When the Pixel and Pixel XL were going to be launched, there were a lot of rumors of what we might witness. The whole ‘Made by Google’ phone evoked curiosity more than anything else because that meant a death knell for the Nexus line and a new approach from the 2nd most valuable company in the world. It was a risk, but it looks like that risk has paid off. The reviews for the Pixel phones have started pouring in and they are synonymous in their praise.
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When Hardware Meets Software
Google has always had ambitions related to software, right from developing a super-fast search engine, to navigation tools to an online streaming service. The revenue model for all these has been the same – ads. Google has seldom shown interest in actually making hardware and most times it has backfired. Like the Google Glass. The Nexus line was initiated by Google only to show everyone what a pure Android experience on a phone would be like. They tied up with various OEMs, year after year, to build a Nexus device. The OEMs provided the hardware and Google-powered the software.
The Nexus line was initiated by Google only to show everyone what a pure Android experience on a phone would be like. They tied up with various OEMs, year after year, to build a Nexus device. The OEMs provided the hardware and Google-powered the software.
Not this time, though. This time Google brought their software alright but had greater control over the hardware than ever before. Never have we seen a Google event where they haven’t specified who made their Nexus device, but with Pixel it doesn’t matter. No matter who does the assembling, Google is taking charge of the hardware from this year on. By doing this, they’ve not only taken Apple head-on but have also served notice to other OEM partners that they need to step-up. Especially in the high-end market.
No matter who does the assembling, Google is taking charge of the hardware from this year on. By doing this, they’ve not only taken Apple head-on but have also served notice to other OEM partners that they need to step-up. Especially in the high-end market.
Premier Flagship: Android’s Best Yet
Make no mistake, the Pixel is a premium smartphone in every sense of the word. HTC’s excellent craftsmanship of the device has invited comparisons with the iPhone, but what is stranger is the fact that Android 7.1 holds a few surprises that also invite comparisons to iOS. Okay, maybe not a few, but one major surprise. The long-press action of any icon will now show you a sub-menu of actions that can directly launch the app into a new action. Just like the 3D Touch on any iPhone.
So if you want to check your DMs on Twitter directly, long-pressing on the Twitter app might just give you that option, thereby saving you an additional step of first opening the main app and waiting for it to load tweets on your homepage.
The Verge had a video review of the Pixel phones, by Dieter Bohn, who was impressed with almost every aspect of the phone. Walt Mossberg, also reviewing the Pixel for The Verge, wrote that this is the best Android phone he’s tested. The only place where these 2 have different experiences seem to be battery life, where Dieter had an excellent battery life to report, Walt wasn’t nearly as impressed.
Joanna Stern, writing for the Wall Street Journal, didn’t beat around the bush and called the Pixel, The Android iPhone You’ve Been Waiting For. She’s impressed with the Google Assistant too, something which is unanimous in all the reviews so far. Tech writers aren’t just impressed with the speed with which it can reply to your queries, but also how accurately.
Finally, Android Police’s David Ruddock has an excellent in-depth review of the phone, where he has called the looks dull but is generally impressed with the phone. His camera samples do all the talking for themselves, but it is interesting to note while he’s not calling it the fastest or most amazing phone of the year, he did name it “I firmly believe it offers the best overall camera experience on any smartphone, full stop.” His review of the Pixel can be summed up with his last line,
The Pixel is a very hard phone not to like, and that really is a rare thing.
Buying Your Pixel?
Let us know what you make of these reviews of the supposedly best Android smartphone out there. Are you gonna get one soon? We sure are. Watch this space for our thoughts.