Google Pixel XL Phone 32GB - 5.5 inch display ( Factory Unlocked US Version ) (Very Silver) Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐:halfstar:

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#1



To Buy Or Not Summary

:star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 394 customers
4.6 out of 5
  • Amazon Customer Reviews
    :star::star::star::halfstar::emptystar: by 15 customers
    3.6 out of 5
  • Best Buy Customer Reviews
    :star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 379 customers
    4.6 out of 5

Features

  • 5.5 inch QHD display
  • 3450 mah battery
  • FDD LTE: B 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30 TDD LTE: B 41, CDMA: BC0/BC1/BC10
  • Snapdragon 821, 4GB ram
  • 32GB storage
  • Buy
  • Don’t buy

0 voters


#2

Amazon Review by Whiskey Tango :star::star::star::star::emptystar:

41 people found the following review helpful

very nearly an iKiller; as impressive as it is expensive

Google Pixel XL 4G LTE w/ 4Gb RAM, 32Gb device storage - Very Silver (direct from google)

While I’ve demo-ed every Nexus phone that Google has fielded to date, none have ever held my interest.

The Pixel XL is not just the latest iteration of “Nexus” smartphones. While falling far short of perfection, the Pixel XL still sets a very high bar of hardware design and tight software integration for the entire Android ecosystem to aspire to (if not fully exceed).

This Google-branded foray into the high-end smartphone battlefield also falls short of being a full-blown iKiller, but it comes mighty close.

First, mention must be made of where the Pixel XL fell short of perfection:

  • Non-user-removable internal battery

While the Pixel XL’s on-paper specs for active use and standby charge life are very impressive, consumer electronics Lithium-ion batteries suffer irreversible internal damage and loss of calendar life once they are discharged below 50% of their original factory full-charge rating. This is why so many iDevices wind up requiring battery replacement service after ~100-300 full discharge/charge cycles. That’s fact, not apocryphal (and true for the majority of consumer electronics Lithium-ion batteries).

Consumer electronics Lithium-ion batteries really benefit from being kept topped-off as much as possible (which is one reason that there’s a huge after-market for external battery packs and a cottage industry for replacing failed internal batteries). But, no matter how hard one tries, smartphone batteries just wind up becoming discharged below 50%, which then shortens the calendar life of that battery. Then you have to pay, one way or another, sooner, rather than later, for replacement.

Another Lithium-ion battery problem is physical shocks delivered to the battery. It not just Smsng Glxy Nt 7s that melt, catch fire and/or explode. Drop/shock ANY Lithium-ion battery hard enough and you have created an electro-chemical time-bomb that can go into internal cascade thermal overload at some unknowable/unpredictable future date/time. No “safety circuitry” can stop it, once it starts. Hard physical shocks can induce short-circuiting inside a consumer electronics Lithium-ion battery. So, you should quickly recycle and replace a Lithium-ion battery that has been physically shocked.

These are but two VERY COMPELLING REASONS for end-user replaceable internal smartphone batteries. Yet, Google decided against it.

  • No built-in wireless charging capability

While this is not a must-have, think about how much money Google wants for the Pixel XL and look around and see how many similarly priced smartphones natively support wireless charging. This is a surprising and retro disappointment in the PXL.

  • No extSDcard slot

While this is in keeping with Google’s long standing refusal to allow for user-expandable device storage, 32Gb of internal device storage is a pittance in the face of storing 4K video and so-called VR content. My existing production smartphone has 32Gb internal storage, which is 48% full, and a user-added 64Gb 95Mb/sec microSDXC card, which is 70% full. (I do run a number of professional network and IT testing tools on that smartphone, many from the extSdCard.) All of this would NEVER fit in 32Gb. And don’t forget how much device storage must be kept freely available for full Android OS upgrades/updates.

I don’t care for cloud storage of personal/sensitive data, period. Even though Google promises free, unlimited, original resolution image/video cloud storage for Pixel customers, that’s going to mostly be useless to me. I don’t trust Google with much of anything that I can’t automatically TNO-encrypt, pre-cloud, and maintain as TNO-encrypted in-cloud. Also, think about the data plan costs of moving high-res images and 4K videos to-and-from the cloud. And how well do you think 4K video streams over LTE? Cloud is not for me. Please, give me an option to fully utilize a fast 256Gb microSDXC on-board expansion card.

