Review: Google Pixel. (2022)

I WRITE ABOUT gadgets, which means everyone asks me what laptop or dishwasher or whatever to buy. I struggle with this, because the answer often starts with,“It depends.” Unless youaskabout a phone. In that case, I usuallysay get an iPhone.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Android. But the phones can be… frustrating. Clever features too often seem overwrought or poorly designed, or they’re buried beneath 15 Verizon apps on the homescreen. The iPhone is the Default Phone, the one you buy when you want a phone, not a project.

The Google Pixel changes that. It offers the look and competence of an iPhone, with a truly great camera and loads of innovative software and services. It changes my answerto the question I hear most often: What phone should you get?

You should get a Pixel.

alk To Me

Google’s new phone arrivesThursday, starting at $650 for the Pixel and $770 for the Pixel XL. You can get itin blue, black, or silver, with 32 or 128 gigs of storage, from Google or from Verizon. You should buy it directly from Google, and soon. Most models already are backordered.

Not long after I got my Pixel XL, I flewto Colombia for a week’s vacation. It was a very Google-y getaway: I had a Project Fi SIM card, I kept my itinerary in Google Trips, and, given what Verizon charges for international data on my iPhone 7, I relied entirely upon thePixel because Project Fi gives standard rates in most countries.

Thetrip provideda perfect way of testingthe limits of Google Assistant, Pixel’s distinguishing feature. If the Pixel is Google’s iPhone, Assistant is its souped-up Siri. Long-press the on-screen home button or say “OK Google” and ask it anything. How many dollars is 290,000 Colombian pesos? How hot is it in the Tatacoa desert? Where can I find coffee?Assistant was my guide, translator, and researcher. It knew where I needed to go, how toget there, and when to leave. It told me aboutSimón Bolívar, and knew enough about current eventsto explain the recent protests in the plaza that bears his name.

Assistant does share common stumbling blocks with Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. It likes to answer easy questions by showing web results, and it speaksat unexpected, often jarring moments. “HERE ARE YOUR EVENTS!” is not a useful thing to yell when asked aboutmy calendar. I wish I could type questions into the pop-up prompt instead of sayingeverything aloud like a tourist or openingan app like a nerd. In theory, Google’s deep knowledge of you and your life sets Assistant apart, but that didn’t always pan out. Assistant has all the information neededto handle me saying, “Wake me up 30 minutes before I need to leave for the airport,” but it failed to do so. On a later attempt, it set the alarm for almost seven hours before my flight. There’s traffic in Bogotá, but not that much traffic.

Still, Assistant is the best voice assistant yet—though not as far ahead as advertised. Its lead is the difference between being surprised when Siri works and being surprised when Assistant doesn’t. Its speech-to-text recognition isalmost perfect, even when I butcheredVilla de Leyva. I don’t open asmany apps anymore. I tell Google to do stuff for me.The biggest challenge to enjoying Assistant has been my own inertia. Assistant makes everything faster and easier, ifyou remember to use it.

Review: Google Pixel. (1)

The Best Camera You Have With You

I spent one night in the Tatacoa desert, at a small hotel miles from the nearest town. Returningto civilization, our taxi driver Hermes took us on a tour of photo-friendly spots. He’d lead us downsome tiny side road, point to a big rock or cool crevice, and with two hands gesture for me to hand him my phone so he could take a picture.

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I also took hundreds of 12-megapixel photos and 4K videos, and more selfies than I’m proud of usingthe 8-megapixel front cam. (For the record, I didn’t bring the selfie stick. I just used it.) In every case, the colors, dynamic range, and sharpness matched or exceeded everyphone I’ve used. You don’t get the cool zoom or soft-focus features ofthe iPhone 7 Plus, but you get killer photos nonetheless. Everything automatically goes into Google Photos, where the Pixel gets you unlimited free storage for full-resolution video and stills.

In fact, the real difference between the Pixel and the iPhone’s camera is a matter of approach as much as of execution. The iPhone faithfully reproduces the exact light of the image, even when it’s boring or flat or dark. The Pixel, like most Android phones, subtly enhances everything to make ita little brighter, a little more vibrant. You can watch the automatic HDR processing in real time, if you open a photo right after shooting.

Most of the time, the Pixel takes a nicer photo than you’d expect. Some photographers prefer to make those creative decisions. But I like that my photos look awesome on Instagram, no filters necessary. I’ve never been more confident shooting with my smartphone.

Review: Google Pixel. (2)

The Highest Form of Flattery

Yes, the Pixel looks like an iPhone, and that’s totally OK. My review unit is the 5.5-inch Pixel XL: a teensy bit smaller in my hand than the iPhone 7 Plus, but so similar that I confusethe two. The beveled aluminum body is a little sharper and harder than the round, smooth iPhone, but feels solid and nice to hold.

