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October 05, 2016

Google Releases New Pixel Phones

Google seems to be dabbling in several different industries these days; they’re involved in everything from self-driving cars to new smartphones.  The company previously rolled out successful phones in the form of the Nexus line. Their latest venture was just unveiled - the Pixel phone.

 The Pixel phones will have two options: the 5-inch Pixel and the 5.5-inch Pixel XL. If this is starting to sound familiar to you, you’re not off track. The devices are manufactured by HTC, and look a great deal like recent HTC devices, specifically the HTC A9 and HTC Desire 10. Both these devices admittedly look a bit like iPhones, which means that the new Pixel phones are following suit.

The main differences between the Pixel and the Pixel XL are screen size and the battery capacity. The Pixel has a 5-inch, 1920x1080 AMOLED display and a 2770mAh battery, while the Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch 2560×1440 AMOLED display and a 3450mAh battery. They both have aluminum bodies with a large glass panel on the rear. The panel covers about a third of the back and surrounds the camera and fingerprint reader.

This year has seen some new developments in the Apple and Samsung realms, and Google is no different. The Pixel and Pixel XL are among the first devices with the Snapdragon 821 SoC, which means their specs are somewhat different than any new releases we’ve seen this year. The 821 isn't a major improvement of what is already available in high-end devices, though. It's simply a Snapdragon 820 with a higher clock rate, 2.4GHz versus 2.15 GHz. Both Pixel devices also include 4GB of RAM, 32 or 128GB of storage, a 12MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, rear fingerprint sensor, and a USB Type C port.

Speaking of cameras, Google is pretty excited about the Pixel's 12.3MP f/2.0 rear camera. It received a DxOMark score of 89, which is the highest ever for a smartphone, according to Google. Even more exciting, though, is the phones’ ability to integrate with Google’s “Daydream VR” platform. VR is the next big thing, and there’s no way Google was going to miss the boat on this one. The Pixels are the first “Daydream ready” phones. You can now buy an empty VR headset and slot your phone into it, which then allows you to use the phone display, SoC and battery to power the VR experience. Eventually, Google will be releasing its own “Daydream View” headset.

There are plenty of big things coming thanks to Google. Between new phones and VR compatibility, they could be gearing up to make major changes to smartphones. Anyone interested in the Pixel will be happy to know that Google is still completely in control of the software on these devices. This means speedy major updates along with monthly security updates. Like the Nexus phones, Pixel devices will get updates as soon as their available from Google. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Pre-orders for the Pixel phones have already started, and pricing starts at $649 for the Pixel and $769 for the Pixel XL. Making the change from 32GB to 128GB of storage adds $100 to the cost of each device, and Google's device protection plans cost an additional $99. Like with the Nexus line, you can buy Pixel phones unlocked and directly from Google. However, the phones will be available exclusively from Verizon in the U.S.; if you want to use it on another network, you’ll have to buy the unlocked version.

So, what do you think? For those of you tired of headphone jacks going missing and exploding batteries, the new Google Pixel phones may be the answer you’re searching for. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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