Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Sam Jo

Staff Writer

 The fastest growing industry these days is the smartphone industry, pioneered by smartphone companies such as Apple and Samsung. Although these two giants continue to occupy most of the market share worldwide, the highly competitive nature of this type of industry has led other countless companies to join the competition and come up with the “perfect” smartphone that will attract the consumers.

   In light of this, the software giant, Google, recently launched two new phones called the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL. This was the first time Google designed both the software and the hardware, which led to high expectations amongst Android fans who are dreaming of the Android smartphone that offers a pure stock Android experience.

  So have these two phones lived up to the standards of a premium smartphone? And how will they compare with the Galaxy S7 Edge and the IPhone 7 Plus?

  The major selling point of the Google Pixel lineup is the pure Android software devoid of any custom skins such as the Touchwiz UI in Samsung phones. What this means is that the smartphone will function and operate just as how Google originally designed it, which guarantees an easy and smooth user experience with lag free animation transitions and timely updates from the company itself. It is also one of the very few Android smartphones (along with LG V20) to boast the latest Android Nougat 7.0 out of the box.

  On the other hand, the hardware found in the Pixel and Pixel XL is perfectly integrated to the software. For example, as a high end smartphone, the Pixel phones come with 4 gigabytes of RAM which ensures a snappy and reliable multitasking experience, along with a beefy 3000 mAh battery (3450 mAh for the larger variant) that lasts throughout the whole day with moderate or heavy use, and lastly, a stunning 12MP camera with f 2.0 aperture which competes neck in neck against the new double lens camera introduced in the IPhone 7 Plus.

  Another prominent feature is the “Google assistant” which can be considered a refined version of  “Okay Google.” What separates the Google assistant from Siri and S voice is its ability to understand the context of the commands, thus mimicking an actual human conversation. That is to say, when the Google assistant is summoned, one need not to repeat the same keywords or names, but rather the phone will understand the given context of the conversation helping the user to be more productive and efficient in completing tasks and extracting data from the internet.

  Unfortunately, the Pixel and Pixel XL are far from being the perfect smartphone despite their strengths, because in many ways they have become “IPhonified” in the hardware department. For example, the two phones don’t support microSD expansion, nor do they feature a removable back and battery.   

  These two crucial features which are the highlights of any Android smartphone were not featured this time, probably due to the uniform design and the IP-53 rating. The price tag for these two smartphones is relatively high compared to other mid-range smartphones that have similar features and capabilities.

  The question of whether the new Google Pixel is a hit and a success still remains unanswered. However, Google has done a quite impressive job in blending the best software with the best hardware up to date, and this fact alone can open a new door to Google in the smartphone industry.

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