Google’s Pixel XL will offer the largest pure Android phone experience money can buy. Here’s what you need to know about the successor to the Nexus phones.
Google Pixel XL: What is it?
Like the 5-inch Google Pixel phone, the 5.5-inch Pixel XL has dropped the "Nexus" branding that Google has applied to its previous in-house phones and will ship with Android 7 ("Nougat") on board, and will automatically update with any new Android releases as soon as Google ships them. But the differences between Nexus and Pixel XL are significantly larger than just naming rights, with the Pixel family being Google's first real foray into being a personalised digital assistant.
The key differences between the Pixel XL and regular Pixel are minimal, with the Pixel XL offering a larger screen and a bump in battery capacity as well. But otherwise the phones are identical, both running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 4GB of RAM and both featuring the same 12MP camera technology inside. Combine that with a clean and optimised Android experience, and we're looking at a very powerful pair of phones indeed.
Google doesn’t always sell itself on style the way that some competitors do, though it can still be said that both Pixel phones are decent-looking devices. The phone comes in two colours, silver and black, with a third "really blue" colour option announced, but not currently available in Australia.
Google Pixel XL: Release date
As confirmed at its launch event, both the Pixel XL and the Pixel will be officially on sale from 20 October, with pre-orders already underway. To start with, the phones will be available through Google's Play store, JB Hi-Fi and on selected Telstra contract plans.
Google Pixel XL: Price
The Pixel XL is launching in two capacity variants: 32GB and 128GB. For outright purchases, the Pixel XL will cost $1269 for the smaller 32GB model, and ramp up to $1419 for 128GB. As it turns out, this just so happens to be the exact same price points as the iPhone 7 Plus at those capacities, although it's interesting that Apple offers an improved camera on its plus-sized smartphone variant, while the Google phone is almost identical to the small version except for screen size and battery capacity.
Google Pixel XL: Specifications
|Specs||Google Pixel XL|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|RRP||$1269 (32GB) / $1419 (128GB)|
While the specs look pretty good on paper, the truth is that there's a reason Google decided to closely marry its software and hardware for the release of this phone. The biggest reason is the delivery of Google's digital assistant platform, which combines impressive language recognition with machine learning to provide accurate and contextual results, not just from the web but from the device itself. While Google rolled out the technology in its Allo messaging app recently, the real focus has always been the phone and the home.
The Pixel also allows Google to do some cool things with photos, like image stabilisation software that checks info from the motion sensors in the phone 200 times a second and algorithmically corrects camera movement in video, and the ability to store full resolution photos and videos to Photos Cloud storage.
Also worth considering
The Pixel XL competes directly with other premium "phablet" style large screened devices, which means its competition includes phones such as the recently launched Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 (which should be back on sale by the time the Pixel XL launches) and Huawei’s Mate 8 device. If the core appeal is in having a clean Android experience, it may also be worth considering last year’s premium Google Nexus phone, the Huawei-produced Nexus 6P.