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Google Pixel and Pixel XL phone: Google picks up its ad game ahead of Pixel phone launch

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Google is trying its hardest to promote its upcoming flagship Pixel and Pixel XL phones ahead of their 20 October release date. As part of this push, it’s been releasing rather odd short adverts to be shown on TV and YouTube. The latest of these short spots has just launched and it’s called “Pose by you”.

Like its previous adverts “Together by you” and “Crush by you”, Google is opting to evoke curiosity in its Pixel brand, rather than convey what the devices are actually good for. Still, that’s how you market a device in this day and age.

You can see the new doggy-themed ad below.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL phone: Everything we know

1. Google’s flagship is no longer a Nexus device

Here’s everything Google announced:

Google has officially ditched the Nexus name in favour of its Pixel brand of devices. The Pixel name is usually associated with Google’s high-end devices, such as the Chromebook Pixel or Pixel C tablet – it’s also a brand that signifies that a device was designed and manufactured by Google, not by a third-party like Nexus devices are. As the Pixel phone and Pixel XL phone are both premium flagship devices, designed to show Android and Google Assistant off in its best light, it makes sense for Google to ditch the Nexus branding and the connotations that come with it.

There are also rumours that Google is working on a unified Chrome and Android OS codenamed Andromeda. If true, unifying Google’s branding across devices would make sense, allowing the search company to build a suite of hardware and software similar to that of Microsoft’s Windows 10 and its Surface brand.

2. Google’s Pixel phone comes in two varieties and three colours

Google announced that it would be bringing out two varieties of the Pixel phone – the Pixel and Pixel XL. As you have probably deduced, the XL is a larger version of the Pixel with a 5.5in display.

Google is also bringing the Pixel and Pixel XL out in three distinct colours, with names designed to poke fun at the ingrained marketing guff usually funnelled down our throats by designers. You’ll be able to pick up the Pixel and Pixel XL in “Quite Black”, “Very Silver” and “Really Blue” – with names like that, you have to wonder whether Google used its own search data to work out what people usually call those flowery colour names when searching for them.

3. Google Pixel phone is made of metal, but has a glass back…

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL phones are both made with a solid aluminium unibody design that, like many other all-metal device, feels great in your hand. However, Google has decided to add a glass panel to the top third of the Pixel’s rear. Initially this seems like a strange design choice but, having looked into the matter, it all makes sense.

Seeing as Google wants the Pixel and Pixel XL to be the best phones for Google’s services, they have to be completely compatible with everything Google – including Android Pay. NFC can’t work effectively through metal – it’s why those card-clash stoppers for your wallet are made of metal – so the phone needs a glass back to ensure NFC interactions are super speedy. You can see this logic on other phones on the market too: Sony’s Xperia XZ has its NFC chip at the front of the phone, away from its metal back; the Samsung Galaxy S7 has a glass back; and the NFC chip in the iPhone is located within a glass Apple logo on the rear.

4. Google Pixel and Pixel XL are pricey

As we previously stated, given the specs of these phones, it was likely the Pixel and Pixel XL phones would cost much more than a typical Google Nexus device.

You can pick up the Pixel at an eye-watering £599, with the Pixel XL setting you back £719. This places both phones in the same category as the iPhone 7. Things get even more expensive on contract, with even Carphone Warehouse offering up a Pixel contract at £47 per month, although you do get a £50 Google Play voucher for your troubles.

5. Google Pixel and Pixel XL both launch in November

During its #MadeByGoogle event, Google announced that it would be bringing both of its flagship phones to market this year, in a yet-to-be-confirmed date in November. You can pre-order both devices right now over on Google Play if you really want to pick one up on day one.

6. Google Pixel runs a reskinned version of Android 7 Nougat

As everyone expected, Google’s new flagships run on the latest version of its Android operating system, Android 7 Nougat. Interestingly, it’s not stock Android as on Google Nexus devices. This reskinned version of Android puts Google’s Assistant front and centre, integrating many of Google’s intelligent apps as standard.

This means you’ll get Google Duo, Allo, Photos, Drive and Assistant preinstalled, with everything working seamlessly across all of your Google devices. Google is also hoping that many users will jump ship from iOS and come to Android because of the Pixel, and has bundled a transfer cable in every box, making use of USB Type-C’s fast transfer speeds to help pull everything from your iPhone and iCloud down and onto your beefy Pixel device.

7. Both Pixel and Pixel XL are pretty powerful

As any good flagship phone should be, Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL devices are beasts when it comes to hardware specs.

Both phones share practically the same innards, differing only on screen size and resolution, along with battery size. Regardless of which Pixel phone you opt for, Google’s flagships are powered by a 2.15GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, drawing upon 4GB of system RAM and utilising either 32GB or 128GB of storage.

When it comes to displays, the Pixel has a 5in, Full HD AMOLED screen and the Pixel XL is equipped with a 5.5in QHD AMOLED one. A 1,440p screen on a 5.5in device makes everything look wonderfully crisp, so the XL lends itself perfectly to Google’s VR headset Daydream View. The Pixel also sports a 2,770mAh battery, while the XL utilises a larger 3,450mAh power pack.

The only real difference between the Snapdragon 821 and the 821 is an extra 0.4GHz in each core. Honestly, that extra power won’t translate into much in terms of pure performance, but it will help VR content run smoothly. According to Geekbench 4 scores uploaded prior to the devices unveiling, the Snapdragon 821 scores a single-core score of 1,561 and a multi-core score of 4,176. The 820 scored 1,689 and 4,026 respectively – so only a marginal difference.

8. Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL supposedly have the best smartphone camera ever

Those aren’t my words, or even Google’s words – those are the results of the independent camera benchmarking site DxOMark, which awarded the Pixel and Pixel XL’s 12-megapixel rear camera a score of 89. Not only is that the highest score any smartphone has received for its camera, it’s one point ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S7 – which we believe previously held the top spot in terms of cameras – two points ahead of the Sony Xperia Z5’s excellent camera, and a whole three points in front of Apple’s revamped iPhone 7 snapper.

Part of what makes Google’s camera so impressive is its large sensor size and an intelligent, always-on “HDR+” image-processing algorithm, which compiles multiple images near instantly to create a detailed low-noise image and matches up photos “pixel by pixel”. Bundled into this is a multi-shot feature that picks the best photo from the bunch within milliseconds, and an incredibly clever video-stabilisation tool that uses the phone’s gyroscope to compensate phone shake and correct the video alignment at the same time.

Obviously, we’ll have to put it through our own rigorous testing process before we can definitively say it’s the best camera on the market right now.

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