone jack – but I’d have preferred for it to have been placed at the bottom rather than the top of the phone. In addition, Google has used a wide bezel above and below the screen – just like the iPhone. It would have been good to see this space used for a pair of front-facing speakers – maybe this will come with the Pixel 2.

The sides are heavily chamfered, and this helps the device to fit comfortably in your hand. This is one of the easiest phones to hold, helped by the fact it isn’t overly thin.

It’s also completely usable in one hand, something that can’t be said for the larger Pixel XL. It’s roughly the same size as an iPhone 7, just a little taller and marginally thicker.

pixel 1

Google Pixel – Display

5-inch displays are becoming a rarity in the Android space, but for many they provide the perfect mix of portability and size. However, the problem – aside from the dearth of choice – is that smaller phones tend to be hamstrung by weak components and a lack of features.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case here. This is a 5-inch display phone with the innards of a larger device – and that’s great news.

The Pixel's display is fantastic, comfortably one of the best at this size. It’s an AMOLED panel – the same tech Samsung uses on its Galaxy series – with a 1080p resolution. This isn't as high as the larger Pixel XL and its quad-HD panel, but due to its smaller size you really won’t notice the difference.

It’s pin-sharp with zero jagged edges around icons when you’re looking at it from a normal distance. Get right up close, with your eye almost touching the screen, and you might notice a tiny bit of pixellation around the battery icons and on-screen buttons. Realistically, though, you won't be using the phone from such a distance.

Buy Now: Google Pixel at Amazon.com from $880

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I only question Google's decision to use a 1080p panel here when it comes to VR. With the upcoming Daydream View headset using the phone display, the experience might be worse on the Pixel's lower-resolution screen as opposed to the Pixel XL. I haven’t had the opportunity to use them together yet, so will keep my thoughts open until I do.

Related: What is Daydream View?

pixel 7

Everything else about the screen is great. Since it's AMOLED, there’s a lovely kick to the colours, yet saturation looks accurate. Often these display types overblow reds and greens, but they look fine here. Blacks, too, are deep and inky – although there's a slight grey tinge to the Pixel when it's placed side-by-side with the Pixel XL or a Samsung Galaxy S7.

Viewing angles are great, brightness is excellent, and the auto-brightness is easily the best I have used on Android.

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Васисуалий Пупкин

October 5, 2016, 10:46 am

"The f/2.0 aperture isn’t quite as wide as the competition, and that could hamper low-light performance."

Just judging by that line alone, the author obviously doesn't understand anything about photography. f/2 is not as *fast* as the competition (not wide, there are no numbers for focus distance, which determine how wide the lens is). And this number by itself doesn't mean anything if you don't take into an account the sensor size, which is bigger than the competition. Bigger sensor/pixel size - higher ISO for the same SNR.

AVB

October 5, 2016, 1:28 pm

Pathetic body design. The insides we never see, but this design is uninspired and needs to grab your attention. I couldnt care less about the Pixel if this is the limits of Googles imagination and creativity for designing the shell of their new device.

Looks like an iPhone...

Cac Murugappan

October 5, 2016, 6:10 pm

AS AN INDIAN , I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOUR GOOGLE PIXEL PHONE SOON IN INDIA. IT HAS RICH FEATURES , ANDROID 7.0 , SUPER CAMERA AND A FANTASTIC BLUE COLOUR . COST IS , HOWEVER , A WHOOPING ONE TO INACCESSBLE BY MANY AVERAGE INDIANS , WHO LOVE TO OWN IT .

Paul

October 5, 2016, 7:32 pm

smells like another apple victory

Ian Tucker

October 7, 2016, 4:34 pm

I'd pre-ordered one of these after the announcement. But today I cancelled it and ordered a Z Compact instead for £367. 5" is NOT small, IMO. I sent back a 5X because it was too large, and the pixel will be barely smaller than that. On top of that, the Pixel is pretty ugly. It looks like an iPhone7 (ugly). The glass bit looks stupid, and it still has an ugly band along the bottom edge of the back to add insult to injury. And £599 for any phone is too expensive.

David McCaffer

October 7, 2016, 5:53 pm

This is nonsense. "Wide" is literally the correct simple term to use for aperture (i.e., the size of the hole that the light goes through). ISO is not an adequate compromise for a poor aperture size.