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The Pixel’s only standout hardware features are the large, round, rear fingerprint reader and the glass panel that takes up about a third of the back. I’m of two minds about the fingerprint reader placement: I love how easy it is to turn the phone on and unlock it with my index finger while sliding it out of my pants, but it’s annoying to have to pick it up every time unless I want to manually enter the passcode. The glass panel feels sort of pointless (It is, at least functionally, I’m told.). It’s different for different’s sake. I prefer the iPhone’s unified, monolithic feel.

You know what sucks about the Pixel? It’s not waterproof. Every phone should be waterproof. Beyondthat, my hardware complaints are nitpicky. I think it’s dumb to only have one speaker, and the headphone jack should be on the bottom edge. But none of thismatters to most people.

Specs-wise, it’s exactly what a phone this expensive should be, and as fast as you’d expect. It’s the first Daydream-ready phone, prepared to handle Google’s new VR platform, but I haven’t tested that yet. I suspect it’ll look better on the Pixel XL’s 5.5-inch, 2560×1440 display rather than the Pixel’s 5-inch, 1080p screen, though. The battery on the Pixel XL always surviveda day of travel mapping, menu translating, and election news searching with 20 to 30 percent left when I went to bed. I haven’t tried the Pixel, but I suspect that its lower-res screen means it should last about as long despite having a smaller battery. Otherwise, the two devices are identical.

Google clearly wanted to make something high-end yet widely appealing.It isn’t going after someone who loves a good stylus, or who wants funky design touches or niche productivity features. It’s just a really, really good smartphone.

Review: Google Pixel. (3)

Grown-up Android

The Pixel continuesthe tradition, established by Google’s discontinued Nexus line, of being the only way to enjoythe best of Android. (In fact, it’s even more extreme than that: Assistant isexclusive to the Pixel for the foreseeable future.)It’s a shame, because the Pixel addressesalmost all of the annoying little things about Android.

For example, until now, app icons were different sizes, which is a great litmus test for whether you’re a little OCD. (Guilty.) On the Pixel, they’re uniform, and most of them are round. It feels carefully considered in a way Android rarely does. An unobtrusive icon that leads you into the Google Now stream replaces the giant Google search bar. You can swipe up from the bottom of the homescreen to access apps, instead of tapping the four-dot button some people never even discover. The software even uses App Shortcuts, which are basically like 3D Touch for Android—hardly any apps use it so far, but I hope that changes.

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I’ve always loved Android because it felt so much more alive and connected than iOS. The sharing menus are smarter and more prominent, apps refresh in the background so they’re always up to date, and widgets and notifications are useful and interactive. But iOS was always so much simpler, with shallower learning curves. It’s dictatorial, but painless. The Pixel’s software doesn’t totally close that gap. It’s still too easy to clutter your homescreens with multiple versions of the same icon, and it’s still too hard to find cool features like the thing where you can swipe down on the fingerprint reader to see your notification shade. But the Pixel is the mostcoherent and cohesive Android ever.

I’ve always been an iPhone guy, honestly. I’ve used just about every flagship Android phone ever made and always returned to Apple. That’s partly because I bought an iPhone 4S in 2011 and signed up for iMessage, and leaving iMessage is a monumental pain in the ass.But mostly I liked having a phone I didn’t have to think about. The iPhone always offers great hardware, a good camera, fantastic apps, and data security. I don’t want to worry about my phone, or spend my time tinkering with it. My phone’s too important to risk any extra effort, or worse, unreliability.

But I’m switching. For real. I’m turning off iMessage, re-buying apps, and warning friends that I probably won’t get their texts for a few days. I am a little worried about Google’s long-term commitment to this new hardware push (and the customer support that comes with it), given itspropensity for killing productsthatdon’t get billions of users. But I’m totally in love with the Pixel. I love this camera, I love Google Assistant, I love that I’ll get to use it with a comfy VR headset, I love that I finally get a version of Android that is both powerful and attractive. I love that there’s a kickass Android phone that (probably) doesn’t explode.

The immediate joke everyone, including me, made on Twitter after the Pixel launch was that Google made an iPhone. Well, that’s true. As it turns out, an iPhone running Android is exactly what I’ve been waiting for.



Is the Google Pixel worth it? ›

We spend hundreds of hours each year testing the latest Android smartphones, and we've concluded that the Google Pixel 6 is the best Android phone for most people. It offers outstanding software and camera performance, and it costs much less than other high-end models.

What are the disadvantages of Google Pixel? ›

Some disadvantages possibilities of GOOGLE PIXEL 6 :
  • First Disadvantages of GOOGLE PIXEL 6 does not have external memory slot or MicroSD. ...
  • Cons of GOOGLE PIXEL 6 battery is not removable. ...
  • Bad side of GOOGLE PIXEL 6 fingerprint is under display. ...
  • Cons of GOOGLE PIXEL 6 does not have 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Do people like Pixel 6? ›

It has a premium feel, capable specs, and combines all of those things into one of the most engaging Android phones I've ever used. That's enough praise right there to recommend the Pixel 6 at virtually any price. The fact that you get all of that for just $599 makes the Pixel 6 a no-brainer.

