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Pixel & Pixel XL : Android Awesome!

The best Android phones you can buy! 
Priced accordingly! $649-869

Google set out to take ownership of a market segment dominated by top tier Samsung & Apple phones, namely the S7 and iPhone 7 / 7+ 

The small Pixel keeps up with the S7 & iPhone 7

The bigger Pixel XL goes toe to toe with the iPhone 7+ and would have gone against the Note 7 if that one had not exploded ^^

As Googles first in-house vertically developed phone, the Pixel's exist as a reference example of what an Android phone can be! Pixel's literally raising the bar for Samsung, LG and others android phone makers!

These Pixel's are the fastest android phones that money can buy!

Pixel's have the latest version of android 7.1 and are guaranteed to get OS updates for 2 more years!

That is all: You got the scoop, the rest of this posting goes into tech nerd territory!

MVP in your CE Collection

Of course people will spend $700 or more on their phones. Smartphones are often peoples MVP of consumer electronics, the one device they are always touching, tweeting on, facebooking, snap chatting, emailing, google searching, iMessage, photography, video and more! Some adults and teenagers and even children today check their smartphones more than 150 times per day, a fact that blew my mind when I learned about it. I am a very casual/ passive smartphone user by comparison to that crazy stat! When I have access to wifi I like to use laptops, tablets or desktops with big comfy keyboards, trackpads, mice, large touch screens, creature comforts, larger screens, nicer audio, etc!

Microsoft Missed the Smartphone Ball

Steve Ballmer formerly the CEO of MFST was spot on wrong when he said "no one will spend $700+ on a phone" : accordingly Microsoft could have been the leader in the mobile handheld computing space, but the myopic confusion of their former leader kept that from happening! Not all bad news thankfully: Windows 10 is awesome, similarly the Xbox One S is cool, project scorpio looks awesome and the HoloLens is at the forefront of Augmented Reality! Azure presents an awesome cloud compute/ storage platform with excellent security/ speed and reliability. The current CEO of Microsoft helped to bring said cloud computing to the forefront of Redmond's gem revenue model; great work Satya N. 

Smartphones Sneaking Away with Digital Camera Markets

The best camera is the camera you have with you & people almost always have their cell phones in a pocket, their hand or near by! Phones have revolutionized digital photography because their LTE connections enabled the instant uploading of captured content to YouTube, social networks, cloud backup & more. Actually the Google Pixel's come with unlimited full resolution online lifetime image storage for free, which add tremendous value to the otherwise sky high prices!

DSLR Hold an Edge (Optics) endlessly

The photography smartphone combo such a powerful movement that the digital camera markets have almost disappeared in the point and shoot space. ILC or interchangeable lens cameras remain the most unaffected by smartphones, the combination of superior optics, larger sensors, better light sensitivity, better color depth, RAW and more enables professional photographers to produce superior IQ or image quality using a professional DSLR camera! Do not think less of the smartphone camera, ever since the introduction of the iPhone 5, Full length movies have been shot on smartphones alone!

Amazing Phone Camera Improvements

Many new smartphones, including the Pixel's, shoot 4K video using sensors with larger pixels that work better in lower light. Low light images were a problem that long plagued small cell phone sensors with cramped optics. Sony pioneered the creation of BSI or back side illuminated sensors, and that meant that more space on the image facing CMOS part collecting the light was available for image sensing pixels of larger size with better low light performance! Furthermore the on chip cmos image processing on the other side meant faster autofocus, phase detection with multiple dedicated pixels, the Pixel phones even use contrast, phase and laser autofocus combined for blistering fast autofocus that rivals even the best DSLR's are 1/10the the weight and size! The Pixel's have great cameras, some of the best!

Pixel's Omit OIS & Optical Zoom

No optical image stabilization or optical zoom on the Pixel's however, giving the ILC format cameras a huge edge for real photography! Similarly the iPhone 7+ with its dual camera setup has a slight edge as a photography tool! The bulging cameras of the iPhone 7+ do not allow it to sit flat on a table however, putting mechanical stress on the lens covers, this problem made worse because Apple does not actually use a solid sapphire lens cover on the iPhone 7 or 7+, they put a thin layer of sapphire over chemically hardened glass, which is prone to scratching/ cracking and only marginally better than a pure glass lens cover. My 14 Kyocera Brigadier smartphone has an entire screen cover made of pure sapphire! No sapphire on the Pixel's to speak of, only the latest gen gorilla glass ^^

Pixel SSD Price Gouging

The standard Pixel & XL both ship with 32GB and without a transflash (micro-sd) slot like the one in the Samsung S7 that supports up to 256GB cards! To get 128GB versions of the Pixels tacks on nearly $100 extra, something Apple is long guilty of doing with their iPhones! The larger capacity iPhones also have faster memory in addition to more, something they leave out of the marketing materials!

