Android Police

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google pixel

299

Most Wanted: The Google Pixel is Android Police's staff pick for 2016 Smartphone of the Year

In an internal poll of the Android Police staff, the Google Pixel has won overwhelmingly as our choice for smartphone of the year.

As I pick up my Google Pixel XL, nestled in its artwork Live Case (which, annoyingly, is cracking), I don't find myself missing much. I don't miss the almost artful curves and subtle refinement of the Galaxy Note7, the vast display canvas of LG's V20, or the Moto Z's... whatever. The Pixel XL just seems right, and if you were to ask me to give it up for any other smartphone today, I'd politely decline: this, for now, is as good as it gets.

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Most Wanted: The top smartphones of 2016

The end of the year has arrived, and it's time to make our picks for the phones that represented the best of what the [Android] smartphone industry had to offer in 2016. Without further ado, here are the recipients of the Android Police Most-Wanted award in 2016 for "Top Smartphone," in no particular order.

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128

Google Pixel NPF26J OTA in Canada adds double-tap and lift to check notification [Update: OTA links]

In what appears to be an accidental rollout of a preview build, according to 9to5Google, Google is updating Pixel and Pixel XL devices in Canada to a new version of Android 7.1, build number NPF26J. The "P" after the N generally would denote a preview, as Google uses the second letter in its build system to indicate the branch the update is sourced from (e.g., "R" for "release"). (Update: Upon further investigation, it's unclear if this is true, or if it's merely a coincidence. The build may be an official rollout, though it would be odd considering Google hasn't updated its factory image or OTA file pages yet.)

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97

Deep dive: A closer look at the Google Pixel's camera

The Pixel phones have been out for several weeks now, and a lot has been said about the camera. I will try to comment on some of the things that I’ve felt have been a bit overlooked, in a deeper dive into the Google Camera 4.2 on the Pixel XL. Most of the issues, if not all, should also apply to the smaller Pixel phone.

A note on pixel size, sensor size, and aperture

Starting with last year’s Nexus phones, Google has been advertising “bigger pixels” in their camera sensors, frequently pointing out their 1.55µm size in marketing materials. Relatively speaking, they’re larger than the ones on most other phones and should lead to lower noise, at least according to common belief.

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68

Google: The Really blue Pixel will be restocked on the US Google Store

Google's Pixel went up for pre-order on October 4th, and the first versions to sell out were the limited edition Really blue finish (a temporary US exclusive). Within hours of the phones' announcement, in fact, there were no more Really blue Pixels to be had. Since then, they've never come back in stock (at least not for any appreciable time we're aware of), and many people have begun to assume that the brief first wave of sales was the end of the road for Really blue after all.

Not so, according to Google. After a reader reached out to tell us they had heard from a Google product manager that the Really blue device was no longer on sale and would not be restocked, we got in touch with the company.

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479

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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141

Unlock the bootloader on Pixel phones from Verizon and EE with dePixel8 by beaups and jcase [Hurry]

For years, Google's Nexus line could be counted on for one thing, an unlockable bootloader. While carriers have occasionally had limited freedom to defile customize certain models sold through their service, owners were at least free to either modify the stock software or completely replace it with custom builds.

It goes without saying people were more than a little disheartened to learn Google's second attempt to team up with US carrier Verizon lead to yet another disappointing result: the Google Pixels sold through VZW have non-unlockable bootloaders. In fact, there are at least two carriers selling non-unlockable Pixels. The other is EE Limited (formerly Everything Everywhere) in the UK.

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654

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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77

The Google Pixel's SIM tray hides a small hardware Easter egg

Have a Pixel? Take a closer look at your SIM tray - Google's left a note. Specifically: its address. As though to make it really, really, really clear that this is the Phone by Google, Google has printed its address in Mountain View... on the SIM tray. Which is random. But hey, Google. Here's a closer look at the tray from the Quite black model.

IMG_20161021_101939

I don't know why Google's address is on the SIM tray, but it is. Also, hopefully no one sends a lost Pixel to Google because they assume this is some obscure way to identify the owner's address.

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137

Buying a Pixel phone means free, unlimited Photos storage for pictures and video at maximum quality

As Cody found in his teardown of Google Photos v1.21 back in March, and Carphone Warehouse listed in its 'gone-live-early' promotion page, Google has announced free, unlimited photo storage for anyone who buys a new Google Pixel phone. This means any photos you take will be backed up to Photos at the original size, and not the "high quality" size that is uploaded by default. That's not all: 4K videos, which the Pixel phones can shoot, are also supported with unlimited storage and no quality decrease.

It's not clear how long this will last - if it's forever or for two years, like the 100GB of Google Drive storage is when bought with a Chromebook.

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