Google’s hob-nailed boot steps down on my neck by continuing to refuse to support high-speed/high-capacity expansion storage. That is kind of EVIL at these high price points in the Android universe.

My push back is to use a USB3.1/USB-C external memory card reader with the PXL for literally external SDcard backup storage. Sadly, I can’t conveniently run apps from the card reader, but I can keep tons of data backed-up and freely available to me without the vagaries of “streaming.” (Just read the horror stories of people who lost way more than they bargained for by placing irreplaceable data in someone else’s cloud storage. Yeah, that really does happen.)

  • The built-in speaker is mono only

Again, for the price, look at how many similarly (and even lesser) priced smartphones have built-in stereo speakers.

  • Only rated IP53 for dust and water splash resistance

Smartphone makers keep playing games with the resistance of their devices to environmental particulates and water damage. While I’m not demanding IP-68 rated full submersibility from Google, as long as smartphones continue to use cheap tin for solder joints and board traces, a phone as expensive as the Pixel XL can and should do better than IP-53. Please, Google, set a better standard for everyone else to match.

None of these shortcomings are showstoppers, but they are all disappointing displays of Google’s stubborn engineering arrogance/hubris.

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And now, the MANY THINGS TO REALLY LIKE ABOUT THE PIXEL XL, things that are definitely iSLAMMERS…

  • Rapid battery charging, longer runtimes and standby charge

Battery run times and standby charge life will depend on exactly how you use your phone. That said, the paper specs on the Pixel XLs 3450mAH battery are: 32 hrs LTE talk, 14 hrs LTE data, 14 hrs WiFi, 130 hrs music play, 14 hrs video play and 522 hrs standby.

I don’t personally expect to see these numbers, myself, because of my app loadout and tendency to find myself in areas of marginal to poor LTE signal coverage (inside Faraday-cage-like structures and/or high ambient EM/RF interference); but these numbers are beefy, nonetheless. As long as Nougat (Android 7.1) doesn’t serve up any nasty runaway built-in services/processes, the PXL battery should outlast a Nexus 6 doing the same things. My other smartphone, even with its significantly bigger battery, doesn’t come close to the PXL’s promise.

Google claims the PXL can be charged (from O?) to 7 hrs of talk time in 15 minutes. I have to interpolate 7 hrs talk to mean less than 25% of full charge. If charging rates are linear (which they may not be), that would imply a full charge in something over an hour of continuous charging. While I’ve never fully discharged the Lithium-ion battery in my production smartphone, I know that fully recovering from a 50% discharge takes slightly less than an hour, and that battery, fully charged, is supposed to hold 4900 mAH, which is considerably more than the PXL’s 3450 mAH. So, I’m not sure how rapid Google’s rapid charging actually is in comparison. In a real world charging test, with WiFi on, LTE/BT/NFC/GPS off, but PXL otherwise in standby, charging from 79% to 100% took 27 minutes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there’s more to the safe and sane “rapid” charging of Lithium-ion batteries than just the basic dance of balancing voltage, current and internal temperature. The chemistry and physical internal structure of the battery has to specifically support rapid charging, too. Google is keeping totally mum on exactly which Lithium ion chemistry they chose for the Pixel XL’s battery. I can say that the phone does not warm up, at all, during charging, very much unlike my other smartphones.

I left a fully charged Pixel XL, with an equivalent production loadout of apps, on standby (WiFi off, LTE off, BT/NFC off, GPS off, Airplane mode on) side-by-side with an older smartphone (that also happens to have a much higher mAH battery than the Pixel XL), for nine hours. At the end of this test, the Pixel XL had drained 1% of it’s full charge. The other smartphone drained 63% of it’s full charge. Part of the Pixel XL’s standby performance could be battery chemistry, part of it is definitely the advanced power management of the Snapdragon 821 cpu.