Nutty55

October 7, 2016, 8:03 pm

im not saying apple is worse then this but when has apple ever won. There phones they are like its new and innovative but no an android company created it already the only new thing they have done with their phones is remove the headphone jack. When they brought out their watch they were like its new and innovative no it wasn't there were already smart watches. When they bring out laptops guess what same story. Apple have nearly went down once and had got revived by microsoft. Also with Apple products you are paying more for the Apple logo rather than the product, you may say nay to this but I asked a friend about how much his macbook cost bear in mind he got a discount on it. I made a computer which was still better then the macbook with the budget and still had money to spare and I was using well know companys products so don't say I bet you used companys noones heard of.

Paul

October 7, 2016, 9:29 pm

apple have been behind pushing most things that are now big in the smart phone market secondly what you pay for you iphone is pointless as it holds value better then other brands.

And seeing as apple almost went down but are now one of the top brands and richest companys on the planet I would say they have had plenty of victories.

With apple products you are paying for everything including the software and bubble dont patronise me funboy I have built pcs down the years and for those who cant be arsed anymore apple provide the best bubble of all the phone companys

SMELLS LIKE ANOTHER LUSTFUL APPLE VICTORY!

Sean Frisbey

October 7, 2016, 11:31 pm

What can a phone look like anymore? A candy bar is a candy bar is a candy bar.

Lance

October 8, 2016, 2:44 am

My experience with Google Customer service:
My Blackberry Leap was showing it's age despite having served me well for over a year. I was excited when Google unveiled the Pixel. I pre-ordered one online on Octobet 5. I first use my Amex but the card was declined . I later found out that Amex's fraud department's software thought it was a fraudulent purchase (I received an email from them later asking me if it was legit). Thinking I punched in the wrong number, I decided to use my Visa. The purchase went thru, or so I thought. The next day when I check my computer, I got a message saying the order was cancelled.I then re-ordered. When I received a second order cancelled message I called Google customer service. The customer service rep. said the first purchase was declined but the second one was cancelled by some broker, whatever that meant. He asked me to re-order. Eventually I escalated the issue to a higher authority within Google. I was told via email from "Alex" in Google Support to sent him a screen shot of my order history, which was showing "No purchase". BTW, he never called as he promised and he never responded after I complied with what he requested. To make a long story short, I spoke to Ana from a higher level of customer service plus at least another 3 other Google customer service reps. to no avail. The annoying part is I have to repeat the situation again and again with one service rep. kept asking me if I cancelled the order myself !!! Visa told me all together there were 4 phones purchased (1 on Oct. 5 and 3 on Oct 6) and authorized but Google cancelled them every time. I finally spoke to some lady with an accent at Google Wallet (their version of the accounting dept.?) and was told eventho Visa told me the purchases were authorized verbally, they were no authorized electronically. I had no idea what that meant. The last phone call to Google lasted over 1 hour. She suggested I re-enter my Visa info again .By then I was so exasperated I finally walked into an Apple store and bought an Iphone 7, eventho the battery life is notoriously short.
If this is Google's customer service prior to the purchase of their product, you can imagine what their after sales service will be like.
I stayed away from One Plus and Motorola for the same reason. To be honest, Blackberry has very good customer service. Prompt and polite.

Stefan Telvian

October 8, 2016, 6:32 am

"My only concern with the specs on offer here is the battery. At 2,770mAh it feels a bit on the small side. That is slightly up on the Nexus 5X from last year, so hopefully it will make it through the day."

What are you talking about?

My Nexus 5X gets 14 hours with near-constant Play Music playing over Bluetooth. 25+ hours regularly if I only use it for texting/calls/whatsapp/e-mail and some redditing.

There might be something wrong with your device if yours doesn't make it through the day.

