Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

The Pixel Reviews Are In

The full reviews of Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones are now in. These are Google’s first ever all-made-by-themselves smartphones. The initial reactions from the 4th October announcements were mostly positive, but perhaps a little restrained. People who had hands-on time with the new smartphones, well, didn’t have that much time. Now, we’re reading more extreme reactions to the new Pixels.

The Verge says, of the Pixel, it’s a home run. For the first time we’re getting an unmediated experience of what Google thinks its Android smartphones should be. It’s utilitarian, and it’s approachable.

From Wired, we hear “You should get a Pixel.” David Pierce, the reviewer, was impressed. He considers himself an iPhone guy, and he’s switching. Well, apparently he’s also used about every flagship Android device, only to return to Apple thereafter, so we’ll never know if he might again switch back.

Then, Engadget says everyone else making Android phones should be a little worried. Now, that’s quite something.

TechCrunch is impressed with the Pixel’s photo and video experience, and further that the Pixel XL is Android’s best ambassador. Being all-made-by-Google, of course we expect the new smartphones to be Android’s best ambassador.

Yup, it’s mostly really positive, despite some shortcomings. Those shortcomings, however, mattered very much to Gizmodo, so much that they outright criticised the Pixels as too dumb and ugly to replace the iPhone.

The new Pixels aren’t too dumb, and ugliness is in the eye of the beholder. The real complaint, however, is really true:

  • Why in this age do the Pixels not have any form of water resistance? Not even a teeny weenie little bit.
  • It’s really priced as much as other top tier flagships. Which do have water resistance, by the way.

The Nexus brand is dead. Google is in the smartphone business now, directly calling the shots on hardware and moving inventory themselves, even though someone else (that’s HTC) is assembling the hardware. The hardware seems interesting, and by all accounts the software is mostly great, if not truly marvellous. It’s clear the Pixel and Pixel XL are priced like the flagships they compete against.

Meanwhile the rest of us have to decide if it’s worth the price, and the cost of not having water resistance.

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