  • Bezel-ed 1440v2560 QuadHD AMOLED display

The AMOLED display is outstanding even in broad daylight. 534 pixels per inch makes for very vivid/rich images. I don’t have to shade the Pixel XL’s screen to see what it’s showing me in broad daylight. I’m also OK with the scratch resistant Gorilla Glass 4 (vs the more allegedly crack resistant Glass 5), because there’s a functional bezel surrounding the screen’s edges. (My PXL will live inside an Otter Box Defender case, too).

I am adamantly pro-bezel for candybar style devices, as long as that bezel is both functional and durable. I’m not mounting the PXL up on a wall. I don’t need any smartphone to be a functionally compromised “work of art.” My PXL is always going to be in hand or standing by on a custom carry retractable rig or dash mounted. The purpose of a bezel, in my world, is to protect the edges of the glass from damage and prevent unintended screen touches/button presses. Bezels that don’t do both are useless to me. Edge-to-edge, bezel-less screen glass really means, to me, more surface area to attract damage and more unintended taps/presses. The bezel on the PXL is AOK by me.

  • Android Nougat 7.1, Qualcomm Snapdragon 821+Adreno 530, 4GB RAM

Pixel XL ships with factory Android 7.1 and keep in mind that Nougat on PXL is a different beast from Nougat on Nexus, and just about anything else, for now.

Un-rooted Nougat allows forcing apps to extSdCard so that you may test for yourself whether or not they will run (sans widgets) from extSdCard, by overriding the app’s manifest. More power to the End User is a good thing.

Surprisingly, there is no real file manager on the PXL’s Nougat and Chrome is the only factory installed Internet browser. If you need to setup Microsoft Exchange Server ActiveSync accounts, do not disable the Gmail app. Nougat 7.1’s Settings | Accounts only lets you setup Google accounts if the Gmail app is disabled. The reasoning behind these decisions by Google eludes me.

The Snapdragon 821 is a quad-core CPU, with two full-power and two low-power cores for maximizing performance while also aggressively managing power consumption. The GPU is Adreno 530, 4K and VR capable. RAM is LPDDR4 and absolutely necessary for software to continuously leverage hardware performance. Bravo on all counts.

  • Main Camera

The Pixel XL’s main camera is a Sony IMX378 12-megapixel image sensor, with photon gulping 1.55micron pixels and a f/2.0 aperture lens. Google’s proprietary (and compute intensive) HDR+ technology makes it the fastest image capturing HDR camera available on a smartphone today, across a range of lighting levels. The PXL can shoot 30 fps 4K video (3840x2160) and uses software video image stabilization, rather than optical image stabilization. That software actively reads the Pixel XL’s internal gyro-sensor (@200Hz) to rapidly compute adjustments for shakes/jiggles. Fewer physically moving parts is AOK by me.

This camera has no optical zoom, only digital zoom. Normally, I’m an optical zoom bigot, but the Pixel XL’s 4K-capable alchemy has expanded my opinion of digital zoom. Plus, if I insisted on optical zoom, I can always clamp on an appropriate third-party helper lens.

By default, HDR+ is always enabled and the camera essentially always captures frames in video mode. For still photography, 10 of 30 RAW frames captured are then sampled/composited together to produce a final JPEG image. This alchemy of hardware and software synergy develops significantly better images than from any other smartphone that I have used. The PXL takes the fastest and best non-flash, low-light photos of any smartphone that I have owned.

There are downsides though. The main cam can only shoot 12.3MP in 4:3 mode. The best you can get in 16:9 is 8.3MP, because you are cropping away some IMX378 sensor data to simulate a widescreen image.

In all of the main camera video modes (720p, 1080p and 4K) you do not have granular control over frame rate. Google Camera v4.2.022.135443920 (a Google Play update to factory Nougat 7.1) does allow you to select a pre-determined high frame rate (“slow motion”) for video on the Pixel XL.

Functioning as a GPS-enabled dashcam, the Pixel XL is so good at 1080P night vision that I wish it could project a heads-up display on the windshield. The levels of low-light illumination and contrast are quite remarkable, even with on-coming high beam lights. Everything remains in focus even when traversing pot holes and turns. The only limitation is that the 16x9 landscape video is not wide enough to catch all four corners when stopped at an intersection. An add-on lens will be required to widen the field of view.

