We say goodbye to the Nexus, welcome Pixel! After six years, Google has decided to replace its proprietary line of smartphones. New models Pixel and Pixel XL is not only marks a generational change, but also break many of the traditions of the company. Fans like Nexus certainly not all, but other users can find Google an attractive novelty. All the details you will find out in our review.
Nexus Smartphones and tablets produced in collaboration between Google and various manufacturers such as ASUS, HTC and Huawei, but in the case of the Pixel and Pixel XL the US company has been silent. Not on the body or on the box there is no indication on the manufacturer, but is likely to be released on the HTC smart phone facilities. However, the development of Google Tutor, especially since the company has received some experience of temporary possession Motorola.
As a result, there are two smart phone with not much difference. Pixel is equipped with a 5-inch display, Pixel XL – 5,5-inch. Smartphones have different dimensions and capacity of the battery, as well as different and cost. For Pixel with 32 GB of internal memory will have to pay 759 euros. Switching to 128 GB will cost 110 euros. If you are interested in Pixel XL, you will have to pay another 140 euros. As a result, the most expensive model will cost 1,009 euros.
There is no sense of deja vu? Google asked for their smartphones as much as the cost Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus 32 and 128 GB. Google is not the first time uses a similar strategy, the recent Nexus model, unlike the first generation were oriented upper segment. Although the similarity with Apple we are seeing for the first time.
Regardless of the model chosen, Pixel XL 32 or 128 GB, declared inside the chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. But not everything is clear. chip developer uses internal name MSM8996 Pro (Snapdragon 820: MSM8996), so that in front of us an offshoot of the product line, it is logical taking into account the support of corporate VR standard called Google Daydream.
At Qualcomm SoC, we get a fairly high frequency of the CPU and GPU. Instead of limiting 1.6 and 2.15 GHz, 624 MHz and 820, we obtain 2.2 and 2.34 GHz and 653 MHz. The chip is manufactured on 14-nm process technology FinFET LPP, in addition installed 680 Hexagon DSPs, memory controller supports LPDDR4, but the architecture of the nuclei still Kryo. In addition, power consumption at an equal load is expected to less than 820 Snapdragon.
All this, of course, is good, but in practice SoC for smartphones Pixel and Pixel XL behaves differently.
Google restricts the clock speeds that do not exceed the level of the Snapdragon 820. This is confirmed by the usual tests, and technical specifications published by Google. The reason for this decision is not known, but most likely, the manufacturer is trying to prevent overheating SoC. Since the efficiency of the chip should be higher, Google is the future, it is possible to release an update unlocks the extra megahertz.
Our fears of too high power frequencies are confirmed four cores, distributed in two clusters CPU. Under load, they can not keep the clock frequency, while the frequency of the fall are usually small – major loss occurred in the test frequency is rare. The body is not heated above 40 ° C, similar behavior we have with smartphones HTC 10 and LG G5, both of which are based on the Snapdragon 820.
But this behavior does not help performance Pixel XL. In the test 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Smartphone Google has conceded LG G5 and Galaxy S7 family. In the test Geekbench 3 multi-score had to skip forward Moto Z, Huawei P9, P9 Plus and Mate 8. It Galaxy S7 smartphones and Galaxy S7 edge benefit from additional CPU cores. But in a single-threaded tests Pixel XL boasts an advantage. Smartphone Google has stepped forward to test 3DMark Slingshot, AnTuTu 6, Basemark OS II and GPU GFXBench 3 tests.
In practice, this means that you are unlikely to encounter capacity limits in the foreseeable future. Even graphically intense games Pixel XL smartphone did not show any slowdown in spite of throttling. The user interface also worked flawlessly.
Smartphone wins by 4 GB of RAM and a high-speed flash memory, connected by UFS 2.0 standard. In some tests, we got speed 2.021 MB / s and 46 MB / s read and write, but as far as this level is authentic – is hard to say.
