Google Pixel XL Review Follow-Up

Posted on November 28, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 59 Comments

Google Pixel XL Review Follow-Up

It’s been three weeks since I published my original review of the Google Pixel XL. Here’s a quick follow-up.

To recap, while I feel that the Google Pixel XL is a great Android phone, that’s a low bar. And where this handset under-delivers is for potential upgraders: The Pixel isn’t demonstrably better than the Nexus 6P it replaces, at least not in ways that are important to me. And it is still handily beaten by Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, despite the issues I have with that device’s camera.

That sounds overly negative, I know. But I really feel that we, collectively, often fall for the “new is always better” trap, and that looked at objectively, the Pixel XL, while quite nice, isn’t necessarily “better.” Especially given the price.

But when a friend inquired over Thanksgiving about replacing his aging Lumia Icon on Verizon, he noted that he wasn’t sure where to turn. He had, he said, read my review of the Pixel XL and realized I wasn’t too impressed.

Well. Hm.

Actually, in the context of “user coming from Windows phone and looking for the best new Android phone to buy,” the Pixel XL is a compelling option, thanks to the fact that it will get updates regularly going forward, including first access to new Android features. The only stumbling point, I told him, was the price: The Pixel handsets are not priced any lower than expensive iPhone or Samsung Galaxy flagships.

His response was interesting. He told me that he viewed a smartphone as a two-year commitment and that spreading the price $750 price tag he’d be paying for a 128 GB XL over that time frame wasn’t onerous. (It’s a bit over $30 per month.) Too, he’d be joining Project Fi, which I’ve been promoting. Because it’s awesome.

Selling this friend on an iPhone was a non-starter: For reasons that are largely emotional, he’s not interested in anything Cupertino has to offer. (My wife, usually cold and logical when it comes to such things, feels the same way.) So I didn’t even bother trying to explain that the iPhone 7 Plus offered superior performance, reliability, consistency, and battery life.

So this conversation brought together a few things that had been coalescing in my mind. I had written in the Pixel XL review that I intended to return the device and thus save the roughly $800 I had spent on it. (This is money I don’t have, and I’d be paying it off over some several months.) But I procrastinated on this return because I had until the end of November to follow-through on it.

So when I visited The Netherlands a few weeks back, I used the year-old Nexus 6P, and not the Pixel XL, because I feel that the Nexus camera takes better photos. To be fair, it’s a subtle distinction—the Pixels take fantastic photos too—and is tied to an HDR+ default on the Nexus that some people may not like as much as I do. I brought the Pixel to Europe just in case, but never took it out of the bag.

However, over this time, I was reminded of some reasons why it may make sense for me to keep the Pixel kicking around. These are reasons that only make sense because of what I do for a living: If I were a “normal” person, I’d have returned this thing weeks ago (or never purchased it in the first place). But I am very interested in testing the DayDream View virtual reality solution, which currently only works with Pixel devices. Pixels get new Android features first, and Pixels include some unique features of their own. Indeed, Google is already fixing some of the issues I have with this phone in adding “double-tap to wake” and “life to check phone” gestures in a recent update.

Put simply, yes, the Pixel XL is probably the best new Android phone available today. It’s expensive. Too expensive. And with Google ceding the price wars, there’s an opening now for great phones in the $400-$450 range. I’m open to ideas about reviewing some.

And I very much prefer the iPhone overall: In going back and forth between the two over the past few days, picking up the iPhone and feeling the curiously excellent but simulated home button click under my thumb, is just comforting. But the Pixel, while, uninspiring, is solid too. And it offers great performance and early access to new features and updates. And very high prices. Which, ultimately, is why I have a hard time recommending it.

Some, of course, are unconcerned about such things. It must be nice.

 

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Comments (64)

64 responses to “Google Pixel XL Review Follow-Up”

  1. 2968

    Hey Paul, If your looking for phones in the $400-450 price range to review I think the best option currently is the OnePlus 3T and I would love to read a review on that from you if you get around to it. I just purchased one since the Pixel is just too pricey to justify.