  • 3.5 mm stereo headset jack, USB-C charging/connectivity port

Hooray for the stereo headset jack! I deliberately don’t use Bluetooth headsets of any kind and have ALWAYS used pro-grade wired headsets with cell phones from Day One, for brain EM/RF safety and conversation privacy.

The even bigger deal, for me, is the USB-C charging and connectivity port. USB-C is the unifying data/power port of today and the future. It compliments and exceeds USB 3.1. Plug reversibility means there is no upside-down orientation. USB-C seriously future-proofs the Pixel XL across a wide array of companion devices that support USB-C, DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0 and/or USB 3.1 protocols. And there are adapter cables for legacy USB. The one thing to be aware of is that improperly terminated USB-C cables can inflict electrical component damage, so make sure you only obtain USB-C cables from reputable makers that properly implement the grounding specs.

Because Android implements extSdCard as USB storage, I can use the PXL’s USB-C port to connect a USB3.1 compliant, USB-C external memory card reader, which allows for memory card-based local data backup and rapid transfer of bulk data across devices.

Google tells me that the PXL’s USB-C port is a full implementation, so it is supposed to be able to push 4K video to an external monitor, using an appropriate adapter.

  • Google Assistant

I personally don’t trust Google and I’m far from alone in that.

I have always HATED the annoying invasiveness of GoogleNOW and it’s all-or-nothing “privacy” configurability. Now, we get Google Assistant, which is supposed to be gNOW “on steroids.” (Similar/parallel concerns about privacy invasion and information hemorrhage make me equally despise Microsoft’s cynical implementation of Cortana on Windows 10.)

I don’t want/need any corporation placing a digital diaper around my brain pan in a lop-sided trade for el corpo’s definition of “convenience.” It’s bad enough as it is with three-letter-agencies peering into spaces that ought to be private/personal with zero value-add for me.

Fortunately, I can go into Nougat’s Settings and defang the leaking-to-the-cloud “features” in the Google app (trading away OK Google functionality) and Disable or (even better) Uninstall Android Pay, Gmail (with the previously mentioned caveat), Google+, Hangouts, OK Google enrollment, carrier bloatware, etc without “rooting.”

My privacy matters to me. My thought process is not for Google to reverse engineer. I do use highly effective applications, from non-affiliated vendors, for voice command, stand-alone/off-line navigation, traffic conditions, etc. I also use four different security hardened web browsers on each of my mobile devices. The Pixel XL will be no different (although finding reliable offline voice command is proving to be very tricky). Information about me that begins compartmented in the real world needs to stay that way, until I say otherwise, on a case-by-case basis. One time, blanket permissions are an insult to me. I also try not to put things into the cloud unless I can “TNO” encrypt, pre-cloud, and keep it that way in-cloud.

The only way that Google Assistant can play a role in my world is if the bulk of the processing happens on-device, local to me, with highly granular permissions on and redactions of personally identifiable meta-data that I’m only then willing to share with Google or anyone else on a case-by-case basis. That and only that is Do-ing No Evil by Me. All of that is do-able, too, but Google just doesn’t see fit to.

  • 24x7 technical support

During my review of the Pixel XL, Google (not Verizon) pushed the ~33MB 05 Oct 2016 Security Update for Nougat 7.1 to my Pixel XL. (My high-end S… N… # is still waiting its 05 Oct Security Update for Marshmallow 6.0.1 from my ALWAYS-LATE-WITH-THE-PATCHES US other carrier.) Again, bravo, Google. Updates should be direct to device from Google for ALL Androids.

24x7 TS is a must as there is no PDF User Guide available for the Pixel XL. And, yes, it’s really 24x7.

The on-line FAQs are quaint. I haven’t tried Chat Support. I have called in and not gotten answers to some questions that I’ve posed (like battery chemistry). And, yes, Google’s engineers are working on the Bluetooth pairs, then summarily disconnects software bug.

  • Bottom Line

I agree with others that the Pixel XL is very expensive, but, at this time, it’s hard to find many of the PXL’s features and functionality at any other price point. So, if you need what the PXL has to offer, then I do recommend it.