Other equipment is not dependent on the model and memory configuration. Buyer will receive the modem X12, supporting all major standards and frequencies, theoretically speed up to 600 Mbit / s for download and up to 150 Mbit / s for uploads (Cat 12/13), but the implementation in SoC supports only standard Cat 9. That is, we 450 and get the speed of 50 Mbit / s thanks to the triple-carrier aggregation.
There are no disadvantages for the quality of communication in Pixel XL we have not found. Volume two speakers is quite decent, but, like many smart phones, the sound seems to be “metal” – it lacks the mid and low frequency. Distortions occur only at very high volume, here too, everything is expected. Background noise smartphone cuts pretty well thanks to three microphones.
For high-speed 802.11ac WLAN module is provided in the configuration of 2×2 MIMO, and there is support for Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. If you are going to connect the smart phone cable, there is a slot Type C, supporting USB 3.1 Gen 1 standard course, there are built-in sensors, such as a compass, barometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope.
Called Pixel Imprint Google has provided a fingerprint sensor. As in the case of Huawei smart phones, he passed on the rear panel. Adjust the sensor quickly, it works pretty reliably. With the help of the sensor can easily unlock your smartphone when turned on or off your phone, wipe down the curtain raises alerts. Other features at the sensor yet, so here Google lags behind some competitors.
Manufacturer established audio jack, but refused microSD slot, so the opportunities to expand the internal memory is not. There is no way, and to install a second SIM-card. To somehow sweeten the lack of memory expansion, Google provides unlimited space in Google Photo service.
The most important difference between Pixel and Pixel XL is in the display. Like Apple, Google has chosen two different diagonal, but the hardware is identical, as well as a set function (if we ignore the camera, of course). In the case of the line Samsung Galaxy S7 Huawei P9 or different. In “junior” Pixel we have a diagonal of 5 inches with a resolution of 1.920 x 1.080 pixels, the “older” Pixel XL – 5,5 “display with a resolution of 2.560 x 1.440 pixels.
In both cases, Google used the AMOLED panel. Pixel density Pixel XL is more than enough – 534-ppi, the contrast is almost infinite, that is, black is really black. Color reproduction is also convincing, good saturation, but not excessively. The only pity is that the color temperature is too cold, instead we got 6.500 K 7.500 K, resulting in shades appear bluish. Ability to change the color temperature is not, here, too, offer more competitors.
Another gripe concerns the brightness. The maximum brightness is 416 cd / m² is sufficient for many scenarios, but outside on a sunny day, it will still be enough. Especially in the automatic mode there is a significant rise of brightness, like smart phones Samsung and other manufacturers. The rest of the auto mode works well; If required, you can reduce the amount of blue shades; Smartphone will automatically turn on night mode from dusk to dawn.
Large pixels, a large optical aperture, optical image stabilization system: all this is to be expected from the high-end smartphone camera. Yet the quality of the camera is determined not only by the number of megapixels. From this point of view it is rather strange, why Google has refused optical stabilizer. When shooting video, the digital stabilizer, but it reduces the quality. The rest have to rely on the aperture F2.0. So smart Pixel XL inferior flagships on the market at the camera.
On the other hand, the smart sensor is equipped with high-quality – at least in characteristics. The sensor is manufactured by Sony and is marked IMX378. Sensor resolution is 12.3 megapixels, pixel size – 1.55 microns, AF phase detection is performed. It also supports a laser focus that helps in low light conditions, but only for very short distances. Goggle for some reason did not use advanced sensor capabilities. This is especially true HDR mode for video and 4K video recording at 60 frames per second, is the Pixel and Pixel XL are limited to 30 fps. The higher the frame rate camera gives only lower resolutions – 120 fps at 1080p, 240 fps at 720p. Such regimes are interesting for shooting Slow Motion.
In any case, the test DxOMark we received 89 points – the highest score among smartphones. Pictures please convincing white balance, good detail in the shadows and rich colors.
