Google today has launched the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones at an event in San Francisco. The smartphones will be launching in India after 13 October 2016 and pre-orders will begin on 13th, available from Chroma, Reliance Digital Stores, and Flipkart.
The Google Pixel price is expected to start from Rs. 57,000 in India which seems to be exorbitant, considering the Nexus line of devices was affordable, yet flagship performance devices.
Google Event – The Google event started with Sundar Pichai taking the center stage and talking about the developments about Artificial Intelligence and how AI can be the Next Big Thing in coming years. With examples of Google Assist (an improved version of Google Now) can make a lot of difference to How we currently use smartphones. It is going to be more interactive and more contextually aware.
The event though was attended by a huge number of media and tech enthusiasts looked bland with a poor selection of venue by Google with mediocre looking ambiance. ohh they need some serious lessons from the Cupertino giant about how to hype up things.
Pixel and Pixel XL
How Google Smartphones have evolved – Coming to the Pixel smartphones, apart from the sky-high price the smartphones look impressive and a step forward for Google. These are first non Nexus smartphones which Google calls “ Phone By Google”. Emphasising on the point that these are smartphones made by Google, however, HTC is said to be the manufacturing partner.
But unlike the old Google Nexus smartphones which dawned a manufacturer logo like Huawei or LG, these Pixel smartphones have just a “G”, nothing else, no sign of HTC.
What is most impressive about the Google Pixel smartphones is the software, I am not too intrigues about the design but the advancement in Software, the new Google launcher, changed user interface and most fascinating is the Google assist.
Google assistant is the answer to Apple’s Siri or Window’s Cortana with Google’s advanced artificial algorithms it can help you do a lot of things like book a hotel, play music, send a message by SMS or even by Whats app. Definitely impressive.
Google is also offering unlimited storage for all your photos and videos on the cloud at the highest quality, so you never run out of storage space.
Google = Apple
The Google Pixel is the first smartphone to launch with Google assist and they come with more smooth hardware and software integration. But when we talk about flawless hardware and software integration the name “Apple” rings a bell. While Apple has been doing it effectively for years, it is time Google followed in the footsteps.
Google has always been great at software but they needed a more seamlessly made hardware to work and showcase the best of Google and to truly compete with Apple – the answer is Pixel.
Working with other corporations is tough very tough. In a venture like Google handling software and another manufacturer providing hardware and meeting deadly launch deadlines is a formidable task.
But now Google has set the ball rolling and from a pure software company, they want to be a hardware company too, like Apple.
The pricing is also becoming more close to Apple. (at least for India).
Pixel & Pixel XL Hardware
Even to my painstakingly half-open eyes, the Pixel smartphone looks a lot like the iPhone 7, especially from the front and sides. The back side of the smartphone has a weird glass upper one-third part and bottom two-thirds is metallic and has a dual tone color finish. The Pixel and Pixel XL will come in three different colors – black, silver and the Blue (it is really blue, I mean really really blue).
The most notable feature of the Google Pixel smartphone is probably the camera which Google claim is to be the best camera you can have currently, even better than the Samsung S7 edge and iPhone 7. Google also shared the DXO mark score (8.9) which puts the camera above the Samsung S7 edge (8.8).
We would like to do a lot more real-life testing before concluding that it is actually better or close the Samsung S7 edge camera.
There is a 12.3 Mega Pixel Sony IMX378 sensor, PDAF, a large f/2.0 aperture camera at the back which comes with Optical image stabilization. The smartphone also comes with an 8 MP front selfie camera with a Sony IMX179 sensor, a f/2.4 aperture to click clear selfies.
Google also shared that they have optimized the camera app to work much faster compared to any other smartphone.
Both the phones come with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor clocked at 2.15 GHz and it is the best processor you can have on any Android smartphone. There is 4 GB of ram to ensure a smooth experience. The devices will be shipped with the Android Nougat OS 7.1 to offer best software experience.
As far as hardware goes both smartphones are identical apart from having differences in battery Size, screen size, and resolution.
