Google Pixel is the first phone 'Made by Google'* to bring together the best software and best hardware for an awesome user experience, and it's on sale in the UK today. Here's everything you need to know about the Pixel and Pixel XL, including the Google Pixel UK release date, price, new feature and specifications. Read our Google Pixel hands-on review and Google Pixel XL hands-on review. Plus: Google Pixel vs Pixel XL.
*By which we mean actually made by HTC. An HTC spokesperson told PC Advisor: "HTC is excited to work with Google to create the new Pixel smartphones. Google and HTC have a long and storied history together, from developing the first commercially available Android product, the HTC Dream, and the first expectation-defying Nexus phone, the Nexus One, to HTC’s award-winning One and Desire smartphones running the latest and most innovative versions of Android. We’re proud that when Google needed an industry-leading partner for the Pixel, HTC was the clear answer."
Google has just confirmed its Pixel smartphone, available in 5- and 5.5in versions as the Pixel and Pixel XL. Headline features include the new Google Assistant, which allows for natural dialogue between Google and a user to get the information they need, a 12.3Mp camera that has won the highest ever rating from DXOMark Mobile and is supported by unlimited cloud storage for your original resolution (even 4K) video and photos, support for VR built-in and the new Google Duo video-calling app. Read on for full details.
Google Pixel UK release date, Pixel UK price: When is the Google Pixel coming out?
Google was accepting pre-orders for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL immediately following the launch, and those phones are shipping now. Both come in Quite Black, Very Silver and a limited edition Really Blue.
In the UK the SIM-free prices from the Google Play Store match the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and are as follows:
32GB Pixel: £599
128GB Pixel: £699
32GB Pixel XL: £719
128GB Pixel XL: £819
In the UK EE and Carphone Warehouse will also be partners.
In the US the Pixel will be available from $649 or $27 per month.
Google Pixel specifications
Both Google phones feature a combination of metal and polished glass with an aluminium unibody design. They have been designed by Google to look stylish, with the rear glass adding character to the phone. There is no unsightly camera bump either, despite what it is capable of. This is combined with the new Pixel Launcher, which is clean and easy to use with rounded icons and everything you need just a swipe away. Also see: Nexus 5X review and Nexus 6P review.
Both Pixel and Pixel XL feature high-resolution AMOLED displays, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 32- or 128GB of internal storage, the Pixel Imprint fingerprint sensor and a 2,770mAh (Pixel) or 3450mAh (Pixel XL) battery.
A 12.3Mp rear camera has large 1.55um pixels and an f/2.0 aperture. There's also USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2, and in two digs at Apple, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a quick switch adaptor that makes it easier to switch from iOS to Android.
Google also spoke of battery life, which it says will easily get you through a full day. The new Google Pixel and Pixel XL also support fast charging and can get seven hours of battery life from a 15 minute charge.
We discussed the Google event right after it happened on our podcast. Listen here:
Because the Google Pixel is running Android Nougat, it will always be the first to get security and system updates from Google. System updates will automatically occur in the background, so you can carry on using the phone as normal.
The Google Pixel also builds in 24/7 live customer support, available through chat or over the phone. This includes a screen share option that allows the tech support to see the problems you are experiencing.
The Google Pixel also works with Project Fi - see What is Project Fi?
Google Pixel features
Google concentrated on five key areas when it announced the new Google Pixel phones:
1. It is the first phone with the Google Assistant built-in
2. It offers a terrific photography experience
3. Google Cloud means you never run out of space for your photos or video
4. It lets people talk to each other more easily, no matter which OS or device they are using
5. Pixel is built from the ground up for virtual reality
Google Assistant was first announced back at Google I/O as a feature of the Google Allo messaging service. Now Google wants to make the Assistant device-wide, putting it on your phone and in your home. Also see: Google Home and Google Assistant
The Assistant makes possible natural two-way dialogue between Google and the user, making the information you need available wherever you are. No matter which app you're in you can long-press the home button to bring up the Google Assistant, then speak in natural language to get the answers you need.
In the demonstration the Google Assistant was asked to bring up photos on the user's account from last October. Some of those photos were of a concert, which prompted him to ask what was currently showing at a particular theatre, to which the Google Assistant brought up a list of shows and the times they were on. A band took his fancy, and the Google Assistant brought up a YouTube video of one of its songs to see whether it was what he was looking for.
He then asked the Google Assistant to text his wife and ask whether she fancied the concert on Saturday night. She replied and said yes, and let's have dinner at a certain restaurant first. The Google Assistant then brought up relevant information about the theatre and the restaurant, and was able to book the tickets and make dinner reservations on his behalf.
Google used DXOMark Mobile data to show that its new Google Pixel has the best camera ever seen in a smartphone before with a very high score of 89. Also see: Best phone cameras 2016
This is a 12.3Mp camera with an f/2.0 aperture and large 1.55um pixels. It uses intelligent software algorithms to enhance photography beyond what can be achieved with hardware alone, with Smartburst, HDR+ by default with zero shutter lag and video stabilisation.
Google also says its Camera app has a shorter capture time than any it has tested making possible decent action shots.
Tying in with Google's new camera announcement was the promise of unlimited online storage of full-resolution (even up to 4K) video and photos for Nexus users. If you're into photography, the combined offering of best-ever smartphone camera and unlimited full-resolution backups should prove very attractive.
This also means you're less likely to need to pay out an extra £100 for the 128GB versions of these phones, which is good because they're rather expensive.
We've seen Google Duo before, and it's available now for all Android and iOS users. Duo is Google's video-calling app, and one of its standout features is Knock Knock, which shows a real-time video of the person calling you on the screen before you answer. Also see: What is Google Duo and How to use Google Duo
Google also announced that it was making it easier than ever for iOS users to move over to Android, with a Quick Switch adaptor in every box.
Google Pixel is the first phone to be Daydream VR-ready, which means it has all the required specifications for the best mobile VR experience. Find out more about Daydream in our separate article on Google's new VR tech.
Google Pixel live blog: Google Pixel launch as it happened
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Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017.