20 October 2016

Pixel Perfect! New Google phone.

Every Android phone has come with some compromise built in.  Whereas the iPhone owes much of its popularity to Apples ability to control every last design detail – creating software and hardware that works in perfect harmony – Google has always had to rely on third-party manufacturers to build its phones.  Till now!

Pixel is the first phone built by Google, inside and out.  And its the first Android phone that feels somehow complete, in a way thats difficult to quantify.  The screen is as responsive to touch as the iPhone’s: things pop and slide and swipe and scroll with just the right sense of give and inertia.  It’s remarkably light, feels sturdy and looks stunning, its chamfered aluminium body unspoiled by the camera bump that blighted the Nexus 6P.

Both the 5” Pixel and the 5.5” Pixel XL are of identical specs, differing only in screen resolution and battery life.  With the XL, you can expect the battery to last a full day of charge with heavy use and, if you do run dry, just 15 minutes of charging gives you seven hours of battery life.

The camera received the highest ever rating on the industry-accepted DxO benchmark, though youd struggle to spot much difference between shots taken on this, the Samsung S7 and iPhone 7.  Post-processing of HDR images has been vastly improved over the Nexus phones, spitting out stunning images in low-light, and can now be shot without the split-second delays that would often cause blurring and artefacts.  Pixel owners get infinite online storage of full-resolution photos and 4K videos on Google Drive. 

The voice-activated Google Assistant lives behind the home button, popping up to give you news briefings, directions, search results, appointments, music and more.  More conversational and intelligent than Siri, and more useful than Alexa, Google Assistant is touted as the beating heart of the phone.  In practice, the assistant is still an imperfect helper, not quite the leap forward in digital servitude being promised, but one that’s developing at breakneck pace. Google are banking hard on being at the forefront of the virtual assistant revolution, promising features such as OpenTable bookings and Uber orders.

This is an incredibly good phone in every respect – camera, battery, speed, software, hardware,  – and almost by definition the greatest Android phone ever made.  With Pixel, Googles mobile operating system finally feels comfortable in its own skin.


And it also has a 3.5mm headphone jack!


[City AM - Steve Hogarty]

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