Google Pixel

Nexus is dead. Pixel is king. Say hello to the Google Pixel, a handset ushering in a new era of the search giant’s smartphone range. It arrives alongside the larger (and even more expensive) Google Pixel XL, as the firm doubles up on devices for another year.

The Pixel takes over from 2015’s Nexus 5X as the smaller offering in Google’s lineup. The thing is, it hasn’t inherited its predecessor’s price point, with the new Pixel sporting a decidedly more premium tag. It comes in two variants, 32GB and 128GB, with the smaller storage option costing you a lofty $649, £599, AU$1,079. Meanwhile the Google Pixel price for the 128GB model is a staggering $749, £699, AU$1,229, pitching it against the likes of the iPhone 7, Huawei P9, HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7.

Previous Nexus devices had a leg-up over the competition with a slightly lower price tag, which helped users overlook a couple of shortcomings, but in 2016, with the new Pixel brand and a brave new price point, there’s nowhere to hide.If you’ve owned a Google-brand smartphone in the past, you’ll appreciate the no-nonsense stock Google interface – and you’ll be glad to know it’s business as usual on the Pixel when it comes to the Android Nougat operating system.

For those who are new to Google’s handsets, things may be less clear. While HTC is the firm that has actually built the device, the search giant has had a big say in what goes into the Pixel, and how it operates. These handsets are aimed to showcase the best of Google and Android. They pack new features not seen before on the platform (Google Assistant and a best-in-class camera in the Pixel’s case), and you’ll be first in line for an update when a new version of Android is launched – usually weeks, if not months ahead of the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony and co. The Google Pixel sports a first for Google’s smaller smartphone – a full glass and metal body – along with a 5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, 12MP rear camera, fingerprint scanner and 8MP front snapper.

Early verdict

The Google Pixel is a solid smartphone, but it takes a different direction to previous Nexus handsets. Its loftier price point means it’s now under real pressure to perform extremely well in all respects, and it remains to be seen if it can live up to its on-paper potential. It’s a phone we really want to love – but we’ve not fallen head over heels for it just yet. The design will likely divide people, and the increased price will certainly be a stumbling block for some, but the Pixel is a fast, slick, powerful smartphone which puts the best of Google in your palm. We can’t wait to put it properly through its paces – especially that camera.

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