During the #madebyGoogle event on October 4, Google announced the launch of its new Pixel phones that have ended the acclaimed Nexus series. The Mountain View company emphasized that it is time to design their own smartphones. This is the analysis of the smaller of the two, the 5-inch, oriented to the public that does not want large devices. So what is this about? Is it a “Nexus 2016”? Is it an Android iPhone? The answer below.
- Availability and price
- Design and Finishing
- Special functions
- Technical specifications
- Final Verdict
- ✓The best Android experience
- ✓Excellent camera
- ✓Very good performance
- ✓Unlimited storage in Photos
- ✓Mini jack port
- ✓Permanent help service
- ✕ Unusualdesign
- ✕No water resistance
- ✕Without microSD card
- ✕Limited availability to some markets
Google Pixel – Availability and price
The starting price for this Google Pixel is € 759 for its version with 32 GB, the version with 128 GB goes up to € 869. It was presented on October 4 and since then it has been in pre-sale. On October 20 begin shipments and open sale.
The availability of the device is very limited. In principle it will only be available in English speaking markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or Canada and also in Germany. A little later it should also reach India.
Those who expected an affordable device will be disappointed, since the Pixel has the price of a high-end 2016. In addition the Euro-Dollar conversion is still something strange.
This distribution is due to the fact that the Google Assistant voice assistant, the backbone of the new devices, is only available in English and German. Arrival in other countries does not have a fixed date and may depend on the development of this new artificial intelligence with the rest of the languages.
It is available in three colors: black, silver and blue. However, the latter is currently reserved for customers in the United States. The smartphone comes without headphones (somewhat surprising for this price) but with a charger with C-type output, a cable with two C-type plugs, another cable with a USB type B-type or another type-C (to connect to the computer or old chargers) and an adapter with microUSB connection (to pass the data from your old smartphone to the Pixel).
|U.S||$ 649||$ 749|
|GERMANY||€ 759||€ 869|
|UNITED KINGDOM||£ 599||£ 699|
|AUSTRALIA||1079 A $||1229 A $|
|GLEN||899 C $||1029 C $|
Google Pixel – Design and finishing
Google Pixel is the smallest of the two Pixel. Its screen is 5 inches, and somehow it is the successor of the Nexus 5X released last year. At first glance you can see a great evolution between these two smartphones. This is undoubtedly one of the best smartphones that Google has created since the mythical Nexus 4 in 2012. But, let’s be clear from the beginning, this is not the best Android smartphone on the market, far from it. Google has not sought to be original with its smartphones. However, for that price, I find it regrettable and I expected something more from the American giant. An S7 Galaxy or an iPhone 7 (with which it is often compared) are clearly better in this regard. However, there is nothing to be said about the quality of the finishes.
It’s not big break, the Google Pixel design is classic. It is an attractive phone, all metal with the exception of its upper back that is glass and distinguishes it from one of its competitors. The phone is not very thin, but in your case it is not so bad because it prevents the camera sensor from sticking out unsightly. Also, it keeps the mini-jack port that is already disappearing in some new models.
The most disconcerting is its light weight. Google seems to have succeeded in reducing weight in all areas. Google and HTC design the edges, in such a way that they are comfortable to use, and also very practical when lifting the phone when it is on the table. The angles of the frame greatly facilitate handling.
In the front we can find a speaker (for conversations) in the middle of the upper part. On the left, there is the lens of the 8-megapixel front camera and the proximity sensor just above the screen and below the speaker. Of course, there is no start button in the front. Therefore, it is a pity, from an aesthetic point of view, that under the screen you have this large space that is useless
As I mentioned earlier, the housing is divided into two parts. The first third of glass (Gorilla Glass 4) houses the highly effective fingerprint reader (to unlock), the NFC chip, the 12 megapixel camera and dual LED flash (surrounded by a thin aluminum frame). The lower part presents the Google G logo on aluminum. A lower band is observed that serves to improve the connectivity of the antennas. The advantage of this mixture of metal and glass is that the traces do not take over the entire back.
The power button is on the right side above the volume buttons. It is slightly veined to be able to differentiate to the touch. On the left we have a slot for the nanoSIM card. Do not look for the slot for a microSD card, as it simply does not have one.
Google has waived to add a complete resistance to water. It only has an IP53 certification, which is very low compared to the IP68 certification of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. These can be submerged in water up to 1.5 meters deep and for 30 minutes, which is far from the case of the new Pixels. The Pixel only supports a spray at 60 degrees, so be careful with the rain and of course forget any dive, under penalty of having to throw the device in the trash later.
- IP certifications
In general, Google Pixel is a wonder to drive. The buttons fall easily in the hand and the format will delight users looking for a compact and discreet smartphone. I prefer the black model, but the silver version does not dislike me too much.
