Google Pixel hands-on, first impressions

Google Pixel hands-on, first impressions

For many years, Google has partnered with various mobile phone vendors to create a Nexus device. They’ve helped HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Asus, Huawei and LG make some, if not the best, phones every single year. The last time they did it was with Huawei for the Nexus 6P and with LG for the Nexus 5X. This year, Google is pivoting to a new line of devices called Pixel which is composed of tablets, laptops and smartphones. The Google Pixel and the Pixel XL are the first phones in the new line-up.

The Google Pixel has the genes of a high-end flagship smartphone. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 821 chip with 4GB of RAM. Only drawback is that the 32GB/128GB storage options are not expandable due to the absence of a microSD card slot. Everything else is on point.

Up at the front, the Pixel has that uncanny resemblance to the iPhone 7 and the HTC 10 minus the physical home button. On the right side is the power button and volume controls; the SIM card tray on the left, 3.5mm audio port up top and a USB Type-C charging port and speaker grills at the bottom. You can also see the antenna bands around the sides going all the way to the back. The chunky corners and chamfered edges are reminiscent of the one on the HTC 10. That’s not really a surprise since the device was manufactured in collaboration with HTC.

The 5-inch AMOLED display is protected by Gorilla Glass 4 and has a full HD (1920x1080pixel) resolution. The screen looks really nice, crisp and bright. The 1080p resolution is just about right for its size.

At the back and you’ll see the matte aluminum finish with the glass panel on the upper section that covers the camera, LED flash and a few sensors as well as the fingerprint scanner.

We also tried the camera for a short while. It’s good in daylight but not so much on low-light conditions. Here are a few sample photos:

Under the hood, the Google Pixel comes with Android 7.1 Nougat. The homescreen has been re-designed with a new UI and app drawer. It’s looks more intuitive, snappy and responsive. It looks more optimized and cleaner than before. The Google Assistant is also very fun to use.


The Snapdragon 821 and 4GB RAM combo performed very well. Our initial Antutu benchmark gave it a score of 142,225 which is within the range of other SD820 devices we’ve tested before.

There were a few things we wish Google had addressed on this phone. One is the massive chin up front. That extra space could have been optimized for something useful. The second is the meager battery (2,770mAh) and 3rd is the absence of the microsD card slot but that’s already expected of Google.

So far, we’re still liking it a lot — nice, unique design, solid build quality, great performance and, of course, the latest Android Nougat right out of the box.

Google Pixel specs:
5-inch AMOLED display @ 1080 x 1920 pixels, 441ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821 2.15GHz quad-Core
Adreno 530
32GB, 128GB internal storage
12.3 MP f/2.0 PDAF rear camera with dual tone LED Flash, OIS
8 MP, f/2.0 front camera
Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/a
Bluetooth 4.2
Fingerprint scanner
Gyro Sensor
Android 7.1 Nougat
2,770mAh Li-Ion battery with Quick Charge

Do note that while this device uses the latest Snapdragon 821 from Qualcomm which is supposed to run at a faster 2.4GHz processor, the chip on the Google Pixel still clocks at 2.15GHz (similar to the Snapdragon 820).

Check out our unboxing video below:

The Google Pixel is now on limited availability in the Philippines with a street price of Php37,990 over at Widget City (see listing here). Check back with us next week for the full review of the Google Pixel.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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