Google announced their new Pixel phones yesterday, and they’re a big mixed bag for me. On a superficial level, I really don’t like how the phones look. I think the dual-material backs look really janky, so much so that I expect next year’s Pixel phone will be lauded for going back to a unified backplate. I also am baffled by the large chin on the bottom of the phone. Android phones have long been able to have smaller bezels on the top and bottom of their phones because they don’t have a physical home button to account for. The iPhone-sized chin on the Pixel phones do not have any input built into them, and are just big chunks of unusable space. I’m also baffled that it’s coming to Verizon only to start. What?!
All that said, the specs are suitably high end, and the legitimize the $650 starting price. The CPU and GPU are high end and the camera promises to be a contender with the iPhone and Galaxy options out there already (although I never believe any camera claim until it gets in reviewers’ hands). In addition, it will be the first phone running on Android 7.1, and will be the best option for those who are interested in timely software upgrades. Frankly, it’s basically the only option.
Another thing that really made me happy is that you get the exact same specs in both sizes. The 5.0 and 5.5 inch models sport the same internal specs and cameras, a claim that can not be made by the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This bugs me because the only reasons I got the 7 Plus this year were the better camera(s) and higher screen resolution. If I could have gotten those features on the smaller iPhone, I would have gone with that in a heartbeat. I understand Apple wants to tempt you to upgrade to the higher price points, but I won’t defend them for doing so. I wish Apple would follow Google’s lead and give people an option to get a medium sized phone with no compromises.
I won’t be buying a Pixel phone anytime soon, but I think Google has managed to create something relatively appealing and I hope it does well for them. I recently said that a higher priced Google phone could do better than their awkwardly-priced middle-of-the-road phones they’ve put out previously, so we’ll see how they do this year.