15 Nov 2017
8 min read
1369 words
From the Archive (Dec, 2016): Google has taken full control of its android devices with their two phones: Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL

Google is calling these phones the first ‘true Android’ phones—possibly because with the Pixels, Google now has full control over both the hardware and software of Android devices. The Pixels are, basically, Google’s own take on what an Android device should be like, and not just a commercial compromise between Google and other device manufacturers. However, that is only one small reason why the Pixels are so appealing at the moment. Here are the additional top five reasons why you should get one of the Pixels.

 Android 7.1 Nougat

The first reason to get one of the Pixels is that they run on the latest OS, Android 7.1 Nougat. The Android 7.1 Nougat come with perks like Google’s messaging service, Allo, and its video calling app, Duo; Apple’s 3D Touch like Launcher shortcuts for apps; native Night Mode to reduce eyestrain in the dark; GIF-compatible Google Keyboard; plus all the popular features from the Android 7. And one more thing: from now on, the Pixels are going to receive software updates before any other Android device.

Powerful specs

The second reason to get the Pixels has to do with their fast, fluid performance. Each Pixel comes with 64 Bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processors and a 4GB RAM. The tricky part is the internal storage. The Pixels come in either 32GB models or 128GB models; there are no 64GB Pixels. The battery department is more than satisfactory for their sizes. The smaller Pixel packs 2770mAh, and the Pixel XL packs 3450mAh, but when used alongside Android’s power-saving features, even power-users should be able to use the devices for an entire day. And if the juice runs out, the fast-charging USB Type-C will get the Pixels’ non-removable batteries from zero up to 53 per cent in just 30 minutes.

The cameras

The third reason to get a Pixel is its cameras. Or, should I say their killer photo quality and sharp 4K recording. The 12.3MP, f/2.0 primary camera and the 8MP, f/2.4 secondary camera on both the Pixels slightly enhance the photos they take to make the photos a bit more vibrant and dynamic. The primary camera has a two-way focus—phase detection and laser autofocus—for sharper, more accurate results.

Pixel-specific features

The fourth reason is actually a bunch of Pixel-specific features, which will not be available in other Android devices, at least not anytime soon. The list starts with Google Assistant, which is universally integrated in the Android OS. Saying “Ok Google” or simply long-pressing the Home button launches the Assistant screen, and you can start making requests or asking questions in natural-speech mode. The Assistant taps into Google’s Knowledge Graph database and accesses 70 billion facts to find the answers to your questions, or the contextual information to your requests. It can work with other apps and also search for and locate information, like calendar events, emails or multimedia files inside the phone. And should you choose to, it will even retrieve news and information from specific websites every day, thanks to its Subscriptions feature.

Then there is the Pixel Launcher, the improved form of Google Now Launcher. It has an app tray that now docks five apps. Those apps can easily be turned into folders too. What’s new is that there is no icon for the app drawer. You simply swipe up from the bottom to pull apps up. The new launcher also displays the weather and time, which is handier than many might think.

Another Pixel-specific feature is Google’s live customer-care service. That means, Pixel users have 24/7 access to live support agents, with whom they can chat or screen-share, which is a thoughtful and great value addition to the Pixel phones. Talking about great value additions, Google is also offering free, unlimited cloud storage for all the pictures and videos taken with the Pixel phones. The Pixels also have Smart Storage, which has, in a way, eliminated the need for SD cards. When you begin to run out of space on the Pixel, simply go to Settings, then to Storage. You should find the option to free up space. This new storage setting allows you to remove excess data from three categories: photos/videos, downloads and apps. Photos and videos definitely take up the most space on the phone, but you have the Pixels’ unlimited cloud storage to store their backups in full resolution.

And for an easy transition to the Pixel from older phones, Google ships each Pixel with a Quick Switch Adapter, which connects the other phones to the Pixel through its USB Type-C port. This allows users to quickly pull data from their existing phones into their new Pixels. This surely adds to the convenience of switching from other phones, even iPhones, to the Pixel.

Fingerprint sensor

That brings us to the fifth reason: the fingerprint sensor on the back of the Pixel. It’s fast, has one of the fastest response times and is quite easy to access due to its ideal placement. It’s also unlike fingerprint sensors on other phones—the one on the Pixel does more than add a layer of security and unlock the device. It pulls down the notifications on the display when you slide your finger down on it. This may not sound very significant right now, but it may mean that Google is exploring what else these tiny fingerprint readers can do besides unlocking the phone.

Those were the top five reasons why you ought to get one of the Pixel smartphones for yourself. The only reason why you should have second thoughts about buying one is that the Pixels are not water- or shock-proof despite their prices. Hopefully, that is going to change with the new iteration. But even so, if we consider everything, the Pixel and the Pixel XL happen to be the best Android phones Google has ever created, which is to say that they are the best Android phones ever created.

Pixel: USD 649.99 for 32GB;
USD 749.99 for 128 GB
Pixel XL: USD 769.99 for 32GB;
USD 869.99 for 128GB

Quick Specs
OS: Android OS, v7.1 (Nougat)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 821,
2.15Ghz + 1.6Ghz, 64Bit Quad-Core

Size: 5.0-inch on Pixel; 5.5-inch on
Pixel XL
Resolution: 1080x1920 pixels on Pixel;
1440x2560 on Pixel XL
Type: AMOLED touchscreen display
Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 4

Memory & Storage
Internal Storage: 32 or 128GB
External Storage: NA
RAM: 4GB on both

Dimensions & Weight
Pixel: 143.8x69.5x7.3 ~ 8.5 mm; 143 g
Pixel XL: 154.7x75.7x7.3 ~
8.5 mm; 168 g

Rear Camera: 12.3MP, 1.55μm, f/2.0,
phase-detection AF and
laser-detection AF
Front Camera: 8MP, 1.4µm pixels, f/ 2.4

Single bottom-firing speaker, three
microphones with noise suppression

Pixel: 2770mAh
Pixel XL: 3450mAh

USB Type-C port with USB 3.0,
3.5mm headset jack, single
nanoSIM slot