    • 5234

      In reply to yehuda:

      The problem I have with these phones, as nice as they are, is that software is outdated on them.  My Nexus 5X has Android 7.0.1, and Android 7.1 is coming in December.  The latest "Oxygen OS" is still based on Android 6.x.  The Android OEM's rarely ever do security updates on Android.  I've seen a number of Samsung models (S6) that are still in support, yet have security update patch levels that date to 2015.  A Moto G3, today, has a security update patch level thats 5 months old, and an Xperia X that lacks Android 6.0.1 and security updates for the last 6 months.  I'm sorry, but that's crap!  Google isn't doing much to help the situation, what with making the Pixel a replacement to the Nexus program, instead of a supplement to it, thereby keeping up-to-date plain Android builds out of most users hands.  I have a Nexus 5X right now, but I'm thinking of keeping it around another year to see what happens with Android next year, or if this rumoured "Andromeda" comes to fruition on phones.  Google is doing well with Chrome OS, and if Andromeda keeps the "vanilla" feel of Chrome OS, they'll have a winner.  Letting Android get away from them is the biggest mistake they're making.  Let's hope that their new OS (if it is a real thing and not just a delusional rumour) lets them break from the past.

      • 2611

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Google phones are the only option if the latest android release is a requirement.  That will likely be Paul's issue if he reviews a OnePlus since he needs to report on the latest android news.  As of 11/28, my OP3 is on 9/1/2016 security patch.  They are planning a OP3/T Nougat release in December (last I heard).

      • 217

        In reply to Waethorn:

         

        OS updates these days don't give the user much at all anymore. n fact, the OnePlus 3/3T has features that are so much more useful than that are on stock Android. 

    • 2

      In reply to yehuda:

      Yeah, that is the one I was thinking about as well. Thanks!

       

    • 760

      In reply to yehuda:

      Does the OnePlus 3T run Android or Oxygen OS?

      I ran into issues on the OnePlus 2 I had which ran Oxygen: certain apps would not run properly (including Cortana).  These issues were annoying enough that I sold the OnePlus 2 and bought a Nexus 6P after less than one year. I had previously owned a OnePlus One that had no such issues.

    • 2611

      In reply to yehuda:

      I've had the OP3 since launch.  Great phone if you can get one (shipping delays).  I vote for a Paul OP3T review.  By the time it arrives, the Nougat update may be available.

    • 2586

      In reply to yehuda
      I just bought the OnePlus3T and love it so far. Battery life sold me plus the dash speed charge is best in the business.  I had nothing but battery issues with my Galaxy S5 I replaced.  $479 for 128gb and I received it 4 days!   The OxygenOS runs fine with no issues.  This should be the phone of the year.

       

    • 2233

      In reply to yehuda: I'd love to see Paul review the OnePlus 3T.

       

    • 669

      In reply to yehuda:

      Yes, One Plus 3T is the one I would like to have Paul look at.

  2. 3093

    I'm of the same mind as Paul's 'friend'. I was regretfully ready to let go of my aging Lumia 928 and see a phone as a two-year contract-expense. I trepiciously went for a Pixel XL and I really love it. I'm really impressed by how well Cortana works on it over my 928 and other than missing a few Windows 10 features, I'm very happy with my choice. 

  3. 3355

    I'm using the Nokia 950 XL but I think I need to upgrade this next year as I am missing out on all the apps. So sad. I guess the iPhone would be the best at this point. I really want a good camera. Any suggestions?

    • 1088

      In reply to cybercheryl:

      As a 950XL user - there are times I feel like I am missing out as well.  I would suggest trying the Pixel XL.  iPhone is a great device but a caution before you step into their ecosystem.  In the android ecosystem you have the freedom to choose the device that best suites your needs.  If a battery life is important to you - OnePlus 3T or Moto Z Force may work for you; if you need to have a microSD card - Samsung S7 may work for you; etc.  