However, I must admit that part of the design is a small disappointment to me. For the first time, Google claimed to have been able to control the design of hardware and software. Result: an elegant smartphone, but it does not match the level of its competitors. To create this Pixel, Google seems to have been inspired by all the competition but does not get to have a true brand essence. It’s a shame but it’s the first time for Google, so let’s be lenient.
Google Pixel – Screen
Google Pixel has a 5-inch AMOLED screen with full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920. For such a screen size, the definition is good enough to display any content. Some may regret the absence of a QHD definition, as in the case of Pixel XL, at a time when Google has also launched its Daydream platform and its new virtual reality glasses. But apart from this use, Full-HD may be enough. Google has also optimized its interface for the Pixel, the icons are smaller and gives the impression of having higher resolution.
On the sides of the screen we have fine edges. Of course, and as expected, the viewing angles are very good. I have found that the brightness was sometimes a little lacking in the open air under sunlight, but nevertheless the colors are very good and the contours remain easily readable in any situation. Contrast and saturation are also excellent. In summary, we have a very high quality screen.
- All differences between screens
In the end, the only fault I have found is its fragility. A scratch has appeared on the screen after saving two smartphones in the pocket of my pants. It has surprised me enough for a protected phone with Gorilla Glass 4.
Google Pixel – Special functions
With Pixel, Google offers a help and assistance service by calling Google customer service. In the United States, customer service is available 24/7 but from 9 am to 9 pm from Monday to Friday and from 10 am to 6 pm on weekends. This service is accessible directly from the settings of the Pixels.
The Google team is at your disposal to solve your problems. There are two possibilities: through a chat or talking directly with a Google technician or by phone. If necessary, you can also easily share the device’s screen with a Google expert for better guidance. Previously, permission to share the screen with the technician is requested. Of course, you do not have to do this if you want to keep your privacy.
I had the opportunity to try it on a Saturday and it works perfectly. I think that this solution can help many users, especially those who perform worse with the latest technologies.
Google Pixel – Software
The two Pixels bring the new version of Android 7.1 Nougat. This is the first time we see this version on an Android smartphone in 2016. It has exclusive features such as the integration of all services with Google Assistant.
Google also offers two years of operating system updates and three years of security updates. I would have expected a little more from Google’s side. Apple, for example, offers 4 or 5 years of updates for a similar price.
The purest and most fluid Android experience
Google proclaimed that the Pixel offers the best Android experience. After a week of use, it is clear that the Mountain View company was right. The software of Google Pixel is one of the biggest advantages of this smartphone. The interface is clean, simple and has an impressive fluency. Open and close applications at lightning speed. I have not seen any errors, and no application has closed unexpectedly. Clearly a good job of optimization between hardware and software is noted. Finally, it does not suffer from bloatware. Only Google applications (including Duo and Allo) are pre-installed.
The design is also nice, with circular icons. Google has included in its own way what Apple offers with its 3Dtouch technology. When we press the icon of an application for a long time, it displays different shortcuts (up to 5) each with a specific action. For example, Google Maps show a shortcut of the itinerary to go home.
Another new feature of the software refers to silent system updates that are now simpler. A second partition makes it possible to install the update in the background. The new updated system starts automatically when you restart and saves you the waiting time with respect to traditional updates.
Now you will not have to wait for the update to install
What is also very interesting in this new software version, is the perfect integration of Google Assistant. Thanks to him, Pixel devices have a completely different use system: the system always seeks to relate everything to the context and, through the artificial interface, they are represented in the form of dialogue. Google Assistant can be easily activated with a long press on the start button.
For Google, Assistant is the centerpiece of Pixel devices. In any Spanish-speaking country, however, it is currently impossible to use. This is one of the reasons why it is not marketed in Spain or Latin America. If you choose a language other than English or German, the function simply disappears and only Google Now is available by long-tapping the start button. If you keep your phone in English, you can enjoy Google Assistant, but it is still far from perfect and constantly useful.
Google Assistant is not enough reason to buy the Pixel
The interface of the application is simple and the voice is nice, but personally I still have trouble talking with my smartphone. Even if the recognition is easy, I do not see why you should open a discussion with the Google Assistant to look for information instead of doing it through the Google application. I also think that it lacks a bit of development. Ordering a pizza, for example, is impossible. Once again, this is a personal matter related to the use that each one makes of your phone, but Google Assistant is not a sufficient reason to justify the purchase of the Pixel.
Finally, among the new features, it should be noted that Android 7.1 Nougat also offers support for Daydream and level 25 Android API for developers.
Google Pixel – Performance
Along with the Samsung Exynos 8890, the Snapdragon 821 is the fastest processor that exists on Android. The performance (especially in games) is optimized to work with the virtual reality platform Daydream, unlike devices with Snapdragron 820. In terms of performance, the Pixel is well equipped for any type of use. 4 GB of RAM (LPDDR4) provide maximum performance for multitasking.