However, not all as good as we would like. We get realistic colors in a good-average lighting, shadow detail is also preserved. The camera has no problem with the transfer of subtle color transitions and gradations of brightness. But closer to the edges of the image sharpness is lost, that was visible at 100% magnification image. Also, a little noise, too, emerges. It can be seen by careful study of the image even at ISO 50. But the camera does not give an excessive illumination of the bright areas, images are much closer to reality than, for example, at the same Galaxy S7.
But the camera normally copes with moderate lighting conditions, for example, in artificial light indoors or during sunset. Of course, the camera is already beginning to show weakness in the case of closely spaced stations with a significant difference of brightness levels, but the quality is still higher than that of many competitors. Unfortunately, the camera moves pretty fast at high ISO values, which lead to corresponding noises. But, again, we do not get too high brightness images.
Finally, the camera gives a quality above average when shooting in complete darkness. Unlike most smartphones, whose pictures you can safely send to cart.
By shooting video Pixel XL fared well. 4K Video quality is obtained in moderate light, but after sunset can safely finish shooting. Too much noise emerges. Furthermore, under minimal lighting camera is guessing always white balance, and color reproduction is deteriorated. But the camera copes with fast moving objects and panorama, virtually no artifacts. Slow Motion function is working as it should. But the sound quality can be called average.
For their quality camera, you can put a perfect score. But it complicates the application. Structure not always logical, and there are problems with stability. Worse yet, the range of functions is limited. You can adjust the flash, HDR and white balance. You can also display a grid and activate the timer. Shooting modes are limited to video Slow Motion, panorama and Photo Sphere, different focus effects, as well as the standard shooting video and photos.
Unfortunately, there is no application mode Pro with access to the same ISO setting, shutter speed or filters in real time. The program offers only adjust exposure and focus control. At least available focusing effect – to change the depth of field of the field, which is really interesting, but difficult to work with him than we would like.
There burst shooting mode: if you hold down the shutter button, the camera will shoot without stopping, and then an animated GIF will be created.
The front camera is unremarkable. Google has established 8 MP sensor with a diaphragm f2,4, even in good light pictures are “dirty”, the noise is too much.
Due to the large display in the body enough space for capacious battery. Concerns about Google Batteries in vain, the situation with Samsung is not repeated here. In a slim Galaxy Note 7 is slightly more capacious battery to 3500 mAh at Pixel XL capacity is 3,450 mAh, at Pixel – 2.700 mAh. In any case, XL model boasts a fairly capacious battery among modern smartphones, few popular models such as the Galaxy S7 edge or the Huawei Mate 8, provide a higher level.
However, Pixel XL proves once again that in the present conditions it is important not so much a clean container as energy-saving technologies and the efficiency of SoC. In the PCMark test battery, we got a little more than one and a half hours, which is a little smartphone has not held up to the top five. A different picture in the test video playback. With display brightness of 200 cd / m² during video playback Full-HD from a local source smartphone lasted 400 minutes, or six and a half hours. As a result, he placed among the outsiders.
The reasons for such a low result is not entirely clear, but Pixel XL – not the first smartphone based on Snapdragon 820 or 821, which shows itself not in the best way. 10 HTC and LG G5 also not very pleased with the battery life.
However, the lack of Google smartphone still not so serious. In everyday use smartphone lasted for nearly two days, namely 45 hours. Although it all depends on user scenarios. If you play a lot of ways, the Pixel XL will have to recharge at least once a day. If most of the time the phone is in your pocket, you can charge enough for three days. Google indicates the battery life up to 14 hours of video playback or when surfing via WLAN or LTE, but the specific terms traditionally not specified. Since these results are achievable only in the laboratory.
On the other hand, we get a fast charging. Only 15 minutes are sufficient for charging battery life for seven hours. Charging from 0 to 100 percent, too, it is much faster than conventional smartphone. In tests, the smartphone really fast charging, but you must use a complete charge.
Google has decided not to use Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0, select USB PD (Power Delivery). The reason for the transition to a rare standard, probably lies in the charge of violating the Qualcomm standards. In the autumn of 2015 it was reported that the technology delivers QuickCharge bus VBus more than 5 V, which is contrary to the standards USB Type C. Quick-charging can supply up to 12 V.
