The Google Pixel is Googles first all out entry into the smartphone market where they designed every part of it and it is a brilliant first effort. Although, that is not to say that it is perfect, as with all smartphones there are things that can be improved. However, they didn’t get much wrong with the Google Pixel.
- Excellent camera
- Google Assistant
- Brilliant display
- Super fast
- Unlimited Google Photos storage
What’s Not So Good:
- No waterproofing
- Average battery
- Steep price
If you glance at the Google Pixel it looks like a slab of metal and glass, just like most smartphones on the market. However, if you stop to really look at the phone you’ll see quite a bit of thought went into the design. It isn’t perfect but there are certain parts that you can appreciate. For example, the top of the device being slightly thicker than the bottom, this means that you don’t get that annoying camera hump on the back of your phone. Another is the glass square that is on the back of the phone, this is so that the phone gets better service signal, even though some people do not like this glass square, some thought has gone into it. However, the Google Pixel is not water proof, although this isn’t a huge problem for me as I like to keep my electronics away from water as a general rule, it is something that is becoming en expected feature in flagship smartphones.
In the glass section on the back, you will find the camera and the finger-print sensor. The finger-print sensor on the Google Pixel is really good, some people prefer the sensor to be on the front but really I think both have pros and cons. I find when the sensor is on the back it is very easy to have the phone unlocked by the time it is out of your pocket and facing you. However, you can’t use it if you have it face up on a desk, this doesn’t bother me but some people might not like it. Google have also added some extra functionality to the finger-print sensor on the Pixel, by dragging your finger across it your notifications are brought down from the top of your screen, if you then drag it down again you get all of your other options (brightness, Auto-rotate, Aeroplane mode, etc.) This feature would be especially useful on the Pixel XL, where it may be harder to reach the top of the screen.
Across the bottom of the phone you will find a microphone, a USB C charging port and the speaker. It does look like it is two speakers at the bottom, however one of these is a microphone. The speaker that is on the phone can get loud and stays clear, which is nice to see considering a lot of smartphone speakers get very tinny when they reach a loud volume. However, due to the speakers location it is very easy to cover it up when watching videos. This is one area that could definitely be improved upon by adding a pair of stereo speakers.
So, moving onto the battery life. The Google Pixel has a 2770 mAh battery and it really is nothing more than average. If you have a day of heavy usage, then you will more than likely need to charge this phone before bed. On the other hand, if you have a day of light usage then you could probably push the Pixel to last 2 days. Therefore, on an average day of usage you will be able to comfortably make it through a whole day but will want to get it on charge so that it doesn’t run out the next day. Google claims that you can get 7 hours of battery out of 15 minutes’ charge on the Pixel. Probably not. From my experience if you only put 15 minutes of charge into this phone you would have to be very careful with your usage to get anything near 7 hours out of this battery.
The Google Pixel has a beautiful 5 inch full HD (FHD) AMOLED screen. It has great brightness and really good accurate colour representation. My one problem with this screen (and it is only a small one) is that the Google Pixel was sold as a phone to be used with VR and the FHD screen isn’t really clear enough if you use the phone with a daydream headset. That’s not to say that this phone won’t work with VR, but if that is the reason that you are getting this phone, then I would probably go for the Pixel XL as it has a much clearer quad HD (QHD) screen. If you do not use VR you would probably not be able to notice the difference in the clarity of the Pixel and the Pixel XL.
If you love Android and want to be first in line for all of the updates, the Google Pixel is the phone for you. The Pixel runs stock Android which makes for a very clean experience. Also, the software has been perfectly optimised for the Google Pixel making it extremely fast. I have seen some people complaining that they are disappointed that the Google Pixel only has 4GB of RAM when cheaper phones like the OnePlus 3T have 6GB of RAM. My response to that has two points, the 4GB is more than enough on the Pixel and the phone never struggles from sluggish performance, also 6GB of RAM is more of a gimmick designed to sell the phone to people who love high specs. The Google Pixel comes in 32GB or 128GB. I bought the 32GB version because, when you buy a Pixel, you get unlimited Google Photo storage which means that you don’t have to take up all of your memory with photos.
At the moment, the Google Pixel is the only phone that comes with the Google Assistant, as far as phone assistants go, the Google Assistant is my favourite that I have used, it is fast and I have actually found it to be helpful. The one thing that makes the Google Assistant stand out is that it is actually conversational. This means that, unlike other mobile assistants, you can continue a conversation so it can provide more detailed information for you since it remembers what you have previously said. The Google Assistant will also recommend other questions to ask it relating to what you have previously asked it.
The Google Pixel has a 12.3MP camera and boasts the highest rated smartphone camera ever, because of this I was very excited to test it out and I will say that it does not disappoint. You can quickly access the camera by pressing the lock button twice, which is how I found myself accessing the camera most often. The pictures are obviously very high quality and have great colour accuracy. I struggled to find anything wrong with this camera. The one tiny complaint that I did have was that I found the lens blur feature would sometimes also blur the outline of the subject, however this was rare. The Google Pixel takes great selfies with the 8MP sensor on the front so there is nothing to worry about there either.
I think that the Google Pixel is a great phone that would suit most people, however I would struggle to recommend this phone simply because of the price, especially when there are phones like the OnePlus 3T which are about £200 cheaper and are so close on performance. Also, if you want a pure stock Android experience it would be much easier to recommend my previous favourite phone, the Nexus 6P, which is much cheaper and still a great phone even if it doesn’t have all of the features of the Google Pixel. If you want the best Android phone on the market right now, then the Google Pixel is the phone for you, however if you are comfortable settling for a close second at a price that doesn’t leave nearly as big a hole in your wallet, I’d look elsewhere.
Read: Nexus 6P Review