In combination with the Android 7.1 Nougat interface, the fluency of the Google Pixel is excellent, sometimes even superior to the Galaxy S7 and Note7. This is probably the most optimized phone you can experience on Android. In this sense, the comparison with the Apple iPhone 7 is at the same level. Google Pixel offers the best of Android. The phone heats up (but very little) when using the camera or playing demanding games, but like most smartphones.
With Pixel, Google has also optimized the performance of their Nexus so they can increase usability. His performance in games is excellent. The Google Pixel sometimes even surpasses the Galaxy S7 in its own terrain.
The main weakness would be its low internal memory, which also can not be extended with a microSD card. In the 32 GB model, the system occupies almost 7 GB of total memory. This leaves 25 GB of storage space to share between apps and data. If you are an application enthusiast (especially games), you will fill it quickly. Fortunately, Google offers Pixel users unlimited storage in the cloud of Photos at high resolution. What eventually can compensate for the lack of microSD card.
- Why internal memory is better than a microSD card
|3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0||3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.1||3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0||Geekbench 4 – single core||Geekbench 4 – multicore||Google Octane 2.0||PC Mark Work Performance|
Google Pixel – Audio
This is an aspect that many manufacturers overlook. Google has not given much priority to the sound in the Pixel either. We only found a mono speaker located on the bottom edge of the device. However, as in many other smartphones we find two openings in the bottom, but only one emits sound.
The mono speaker offers a normal audio quality. It’s enough to play or watch videos. If you raise the volume to the maximum the sound can be a little metallic and unpleasant. Through headphones, connected via Bluetooth or through the mini jack, the sound is excellent.
Regarding communications, the Pixel is a good companion. The network coverage is very good (even in the subway). The volume of calls is great even in noisy environments.
Google Pixel – Camera
Google refuses to follow the fashion of the double camera that attempts to launch Huawei, LG and Apple. The main camera of the Pixel has 12.3 MP, like its predecessor. Google promised the best photos taken by a smartphone and according to DxOMark they have achieved it, better even than the Galaxy S7. According to Google the Pixel has the capture time shorter than any other smartphone.
And what is the truth? Yes, the Pixel has an excellent camera. The best? Not necessarily. I had fun comparing the S7 and the iPhone 7. Both offer very good results and excellent development speed. The photos offer sharper and brighter images than competitors. The Pixel also but it has been less comfortable to me when taking images of objects in movement, thing in which the S7 takes outstanding.
Another point is that the Pixel does not offer optical image stabilization (OIS) if not electronic stabilization (EIS). For the videos the result is very similar but for the photos the difference is appreciable.
The camera interface has not changed since the last Nexus. We have the usual options, videos in 4K, fast movement .. As usual, the photo application offers several entertainment features.
On the front, the 8-megapixel camera has a pixel size of 1.55 microns and an f / 2.0. A laser focus and a dual tone flash complete the main camera.
Google Pixel – Battery
We found a 2770 mAh battery. Given the thickness of the device I would have expected something more. The Huawei P9 with somewhat less volume reaches 3000 mAh.
During the analysis the battery has given me good results. It is not the best in the market but it ensures a day of independence even if it is used intensively. With the luminosity at 75% I had 5 hours of screen before watching the Pixel die. If it is used moderately, it can reach two days.
It has no wireless charge but it does load quickly. In an hour and a half full load from scratch. In his presentation Google promised 7 hours with 15 minutes of charging, but that depends a lot on the battery percentage from which it is split and how the device is used afterwards.
Google Pixel – Technical specifications
|DIMENSIONS:||143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6 mm|
|BATTERY SIZE:||2770 mAh|
|SCREEN SIZE:||5 inches|
|SCREEN:||1920 x 1080 pixels (441 ppi)|
|FRONTAL CAMERA:||8 megapixels|
|REAR CAMERA:||12.3 megapixels|
|ANDROID VERSION:||7.1 – Nougat|
|USER INTERFACE:||Stock Android|
|INTERNAL MEMORY:||32 GB
|CHIPSET:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|NUMBER OF NUCLEI:||4|
|MAXIMUM SPEED:||2.15 GHz|
|CONNECTIVITY:||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2|
To be his first smartphone Googe has done a good job. The Pixel is a complete smartphone and worthy of the high range of 2016. Apple has an iPhone, now Google has Pixel.
If you are looking for the best Google experience and you are a fan of the services of the giant, it is very clear that the Pixel is your device. The fluidity is excellent, as well as its performance, in addition to having the guarantee of taking the last of Android for the next two years. The quality of the main camera is indisputable and confirm the hopes of Google in this regard. To this we must add of course a good autonomy.
The smartphone with the best Android experience you can find
However, it is still worth wondering if its price is well deserved and if it is able to compete with the current Android market star, the Galaxy S7 (which currently costs € 200 less). The Pixel is a good smartphone, but it is also expensive. Its design although attractive is not very original.
Therefore, deciding on the Pixel at the end can be a fight of small details. Without a doubt, Pixel 2 will be even better.