Google Pixel XL Review – A Purest Android Experience

Google Pixel XL Review – A Purest Android Experience

Google launched Pixel and Pixel XL in October 2016. While almost Nexus lineup is dead now, in case you’re interested to get Pure Android experience, Pixel and Pixel XL does provide that. Does Google Pixel XL stand out from the group of Smartphones with its features? Let’s find it out. I’m writing this review after using Google Pixel XL for more than 15 days. I was using 32GB variant of Pixel XL, which is sold in India at Rs. 67,000.

Google Pixel XL

Things those are included inside the box:

  • Pixel XL Smartphone
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Fast Charger
  • USB-C to USB cable
  • Sim Ejector Pin
  • USB-C to OTG adapter
  • Headphones with Rubber Earbuds
  • Safety and Warranty Information
  • Quick Start Guide, Google Assistant Card, Google Social promo card

Google Pixel XL

Build & Design

In comparison with the Nexus lineup, this time Google has not made it that much unique instead went for generic design. The device sports aluminum and glass construction. There is a Google (G) logo at the back side which is used to be Nexus logo in previous devices. There is a 12.3MP camera on the rear side while 8MP on the front side (More on that in camera section). I don’t know why Google hasn’t used that bottom space in the front side exact below the screen. Or maybe that space was reserved for fingerprint sensor before the design got finalized. And yes, I would love to find Fingerprint scanner on the front side. Doesn’t mean that I don’t like the one provided with Pixel XL; it is fast and accurate.

Software

Google Pixel XL runs on Android 7.1 (Nougat), comes with Pixel launcher and with AI-based Google Assistant. Android 7.1 is an update after 7.0 which include some significant features like “App shortcuts” on long press on App icon in home screen. The Pure Android experience you get while using this device is really beyond words, I mean this is the smoothest Android device I’ve ever used. Google Assistant, Google’s new AI-based voice assistant that offers some great features; was also conversational most of the time while it needs to be improved in many aspects. Actually when I feel boring, I start talking to Assistant and don’t know when 10 – 15 minutes passed, it’s so funny sometimes. It is a much-smarter version of Google Now. Talking about it more, you can joke with it and you can even ask it to sing a song for you. For those who have their agenda ready, the daily briefing feature allows you to digest the schedule for the day by just saying Good Morning. It’s very useful feature.

Hardware

Google Pixel XL is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (MSM8996pro) processor and Adreno 530 GPU. Comes with 4GB of ram, 32GB/128GB of internal storage (I’m reviewing 32GB variant). Storage we get out of the box in 32GB variant is approximately 23.29GB. Pixel XL weighs 168g (Feels little heavy). It is powered by 3,450 mAh battery. The rear camera is 12.3MP (Sony Exmor IMX378 sensor, f/2.0 aperture), front camera is 8MP (Sony Exmor IMX179 sensor, f/2.4 aperture). Can able to record up to 4K video from rear camera while up to 1080p from front camera. Fingerprint sensor is located at the back, which is pretty fast and accurate most of the time. Pixel XL does come with 4G, VoLTE support, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.2, NFC and a reversible USB Type-C connector.  And yes, 3.5mm audio jack is there in Google Pixel XL. A nice gesture Pixel XL supports is swiping-down on fingerprint sensor will quickly pull down notification panel. Google offers unlimited backups for photos and videos taken with Pixel. This would be a solution if you opt for 32GB variant (and if you’ve good internet connection).

Google Pixel XL

Display

Google Pixel XL sports 5.5” AMOLED panel with resolution of 2560 x 1440. Pixel density is 534 pixels per inch. The main difference between Pixel and Pixel XL is of display, Pixel sports 5.0“ AMOLED panel with resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 441ppi. Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection is provided in both Pixel and Pixel XL. Brightness of the screen is bright enough to use in outdoor conditions, even gets lower as expected in the night conditions. I’ve set black wallpaper on the device, the screen was very vibrant and good looking and it’s also a win for battery too, because in AMOLED panel, setting black wallpaper can increase the battery backup.

Camera

Google claims the Pixel XL has the highest DxOMark rating for any smartphone with a score of 89. Honestly saying, the Pixel XL camera definitely seems to live up to Google’s claims. The images captured from Pixel XL do have good detailing, necessary sharpness and well dynamic range. One thing I noticed is that images do not look unnatural. Even in low light conditions, Images produced are well detailed and natural looking. In some cases the lens flair pops-up in the screen, even while recording videos; changing the shooting angle would be the only solution to this problem. Or Google should address it as soon as possible. Pressing on the shutter button will quickly capture the image. Even in HDR+ mode, processing is fast and accurate.

I’ve recorded slow-motion and 4K video from Pixel XL. In the 4K video, I’ve turned on the stabilization, which in result turned out to be great. Even many reviewers appreciate the stabilization feature in Pixel. Below, I’ve uploaded some sample shots captured from Google Pixel XL.

Captured from Google Pixel XL

Captured from Google Pixel XL

Captured from Google Pixel XL

Captured from Google Pixel XL

Captured from Google Pixel XL

Performance, Battery Life

In the performance department, multitasking was a breeze. I was able to do daily to heavy tasks flawlessly. 4GB of Ram with Snapdragon 821 is totally boosting the performance at par. I’ve tried opening more than 20 apps at a time, moving back and forth between those apps were smooth and nice thing is that none of the apps were reloaded/refreshed. Multi-window feature is supported by some apps while some doesn’t support it. I’ve not found any issues with multi-window either.

Coming to the battery life, was able to get 1.5 days of battery backup with screen on time of 5:30 hours with 50 – 55% on 4G and 50 – 45% on Wi-Fi. In case you keep Pixel XL on full day in 4G and approximately 2 hours of Wi-Fi hotspot, it’ll last you up to 16 hours from 100% charged. For normal users, this device can surely last for 2 days without charging. Supplied charger has taken 2 hours and 5 minutes to full charge from 11% to 100%. Charging seems little slower but battery backup definitely overcomes it.

Pricing

Google Pixel 32GB variant is sold in India at Rs. 57,000 and 128GB variant at Rs. 66,000.
Google Pixel XL 32GB variant (review is of this variant) is sold in India at Rs. 67,000 and 128GB variant at Rs. 76,000 which seems not available in any shopping sites. (On the date of writing this article)

Pros

  • Smooth and pure Android experience.
  • Awesome display.
  • Great Camera.
  • Call quality, network reception was good.
  • Google Assistant is awesome.
  • Battery Life is great.
  • Speaker performance is above average.

Cons

  • Little boring design.
  • Overpriced
  • No wireless charging, No Dual-Sim
  • No notification light while charging, though there is a notification light in the device.

Conclusion

After looking at all the aspects of Pixel XL, All I can say is that more I was using the Pixel, more I was loving it. For me: Camera, Performance and Battery are my main requirement in a Smartphone; these are definitely satisfied by Google Pixel XL. In case you don’t have any budget issues, Pixel XL definitely worth’s buying. Even buying the Pixel would give you the same kind of experience because the difference between Pixel and Pixel XL is of display, battery and screen size. If you like smaller phone, Pixel would be a better choice for you.

Thanks to Google India for sending me a review unit of Google Pixel XL.

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