Pixel and Pixel XL are Android smartphones designed, developed and marketed by Google. They were announced during a press event on October 4, 2016, and serve as the first smartphones in the Google Pixel hardware line, succeeding the Nexus line of smartphones. On October 4, 2017, they were succeeded by the second-generation Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
G-2PW4100 (North America)
G-2PW2100 (North America)
|First released||October 20, 2016|
|Availability by region|
|Discontinued||April 11, 2018|
|Successor||Pixel 2 (XL)|
H: 143.8 mm (5.66 in)
W: 69.5 mm (2.74 in)
D: 8.5 mm (0.33 in)
H: 154.7 mm (6.09 in)
W: 75.7 mm (2.98 in)
D: 8.5 mm (0.33 in)
|Mass||Pixel: 143 g (5.04 oz)|
Pixel XL: 168 g (5.93 oz)
|Operating system||Original: Android 7.1 "Nougat"|
Current: Android 9.0 "Pie"
|System on chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|CPU||Quad-core (2x2.15 GHz & 2x1.6 GHz) Kryo 64-bit ARMv8-A cores|
|Memory||4 GB LPDDR4 RAM|
|Storage||32 GB or 128 GB, UFS 2.0|
|Display||Pixel: 5 in (130 mm) FHD AMOLED, 1920 × 1080 (441ppi)|
Pixel XL: 5.5 in (140 mm) QHD AMOLED, 2560 × 1440 (534 ppi)
2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4
100% NTSC Color Space
100000:1 contrast ratio
24-bit depth/16.77 million colours
|Rear camera||12.3 MP Sony Exmor IMX378 1.55 µm pixel size with f/2.0 aperture, phase-detection Autofocus + Laser Autofocus, HDR+ Processing, Night Sight, HD 720p (up to 240fps), FHD 1080p video (up to 120 FPS), 4K 2160p video (up to 30 FPS), Electronic Image Stabilization (sampling gyroscope at 200 Hz)|
|Front camera||8 MP Sony Exmor IMX179 1.4 µm pixel size with f/2.4 aperture, FHD 1080p video (up to 30 FPS)|
|Connectivity||GSM, LTE, LTE Advanced, Voice over LTE, HSDPA, CDMA|
|Other||IP53, proximity/ALS, accelerometer+Gyrometer, magnetometer, Pixel Imprint (fingerprint sensor), barometer, Hall effect sensor, Android Sensor Hub|
The Pixels have an aluminium chassis, with a glass panel on the rear, a USB-C connector, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a 12.3 megapixel rear-facing camera. At launch, the devices featured certain exclusive software features, including the 7.1 "Nougat" update to the Android operating system, integration with the Google Assistant intelligent personal assistant, live technical support services, and unlimited full-resolution Google Photos backup for the life of the device.
The Pixels received mixed reviews. They were called "the best Android phones you can buy" and received praise for camera quality and performance. However, they were criticised for their high prices and lack of waterproofing, and some critics noted design similarities to Apple's iPhone. The Pixels have suffered from a variety of issues after release, including excessive optical lens flare in pictures captured through the rear camera, connectivity issues with some mobile data bands, unstable Bluetooth connections, unexpected battery shutdowns, and failing microphones. Google has acknowledged and released fixes for most of the issues.
Google previously co-developed flagship Android devices with original equipment manufacturers through the Nexus program, which were designed to be "reference" devices for the Android platform, but the devices retained similarities to other devices made by their respective partners. Rick Osterloh, former president of Motorola, joined Google as its senior vice president of hardware in April 2016, and Google initiated development of an ecosystem of in-house products and platforms, including the Google Home smart speaker, Google Assistant intelligent personal assistant, and Google Daydream, Google's new virtual reality platform built for Android Nougat. The Pixels were announced on October 4, 2016, and serve as Google's launch devices for Android 7.1 "Nougat".
Osterloh said in an interview with The Verge that "a lot of the innovation that we want to do now ends up requiring controlling the end-to-end user experience". The Verge wrote that the Nexus program had "fulfilled its mission", with a Google spokesperson stating that there are "no plans" to make another Nexus device. The Pixel was designed by and is marketed as being a Google product; although the company used HTC as a contract manufacturer, Google has said that the Pixels are not based on any existing HTC device. It offered Huawei the contract to manufacture the devices, but after Google refused to dual-brand the phone with credit to the manufacturer, Huawei declined the offer.
In the United States, Pixel is exclusive to Verizon Wireless and Project Fi, but also available direct-to-consumer via Google's online store or from Best Buy. In the United Kingdom, they are available direct-to-consumer via Google's online store, and through EE, and Carphone Warehouse. In India, they became available for preorder from October 13 from Flipkart, Reliance Digital, and Cromā, with general store availability on October 25.
On October 4, 2017, Google announced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, succeeding the original Pixel devices. The Pixel and Pixel XL were removed from the Google Store and discontinued on April 11, 2018.
Pixel uses an aluminium chassis, with a glass panel on the portion of the rear housing the camera and "Pixel Imprint" fingerprint sensor. The phones have a USB-C connector supporting USB 3.0, for power and data exchange. The phone features a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which received media attention for being a contrast to competing smartphone Apple iPhone 7, which does not feature the port. The Pixel and Pixel XL both use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 system-on-chip, with 4 GB of RAM. They are offered with either 32 GB or 128 GB of UFS 2.0 internal storage.
