Google takes a step forward in the smartphone competition with the Pixel and the Pixel XL, and it's taking on the likes of Apple's iPhone 7 and perhaps Samsung's previous flagship the Galaxy S7 edge since the Galaxy Note 7 has thrown in the towel.
Out for blood, the Phone by Google is packing in a lot of impressive components under the hood and promises to offer the best Android experience with timely updates, even if it's bought from Verizon.
That said, here's what the early birds who've already gotten ahold of the handset are saying so far:
Performance: Beast-Like Thanks To The Snapdragon 821 Chip
With Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 and 4 GB of RAM, the Pixel is without a doubt deserving of a high spot in the Android food chain. Needless to say, it's one of the fastest smartphones out there.
"We have yet to run into any hiccups, lag, or performance issues with the Pixel. Apps open quicker than ever; moving between home screens is smooth and fast; and content loads and scrolls without any stutters on apps like Twitter and Chrome. Everything just works," Julian Chokkattu of Digital Trends says.
Of course, nothing is perfect. Going over a few minor letdowns of the handset, it isn't waterproof, and it doesn't have an expandable storage, but that shouldn't be much of a problem. To explain, Pixel users get unlimited storage for media files via Google Photos, not to mention that there are 128 GB variants of both the Pixel and Pixel XL.
Software: Sweetest Android Nougat Of All The Land
Arguably the biggest selling point of the Pixel is its no-frills Android OS that comes with a couple of exclusive special features here and there.
"The phones ship with version 7.1 of Android Nougat, with a few Pixel-specific features. The one you'll notice right away is a custom launcher with round icons and a new swipe-up gesture to get to the app drawer. I like it — but then I am the guy who was already using a third-party launcher with a custom icon theme to begin with," The Verge's Dieter Bohn writes.
More than that, the Pixel also has Google Assistant. Basically, it's an upgraded and livelier version of Google Now. Interestingly enough, the Mountain View company wants the AI assistant to become more vibrant and friendlier and tell funnier jokes than the likes of Siri and Alexa, hiring the talent of The Onion and Pixar comedy writers to do so.
Camera: The Cream Of The Crop For Mobile Photographers
Lauded to have the "best smartphone camera ever," Google went all out on this front, garnering the highest score that DxOMark has ever given.
"The camera is fast, images are in focus, and colors look vibrant. Close-up shots appear especially sharp and refined. Landscape scenes retain an impressive amount of detail and depth, even with objects that are far away," Lynn La of CNET says, adding that the front snapper is also "excellent."
Despite having EIS instead of OIS, it's still capable of recording stable videos pretty well, but La notes that it gives them "a sort of surreal, almost drone-like quality."
Battery: Enough Juice To Power Through The Day
To clear things up first, the Pixel is loaded with a 2,770 mAh battery, while the Pixel XL is fitted with a 3,450 mAh cell.
Now, they don't exactly bring anything amazing to the table on this department, but at any rate, it's good to know that they aren't lagging behind the others.
"The battery life is fine. Our tests are for screen on time, at a standardized brightness with auto brightness disabled. Under these conditions, the Pixels don't separate themselves much from the pack," Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica says.
Long story short, the Pixel and Pixel XL are powerful smartphones that can stand up to the flagships in the current brood, and they can even outperform them in a lot of ways.
Put simply, they are a good buy, with the Pixel starting at $649 and the Pixel XL at $769.
What do you think of the smartphones that Google cooked up? Drop by our comments section below and let us know.