Review: Google Pixel (Is it the Best Android Smartphone on the Market Today?)

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Image: cnet.com

It seems like there’s another smartphone coming out every week these days, and few come out without really grabbing the attention of most consumers, but that hasn’t been the case for the new Google Pixel phone. Review companies like CNET and Wired have been raving about the phone since it came out, and today we’re going to find out if that’s just because of the Google name, or if this phone has something special to offer.

Helpful Google Assistant

Google Pixel is the first phone that comes with the new Google Assistant feature. During my tests with the personal assistant Ai it did a pretty good job looking up concert information, flight information and more random things like the weather or information about an animal, but it struggled with more tough questions just like other programs like Siri does today. Google Assistant is very easy to activate though and offers faster and more accurate information than other voice-based assistants that I’ve used in the past, probably because it taps directly into the Google search engine so well. It’s particularly useful when driving down the road for hands-free phone operation, and that’s where most users will get the most out of Google Assistant. This is a noteworthy feature of the Pixel phone, but it’s important to realize that all new Android phones will come with the feature, so it’s not necessarily worth buying the Pixel for it.

Google Pixel 2
Image: cnet.com

Review: Google Pixel (Is it the Best Android Smartphone on the Market Today?) 1

Launcher Shortcuts are Awesome

One cool feature that you get with the Pixel phone that helps it stand out is the launcher shortcuts. Tap and hold an app for a few seconds and a set of advanced features pop up for it. Access features like the selfie camera, or video record in the camera app instantly, instead of navigating through menus after it’s open. Launcher shortcuts save you time and makes Pixel more efficient.

Beautiful Photos

The Pixel comes with one of the best Android cameras that you’ll find to date and there were many scenarios where it bested the latest iPhone for quality. The 12.3 MP rear-facing camera snaps photos incredibly fast and they look beautiful in light and dark conditions. The front-facing 8MP camera is ideal for selfies and snaps just as fast. One cool camera feature that Pixel comes with is the filter swap. Simply flick your wrist to jump through filters while using the camera for just the right look when you need it. Low light photos are clear as well, making it a good companion for most conditions.

Smooth Video

The Pixel phones come with image stabilization for video. That means you can walk around while recording and get nice smooth video that’s not bouncing all over. This is one of the coolest features, and it’s a reason I would seriously consider buying a Pixel since I’m always recording video on my smartphone.

Google Pixel 3
Image: cnet.com

Fast Fingerprint Reader

The Pixel comes with a fingerprint scanner built into the back of the phone and it’s useful for a variety of purposes. Quickly unlock the phone with it or open up apps with the touch of your finger. 

Long-Lasting Battery

Like most smartphones today, the Google Pixel doesn’t have a removable battery, but it does offer excellent battery life. It’s possible to get a full day of heavy use out of the device no problem. Users will enjoy several hours of videos without killing the battery, or a full 12 or 13 hours of talking and texting no problem, and charging it up to half power can be completed in just 30 minutes, making it easy to top up the phone on car rides or while it sits in a bag during the day.

Snappy Performance

The Pixel features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM giving it very snappy performance. It handles video games very well and plays back HD-level video smoothly. There are few portable entertainment options more capable than this high-end smartphone.

Deciding on the Pixel or Pixel XL

There are really two varieties of the Pixel smartphone, the Pixel and the Pixel XL. Both are essentially the same phone and offer a similar experience, with some minor differences. For instance, the XL comes with a marginally larger screen, a clearer display, and a larger battery. This results in a slightly better viewing experience and extended operating time, but run time differences are pretty minor, so the decision really comes down to which one you like the look of better. The Pixel XL adds about $120 to the purchase cost, so you’ll have to decide if the screen size and battery bump are worth the added cost to you.

Google Daydream Support

If you’re interested in using the Google Daydream VR headset this is one of the few options currently available that’s compatible. The headset is getting rave reviews and performs really well with the Pixel since the phone was designed with Daydream in mind. When searching for a portable VR setup the Pixel offers impressive performance.

Google Pixel 4
Image: cnet.com

Review: Google Pixel (Is it the Best Android Smartphone on the Market Today?) 1

The Downsides

While the new Google Pixel Phone has a lot going for it, there are some downsides as well. It’s starting price tag of around $650 is a bit steeper than many people are going to be willing to spend today. The phone also lacks a built-in microSD card slot, meaning that you’re limited to the internal storage you get with purchase. It does feature a USB-C port that you can use for thumb drives or SD adapters for transferring files on the go, but it’s not quite as convenient as a built-in storage slot. The Pixel also has a slightly dim screen in direct sunlight, making it difficult to use while out in the middle of a park on a sunny day, but there are only a few phones that do any better, so that’s a minor issue as well.

Overall the Google Pixel phone is one of the best options on the market today, and certainly a must-buy if you’re interested in an Android Smartphone.

Ease of Use
Battery Life

The Google Pixel can be everything you've ever wanted in a phone and more... do you think you might want one as your next smartphone?

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