The two models are differentiated by screen and battery size; the standard Pixel's display measures 5 in (130 mm) 1080p AMOLED with a 2770 mAh battery, while the Pixel XL's display measures 5.5 in (140 mm) 1440p AMOLED with a 3450 mAh battery.
Pixel features a 12.3-megapixel rear-facing camera, which uses an f/2.0 aperture, and a Sony IMX378 sensor with 1.55 μm pixels. The camera uses a digital image stabilization system tied to the phone's gyroscope and motion sensors at a sampling rate of 200 Hz. To improve capture speed, 30 frames are continuously captured per second while the camera is active. When a photo is taken, up to 10 of these frames are composed to form a single image.
The Pixel and Pixel XL shipped with Android 7.1 "Nougat", an update to 7.0 that was initially exclusive to the Pixel. Android 7.1 was later released for some existing Nexus devices in December 2016, but certain features remained exclusive to the Pixel.
Pixel supports Google Assistant, and provides live technical support services integrated into the OS. Similarly to Nexus devices, it receives Android updates directly from Google. Pixel also supports the Google Daydream virtual reality platform. All Pixel smartphones include unlimited full-resolution Google Photos backup for the life of the device. A November 2016 update added additional motion gestures, including double-tapping the screen to show alerts, and raising the device to wake the screen and raise-to-wake features.
Google states on its support pages that the Pixel and Pixel XL are guaranteed to receive new Android version updates until October 2018, and guaranteed to receive security patches until October 2019. In August 2017, Google released Android 8.0 "Oreo" for the Pixel and Pixel XL. Android 8.1 Oreo was released for the Pixel and Pixel XL, as well as some other devices, on December 5, 2017.
All Pixel and Pixel XL models are multi-band devices.
|Pixel & Pixel XL
|GSM (2G)||CDMA (3G)||TD-SCDMA (3G)||UMTS (3G)||LTE-FDD (4G)||LTE-TDD (4G)|
|US, CA, PR||850, 900, 1800, 1900||BC 0, 1, 10||N/A||B 1-2, 4-5, 8||B 1-5, 7-8, 12-13, 17, 20, 25-26, 28-30||B 41|
|International||BC 0||B 34, 39||B 1-6, 8-9, 19||B 1-5, 7-8, 12-13, 17-21, 26, 28, 32||B 38-41|
The Pixel and Pixel XL received mixed reviews. Dieter Bohn of The Verge said the Pixel smartphones are "...easily the best Android phones you can buy" and gave the product a 9 out of 10, praising its long battery life and Google Assistant integration. However, Bohn did not like its pedestrian design and lack of waterproofing. Matt Humrick of AnandTech praised the camera being flush with the body, but was critical of the price, stating that Nexus fans who were looking for a more affordable option would be disappointed. Chris Velazco of Engadget praised the build quality, camera, and performance, but criticized the high price, and lack of proper water-resistance present in rivals, such as the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7. Writing for Ars Technica, Ron Amadeo said of the phone, "[it has] unbeatable software and support with a great camera, wrapped in a familiar exterior." Zach Epstein of BGR wrote in February 2017 that "There’s also no question that the phones feature a design that is sleek and impressive, yet all too familiar. Yes, that’s a nice way of saying that Google blatantly ripped off the iconic design that Apple has used on its iPhones for the past three generations."
The Pixel was updated with the Pixel 3's Night Sight feature which dramatically improves low light performance with no flash or tri-pod. Using Night Sight the Pixel takes superior low light photos than newer 2018 flagships such as the iPhone XS, Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
In June 2017, Ars Technica reported that Google Play's app for the Pixel Launcher, an app pre-installed on all Pixel phones, had been downloaded between one million and five million times. Although the report acknowledged the measurement's imprecision, the publication credited it for providing the first possible sales numbers. In February 2018, an analysis by International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that Google shipped a combined 3.9 million Pixel/XL and Pixel 2/2XL phones in 2017, double the number of shipments from 2016, when Google shipped nearly 2 million Pixel and Pixel XL phones in three months.
The Pixel and Pixel XL have exhibited numerous problems since release, including:
- Rear camera producing excessive flare (fixed in an update to Google's Camera app)
- Bluetooth pairing and stability problems, (fixed through an update to Google's servers in March 2017)
- Connectivity problems with an LTE band (fixed with the release of Android 7.1.1 in December 2016)
- Security exploits
- "Bubbles" forming under the phone's display (with Google replacing affected units and launching an investigation into the issue)
- Audio distortion and harsh clipping at maximum volume through the phone's speaker (fixed in a February 2017 system update, and later also addressed in the Android 7.1.2 system update)
- Random software freezes that leave the phone unresponsive for a few minutes (fixed with the June 2017 monthly security patch)
- Unexpected battery shutdowns (with Android 7.1.2 fixing the issue)
- Synchronization issues with Apple MacBook computers, reportedly due to an outdated synchronization program Google has not updated since 2012.
- Failing microphones, as a result of a "hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec", with Google announcing a replacement program
- Issues with properly backing up the devices, with failures of SMS, call history and apps. Google is reportedly looking into the issue.
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