Google has taken a bit of a sharp turn and has produced a phone lineup separate to their traditional Nexus phones which most Android enthusiasts loved. Perfect for developers; the Nexus phones were affordable phones with stock Android plus a build and battery life that weren’t the best. They were also designed and manufactured by a third party although Google had some input. As a result, these phones could be bought at an affordable price and ran pretty well.

The Pixel phones, however, are Google’s attempt at flagship devices with near-stock Android plus a few extra exclusive features all juiced up with some superior specs. They are designed by Google themselves then manufactured by HTC. Google are aiming for the top with these new devices, and as a result, their target audience has also changed from Android enthusiasts to the everyday user.

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It’s finally here. After waiting patiently since the pre-orders went live, my Very Silver 128GB Pixel XL has arrived. This article will be an unboxing and first impressions review of the phone.

Specs

Both the Pixel and the Pixel XL rock

  • 4GB of ram
  • 12.3MP camera
  • Snapdragon 821 processor
  • AMOLED display
  • Gorilla Glass 4
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Fast charging (not QC quick charge)
  • Android 7.1

There are also a few differences between the two

  1. The Pixel has a 2770mAh battery; the XL has a 3450mAh battery
  2. The Pixel has a 1080×1920 display while the XL has a 1440×2560 display
  3. The Pixel has a 5″ screen, and the XL has a 5.5″ screen

So the phones are very similar. You might be asking what the point of having two versions is. Well, a lot of people have been requesting smaller phones with proper flagship specs. Phones usually downgrade specs for smaller versions such as last year’s Nexus 6p and 5x. Now everyone can enjoy the high performance of a premium device in a smaller form factor sacrificing just a few features such as that beautiful 1440×2560 display and 5.5″ screen. The battery might also seem like a bit of a downgrade; however, the Pixel has a smaller screen resolution so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Unboxing

The phone comes in a nice case with a box inside protruding slightly.

Pixel Packaging

Upon sliding the box out, there’s a plastic seal you have to peel off.

Pixel Packaging Box

Inside the box, there is the very nice looking aluminium/glass back of the phone.

Pixel XL in boxPixel XL Glass BackPixel XL Aluminium Back

When you turn the phone over, the first thing you see is the introduction to the new Google Assistant.

Pixel XL in the box

In the compartment to the right, you have your USB C to C cable and the wall adapter. You will use these to fast charge your phone.

Pixel XL Accessories

Under the phone, you have the manuals with a sim card removal tool.

Pixel XL in box Pixel XL in box

Under the manuals, you have some headphones, a USB A to C cable and a USB A to C adaptor.

Pixel XL in box Pixel XL accessories Pixel XL accessories

Here’s a quick view of the included manuals. Click on the pictures then the full resolution to see them clearly.

Pixel XL manuals Pixel XL manuals

Here are some pictures of the phone out of the box.

Pixel XL front Pixel XL back

The phone features a USB charging port with fast charging, a single, mono speaker (left) and another grill for the microphone (right).

Pixel XL charging port

There is a textured power button as well as a volume rocker on the right side of the phone.

Pixel XL volume and power

A headphone jack on the top.

Pixel XL headphone jack

And finally, a sim card tray to the left of the device.

Pixel XL sim card tray

You can slide it out with the tool included in the manuals.

Pixel XL sim card removal

First Launch

When first powering on the device, the Google logo will show followed by a simple loading screen with four dots jumping over each other.

Google Pixel XL Startup

After the initial boot, you have the setup screen. This process will guide you through logging into the device with your Google account, restoring data from a previous device and recording your fingerprint to unlock the device. Some of the noticeable setup options include,

Restoring your data from a previous Android or iPhone.

Pixel XL setup

Automatic backups to Google Drive.

Pixel XL setup

Finally, there’s the Google Assistant.

Pixel XL setup

After you complete the setup, you have your new homepage.

Pixel XL

First Impressions

This phone is fast. It feels a lot more responsive than the Samsung Galaxy S7 although that’s mostly in the lack of random slow downs. This phone is fast all the time; it will be there when you need it most. I’ve played with the device for a few days now, and the only hiccups I’ve had are the odd app crash here and there which are not the phone’s fault. Multitasking is buttery smooth with over ten apps open, and switching between them feels great. Launching apps always feels fast and responsive to the extent that it feels a bit like an iPhone. One of my favourite features of the device is the fingerprint reader. I’ve used the fingerprint reader on many devices, and this is the fastest I’ve come across. In addition to the speed, I love being able to swipe my finger down to get my notifications. The battery is also great, and I haven’t had to charge it during the day, unlike my Nexus 6P.

Pixel XL

Conclusion

So far this phone is fantastic. If you loved stock Android from the Nexus phones but always wanted a premium, high-end device then this is it. The price may seem a bit steep for the specs you’re getting, especially in Australia, but you won’t regret the purchase. The phone looks unique in my opinion, although I’ve heard many other people say it’s uninspired, so you’re going to have to judge the device’s aesthetics yourself.

Pixel XL back