      Another advantage - Let's say you buy Pixel XL and couple of years down the road Google does something you do not like on the next Pixel - i.e. removes the headphone jack - you can easily buy a Samsung, or OnePlus or HTC... and ALL your apps - which can be a considerable investment over several years - will still work!  Over the years I have jumped from HTC to Nexus to Moto back to HTC to Nexus...and all my apps still work and carry over all those devices.  

      Something to think about...good luck.  : )

    • 1753

      In reply to cybercheryl:p

      I'm torn, I have a 950 and a Nexus 5P. I bought the Nexus because the two apps I used the most were unreliable on Windows 10 - WhatsApp and Fitbit. Audible has finally got its act together on Windows, but unfortunately too late.

      WhatApp on Windows 10 seem to randomly forget to inform you that a new message has arrived - very poor for a messaging app! And Fitbit loses contact with the watch on a regular basis (almost daily), which means either deleting and reinstalling the app (Windows 10 can still see the Fitbit device) or rebooting the phone.

      That is why I switched to the Nexus. It was reasonably priced (350€) and has similar hardware to the 950. But I much prefer the UI on the Lumia 950. I have previously used iPhones and at work I had a draw full of phones to choose from (iPhone 5s and 6, Samsung Galaxy S4/S5/S6), but I used the Lumia until the problems with Fitbit became too much effort. I never really got on with the iPhone UI, the Android works better for me, but Windows was the best middle ground. 

      The only reason I went with the Nexus was the updates. If a phone doesn't get monthly/regular security updates, then it is just a piece of junk. I had that problem with the Samsungs. In the end I put Cynogen on my S3, because it wasn't getting any update support from Samsung.

      If you want iPhone, then the equivalent will be the 7 Plus, although you might want to consider a refurbished 6/6S Plus if you are buying outright and want to save some money.

      If you are going to go with Android, then I would say look for a Nexus 6P, it should be well discounted now, unless you want the latest and greatest.

      I am certainly not looking the Nexus 5X for at least another year. 

  4. 630

    I recently migrated to android from a windows phone.   I selected an unlocked ZTE Axon 7.  It has flagship specs at a $400 price point.   I am very happy with it so far.   I have had it for about a month. 

  5. 412

    I had a Pixel (my XL was perpetually on back order so used the 5" variant) but ultimately settled on a phone (I'm on Verizon) that doesn't seem to be getting a lot of attention: The Moto Z Force Droid Phone.

    Right off the bat, I do have to say the camera is much slower than the Pixel but the camera quality is on par with the Pixel and may even take low light photos even better. The Z Force Droid has much better battery life, is just as snappy as the Pixel, it received 7.0 so it is DayDream compatible now. And the Moto Mods, while not a lot of them, are nice options for the future.

    My biggest problem with the Pixel was Bluetooth. It would lock up Bluetooth Audio and phone calling in my 2016 Jeep. In a co-workers 2011 truck, it would pair but never answer or receive calls. Upon researching, there is a long list of people responding with multiple Bluetooth issues: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/phone-by-google/SZrziPyWiHw

    I never thought I'd say this in this day and Age but the Motorola Z Force Droid is vastly underrated. 

  6. 1888

    In reply to FreeJAC: 

    I would love to see a review of the DTEK60.  It seems to be the only moderately priced Android phone that will consistently get security updates.

    I moved from my Lumia 930 to a Nexus 5x due to the moderate price and regular updates.  If I was willing/able to pay premium prices, I would have purchased an iPhone (probably - I do have some issues with Apple...).

    Now if I want a moderately priced phone that gets consistent updates, what choice do I have?  Blackberry seems to be it.

  7. 776

    My son recently switched from Windows phone to Android, and loves the Moto Z with Moto mods. My wife & I use the Nexus 6P, and the Moto Z beats them in several areas, especially battery life. I would recommend this unit for the mid range price review. 

    • 1088

      In reply to canamrotax:

      Oh man I loved Moto Z unlocked!!  I never had to plug in my phone.  During the day I had this really cool, thin phone...at night I throw on the Battery Mod - it would charge over night and was ready to go in the morning...drop the mod on the wireless charger in the morning and it was ready to go in case I needed it during the day or for the nightly charge.  