Is the Pixel 6 worth it over the pro? ›

But ultimately, the non-Pro Pixel 6 is a shockingly good deal. In my mind, the 6 Pro costs 50% more, but it's only around 20% better. Unless you really, really want the telephoto camera or a slightly sharper, slightly bigger, and slightly smoother screen, I think the cheaper Pixel 6 is the Google phone to get.

Which is the No 1 phone in world? ›

It all started with the Apple iPhone that almost revolutionized the mobile phone market.
Top Most Best Selling Mobile Phone Brands in the World.
S. No.BrandMarket Share in India
2.Apple iPhone27.68%
6 more rows
Jul 7, 2022

Is Samsung or Google Pixel better? ›

If you want a dead-simple camera experience that will give you some amazing-looking photos, a Pixel is the best choice. You also get some Pixel-exclusive photo editing features to go along with it. Google offers good software support, though it's not quite as good as Samsung's.

Why is pixels better than iPhone? ›

As you can see from the Google Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 specs comparison, Google's phone offers more screen space — 6.4 inches to the iPhone's 6.1 inches. Apple does offer sharper resolution, however. But Google gives its phone another advantage — the Pixel 6 offers a 90Hz refresh rate.

What is special about Google pixel phone? ›

One big reason to get a Pixel is unlimited storage in Google Photos. Unlike other non-Pixel handsets, Pixel phones have no data cap for backing up photos to the cloud. Photos you take on a Pixel will be saved in their original quality, not automatically compressed to save space.

Which is better iPhone 7 vs Google pixel? ›

Google Pixel vs Apple iPhone 7: Conclusion

The Pixel trumps the iPhone in terms of display size and resolution, RAM, battery capacity and front-facing camera resolution. The iPhone trumps the Pixel in terms of physical size, waterproofing, display functionality and storage options.

Is Pixel 6a buggy? ›

Every time the Pixel 6's battery life drops by a percentage — say, from 85 to 84 — the screen freezes for up to two seconds, ignoring all input during this time. This bug can range from frustrating to completely unacceptable, depending on what you're doing when the battery level finally dips.

Why is the Pixel 6 so slippery? ›

Unlike the other two phones, the back of the Pixel 6 Pro is made out of glossy (and fingerprint-collecting) glass, as opposed to matte glass. And this phone is quick to slide off most slanted surfaces, except oddly enough – glass itself.

Does Pixel 6 have issues? ›

The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro launched to good reviews but have been the target of many bugs since their launch in October, leading to problems with the display, fingerprint sensor, and connectivity. While many of those issues have been solved, some continue to irk users, particularly those that stem from hardware components.

How long will Pixel 6 be supported? ›

Pixel 6 and later Pixel phones will get Pixel updates for at least 5 years from when the device first became available on the Google Store in the US. Pixel updates include Pixel security updates, and may also include feature drops and other software updates.

Who is the king of smartphones? ›

The global smartphone market has a new king -- Apple. The US-based iPhone-maker has made a comeback at the top spot after 5 years, beating Samsung. The South Korean giant has been pushed to No. 2 spot in global rankings.

Which is the best Android phone in the world? ›

The best Android phones you can buy today
  1. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The best Android phone you can buy. ...
  2. OnePlus 10 Pro. The best phone for the money. ...
  3. Google Pixel 6. Plenty of smarts at a good price. ...
  4. Google Pixel 6a. The best Android value. ...
  5. Google Pixel 6 Pro. ...
  6. Samsung Galaxy A53. ...
  7. Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus. ...
  8. Asus Zenfone 9.
2 days ago

Is Google pixel worth it in 2021? ›

Best answer: No. Although the Pixel 4 has held up well over time, Google's more recent releases cover a wide variety of price ranges and better battery quality, so it's hard to recommend buying a Pixel 4 in 2021. Bargain hunters may want to consider the Pixel 4a, one of the best cheap Android phones.

Is Google pixels better than iPhone? ›

Apple does offer sharper resolution, however. But Google gives its phone another advantage — the Pixel 6 offers a 90Hz refresh rate. While that's not as fast as other flagship phones, including the Pixel 6 Pro and its 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, it certainly tops the iPhone 13, which remains stuck at 60Hz.

Why is Google pixel so costly? ›

The Pixel and the Pixel XL mark that beginning and even though at their MRP they look overpriced, to ensure that the message is conveyed properly and to ensure better future for the Pixels that will come next year and year after that, Google had to go for the premium pricing.

What is special about Google pixel? ›

One big reason to get a Pixel is unlimited storage in Google Photos. Unlike other non-Pixel handsets, Pixel phones have no data cap for backing up photos to the cloud. Photos you take on a Pixel will be saved in their original quality, not automatically compressed to save space.


1. Google Pixel 6 review
(GSMArena Official)
2. Google Pixel 6a Review: Best Android Phone for Less?
3. Google Pixel 6a review: Is it worth buying?
(Android Authority)
4. Where did Pixel go wrong? - Google Pixel 6a
5. Google Pixel 6A Full In-Depth Review!
(Nick Ackerman)
6. Google Pixel Review: Best Android Smartphone!
(Marques Brownlee)

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