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 Pixel 2 and later by the Pixel 3.
G-2PW4100 (North America)
G-2PW2100 (North America)
|First released||October 20, 2016|
|Availability by region|
|Discontinued||April 11, 2018|
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 10
|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, Google worked with HTC on a contract basis on development, 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.
|Pixel & Pixel XL
|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||29, 30||B 41|
|International||BC||0||B 34, 39||B||1-6||8||9, 19||B||18-21||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.
- Ruddock, David (September 1, 2016). "Exclusive: Google's new phones will be called the Pixel and Pixel XL". Android Police. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- Amadeo, Ron (April 11, 2018). "Google stops selling the Pixel and Pixel XL". Ars Technica. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Smith, Ryan; Humrick, Matt (October 4, 2016). "Google Announces Pixel and Pixel XL Phones: Snapdragon 821, 5" & 5.5" Screens, $649, Preorders Start Today". AnandTech. Purch Group. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
- Bohn, Dieter. "The Google Phone: The inside story of Google's bold bet on hardware". The Verge. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
- Bergen, Mark; Fried, Ina (April 28, 2016). "Google is building a new hardware division under former Motorola chief Rick Osterloh". Recode. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
- Brandom, Russell; Dzieza, Josh; O'Kane, Sean (May 18, 2016). "The 10 biggest announcements from Google I/O 2016". The Verge. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
- Savov, Vlad (October 4, 2016). "Pixel 'phone by Google' announced". The Verge. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
- Seifert, Dan (October 4, 2016). "Google's new Pixel phones come with Android 7.1 Nougat". The Verge. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
- Byford, Sam (January 30, 2018). "Google closes $1.1 billion deal for HTC design talent". The Verge. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- "Google Buys HTC Talent for $1.1 Billion to Spur Devices Push". Bloomberg. September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- Vlad (November 14, 2016). "Huawei confirms turning down Google for Pixel manufacturing because it wouldn't be co-branded". GSMArena. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- O'Kane, Sean (October 4, 2016). "Verizon is the exclusive carrier for Google's Pixel phones in US". The Verge. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Smith, Chris (October 5, 2016). "Best Buy already has a Pixel deal you can't pass up". BGR. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Smith, Chris (December 20, 2016). "Best Buy has last-minute deals on the Google Pixel and Galaxy S7". BGR. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Parsons, Jeff (October 20, 2016). "How much does the Google Pixel and Pixel XL cost? How to get hold of the new phones in UK". Trinity Mirror. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Dhapola, Shruti (October 5, 2016). "Google Pixel, Pixel XL India pre-bookings start October 13: All your questions answered before you buy". The Indian Express. The Express Group. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- "Google Pixel, Pixel XL in India stores on October 25: Price, specifications and features". The Indian Express. The Express Group. October 24, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Kastrenakes, Jacob (October 4, 2017). "Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL announced with water resistance, 'dual-pixel' camera, and always-on display". The Verge. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
- Dave Thier (October 4, 2016). "Google's New Pixel Phone Is Perfect For People Abandoning iPhone, Headphone Jack And All". Forbes. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- "Google Pixel". GSMArena. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- "Google Pixel XL". GSMArena. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- McCann, John. "Google Pixel review". TechRadar. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- Swider, Matt. "Google Pixel XL review". TechRadar. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- Zimmerman, Steven (October 12, 2016). "Sony IMX378: Comprehensive Breakdown of the Google Pixel's Sensor and its Features". XDA Developers. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
- Shankland, Stephen (October 4, 2016). "How Google hopes its Pixel camera will win over iPhone fans". CNET. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Ingraham, Nathan (December 5, 2016). "Android 7.1.1 is rolling out now". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
- Carman, Ashley (December 5, 2016). "Google is bringing Pixel features to its Nexus line with Android 7.1.1". The Verge. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
- Cunningham, Andrew (October 5, 2016). "Many Android 7.1 features are Pixel-exclusive, and Nexuses can't get it yet". Ars Technica. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- "Google Pixel phones and Home speaker take on Siri and Echo". BBC. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Statt, Nick (November 22, 2016). "Google is updating Pixel phones with double-tap and raise-to-wake features". The Verge. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
- Gao, Richard (October 19, 2016). "The Pixel and Pixel XL are guaranteed Android version updates for at least 2 years". Android Police. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
- Lambrechts, Stephen. "Google announces use-by date for current Pixel handsets". TechRadar. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
- Whitwam, Ryan (August 21, 2017). "Android 8.0 Oreo system images are live for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C, and Nexus Player". Android Police. Illogical Robot LLC. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
- Hager, Ryne. "Android 8.1 OTA files and factory images are now live". Android Police. Illogical Robot LLC. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