  8. 8747

    The "cost factor" went away this weekend when Verizon offer the Pixel for $10 a month or $240 and the Pixel XL for $20 a month or $480. Definitely a buy at those prices! We got two XLs to replace our ageing Galaxy S5s. Verizon even threw in a free 4G-LTE table (of dubious quality) and 2 extra gigs of data to go along with it.

  9. 3322

    Former Lumia Icon on Verizon here. I couldn't afford having 3 kids and wife on Verizon anymore, so the kids and wife all got Google phones on T-Mobile, and I tried using Icon on T-Mobile. It barely worked. Recently got the Alcatel Idol 4s Windows phone, and it's fantastic. I get much better reception, incredible battery life. Some gotchas are the fingerprint reader (about 70% success rate, maybe I need to enroll all fingers), and occasionally it appears that my microphone on it doesn't work (?) for incoming calls. It might be the case. I looked in to Alcatel, and it appears that Nokia is behind that company somehow, maybe you could sort it out? My Alcatel still gives me the speed and convenience and incredible battery life for much cheaper than iPhone. I can't get Airwatch to work on it, though (?).

  10. 289

    Paul, last time I checked Google Fi was still offering the 6P and 5X, both at healthy discounts. Those would be my Android recommendations unless price is no object.

  11. 5510

    This is a very very bad review. I'm serious. There is absolutely no content here to go with and there is part of this article that makes no sense. ANYBODY...who is very familiar with Paul's writing, knows that he goes technical. Here he does not. Not even in the previous (sorta) reviews he posted earlier.

    Second, the Pixel is too expensive and the iPhone is not, but he's ok with the iPhone? LOL...the Pixel in many ways bests the iPhone. The general consensus with other Professional Reviewers is that Pixel is on par with the iPhone. That's a fact.  Also,as for "uninspiring?" This is coming from a guy who called Windows Phone a "special phone."  It's 1% special alright.

    From my personal experience, the Pixel CLOBBERS the Nexus 6P in more ways than one. The Assistant is really great. Second, Daydream.  Microsoft's ambition with AR is a $3,000 pipedream. Whereas, with Daydream you can be walking down the street in Chicago or the Champs-Élysées within an hour.  LOL...you can't do that with iPhone nor a Nexus 6P.  Actually you could, but the experience is clearly not the same. Third, the camera is really GOOD. The 6P has a good camera, but the Galaxy S7's camera is much better. It's even better than the iPhone 6 and 7. To be honest, I can't decide which camera is best the Galaxy S7 or the Pixel.  To be honest, I think I would have to pick the Galaxy S7.  If Paul ever reviewed it....forget it.... he won't, which would be too bad for him.

    Like I've already mentioned, I have read so many reviews on the Pixel.  With the Pixel being a pure Google phone, comparisons with the iPhone is a given.  Again, there is none of that here.

    This leads me to believe two things: Paul really didn't use his Pixel enough and he really has no interest in using it. 

     

     

     

  12. 1292

    How about the DTEK60? The security updates should be well taken care of. ;)

    http://store.shopblackberry.com/store/bbrryus/en_US/DisplayCategoryProductListPage/ThemeID.39123800/categoryID.4793333300/parentCategoryID.66826200

  13. 1938

    Paul, how is the Pixel selling, any chance we could see a price reduction or sale after the first of the year?

  14. 6825

    In reply to yehuda:

    I've recently ordered a 1+3t (128gb), and plan to use the 15 day return period to test it with many of the Microsoft apps. If it works well with those (and a few others I use daily), I'll keep it.

    I've been using an Asus ZenFone2 (Intel Atom quad core CPU, 4gb memory, 32gb) for the last 18 months, though lately I've had a lot of issues on this phone with Outlook for Android, which is my preferred app for contacts, calendar, and email (because I live in Office 365).