Amazon.com - Customer Reviews: Google Pixel XL Phone 32GB - 5.5 inch display ( Factory Unlocked US Version ) (Very Silver)


#3

Best Buy Review by JenN7 :star::star::star::star::star:

Premium Android Experience

Some background: My first smartphone was an iPhone 4. I currently own (and adore) an iPhone 6 and use an iPhone 5c for work. I've also used a Windows Phone for work (which I liked way more than I thought I would). I have loved and lost an iPad 1 and 2, before switching to much cheaper Android tablets. I now use a Surface 3 daily as my main computer (docked) and tablet (keyboard and pen).

I have never owned an Android phone. I have always pooh-poohed them as “cheap.” Android was fine for a tablet I used sometimes to watch movies on my lap, but for a phone that I used all the time? I preferred a more durable Apple product–an investment. Even a Samsung phone didn’t hold appeal… I’ve had Samsung tablets, which I liked, but couldn’t stand their version of Android–too bloated for my tastes. I guess I just preferred the more streamlined iOS experience, walled garden and all. I don’t think I’m alone.

If all Android devices worked like the Pixel, though? More people would be changing their minds.

I happened to get my phone in the mail the day before leaving for a weekend out of town trip… so I had an opportunity to try out a lot of features on this phone I might not have otherwise used right away. I’m going to try and step-by-step through my thoughts on how things worked.

  1. Set-Up

Set-up was incredibly easy. A SIM card tool was included and it was a piece of cake to just move my SIM card from my old phone to the new one and turn the new phone on. My Verizon signal was recognized immediately. I was then prompted to log into my home’s wifi network for the rest of the setup, so as not to kill my data for the month. How thoughtful. :slight_smile: Like with any other Android device, you’ll also be prompted to log into your Google account or create a new one.

Even transferring from my iPhone 6 was way simpler than I thought it would be. Google included two charging cables, one with USB-C connectors on both ends for use with a wall outlet charger (also included) and the other with a standard male USB connector. There was also a dongle which allowed you to connect another USB cable to your other device. So, I was able to plug my lightning cable from my phone into my new Pixel XL when prompted and transfer all of my contacts, music and pictures right to my new phone. The transfer took about 15 minutes, during which time I was able to continue with a couple of other setup procedures.

The setup process was somewhat lengthy–depending on how you want to set up your device (as a new device, or from a backup of an old device), it may take some time to download apps and transfer data from an old phone or the cloud. Be prepared to take this time… but once it’s done, it’s done.

It’s also a nice touch that you get free extra cloud storage for movies and pictures that you take with your phone… No more paying for extra iCloud space! You can also allow/unallow the phone to automatically “dump” pictures from your phone to the cloud when on Wifi to open up space on your phone. This happened once on my trip, and it was actually a really helpful feature.

  1. OS and Navigation

The Android OS on the Pixel phone is by far the cleanest version of Android I’ve ever used. It is clean, snappy and intuitive. A quick right swipe opens up essentially your “Google Now” feed. An upward swipe opens up your full app list, so you have them quickly and easily accessible, without having all of them cluttering up wallpaper space, and a right swipe takes you to the next wallpaper page where you can add more app shortcuts. You can also add and place widgets, move things around, etc. A down swipe pulls up your standard settings selections like screen brightness and airplane mode. Even coming from iPhones, I was able to pick up this phone and figure it out right away. It’s really easy.

  1. Speed and Ease of Use

It also just works. I’ve used cheap Android tablets that are all kinds of slow and hiccup-y and just no fun to use… This phone is FAST. Downloads and installations of apps are super fast, even on LTE. Apps open and load FAST. Pages reload FAST. It is way faster than my iPhone 6 and just a pleasure to use.

  1. Camera and screen

It’s great. I attached a photo I took… which I downloaded from my Google Drive after the phone automatically backed up my photos to save space. :slight_smile: I had it set to download lower resolution photos than the original photos taken by the phone, but you get a good idea of the color. I was happy with how my pictures came out! The camera app is pretty standard fare for a phone camera, with some other little features available to explore for kicks. I generally don’t use extra filters or anything though.