I said price gouging because I just watched a documentary about the consumer electronics marketplace in Shenzhen China where you can pick up a smooth android phone with outrageous top tier specs for about $200 USD, some that even have an OS skin and physical case that make them look like an iPhone, until you pull the back off to find a user replaceable battery and two sim card slots + they are unlocked and work on all the LTE bands and are Quad band and can be added to any US carrier.

Dual Function Finger Print Reader

On the back of the Pixel's there is a small indent circle housing a finger print sensor that can unlock the phone, but you can also swipe your finger up & down on it to access or hide the android notifications/ settings menus. Because of the location of the finger sensor you have to pick up the phone to use it, unlike the iPhone which has the unlock finger print function build into the forward facing home button!

Fully Customizable

The Pixel's have the most tunable version of Android yet, you can literally custom configure everything you might ever want to tweak. The Pixel's can also run split screen in a creative set of ways, enabling you to work a calculator & and a shopping list at the same time, among many other possible split screen operations that add tons of desktop-esque functionality to the Pixel's! You can also adjust the volume without a screen blocking overlay if you are watching a YouTube video for example. This in sharp contrast to the iPhone which does not support split screen and overlays a screen blocking volume menu when said is adjusted! The iPhone is locked down to the MFI certification standardization which is good and bad.

Half Backed/ Absent or lower quality Apps

Developers flock to the iOS platform for revenue reasons, the Android community consists of many "maker" types who despise of the DRM-reminiscent App standards that Apple imposes on third party developers. This means that a give App for iPhone is often not available for android, if it is available the App is lower quality, while Play store apps are also plagued with viri, spyware, malware and other exploits that would never make it through the MFI certification process required for IOS apps! This is more a critique of the Android platform than of the Pixel's, though said will affect you as a user of the Pixels, you have been forewarned! A recent wave of Goggle account hacks should help too highlight the importance of this issue!

Sealed Batteries

Not just the S7 and iPhone 7/+, the Pixels have non-user serviceable batteries too. At lease Apple makes the surgery hitherto required somewhat straightforward, not something you can do in a flash like you could when you could swap out phone batteries in a few seconds on the Samsung Note 3 or other earlier Samsung smartphone models, something Samsung once promoted as a virtue in their TV spots showing Apple users plugged into a wall outlet waiting for a charge! My Kyocera Brigadier sadly has a non-serviceable battery too; though I likely will do what it takes to swap it out anyway!

No Wireless Charging

S7 wins with built in QI 2.0 wireless charging ^^ the Pixels have "Quick Charge 3.0" by QUALCOMM but do not support inductive charging (wireless Qi) : I put a RavPower Qi sticker into my Samsung Note 3 and have two Qi chargers : you simply set the phone on the Qi dock and it charges automatically, no plugging in anything, no fiddling with cables, in the days with Micro-USB that was awesome. My Kyocera Brigadier likewise has built in Qi charging!

USB-C either way :) + QC 3.0

At least the Pixel's have USB-C which can be plugged in either way, ending the days of cable zen bend preferences etc. The quick charge is frighteningly fast given what happened with the Note 7 lately, heat is the enemy of lithium ion. Fast charging also cooks (wears out) the sealed internal battery of the Pixels faster than slow speed charging! Fast charging Lithium Cobalt Oxide batteries is a terrible idea. Tesla can get away with supercharging speeds without much damage to the Model S battery because of the aluminum intensive liquid cooled Panasonic NCA chemistry they made use of, which has excellent thermal management and heat fade resistance, absolutely essential for Ludacris mode acceleration launching at more than 400,000 watts ^^ and super charging at a similarly astounding 120,000 watts ^^

Aluminum Surface Scratch Issues

Nothing serious here, purely cosmetic, maybe even a boon if you are trying to estimate the wear level on a pre-owned Pixel! I wish phones had a root level hour meter and MTBF rating so you would be able to tell how much average life is left on a device when you own and operate one or are picking up a used model! Glass is a lot harder and more scratch resistant than aluminum, so half of the back of the Pixel's will hold up better on account of the construction, half aluminum, half glass.

Read Reviews

While I am able to write about the Pixel's from summarizing what I have learned on youtube, tech sites, etc, I have never held a Pixel, never seen one in first person, it so newfangled I only know about the Pixel because a friend asked me if he should trade in his Note 5 for a Pixel XL. I did the due diligence to take a hard look and write this posting in step with my research findings! I ultimately told him to wait for 2018 phones. The Pixel's are not really an upgrade over a Note 5, not a meaningful one anyways, certainly not worth shelling out $900+ with tax!

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