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Google Pixel and Pixel XL: Five things you need to know

A pin-sharp look at the new Pixel phones.
Pixel phones hero

Following weeks of leaks and speculation, Google has officially unveiled two new smartphones: the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL.

Both phones are major challengers to Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7.

Keen to get hold of one? Or just want to get the inside line?

Read on and we’ll tell you five things you need to know about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

1 It's the end of the line for Nexus phones

These are the first official Google-branded smartphones. The Nexus brand, which Google used to use for its in–house handsets, is no more.

The phones themselves have been manufactured by HTC, but everything else about them is very much Google-focused.

That means you get the very latest Android 7.1 Nougat software and a sleek new lock screen that you won’t find on any other handset.

Design–wise, the metal finish and rear fingerprint scanner represent a marked change from the Nexus range, and there’s support for Google’s new VR headset to boot.

2 There to assist

Google Now Pixel phone

The Pixel and Pixel XL are the first phones to come with Google’s new Assistant voice-activated personal assistant out of the box.

This service, revealed at the company’s I/O event back in May, is a much more powerful version of its Google Now tool.

Like Apple’s Siri, it can help out with requests and also allows you to open up and control both phones using only your voice.

Assistant is also part of the new Allo app, meaning you can loop it into text conversations to deliver restaurant recommendations, maps and directions and other essential information.

3 Super fast charging and large batteries

google pixel specs

As with Samsung’s best smartphones, Google has included a USB–C port with both the Pixel and Pixel XL.

The result is that you can charge each phone quickly, with Google claiming you’ll get seven hours of power from a mere 15 minutes of it being plugged into the mains.

The batteries on both devices are big too, with the 5–inch Pixel packing in a 2770 mAh battery and the 5.5–inch Pixel XL coming loaded with a 3450 mAh power pack.

That should, in theory, deliver more than a day’s use with both handsets.

4 Powerful camera

Pixel burst mode

Both the Pixel and Pixel XL come with a 12.3 megapixel rear facing camera.

Google has included optional image stabilisation for shooting video, as well as a clever feature that can automatically pick the best shot from a burst of similar images.

Pixel camera

Google boasts that independent camera ratings firm DXO Mark has given the Pixel and Pixel XL the highest rating of any smartphone camera.

How this stacks up in real-world situations, however, remains to be seen.

There is, after all, stiff competition from Apple’s new dual screen camera on the iPhone 7 Plus.

5 Available for pre-order

Google Pixel hero

You can preorder the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL now, in both 32GB and 128GB variants.

The smaller Pixel starts at £599 SIM–free, while the Pixel XL costs £719.

The latter does have a sharper Quad HD screen, hence the premium price point.

EE is the only network to sell the handsets directly and is offering the standard Pixel free on contracts from £50.99 and the XL model free from £55.99.

However, Carphone Warehouse is selling the Pixel phones on all networks.

Both phones will be available to buy in stores and online from October 20th.

Head to our dedicated page to compare Google Pixel deals.

Category: Features
Tagged: android, google

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