Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are now available for pre-order. Before you do, we’re here to help you understand five of the best reasons you might want to consider picking one of them up. Check out our rundown of the Pixel and Pixel XL’s top five features, along with a few other perks and disappointments.
Google Assistant is coming to several of Google’s new products. It’s built into the company’s new chat app, Allo, and powers the upcoming Google Home smart speaker. But the Pixel and Pixel XL put Assistant in your pocket and make it available at a moment’s notice. Just hold down the home button or say “OK Google” to launch the AI assistant and start giving commands.
Google Assistant can answer questions, check the weather or play a video. Assistant can even understand follow-up questions so you can carry out a more natural conversation, similar to what Siri offers. It also replaces the company’s old “Now on Tap” feature, bringing up relevant information on whatever you’re currently looking at as soon as it’s activated.
The Pixel and Pixel XL both feature a 12.3-megapixel rear camera that scored an impressive 89 from DxOMark Mobile, making them the top-scoring mobile devices around. Google also included a “Smartburst” mode, which automatically shoots a bunch of photos in a row and picks the best one for you. It can capture 4K video at 30 frames per second, features digital image stabilization and promises high-quality lowlight shots.
Up front, you’ll find a respectable 8-megapixel camera. Google didn’t offer many details on the secondary shooter, but it should be more than capable of producing solid selfies for sharing online.
Unlimited High-Quality Storage
Once you shoot all those great photos and videos you’ll want somewhere to store them (which might be an issue if you opt for the cheaper 32GB storage option). Thankfully, the Pixel and Pixel XL come with Google Photos pre-installed, which already offers free storage for compressed photos and videos. As an extra bonus, the company is throwing in unlimited original-quality storage.
Normally, Google charges for high-quality storage once you run out of space. The cost can range from $2 per month for 100GB of space to $10 per month for one terabyte. You could end up saving anywhere from $24 to $120 per year depending on how many photos and videos you take.
The Pixel and Pixel XL are also the first phones officially approved to work with Daydream. Google’s new virtual reality platform offers a much more immersive experience than Cardboard, though it still can’t really compete with high-end headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Still, for just $79 the newly announced Daydream View will turn your Pixel smartphone into an impressive VR viewer.
Google is throwing its full support behind the Pixel and Pixel XL and that won’t stop once you buy your phone. The company is offering non-stop customer support for anyone who picks up a device. That includes phone calls, text chat and screen sharing, making it possible for a Google employee to walk you through any issues from the comfort of your home.
That kind of customer service isn’t exactly new. Amazon offers something similar with Mayday for its Fire tablets. Still, It’s nice to see Google promising great customer service for these new products, and it makes it a lot to recommend them to your less tech-savvy friends.
There are a few other nice perks included with the Pixel and Pixel XL. Fast charging is always great, though it’s not exactly unique at this point. Google’s new phones also offer high-end hardware across the board, including a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM, meaning they should hold up well over time.
It’s not all good news, though. The Pixel and Pixel XL look pretty similar to Apple’s iPhones (especially from the front), which is a bit of a disappointment. The price is a little intimidating too (at least by Nexus standards), starting at $649 and going all the way up to $869. But if you don’t mind paying flagship prices, the Pixel looks like a great choice overall.