The Nexus family was passed to better life. Google phones are now conceived in the bosom of the family Pixel, where live together all their hardware products. The Pixel and Pixel XL are the first smart phones in this step. A new beginning.
In 2010, Android was a promising shoot, a diamond in the rough. The potential of the platform was visible from those first moments, but on the long road to success, many things could go wrong. Android needed, therefore a guide who plugged the right path to all partners.
This guide was called Nexus One, the first phone “from Google” – with the permission of the HTC Magic-. Manufactured by HTC, the Nexus One was riding the best hardware of the time: 512 MB of RAM, AMOLED display, a 1 GHz mononucleo processor… And best of all: the latest version of the Android operating system. It was the mirror where he had to look at other manufacturers who would like to integrate into the Android platform.
Happened to the Nexus One, months later, the Nexus S. This, the Galaxy Nexus – one of the best Android phones ever manufactured-. And so it happened until you reach the Nexus 6 p, manufactured by Huawei and launched on the market by 2015.
That way, the Nexus family was marked by many prejudices: mediocre camera, very swinging prices, reduced availability, etc. A few prejudices which, obviously, undermined the image of the brand and, therefore, the success of its members.
Faced with this situation, Google decided to get rid of the Nexus brand in 2016. Their phones are now called Pixel and Pixel XL; and they represent a fresh start for Google in the hardware market.
Changing the image and name of the Google phones becomes not only. It does so with new practices and greater attention to detail. A perceptible change, for example, in their main camera.
During the presentation, Google warned that the new Pixel camera was one of the best in the market. The press and the public, before such a statement, reacted in a skeptical way. That pledge was not new; in each presentation of a Nexus device, Google was doing the same kind of statements. They never proved to be real.
On the other hand, Google Pixel is a different story. New Google phone camera if PARS – and, in some situations, beats – the best in the industry. New practices and intentions of the Mountain View company began to be credible.
To fulfill its promise, Google rode an f/2.0 lens and a 12.3-megapixel 1/2.3 “size sensor. Surprisingly, no optical image stabilization – an essential element in 2016 high-end phones-.
Objectively compared to 7 Plus iPhone, Google Pixel camera is lower in most aspects: less openness, lack of optical stabilization and a similar resolution. Where is the trick? In the software and in the size of the sensor.
Google Pixel XL lies frequently in HDR mode to improve results. Larger sensor also works to counteract lower Aperture Lenses and lack of OIS.
Google Pixel incorporates a sensor 1/2.3 “, while other phones like the iPhone 7 Plus mounted smaller sensors (1/3”). This larger sensor captures more light and makes up for the lack of optical image stabilization and the smaller lens aperture.
The other piece of the puzzle is the software from Google. The phone frequently uses HDR + mode – which works in a way very fast, almost invisible to the user, thus regaining the scenes with burnt elements and generating images with very vibrant colors.
In general terms, the results of the Google Pixel camera are very good. The photographs look lit, noise levels are content, and measurements are correct. It is, without a doubt, a first level camera.
Compared to the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, its two main rivals, Google Pixel images are more saturated, contrasty and sharp – thanks to the way HDR + and light artificial sharpness applied to the further processing of the image-. Images captured with the phones from Apple, on the other hand, are more flat, neutral and faithful to reality. The choice between one or the other is a matter of preferences and needs.
In addition to the usual shooting modes, Google Pixel incorporates a new mode similar to the 7 Plus iPhone portrait. With this mode, the phone generates images with a greater depth of field and a greater effect bokeh. In other words: more blurs the background and generates photographs very attractive visually.
The images captured by Google Pixel in this mode are acceptable, although not amazing as the iPhone 7 Plus. In general, Pixel generates a very artificial blur, have trouble working with the edges of the objects and requires greater interaction of the user in the capture process.
Google Pixel camera achieves excellent results in the basic functions, which is already a big challenge. In new fields like the bokeh or portrait mode, on the other hand, the absence of a second complementary camera just compromising the final result, especially with phones like the iPhone 7 Plus.
Comfortable, but empty
Google Pixel debuts a new design in its zone bet by the extreme simplicity in the front and back. The overall result is a flat, inert vacuum phone. It lacks its own personality.
The rear has a large glass surface – which serves to improve the reception of the different antennas – and which gives a slightly different touch to the Google Pixel XL. However, from the aesthetic point of view, this new proposal from Google has gained more detractors than supporters.
Google Pixel XL lacks personality. Its design is flat and empty. That, in the high range, is not allowed.
Beyond aesthetics, Google Pixel is a phone that is very comfortable to use – thanks, in part, to the progressive thickness-. Thick frames surrounding the screen help to a better scope of the navigation buttons and the display items. A detail that only companies like Apple understand and keep on their mobile phones.
Google Pixel is available in three colours: white, black and blue. The most attractive of them all, is black. Much more elegant and sophisticated. And it is that, unlike other phones, white and blue color just not sit him well to the Google phone.
Apart from its amazing camera and its controversial design, Google Pixel evolves in a predictable fashion with respect to its predecessor. It has a new chip, the Snapdragon 821, 4 GB of RAM and an internal memory of 32 GB (in its most basic model). A few components in line with the rest of the market high-end phones.
The experience of use, that Yes, it is better than on phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The reason, like that in the family Nexus, is software. The knowledge that Google’s Android and the smoothness with which does stand for the software on the hardware makes the device to flow at all times. It is the Android phone with better response from the market.
It is the Android phone with better response from the market. Hardware and software are a single piece.
In addition to this optimization, homogeneity and cleaning, Google Pixel releases some pieces of software such as Google Assistant, the new version of the voice recognition and virtual assistant for Google. Improvements included only work when you set up the English language – Spanish support will come soon-, but they work perfectly at all times.
Particularly notable is the ability to connect phrases and concepts together. If we ask “Who is Barack Obama?” and then asked “Who is your wife?”, Google Assistant is able to connect both questions and concepts to provide the correct information. Other virtual assistants like Siri also offer this possibility, but, faced with issues and more complex conceptual relations, Google Wizard responds slightly better.
The autonomy of the Google Pixel XL is couple to other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10 or Huawei P9. What does it mean? Offering a good autonomy, although without reaching the excellence of phones as Matt 9-Huawei, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or the iPhone 7 Plus.
The same goes for your screen. With 5.5 inch, resolution 2K and AMOLED, Google Pixel XL panel technology offers a pretty optimal image, although it is slightly behind phones like the iPhone 7 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, whose panels are brighter, offer more neutral color temperatures and colours more faithful to reality.
Good autonomy, good screen and an efficient fingerprint reader complete a round pack.
This light technical inferiority, luckily, is so subtle that most potential users of Google Pixel XL won’t appreciate differences from phones as Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or the iPhone 7 Plus. Only a small group of users will appreciate the slight differences from one phone to another.
Finally, Google Pixel mounted a fingerprint sensor in the rear area, as models of the Nexus family. The sensor is efficient and fast, generating very little reading errors in every day. The location is also very natural, as the index finger rests by inertia in the area in which it is located. That Yes: forget to unlock the phone while he rests on a flat surface.
The first “made in Google” phone is, precisely, the Nexus that the public has demanded for years. To the already excellent fusion of hardware and software feature of the Google phones, Pixel adds a good autonomy and a Chamber of first level, two elements that were not always present in the Nexus family. Also, assembles a world-class display – although slightly below rivals – and all kinds of connectivity.
The only tangible weakness ‘standard’ user is the design. Although very comfortable, Pixel XL sins of being flat and lacking its own personality. And that, in the high range, has a great significance.