Lisa Gade reviews the Google Pixel XL, the larger of two Pixel phones released in the fall of 2016. The Pixel line replaces the Nexus line of Android smartphones that come direct from Google with the latest Android build and no carrier or manufacturer bloatware. This time, Google is going with flagship pricing, and the 5” Pixel starts at $649 and the 5.5” Pixel XL starts at $769 (add $100 if you want either with 128 rather than 32 gigs of internal storage). The phones have nearly identical specs other than display size/resolution and battery capacity.
The Pixel XL runs Android 7.1 Nougat with the new Google Assistant (voice activated) on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU with 4 gigs of RAM and 32 or 128 gigs of storage (no microSD card slot). The Pixel XL has a 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4 (the smaller Pixel is 1920 x 1080). It has an 8MP front camera and a 12.3MP rear camera with f/2.0 lens and 4K video recording. Dual band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS and support for Android Pay are standard. HTC builds the phone, but it was designed by Google. In the US the Pixel phones are sold by Verizon, or you can buy them unlocked for use with any carrier direct from Google.