Google’s Pixel smartphones, unveiled earlier this month, will take over the mantle of the “Google phone” from the Nexus series of devices. These phones indicate a big shift in Google’s approach to the very competitive Android smartphone space, which includes loading the Pixel phones with exclusive features such as the Google Assistant and also having greater control over the hardware. It seems that last year’s Nexus 5x (made by LG) and the Nexus 6P (made by Huawei), will be the last phones to emerge with the very popular Nexus branding. What happens to the Nexus branding now still remains unclear, but what we have on our hands now are two new smartphones—the Pixel and the Pixel XL. They have been tasked with becoming the benchmark devices for the Android space, and are heading to India later this month. Online retailer Flipkart is now taking pre-orders for these phones, at least on some variants. We take a look at each of these variants, and which other phones it will compete against.
Also read : How much will Google Pixel phones cost in India?
At the time of writing this, there are two variants of the Pixel and one of the Pixel XL which are up for pre-order. And all three are only available in the Quite Black colour option, as we speak.
The entry level spec variant is the Google Pixel, with 32GB internal storage, and is priced at Rs.57,000. This runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB RAM, 5-inch (1920x1080 resolution) display, 12.3-megapixel camera and a 2770mAh battery. This will no doubt come in direct competition with the Apple iPhone 7, which is priced at Rs.60,000—has a 4.7-inch Retina Display (1334x750 resolution), runs the latest and very powerful A10 Fusion chip, has a 12-megapixel camera which remains one of the most consistent performers out there and now also has improved low light performance. If you wish to remain in the Android ecosystem, but don’t care much about running the very latest Android version or the Google Assistant, there are couple of options. Sony’s latest Xperia XZ (Rs.49,990), which runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, 3GB RAM, 5.2-inch IPS display (1,920x1,080 resolution) and a 2,900mAh battery, is an alternative. But the flagship killer concept is complicating things further for the Pixel. There is the Xiaomi Mi 5, priced at a much more affordable Rs.22,999, runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 5.15-inch (1920x1080 resolution) display, 32GB storage and a 16-megapixel camera. At that price, the ‘risk’ becomes a lot lesser, and the entire package seems a lot more value for money for a lot of users.
The second variant is the Pixel with 128GB internal storage, and this is priced at Rs.66,000. The rest of the specs remain the same. This is approximately Rs.4,000 less expensive than the Apple iPhone 7 (128GB), but at these price points, it is difficult to hold that minor price difference as a big advantage for the Google Pixel or a disadvantage for the iPhone 7. What will matter more at the end is which platform you are more comfortable with—Android Nougat 7.1 or Apple iOS 10. Despite many claims about improving the camera performance with new hardware and software based processing, it will probably still require a stellar effort from the Pixel phones to match the updated hardware and algorithms that have taken the iPhone 7’s camera to the next level.
Also read | Google Pixel: Everything you need to know
All those who prefer a bigger display would no doubt be eyeing the Google Pixel XL. The variant that is up for pre-order is the 128GB storage option, priced at Rs.76,000. The bigger Pixel XL has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip, 4GB RAM, 12.3-megapixel camera, 5.5-inch (2560x1440 resolution) display, and a higher capacity 3450mAh battery. This does have a slight price advantage over the iPhone 7 Plus—Apple’s new A10 Fusion chip, 5.5-inch Full HD display, dual 12-megapixel cameras with optical zoom as well, and 128GB storage. And if you are considering the Pixel XL for the bigger screen, yes, it has the advantage in terms of resolution numbers. But what makes it tougher choice is the camera bit, and photography enthusiasts will probably be better off with the iPhone. However, the surprise option is the OnePlus 3—runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 6GB RAM, a very capable 16-megapixel camera, fast charging 3000mAh battery and a 5.5-inch Full HD display. The only compromise would be that the OnePlus 3 has 64GB internal storage, but we feel that at Rs.27,999, it is also a very capable smartphone to consider.
Interesting to note that Flipkart is also offering an exchange scheme with the three Google Pixel phones up for pre-order, with a maximum discount of Rs.27,000, depending on which device you are giving in exchange and the condition of the same. For example, exchanging a Google Nexus 6 will get you a discount of Rs.11,500 while an Apple iPhone 6 will get you Rs.20,400 on a new Pixel or Pixel XL.