Unlike QuickCharge, USB for the PD does not require the support of the SoC, a connector and a USB version of the requirements is also quite reasonable. Only for USB PD in version 2.0 is required Type C connector and support USB 3.1. According to the charging power specification is quite flexible. Revision 1.0 specifies five profiles power (10 watts, 18 watts, 36 watts, 60 watts, 100 watts) in 2.0 instead five power windows are installed. As a result, the standard may provide charging virtually any power between 0.5 watts and 100 watts. Google decided to restrict 9 and 2A, the maximum charging power is 18 watts – like QuickCharge 3.0.
On the part of the user is not much of a difference, the actions of USB PD such as the principle. Is that one should carry a Type C cable and charger. But is supplied with an adapter and a standard USB Type A port on Type C. As might be expected, it is easy to replace Pixel XL battery does not work, there is no wireless charging. To tell the truth, about the last we were unpleasantly disappointed, considering the price of the smartphone.
The argument in favor of the acquisition of the smartphone Nexus is the rapid emergence of Android updates, as well as a relatively long term support. But things are changing. Only a few days ago came the update to Android Nougat Nexus 6 is also important versions are released in waves, with long delays.
Several months ago, a discussion about the “real” Android. It was thought that Google offered for the Nexus “clean” operating system. In fact it is not, the Nexus smartphones receive functions that were not part of the base platform. Of course, Google Apps is formally separate from “clean” operating system Android, but for most people they are integrated. No wonder the European Commission has decided to start its own investigation.
The answer to this question can be given after the first minutes of acquaintance with the smartphone. Google has established a smartphone new version of Android 7.1, and there are some changes that are absent in other Android smartphones.
For example, the list of applications is now available for wipe up. In the application list, and notice the second innovation. With the help of Google Shortcuts company realized analogue Apple 3D Touch display without changing the hardware component. Long press on the icon causes an overlay of different options. For example, a camera app you will be able to quickly make a selfie, or take a video, in the case of Google Maps, you can quickly start navigating to a previously specified address at home or work, in the phone application, you can quickly create new contacts or phone numbers found in the list of favorites. It supports a variety of Google applications icons, but not all. Support for third-party applications is much smaller, there is may be noted perhaps that Evernote and Foursquare.
The third important feature – Google Assistant. He started by holding down the Home button or the phrase “Ok, Google”. Initially Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones trained user’s voice to outsiders could not start the assistant. He should respond only to the user’s smartphone team.
Now supported and a new messenger Google Allo. But here everything is still tied to the English language.
With the help of an assistant, you can find the weather forecast or the situation with traffic jams. You can also use search through Google. Supports and announced with Android 6.0 feature Now on Tap. It is enough to hold the Home button, then the system will analyze the contents of the screen and display additional information.
Features no memory expansion, but Google provides the ability to upload unlimited photos in Google Photo cloud. Here interesting feature Smart Storage. It automatically cleans the local storage of photos and videos uploaded to the cloud. One can select such a cleaning slot 30, 60 or 90 days. Instead, the files on your phone, you get icons in a smaller capacity. Of course, if necessary, photos and videos can be restored from the cloud.
Because of changes we should mention the implementation of night mode at the operating system level, as well as support Daydream VR. Other changes relate mainly mobile developers and operators.
Overall, we liked the Pixel and Pixel XL interface. Interface design clean and simple, additional functions are often useful, especially the assistant. Although, of course, not everything is as it should be. Google to changes in Android 7.0 enhances market fragmentation. Still, the changes made to the operating system Pixel smartphone, differ from conventional Android versions.
Google was not serious experiments on the body of smartphones Nexus, preferring an evolutionary path. In the case of Nexus 6P added a tab with the camera, and Nexus 6 was very similar to the Motorola products. The same can be said about smartphones Pixel and Pixel XL, despite the new name.
