The Google Pixel phone combines a great design, amazing camera and uncluttered software which takes the Android experience to the next level.
Reminder: I'll be giving away a Google Pixel smartphone Tuesday, November 15, 2016 on KTLA Morning News courtesy of Verizon. Tune in around 5:45 and 7:50 AM for details.
Usually when I present a review on an Android phone, no matter how much I like it there is generally a caveat at the end of the report. Google Pixel changes that. This is the best all around Android phone I've ever tested, and for various reasons.
For starters, the design of the Google Pixel is fantastic. It's a sleek looking phone that feels good in your hand. There is no camera lens protrusion, so it sits flush on your desk. The fingerprint reader is on the back of the phone as opposed to the front like on the iPhone. Personally, I see benefits to both placements. The backside is better for pulling the phone out of your pocket and unlocking it simultaneously. Front is better when the device is docked in your car or laying on a desk.
The software on the Pixel is about as perfect as it gets on Android. Not only is it uncluttered and always up to date, it runs the latest version of Android called Nougat. It's fast, simple and there are no extra apps on your phone (if you buy it from Google - Verizon does add some of their own). In my testing I found the software to be speedy and never bog down to a crawl like I often find on Samsung devices.
Pixel also includes Google's new AI Assistant. It's handy for calling people, adding events to your calendar and doing things in a personalized way. It's also a bit confusing since it sometimes offers different answers than your standard Google Voice search.
The camera on the Pixel is just amazing. It takes beautiful pictures on the very first snap, which is something not many phones can accomplish easily. Results are fast, in focus and well detailed. The colors are also amazing - especially when there's a lot of contrast happening in the frame. This is my favorite aspect of the Pixel - when I'm carrying it around I know I'm going to get a great shot every time without a lot of fuss. I often have my iPhone friends oohing and aahing at what they're seeing on the Pixel screen. The video stabilization is equally amazing. You also get unlimited cloud storage for all of your photos and videos - even at 4K quality.
I don't see the Pixel converting a lot of folks from iPhone. You don't get the very best selection of apps, there aren't as many accessories and of course things like iMessage and FaceTime are non existent on Android. But when it comes to Android Pixel is about as good as it gets. Sure, Samsung has a camera that's just as capable, plus wireless charting, water resistance and a memory card slot, but overall Pixel will give you less headaches due to it's simplicity.
There is one more thing to note about the Pixel. There is some confusing marketing surrounding this device. You've probably seen the commercials saying it's "only on Verizon" but that's only half true. Yes, the phone is only available through Verizon as a carrier, but it's also sold by Best Buy and Google. Plus, every Pixel is sold unlocked so you can actually use it on any carrier that you want.
Pixel comes in two sizes - 5 or 5.5 inch screens and in colors including black, white and blue. It starts at $650.
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