    In short, count me in as interested in a 3t review. btw, One+ says mine has shipped, but won't arrive till Decenber 22. (Colorado, USA)

  15. 677

    Reviewing Paul's new article on the Pixel in someway makes me more confused on what to pick as a new phone.

    I am with Paul's friend and will have nothing from Apple. Yes a personal choice but actually always have felt that way about them, even way before the phone.

    It will come down to what Android phone. I do like the part of being part of something that I get all the latest updates, but is the cost worth it.

    There seems to be many good, great phones in the mid price range. Yes I have looked at the Oneplus 3t. And considered the Nexus 5x and 6p.

    One thing that really is not of the biggest concerns is the camera. You all may think I'm mad but yes I like my phone to take great pictures but I'm a true DSLR person with a high end Nikon. I love photography and yes phones take great pictures but cant compete with the main area of photography I like.

    So ultimately yes I think I'm one of the many Windows Phone guys/gals that know they will have to switch and Andriod is the only option. And I guess, well I know I am , looking to Paul and Brad to guide me. Yes review the odd popular phone to help us.

    But if the Pixel even tho over priced offers superior benefits than say the cheaper Oneplus 3t then I am not afraid to spend the money.

    Simply put my choice will be decided of what Paul and Brad say.

  16. 6477

    What a Google hater.

    From I see it, he just prefer front-facing finger print sensor, does he?

    I can officially say Android's user experience is better than iOS despite my having used iPhone for 4 years.

  17. 217

    I own a OnePlus 3 and would love to see Paul review the 3T. I think it's the best Android phone on the market, hands down.

  18. 4094

    I recently bought a Google Pixel XL, and signed up for Google's Project Fi, which was the primary reason I bought it. I had been using a Samsung S6 with Verizon, but after looking into Project Fi, for me, it was a no-brainer.   Pay by the month (no contracts).  My first monthly bill was $36 dollars and change (that includes a voluntary monthly charge for phone insurance).   Compare that to my $96 dollars and change at Verizon.   I have unlimited text and calling, visual voicemail, great overseas support, 1 GB of data usage per month (fine for me, and you can see right on your phone how much you have used), carry over of unused data, and the bill is so simple it is almost unreal. And you pay exactly what Google says you will pay (no surprises here), and you can cancel the Project Fi service at any time, with no penalties.

    Sure, I had to put out the ~800.00 upfront for the phone, but I will pay for that in a little over a year with the savings from my Verizon bill.

    The hardware is solid, and comparable to most current high-end phones.  You get an unadulterated latest version of Android (no crapware), and get new versions of Android, from Google, within ~2 weeks of Google releasing them.  

    No more shady cell phone billing and charges, current updated versions of Android you are not waiting and waiting and waiting for your carrier to push to you, a modern, well-equipped phone and honest, brain dead simple billing (wow, what a concept!).  And so far coverage has been great where I live.

    If you are in the market for a new phone, and since the Windows phone is dead :( check out the Pixel and Project Fi.   Definitely worth a look.

  19. 170

    I've had the Pixel for about 2 weeks now and really wish I'd waited to get a Samsung S7 instead.  I was able to get a deal on it making it $200 less than the S7 which I thought was worth it at the time.  For my use at least, the Samsung S7 has several advantages.  

    Wireless Charging, Micro SD, Waterproofing, better screen, and miracast support.  I even believe the camera seems to be a little bit better in my limited testing.  The Pixel has some advantages too, but the unlimited photo backup and 24/7 support are not important to me.  The faster software updates will be nice though.  

    This is not a problem for me(directly at least), but my mother in law got a Pixel as well and it will not connect to the bluetooth in her car(2014 Traverse) while the Samsung S7 will with no problems.  Hopefullly this will get fixed with a software update soon.  

  20. 6558

    "Actually, in the context of “user coming from Windows phone and looking for the best new Android phone to buy,” the Pixel XL is a compelling option, thanks to the fact that it will get updates regularly going forward, including first access to new Android features"

    So the main reason a Windows Phone user would like the Pixel is because it gets updated like a Windows Phone? Are you referring to Microsoft's promises or reality? Because my "flagship" Lumia 920 disagrees.

