Google’s flagship phone is so impressive that it even surpasses Apple’s iPhone 7 in some regards. But it has its shortcomings too. Here is our short user experience with the Pixel XL.
This is a big one, Google’s take on the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7. On the face of it though, it doesn’t appear very impressive in the aesthetic department with a simple front fascia. Pick it up and your notion changes as you feel the heft of a well-built phone with a solid metal back panel which features a glass panel at the top that locates the camera, flash and centrally placed finger print sensor.
This XL model comes with the option of either 32GB of internal storage or 128GB. And while you do get unlimited storage space for your pictures and videos on Google, for long term use it would make sense to get the 128GB model. Processing power is provided from a 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor aided by 4GB of RAM, which runs Android 7.1. The Pixel XL has a 3,450mAh non-removable battery and a single nano-SIM card slot.
On the face of it, the Pixel XL offers smooth operation; you can switch between multiple screens and apps in a very quick manner. The display looks rich with a 5.5-inch display featuring a 2,650 x 1,440 quad-HD resolution AMOLED screen. To put it simply, it has bright and crisp imaging, with natural-looking colours that give it perhaps the best display on any phone at the moment. Watching high quality videos is a real joy on this phone as the colours are so vivid that it makes everything just come alive. And while the Pixel XL may not come with stereo speakers, its downward firing speakers offer rather good sound quality. The only issue is that your hand can block them while gaming.
Google’s Pixel has also been praised for its camera. You get a 12.3-megapixel primary camera which is nothing short of brilliant. The depth of field of the camera is unbelievable for a phone camera. There was dense fog when the image of the red Mustang above was clicked and yet all you get is a very clear and shiny image of the car and a clear sky! Overall, it has excellent clarity. It even does a fabulous job at night photography where the blacks appear authentic in various shades and light reflections are also picked up very well. The gyroscope does a great job at image stabilization while the auto-focus is near-instantaneous and accurate.
All in all, the Google Pixel XL does perform better than the Apple iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 on a lot of accounts. But the core question of longevity remains. While an iPhone will not slow down over years of operation, the Pixel is an Android device but runs Google’s own software and hardware. So, it remains to be seem if and how much the OS slows down in the long run. The only let down with this phone so far as I see it is its battery life which is just about average.