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google pixel review

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Google Pixel long-term review: Still the best smartphone I've ever used

I have been using the Google Pixel XL for six months now. Not continuously, mind you - I have taken breaks here and there. But after using the Galaxy S8+, the LG G6, and the OnePlus 3T, there is only one phone I've instinctively found myself returning to, and it's this one. Google's Pixel isn't without its flaws; in fact, it has a great many I can cite with ease.

The Bluetooth connectivity sucks. The back of the phone has very obvious wear rub. The glass window scratches easily. It's not waterproof. 'OK Google' hotword detection breaks for no apparent reason, necessitating a reboot.

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Google Pixel review update: Two weeks with the Google phone

It's been a little over two weeks since I received my Google Pixel (XL) review unit, so I thought I would provide an addendum to our review based on more time with the phone. I won't be covering every category I did in the review. But I will try to give you the broad strokes on areas where my thoughts haven't changed much, and some of the specifics where they have.

Look, feel, and form

I still think this phone looks a bit dull. Other members of the team disagree, though! And I think that really is the subjective nature of design coming into play here.

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The 5 worst things about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are great phones (here are some great things about them). But there are things about it that are... not as great. Let's run through our top (bottom?) five.

#1 They're really expensive

$650 - that's the starting price of the Google Pixel. It is also, you'll note, the starting price of the iPhone 7. In fact, every model of the Pixel and Pixel XL matches exactly the MSRP of its Apple competitor.

  • Pixel 32GB, iPhone 7 32GB: $649
  • Pixel 128GB, iPhone 7 128GB: $749
  • Pixel XL 32GB, iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: $769
  • Pixel XL 128GB, iPhone 7 Plus 128GB: $869

The only difference is that Google doesn't offer a 256GB SKU.

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The 5 best things about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are great smartphones - there's no doubt. But what makes them so great, exactly? Well, here are five things that I think help make that case with conviction.

#1: The camera

This is my favorite smartphone camera, full stop. No other smartphone camera captures images as quickly and reliably as this one - because the Pixel's camera starts capturing images the moment you launch it, and continuously does so in order to all but eliminate any shutter lag. It really does make the camera's shutter button feel completely instant, no matter the light level or if the phone's been sitting idle in your pocket for an hour.

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Google Pixel review: A very good phone by Google

Google's new smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, are a watershed moment for the company. They're Google's attempt to define itself as a hardware manufacturer worthy of comparison not just to Apple's iPhone, but the very products its Android operating system has allowed to flourish over the past eight years. Or, as the refrain goes: Google is finally going to compete with other smartphone manufacturers.

This narrative can get in the way of discussing the Pixel for what it is (a smartphone), so I'll try to avoid confusing what this phone means to Google as a company and what it means to you as a consumer.

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