     

     

  21. 1775

    I would've recommended the 6P, even if it is a year old.  It's still better than the Pixel.

  22. 8579

    Nokia Android smartphones are coming...

    www.nokia.com/en_int/phones

    "we’re just getting started, with new smartphones coming in 2017"

     

  23. 2215

    Paul, I would like to know if you use only your Microsoft accounts and outlook on the Pixel.  I've tried this on the Nexus 5x and it is very frustrating.  The iphone is simply more open to using whatever service you want to bring to it.

  24. 3270

    "I used the year-old Nexus 6P, and not the Pixel XL, because I feel that the Nexus camera takes better photos."

    Regardless of the quality of the images, the Pixel is a ton faster in taking pictures and getting the camera ready to take pictures.  So even if there are "subtle differences" I don't see how the 6P is a better phone for taking pictures. I have both atm, and side by side, the Pixel is just way better at getting to take pictures.

     

    • 2

      In reply to shanepbrady:

      That is true: The Pixel camera is much faster.

    • 268

      In reply to shanepbrady:

      Yes, it is a lot faster. The Pixel XL also takes better pictures than the 6p. Paul must be talking about a very narrow use case where he got a better picture from the 6p. I used the 6p for a year and took a lot of pictures. They were good, some very good. I've had the Pixel XL for a month now - and it takes much better pictures than the 6p (even though I thought the 6p camera to be very solid). I took some pictures of a red tailed hawk way up on a street light pole the other day and you can actually see details in the feathers when you zoom to actual size. You could not have gotten that with the 6p (and I have tried).

      • 2

        In reply to JerryH:

        No, I'm talking about routinely getting better pictures out of the Nexus. Since they all back up to Google Photos, you can see them side-by-side, and the Nexus (almost) universally has the best shot.

  25. 8741

    If, according to you, the Pixel is the best Android phone in the market, why should it be priced lower than the iPhone, or the Galaxy S7?

    I have both the 6P and the Pixel XL. There's only one thing the 6P does better than the Pixel. The 6p has front-facing stereo speakers. That's it.

    In every other objective measure, from camera, to display, to performance, to battery life, to look and feel, the Pixel is just a better phone.

    My 6P will begin to choke and stutter anytime I do anything moderately intensive due to the well known inefficiencies of the SD810 chip and its resulting poor heat management and dissipation. There's a limit to the number of pictures I can take with its camera before performance goes to shit. So it's surprising to me that you think the 6P has a better camera.

    In contrast, my Pixel flies through every single task I through at it and never gets hot. Even when I play processor intensive games, that would have the 6P overheating and choking withing 10 - 15 mins, the Pixel just sings and dances along for hours. The better and sustained heat management and performance also means better battery life for the Pixel.

    Now, lets talk about the camera. The Pixel camera is that best camera I've used on any phone. Period.

    The pictures the 6p takes are great. Maybe the best second only to the Pixel. However, the camera experience of the 6P is a complete joke. The 6P's camera is slow, unreliable, and laggy. Why? Well, you can once again, thank the SD810 for the heat issues that causes the phone to stutter and lag, and battery life to go to shit when that happens.

    So if the 6P is doing anything moderately intensive, like Pokemon Go, and you decide to launch the camera, well, good luck trying to get the camera to launch in time because it's not happening.

    In contrast, the Pixel camera will reliably and consistently launch in less than a second no matter what I'm doing with the phone. I have never had such a consistent experience with the 6P. Also, the Pixel's shutter and focusing speed is just ridiculous. There's no way the 6P is better than the Pixel in this regard.

    I don't know what mojo Google did to Android on the Pixel, but the Pixel is the most optimized, fluid, stutter-free Android experience I've ever witnessed. Even my iPhone 6s isn't this buttery smooth. You really have to try hard to get the Pixel to choke. The 6P, on the other hand, can be choked in 1001 ways.