Nutty55

October 8, 2016, 2:59 pm

No you dont pay for something that holds better value than other brands apple are like the beats of the headphone world over priced and not worth the money, how often do you hear people talking about breaking their iphone ive met lots of people who keep breaking their screens and then they say they are sick of replacing them they are just going to get another phone which in the end lasts them way longer and gives them less hassle. And whoopity do about the software of apple that is bad aswell and they cant even run half the programs out there in the world either. Ive read a bunch of comments youve put on stuff all you ever do is defend Apple and complain about anything and then when something comes out thats bad about apple you complain. Also you support PES over FIFA I don't like either but i know for a fact FIFA is a lot better then PES and yes I have played both before. You seem to support whatever is bad and you can't take any bad news about what you like.

Paul

October 8, 2016, 6:22 pm

yes it does hold better value, and no i dont hear that much about people breaking their iphones.

And Fifa is getting slatted everywhere its just eye candy as a football sim Pes has its arse the kids buy fifa for the official names lol at you violently.

jog on funboy

Paul

October 8, 2016, 6:23 pm

yes it does hold better value, and no i dont hear that much about people breaking their iphones.

And Fifa is getting slatted everywhere its just eye candy as a football sim Pes has its beaten the kids buy fifa for the official names.

Paul

October 9, 2016, 2:01 am

lol go and buy an exploding sammy phone lol

every review i have seen agrees that PES is superior sorry you are wrong.

And apple products do hold their value better

victory is mine

Nutty55

October 9, 2016, 1:09 pm

There is more than samsung in the android catagory. And yeah the samsung of mine which ive had 4-5 years now and not had a single problem ive thrown it off things near enough 100 times and its just got a few scratches and no they dont explode the reason why they have been recorded of exploding is because people have been buying fake samsung batterys which use other chemicals in the battery which make it heat up really quickly and causing it to explode next time read into stuff. Go back to tim cook and do everything he wants you fanboy and dont say im a fanboy no im not i just use what is better.

Paul

October 9, 2016, 2:19 pm

neither have any of the iphones I have had funboy, and stop talking garbage these are brand new sammy 7s that are blowing lol at you.

and no you just use what you can afford lol why no fifa follow up? because you know im right, even TR said it.

LOL at you

Nutty55

October 9, 2016, 2:31 pm

yeah i buy what i can afford thats why i have a god damn expensive computer i have beats to show i got money i do have other headphones for actual usage and also dont live a council house and have no mortgage on my house and i have no fifa follow up because i dont give 2 craps about them games what i care about is you saying apple is good and what i mean is read the god damn article about the samsung you will find out that they discovered the batterys provided come from 10 different companys and if we talking about the new phones lets talk about the new iphone which has also had there batterys blow up and also after they tried to fix that the batterys inflated even one of the old iphone 5's killed a woman due to this i dont see how you could say no iphones have problems ive heard of people just sitting on them and their screens break.

Paul

October 9, 2016, 2:49 pm

You are just a hater, and if you would take this Prixel over an iphone then you need your head fixing as its just another apple victory

Nutty55

October 9, 2016, 2:53 pm

i wouldn't pick up this pixel at all anyway and im a hater of people who think 1 thing is the best thing ever over stuff that is better. I dont care what apple do yeah they are a good company but they need to up their game and stop saying that they have something new and stop over pricing things once they do that then they will be a good company.

Paul

October 9, 2016, 2:56 pm

The profits say different, victory is apples

Nutty55

October 9, 2016, 3:02 pm

yeah the profits apple spend £300 to make the phone and sells it for double a android company makes a phone and sells it for £400. If you look at the charts samsung and apple sell roughly the same but apple make a ton more profit suggesting that they are making phones more expensive to buy or cheaper to create.

Paul

October 9, 2016, 3:05 pm

The top line sammy 6 & 7s are at apple prices lol at you. And most of the other Phones have poor andoid skins and poor support and poor eco Systems.

Hail Jobs Hail Freedom

Paul

October 9, 2016, 3:06 pm

The top line sammy 6 & 7s are at apple prices lol at you. And most of the other Phones have poor andoid skins and poor support and poor eco Systems.

Hail Jobs Hail Freedom

Nutty55

October 9, 2016, 3:10 pm

and that means that apple are creating them for cheaper meaning they are using cheap labour or using cheaper parts and i said that was a example of samsung selling roughly the same if you look at android at a whole recent stats for Q2 of this year show the android own 87.6% of the market wheres IOS at 11.7% they have been getting lower and lower.

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