The screen is absolutely beautiful. The XL screen is big, but not too big, even for my tiny little kid hands. I did get a fairly grippy silicone case for my phone, if only to help keep it from slipping out of my tiny little kid hands as phones often do. I do find myself two-handing this phone, but the way they set up the OS with many of the controls and most-used apps at the bottom, I find my thumb is actually able to reach most things very easily and I don’t have to think about being able to reach things too much.

  1. Fingerprint Reader.

This is one of my FAVORITE things about my iPhone 6. I love that the Pixel XL has one… I am not thrilled with its placement on the back of the phone. I will be the first to say that I am probably just still getting used to it. But in practical use, there are times when my phone is sitting on the table and I just want to check for notifications, and having the fingerprint reader on the front would allow me to just press my finger to the reader and see the notifications without picking up my phone. (I know… first world problems) Having the reader on the back means I have to pick the phone up and properly hold it. I’d love to at least have a “knock to wake” feature or something (maybe there is one–I looked all over and couldn’t find it) so I could just see notifications without having to pick the phone up all the way to use the power button or fingerprint reader. I’m also looking forward to more apps making use of the fingerprint reader for logins like they’ve been doing in the iOS ecosystem. If you build it, they will come–I know they’ll be coming. Just need to be patient!

  1. Third Party hardware

I have a Pebble Time Round smartwatch which uses Bluetooth LE. I found my watch stayed connected to my phone and actually got richer notifications than it ever did with my iPhone 6. I actually love my Pebble more now! I also use bluetooth headphones of varying types regularly. They all connected easily, stayed connected and worked great! The one downside is that I did not see a quick reference show of the battery level of the connected device on my Pixel like I do on my iPhone 6. Maybe that’s not a feature I’ve figured out yet, maybe it’s not available on Android at all–I’m not sure.

  1. Hotspot and Tethering

If you have Hotspot/Tethering enabled on your plan, you can use this phone as a hotspot. I found it really quickly in the settings and found that it kicked on and connected with my Surface 3 more quickly than when I use my iPhone 6 as a hotspot, which was a pleasant surprise. So far I’ve found this feature to work really well and the speeds going through to my hotspot connected devices were good and solid.

  1. Google Maps and Navigation

This was one area where maybe a software update may be coming along. I don’t know if anyone else had trouble with this, but I did a lot of walking on my trip, and found that my “facing direction” when trying to follow walking directions in Google maps was pretty inconsistent, to a point where I really needed to stay aware of cross streets and make sure I was actually facing the direction Google Maps says I was. I turned the phone off and on to try and recalibrate, which helped for a short time, but the problem came back. This may be user failure in that I missed a setting that I needed to have, even after making sure all location services were on, but out of everything I love about this phone, I think this may be my one complaint. Otherwise, the Google Maps app was very fast and responsive.

  1. Google Assistant

Siri and I never got along. I don’t have an accent or anything… but some reason, she could never understand what I was trying to ask her. Google Assistant and I had several worthwhile little chats over the weekend and actually got things done. She’s a breath of fresh air, doing things for me like setting alarms, reminding me what time my flight was going to leave, and making sure I didn’t forget my hotel room number. I’m looking forward to seeing what else she can do. I love that you can speak in regular language to her and almost every time, she understands.

  1. Aesthetics and Design

In terms of look and feel, this phone is very premium. It has just the right weight–heavy enough that it’s got substance and won’t fly out of your hand, but you won’t get tired holding it. The finish is beautiful, and I really like the way they did the contrasting finishes on the back with the matte metal on the bottom and the mirror-y smooth gloss on the top. The button locations are intuitive and, even being on the back, the fingerprint reader is well-placed and a natural location for either index finger to reach. The front screen covers the entire front of the phone with no interruptions in the glass except for the earpiece. It’s all very smooth and flush.

And yes–it has a headphone jack!

I think I remembered everything I wanted to say. Thanks for taking the time to read–I know buying a new (and very expensive!) phone is a big deal–I hope my feedback is helpful.

Bestbuy.com - Customer Reviews: Google Pixel XL Phone 32GB - 5.5 inch display ( Factory Unlocked US Version ) (Very Silver)