Earlier today in San Francisco, Google unveiled a whole range of new hardware which collectively the company hopes consumers will start to identify as their own hardware products and associate them less with the manufacturers, who put the hardware pieces together on behalf of Google. The Most obvious example of this was the two headline devices, the Pixel and the Pixel XL smartphones. Both of which are now confirmed and all their specs known.
As these are more than just Google’s latest hardware you might be wondering what makes the likes of the Pixel XL standout from the rest? Especially considering the specs on offer are not exactly market-leading. Yes, they are competitive but nothing that you cannot find elsewhere on other devices. Well, therein is what makes these devices a bit more unique. While their hardware is somewhat run-of-the-mill (by flagship standards), the software is another story entirely and where Google hopes their devices will become more known. While Nexus devices ran stock Android, Pixel devices run stock Android, but with a few tweaks.
While that might sound contradictory (and it arguably is), the software is the big selling point here and these tweaks are as Google intends for its new flagship smartphones. Thereby, they are technically stock Android. The biggest overlay in use is the Pixel Launcher. This was highly rumored on (and even leaked) prior to the unveiling. Google has made it clear that the Pixel Launcher is designed for the Pixel phones and looks to combine many of the Google Assistant-related features together. The Pixel is just a smarter type of smartphone and the inclusion of Google Assistant is a big part of the driving force behind the smarter ambition. In fact, Google makes the point that the Pixel XL and the Pixel are the first phones to come with Google Assistant as a built-in feature. Thereby harnessing the smarter capabilities of Google Assistant and its ‘your Google’ features is one of the clear special benefits that are on offer with the Pixel XL.
Generally speaking, the Pixel and the Pixel XL are largely the same phone although they do come with some specific differences which are likely to make the Pixel XL the better option to go for. The first is the larger 5.5-inch display which comes with a greater (than the Pixel) QHD resolution. While the battery on the Pixel XL has also been boosted compared to the Pixel, as the Pixel XL comes loaded with a 3,450 mAh capacity. This is also a smartphone which is able to make use of faster charge speeds with Google stating that a seven hour level of usage can be achieved after only 15 minutes of charging.
There are also a number of other features that on offer with the Pixel XL which are based on the software, like automatic downloading and installing of software updates so the whole experience feels more natural. Likewise, Google is looking to offer a more cohesive product all-around and as such the Pixel XL does come with the likes of Duo installed, as well as the ability to make use of free unlimited storage (at full resolution) for photos and videos through Google Photos. Not to mention, Google’s Pixel XL is also a Daydream-ready smartphone.