- Kellen (October 10, 2018). "Which Pixel 3 Features are Coming to Older Pixel Phones?". Droid Life. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- "Pixel phone hardware tech specs". Pixel Phone Help. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
- Bohn, Dieter (October 18, 2016). "Google Pixel review: Home run". The Verge. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Humrick, Matt (October 5, 2016). "Hands On With the New Google Pixel Phones". AnandTech. Purch Group. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Velazco, Chris (October 18, 2016). "Pixel and Pixel XL review: What happens when Google designs phones?". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
- Amadeo, Ron (October 18, 2016). "Google Pixel review: The best Android phone, even if it is a little pricey". Ars Technica. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Epstein, Zach (February 20, 2017). "Google wants to know what you think of the Pixel design it stole from Apple's iPhone". BGR. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Frumusanu, Andrei. "The Google Pixel 3 Review: The Ultimate Camera Test". www.anandtech.com. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- Amadeo, Ron (June 13, 2017). "Play Store downloads show Google Pixel sales limited to 1 million units". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- Singleton, Micah (June 14, 2017). "Google may have sold 1 million Pixel phones". The Verge. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- Amadeo, Ron (February 13, 2018). "Google is good at building phones but terrible at selling them". Ars Technica. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- Su, Jean Baptiste (April 25, 2018). "Google CEO Omits Pixel Smartphones In Earnings Call: Here's Why". Forbes. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- "Google tries to resolve Pixel camera flare issue". BBC. October 27, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
- Chavez, Chris (December 9, 2016). "Google Pixel's new camera update attempts to fix excessive lens flaring". Phandroid. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
- Akolawala, Tasneem (October 28, 2016). "Pixel Phone Users Report Bluetooth Pairing Issues With Cars". Gadgets360. NDTV. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Davenport, Corbin (February 24, 2017). "[Update: Fix coming soon] Bluetooth randomly turning itself off on some devices, including the Pixel and Pixel XL". Android Police. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Adam Gordon, Scott. "Google Pixel Bluetooth problem reportedly fixed in server-side update". Android Authority. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Smith, Chris (March 24, 2017). "Google just fixed a Pixel and Pixel XL problem that was driving people crazy". BGR. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Anon, John (November 8, 2016). "Google Pixel Reportedly Suffering From LTE Band 4 Issues". Android Headlines. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- Crider, Michael (December 6, 2016). "Android 7.1.1 update seems to fix some LTE Band 4 issues for the Pixel". Android Police. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Clark, Bryan (November 12, 2016). "Google Pixel hacked in under 60 seconds by Chinese team". The Next Web. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
- Smith, Chris (November 15, 2016). "Hackers needed just 30 seconds to get complete access to the Google Pixel". BGR. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Duino, Justin (December 9, 2016). "My Pixel has a manufacturing defect, and Google wants me to drive to another state to get it fixed [Update]". 9to5Google. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
- Ruddock, David (December 20, 2016). "The Google Pixel appears to have a widespread speaker issue, but a software fix could address it". Android Police. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
- Oakley, Phil (February 8, 2017). "The February security OTA may have fixed the Pixel speaker issue for some people". Android Police. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Amadeo, Ron (April 4, 2017). "Android 7.1.2 leaves beta, arrives on Pixel and Nexus devices". Ars Technica. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
- Walter, Derek (April 7, 2017). "Android device updates: Android 7.1.2 arrives for Pixel and Nexus devices". Greenbot. International Data Group. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
- Crider, Michael (December 23, 2016). "Some Pixel owners are experiencing random software freezes". Android Police. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- T., Florin (December 23, 2016). "Some Google Pixel phones can randomly freeze and become unresponsive for minutes". PhoneArena. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- Whitwam, Ryan (June 5, 2017). "June Nexus/Pixel factory images and OTA files are now available for download, includes fix for Pixel freezing". Android Police. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Welch, Chris (June 5, 2017). "Google just fixed an annoying freezing bug with its Pixel phone". The Verge. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Reigh, Brian (January 31, 2017). "(Update: issue potentially fixed) Some Pixel devices are shutting down at 30% battery". Android Authority. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- D., Luis (January 14, 2017). "Pixel won't sync with MacBook? Outdated Google software is to blame". PhoneArena. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Kastrenakes, Jacob (March 9, 2017). "Google confirms small number of Pixel phones have broken microphones". The Verge. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Crider, Michael (March 8, 2017). "Some Pixel and Pixel XL owners experiencing failing microphones, Google recommends warranty replacements". Android Police. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Hager, Ryne (April 20, 2017). "Some Pixel phones are having problems with backups, Google is looking into it". Android Police. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- T., Florin (April 20, 2017). "Backup issues are affecting some Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones". PhoneArena. Retrieved April 22, 2017.