REVIEW: Google Pixel XL

Pixel XL

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – I need to get this out of the way up front…there will be a lot of comparisons between the Google Pixel XL and the iPhone 7 Plus. I hate comparing phones…but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

So, let’s talk Pixel. This is Google’s newest phone. You can get it in the 5-inch version…or the Pixel XL in the 5.5-inch version. For this review, Verizon hooked me up with the XL.

At this point, I’ve reviewed a ton of Android-based phones…some super gimmicky…some really nice ones. The Pixel XL falls into the really nice category. No gimmicks on this guy.

When you hold the XL, it is heavy. Not…oh my goodness…this will wear my arm out heavy…think…this feels good…it feels sturdy heavy. Some Android phones feel really flimsy. This phone doesn’t.

And oh my wow…that screen is beautiful. The 5.5-inch screen is just nice to look at. So nice. I could give you the pixel to size ratio…and you may know what it means…but it really doesn’t matter. It is one of the more beautiful screens I’ve looked at.

Now, to the form factor. This is where the iPhone comparisons come in. There is no other way to put this…it looks like an iPhone.

In fact, when on of our reporters took a look at it, he paraded it around the newsroom, successfully making people believe it was his new iPhone.

It has the antenna lines, the brushed aluminum. The curved edges. The same type of bezel. Now…let me be clear. That isn’t a bad thing. I always have loved the iPhone design.

With all of that said, there is one big…big…difference.

The fingerprint sensor is in a different spot. The back of the phone.

Bam dum dum.

I hate when the fingerprint sensor is on the back of the phone. I feel like I am always struggling with it. To it’s credit, though…it is super quick. It feels like it reads fingerprints better than my iPhone.

While the new iPhone is without a headphone port, the Pixel XL has one. There weren’t any headphones included with the phone, however.

So the question, though…what this all boils down to, how is this different from the mass amounts of other Android phones on the market? There are two big ways.

This phone is actually made by Google.

Take the Galaxy line of phones for example…those are made by Samsung…but run Android’s operating system.

Why does it matter that this phone is actually made by Google? It will get the best support from the company that creates Android. That means (for the next couple of years at least) you’ll be the first to get updates. The Android updates will be made with your phone in mind.

There is something huge to be said for that.

Another thing that sets it apart is Google’s Siri competitor, Assistant.

To be blunt…as a lifelong Apple user, I am super impressed by Google Assistant.

“Ok, Google.”

Those two words are all you need to bring her up.

Just like Siri, you can ask Assistant to do basic things….like calling friends or family…and of course doing Google searches.

To me, Assistant seems a little bit more organic than Siri.

Now, how about the camera?

I took the Pixel XL toe to toe with an iPhon 7 Plus for a photo

I can’t say either one would be a decisive winner. Don’t get me wrong, they are both great…but great in their own ways.

If you are taking a basic photo, no zoom, nothing fancy, with the Pixel…it’s better than the iPhone.

Once you start zooming or playing with iPhone’s portrait mode…that’s where iPhone takes the edge.

Both are very capable cameras, though.

There is 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front facing camera.

On the software side, it moves quick, probably quicker than any Android phone I’ve reviewed…but not quite as quick as my iPhone. It’s not anything you’ll notice, though. The big difference comes in app reloading. Meaning if you close an app…and reopen it, you’ll get a little load time.

If Google wants to bad enough, that is something that could be fixed in a software update.

So, what’s the bottom line? If you hate iOS and everything Apple stands for…but love the design and streamline that comes with controlling both the hardware and software…this phone is for you.

It doesn’t do anything gimmicky…it doesn’t raise the bar in any huge way. But that’s a good thing. It’s a slick phone, with a great design…that I really feel like will be supported for years to come.

If you want to check the Pixel or the Pixel XL out, it’s a Verizon exclusive. You can learn more at this link.