Google Pixel: A Review

Google have finally come good on their promise to enter the smartphone market, and if their opening gambit is anything to go by, Apple have some stiff competition in the years ahead.

A super quick processor, an excellent camera - the Google Pixel is a well-rounded mobile, and although it's on the pricey side there's plenty of incentive to get your wallet out.


The Google Pixel bears a remarkable cosmetic resemblance to the iPhone, with the main difference being that it's slightly thicker (a consequence of of Apple's decision to do away with the headphone jack). The one reservation to note is that it can be susceptible to surface damage - particularly on the back.


The standard model comes with a 5 inch screen, but they've also launched a plus-sized edition which gives you a little extra space - and a reinforced battery to match. The 1080p display resolution is largely excellent, and is rarely given to bugs or glitches.


The camera hardware Google have rolled out is nothing to write home about: the back camera is 12 megapixels, and the front one is 8. However, the Pixel does offer a more rounded user experience: the camera is easy to focus, it's kind on the battery, and which is more, your snaps can be stored externally on Google Photos.


Early reviews have made much of the fact that the Google Pixel runs much quicker than the average Android phone. Part of this is a function of its newer apps, but even for general navigation it offers a smoother experience for users - and that's because its processor is simply better and more powerful than those of the competition.


As mentioned, the Google Pixel does accommodate headphone use, and that's a big deal for those users left perplexed by Apple's decision to go wireless. The downside is the audio ouput is comparatively weak - probably because an additional speaker would drive the price up even more.


Google appear to have taken notice of the iPhone's reputation for sketchy battery power, as the Pixel can theoretically go for a couple of days without being plugged in - this, of course, provided you don't go too crazy with your apps. On the downside, the Pixel doesn't support wireless charging, which could still be a couple of years away.


This is where things get a little complicated. The Google Pixel is an excellent smartphone but the 32GB edition will set you back in the region of £700, and you do get the feeling Google are holding a few features back for future models.

Our verdict

Make no mistake: Google have served up a smartphone capable of competing with Apple. The Pixel doesn't have any stand out software gimmicks (at least not yet), but it makes the best of some excellent hardware, and the integration with Google programmes is a huge plus. Above all, it's a functional mobile - and if you've had enough of the iPhone, it's a fine alternative.