If not taken into account various dimensions, two smartphone hardly differ from each other. The body is designed in silver or jet-black shades, depending on the option selected, the top and bottom of the case shows three antenna insulator. On the front of the eye to catch not for that – no logos or any distinguishing features.
What can be said about the back side of the smartphone. At the bottom of a backdrop emblazoned letter G, in the upper third – glass insert with a camera and a fingerprint sensor. Behind smartphones Pixel and Pixel XL is already possible to distinguish from each other. Sidewall smartphones sloping, which allows them to look a little thinner. Dimensions are 154,7 x 75,7 x 8,6 mm, here Pixel XL is between Galaxy S7 edge and iPhone 7 Plus. The same applies to the weight of 168 g.
With the exception of the glass cover (which is protected by Gorilla Glass 4) used anodized body. It is made from a single piece of aluminum (Unibody), manufacturing quality raises no objections. Glass insert the rear is integrated perfectly. The same applies to the three buttons on the right side wall, they pressed well, without backlash. Top integrated audio jack, bottom – USB port and one of the two speakers. The second hole – just an optical illusion.
For such a device the size of ergonomics Pixel XL is quite good. Up buttons you can easily reach even users with smaller hands. However, as might be expected from the 5.5 “smartphone, one-handed operation is unlikely to succeed. Even if you have the world’s longest fingers. The more so because the screen takes up only 71% of the front panel. At the same Huawei P9 Plus we get 73%, from Samsung Galaxy S7 edge -. 76% of smartphone Pixel XL will be felt in the pocket of jeans and a jacket, although not as much as the iPhone 7 Plus.
Smartphones Pixel and Pixel XL caused contradictory responses of users. Price put up an ambitious and to equip there are a few gaps. In contrast to the direct competition from the Android camp, Pixel smartphone is not possible to expand the internal memory, the camera lacks optical stabilization system, compared with the same Galaxy S7 edge no wireless charging.
This Google is trying to compensate by other means. The company has established a high-speed SoC and fast memory, high-resolution display, the new camera sensor and more capacious battery. However, for every advantage there is his little “but”. Nominally 821 Snapdragon processor is not working at full capacity, it is slowed down to the level of 820. Sony Sensor Opportunities in the rear chamber is not fully realized, the battery life is not always happy.
For all the shortcomings referred to close their eyes fail, because for the price and performance of a smartphone to compete with the best models on the market. In principle, Pixel XL shows himself worthy. Smartphone provides more than enough performance, you can buy for a fee version with increased memory capacity. There are all modern interfaces, the quality of the smartphone display is located at the top of the top three rankings, the camera gives a very good picture quality. But again, to an excellent rating all is not enough read percent.
Compared with rivals Samsung, HTC, Huawei in the new Google smartphone always something missing, the same applies to the eternal comparisons with Apple. Unfortunately, Apple’s manufacturer has borrowed not only the price, but a limited range of possibilities the camera application.
If you do not pay attention to the price, Pixel XL technically can be called good or even very good smartphone, but according to some criteria he gives Galaxy S7 edge or HTC 10. Next Google smartphone also comes in a limited list of criteria, such as image quality or camera use USB PD. But if you take the Galaxy S7 edge for 100 points, the Pixel XL, in our view, received from 90 to 95 points.
Software plays a special role. Google did not establish a “pure” Android, compared to the Nexus and Nexus 6P 5X the gap was even larger. In any case, Android 7.1 smartphone Pixel XL showed their best side, we particularly pleased with Google Now.
But it is unlikely we will recommend to purchase a smartphone. The reason lies in the absence of some functions, as well as a strong competitor. Recent simply give a higher price / performance ratio. Galaxy S7 edge can be purchased at a price of 630 euros or 39 thousand. Rubles for HTC will have to pay 10 540 euros or 37 thousand. Rubles. In Russia Pixel XL has not yet appeared, but in Europe the smartphone will have to pay from 899 euros. And surcharge of 270 or 360 euros, compared with the aforementioned competitors, in our opinion, is not justified.