Chip-Monks  ⁄  SmartPhones  ⁄  Phablet  ⁄  Google Pixel XL
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Released: Oct, 2016
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  • Display : 5 inches, AMOLED
  • Max OS : Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • Storage : 128 GB
  • RAM : 4 GB
  • Body Material : Gorilla Glass 4, Aluminium
  • Cameras : Rear: 12.3 MP, Front: 8 MP
  • Dimensions (L, B, W) : 6, 2.9, 0.34 in.
  • Connectivity : 4G, VoLTE

Of the two phones that Google just dropped onto the world under it’s own branding, Google Pixel XL is the bigger of the two siblings, similar to the ‘Plus’ model if it were for Apple.

The phablet is already taking on the flagships for the year from Apple iPhone 7 Plus to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge (since the Note7 bombed) head-on in the market.

The only two major differences between Pixel and Pixel XL are the display size and the battery.

The Pixel XL has a 5.5 inch Full-HD AMOLED display with true blacks and 16.77 million colors. The display is crisp and vibrant and relatively easy to read in direct sunlight, giving it another plus (though Samsung devices have that too!).

As for the major phone specs, it runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor and 4 GB of RAM with Android 7.1 Nougat as the operating system of choice.

It comes with two storage options: 32 GB and 128 GB, without any expandable memory.

For the camera, it has a 12.3 megapixel rear camera with 1.55μm pixels and f/2.0 aperture, and an 8 megapixel front camera; the front camera has earned a “best-ever” 89 on DxOMark’s Mobile Score.

In addition, you get unlimited storage for all your photos and videos, a small step for Google but a giant leap for the user. Connectivity options include LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, USB-C and GPS.

With all this, the phablet weighs 168 grams – not the lightest ever, but not quite a bicep-enhancer, either.

It ships with a 3,450 mAh non-removable battery, which is almost 800 mAh more than what the smaller version of Pixel offers. On the face of it, 3,450 doesn’t sound all that impressive, but it will probably last you the day.

The Pixel XL works with the USB Type-C’s power delivery specification, and not with Qualcomm’s QuickCharge or any other accelerated charging systems you’ll see in other fast-charging devices. It gets up to 7 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes using the included USB Type-C 18 watt charger!

With a seamless glass-aluminium body construct, rock-solid build, fingerprint scanner and headphones jack (I know that’s a cheap shot at the iPhone 7 Plus), the phone checks most of the boxes expected of a top-end smartphone, except for a lack of waterproofing, or being water repellent.
While the competing Apple and Samsung devices can sustain a mild dive into the water, we are not sure how well Pixel will do in the same scenario.

Let us now get to the noteworthy things that set the phone apart. It runs on a Snapdragon 821 for a processor, which is a better version of the Snapdragon 820 offered by most flagships this year and is virtually the fastest in the market. With the processor backing the device, it’s also the first smartphone to be certified to use Google’s new virtual reality platform DayDream, however, we won’t know how big a point that scores for the phone because DayDream is not yet available.

What’s been ringing a lot of bells for the phone is the AI assistant on it, a.k.a. Google Assistant (earlier called Google Now). What’s significant is that the AI is empowered with two-way conversations, thus allowing you to ask it a question, get a response and jump back with another related question or instruction. Assistance stays awake through this and keeps listening for the follow-up command or further questions about the subject. This, in theory, does not sound like quite a leap, but in the technical world, it is.

That said, while with easier conversations, it has found its footing on stable ground, with more complex conversations, it is yet to earn our trust.

A flipside to this feature that has been raising some eyebrows is the record keeping that the AI does. It is a concern for those prioritizing privacy and security over functionality because the Assistant records all your searches and location. The key to disabling that is buried deep inside the search app settings, something that Apple’s more popular Siri does not do.

All in all, of the four big names in the world of AI, Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft – Google has maintained a lead more often than not, and the smart assistant on this phone shows that.

The Pixel range from Google is the first smartphone range that is truly Google. It is a successor to the Nexus range which was actually a foster-family relation – Google mentored a cluster of manufacturers who built devices to run Stock Android, under Google’s tutelege.

Nexus devices have been received quite well over the years, but the idea of Google claiming entire control of the device to bring to the user an enhanced experience, quite like Apple. is a good move.

For Google, the Pixel phones might be a little more than just devices; they might be a referendum on Google as a brand.

All in all, it seems like the phone has Apple at least in very stark competition, but it might not be running all Android device out of the field yet as the phone, starts at $770, demanding top dollar.

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