    As for the iPhone, well, my 6s is still gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. Once Apple figures out how to do notifications, persistent background syncing, and a sane way to set default apps properly, maybe I'll have a look at it again. Otherwise, iOS is just not as polished as Android and is not for me.

    So to Paul, I say the 6P is cheap, alright. But you get what you pay for.

  26. 548

    Hang on, "lift to check phone" was just added? Where can this be found in settings? (Or is it just on by default? Not seeing it yet...)

  27. 5641

    It's interesting how some people judge value. There is the affordability model that used car salesmen use i.e. I can afford $30 per month (how much is it?) compared to value i.e. It's only worth $20 per month.

    The phone manufacturers know this and raise the price so that's it's affordable to most people over 2 years. They then add stretch products to see how the market responds eg 128GB version, 256GB version for a specified additional amount. Compare take up then price next years model accordingly.

  28. 1523

    Well, I left the iPhone bandwagon,when I noticed that every year I was forced into an upgrade because a previous version of iOS would not work. I have gone through the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 iterations. I am not on the Pixel XL. By far the best phone I have every used. The camera is lighting fast. I do agree with Paul that the phone is expensive. In the end, the S7 has Samsung Bloatware, the iPhone ecosystem of APPS is to controlled, I opted for the Pixel XL for the pure Android experience and best camera out there.  

  29. 5234

    I have to think that the Pixel's price is a way for mobile carriers to lock customers into a term, because the former Nexus price point allowed customers to buy a phone for less money and shop around for their carrier without any contracts.  I wouldn't doubt it if Google got feedback from carriers to do exactly that.  After all, who wants to put up $800+ for a phone when you need phone service with it, and the carriers allow you to spread payments?  My guess is that carriers hated the low cost of the Nexus phones because most (smart) people bought them unlocked.  In Canada, carriers actually charged more for no-contract, locked versions of the Nexus than Google did from their online store.

  30. 6049

    i don't think i would ever spend that kind of money on a phone ... especially an android phone with its clumsy UI and notification system.  i am about to buy a new phone and don't have a clue what to do.  iphones are expensive so i can only afford maybe the SE or an old 5s at 4".   Android can be adapted to be usable with a new launcher, cortana, next lock screen to clean up notifications, and groove for music if you can get the app to work.  One good thing about android is it has some great podcast apps.  I would lean towards a Motorola phone before a pixel on the android side or maybe some high end off brands in the $300-400 range.  There is so much price gouging going on in smart phones these days from the big brands and carriers who have "an understanding" about price.

  31. 180

    I find the "overpriced" idea interesting. It's the same price as other high end, "no compromise" phones. In that bracket I'd only really consider the iPhone and Galaxy S7 (and Note before its untimely demise). How is it overpriced if it's at price parity with its competitors?

    • 820

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      I agree with jr.flynn - Google is no longer seeing a developer phone that's hidden in the corner, only to be purchased online.  Now you can buy the Pixel at Verizon stores (hopefully other vendors eventually as well - Verizon needs to go down in flames).  Since this isn't being pitched to developers, but instead to consumers, and since it has all the same things and possibly more, they just upped the price to match those already on the market.  Hey Google wants to make money too.

      I do agree with Paul though, we really do need someone to come out with a great phone at below the $600 price point.  The lack of real competition feels more like price fixing than competition.

      Apple is the premium brand that will never sell a cheap (think low cost) thing - OK fine.  But then Samsung priced their device in the same place.  Well being the best Android on the market, OK fine again.  But now we need to start seeing some real competition in this space, and at that point we'll start seeing costs come down.

      My concern about lowering prices though, becomes what happens to things like security updates?

    • 1139

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      Because it's impossible for the iPhone to be overpriced. It's an iPhone, after all!

      Really, it's replacing a cheaper line of phones and Paul can't get over that.

  32. 417

    As a long time follower of all things Thurrott, I can't remember you ever reviewing a Samsung phone. Given that Samsung is one of the world's leading suppliers, I find this omission curious. Any particular reason?

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