The Pixel comes with 5.0-inch display with Super AMOLED panel and Full HD resolution, while the Pixel XL comes with 5.5-inch display and Quad HD (2560*1440) pixels resolution. There is 2.5D curved glass on top of the screen and it is protected by Gorilla Glass 4.
The smartphones come with USB Type C port at the bottom and also have a rare 3.5 mm jack. The Pixel comes with 2770 mAH battery capacity while the Pixel XL has a 3450 mAH battery capacity with fast charging support.
Pricing and Availability
The smartphone will be available for pre-orders starting Tuesday in Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, and the US. It costs $649 (approximately Rs. 43,000) for the 32 GB variant while the 128 GB costs USD 749 (Rs. 50200). The cost for Pixel XL is $769 (Approx Rs. 51,200) for the 32 GB variant while the 128 GB variant can cost Rs 58,000 or $ 869.
These are the prices for the US the India price is said to be Rs. 57,000 for the 32 GB Google pixel, which looks astronomical. While price for Pixel XL and 128 GB variant for India is yet not known. The Blue variant (the really blue variant) is limited edition and thankfully not expected to launch in India.
— Google (@google) October 4, 2016
Major Pros and Cons – The Good and the Bad (Pixel Phones)
There are some of the things in which the Pixel shines and some areas where Google need to overshadow competition in the Pixel 2 next year.
5 Major Pros for the Google Pixel
1). Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 – Google Pixel is the first device other than Xiaomi Mi5s and the Asus Zenfone Deluxe to come with the new Snapdragon Processor. Which makes it 10% faster on paper compared to the Samsung S7 or the HTC 10. Definitely a surprise addition, I had a strong premonition that they would be using SD 820 before launch. It is the fastest processor on the bloc.
2). Android Nougat 7.1 – It will take a long time for Samsung to get the Nougat on the S7 and S7 edge and on the ill-fated Note 7, same applies to HTC 10 and LG G5. Plus added the advantage of getting the next Android version on day zero next year makes it worthy.
3). Google Assist – The first smartphone with Google assistance makes it a tough competitor to the Cupertino Giant’s adorable Siri. Moreover, the improved AI is going to improve in future and will make it more joyful to use with voice commands. Much effective compared to Siri.
4) Outstanding Camera – I think the camera is one of the major deciding factors for purchasing a flagship. Rest everything you can get in any smartphone but a great camera is something which comes with a true high-end flagship. The 12.3 MP rear camera with a DXO score of 89 gives some assurance of its quality and the 8 MP front camera is also going to be wonderful.
5) Google Launcher – The all-new Pixel Launcher looks clean and simple, yet adds spice to the new Pixel phones. The launcher may not have a plethora of features but the minimalistic design and look tempts me.
6) More Features – The Pixel offers pro camera effects, instant chat support (Allo and Duo). Also, an unlimited storage option in the cloud which would save the images and 4K videos in full resolution without compressing it.
5 Things That Could Have Been Better
1). The design is passable but the dual tone finish with the upper body glass finish may not appeal to everyone. It is a good design but not the best or most innovative.
2). The front has a huge chin which is a wastage of space. An iPhone 7 uses almost that much of space on the chin with even a home button. The Google Pixel also misses a stereo speaker and in turn uses a mono speaker.
3). Wireless Charging is missing on the Pixel phones and probably Google will add it next year to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
4). Missed on Water/Dust proofing – There are no extra features such as IP67, IP68 rating. While its a feature which even the iPhone and Samsung high-end phones now include.
5). Still, no expandable storage, although the 32 GB and 128 GB variants will satisfy most of the users, an option would’ve been great.
6). Most importantly the absurdly high launch price. What impressed most Nexus buyers in the past including me was affordable pricing and best hardware. Google, in my opinion, has failed in doing this with the Pixel smartphones.
Google may be repositioning the brand from Value for money to premium, but it is difficult to shed the image which is built after years of conscious effort.
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