The Google Pixel is a monumental leap for Google. Forget the Nexus. The Google Pixel is truly a “Google Phone.” Like think about it, Google, the guys who make Android, making a best smartphone. Pure Bliss! Are they the absolute best, Nop! Comparing the Pixel to Samsung’s S8, the upper hand goes to the S8. However, the Pixel released about a year before the S8 and this was Google’s first go, imagine the second Gen Pixel. Oh boy, I’m sure a lot of people in suits are sleeping less easy.
I’ll skip the jargon and explain what you need to know as simply as I can so you can fully appreciate just how exciting this is for Android fans. Also, I’ll be comparing the Pixel to the S8 to give you an idea of where it stands in today’s market. Read on!
I’m an android guy and inherently bias but I’m also a phone expert who founded a business in the industry, I know phones and Pixel is a hell of a phone. If you’re a purist, having an Android phone designed and crafted, from hardware to software, by the makers of Android and one of the most exciting companies on the planet is like a fairytale dream come true.
Guys and gals, don’t forget this is the same company that brought the internet’s information to your fingertips, one of the leaders in A.I and developed one of the first quantum computers. Many experts have labeled their first generation the best Android phone, and my bets are on Pixel leading the way for android’s smartphones from here.
We’ll be comparing the Galaxy S8 against the Pixel to give you a better understanding of where the Pixel stands in today’s market.
Table of Contents
Best Smartphone Price
Pixel (5” display)
$900 without a contract and $200 with a contract.
Pixel XL (5.5” display)
$1050 without a contract and $350 with a contract.
It’s a disappointing price for today’s market, and many will have a hard time justifying the purchase over the new S8. Especially frustrating if you’re in the market for a large screen, since the S8+ is cheaper than the Pixel XL if you get it on a contract.
$1060 without a contract and $320 with a contract.
Is it still worth considering? Let’s find out.
Best in the industry at the time of release but the S8 is now on par with it. The iPhone 7 Plus with its dual camera setup still doesn’t compare to the all-around fantastic color definition, hue balance, depth and stabilization of the Pixel. The truth is when these two phones came out both represented a leap in Camera technology to the next level, and both are awesome, but the pixel takes the cake.
The wide angle lens captures more for every shot.
I took both shots at the same spot. Notice it seems like I was further away with the pixel.
Here’s another comparison between the Pixel and S6
The Pixel just seems sharper, more lifelike and captures more of what you see.
Oh and check out these close-ups I took with the pixel.
Damn, I love this thing. Seriously, it’s a good enough reason to buy this phone even in 2017. What rocked my world was the contextual awareness it has. Google Assistant can understand what you are looking at and give you relevant support and information. It’s not a gimmick, and life sucks without it.
Look at this scenario. I got this text:
Without clicking a button or highlighting the text, here’s the conversation I had with my very own personal assistant
ME: “Ok Google, where is it.”
Assistant: pulls up address in google maps.
Me: “Remind me an hour before.”
Assistant: “Ok, do you want to save this.”
Yep, we’re entirely in a sci-fi movie. And that’s just scratching the surface. Worth noting is the progress Google made with the quality and speed of its voice recognition. It recognized fast natural speech without a hitch and responded so quickly you just wonder how in the world they pulled this off.
Stock Android Nougat 7.1.2
The Pixel gets its badge of honor as the best Android device because of the pure, beautiful and easy to use stock Android Nougat 7.1 platform. It’s Android as it was intended to look, feel and work.
Let’s say you have a Gmail, Google drive or other Google product that you use regularly. You’ll instantly feel familiar with the pixel because it totally embodies that iconic Google interface.
What you may not know is just how much you’re interacting with Google every day. Many apps you use are built on the Google cloud platform and websites you visit from your phone, like our blog, are AMP optimized, another framework developed by Google. Heavens, you’re probably on google chrome right now! And how did you find this article? You get the point. But this has an important implication, iPhone user handling the google pixel for the first time should feel more comfortable and at ease over other Android devices currently in the market because of how much exposure to Google they have.
I always get asked by iPhone users, “which Android phone is the easiest to use.” To which I say nothing and place a Pixel in their hands. Those used to the super simple IOS interface and discouraged by the litany of buttons and settings on Android phones now have a genuine alternative that gives you the best of both worlds. I’ve heard the argument that the pixel feels easier to use than an iPhone, I wouldn’t go that far, but its close, so close that gizmogrind saw a huge spike of iPhone trade-ins when the Pixel was released. Anyway, that’s not what Android is about. You come to Android because you want the freedom to customize, you want options. You also want to get to these options with ease and speed, that’s what stock Android is about. That’s what Pixel is about.
Everything just works. Buttons and menus are exactly where they should be. Anything you want to do seems a tap or two away. You get this feeling of control without being overwhelmed by it all.
The more time I spent on the phone, the more I fell in love with the user interface. Accustomed to the weighed down TouchWiz on the S7 plus that always did the wrong things I accepted my fate and stayed waving my Android flag high.
What I’m whining about is the small annoying things plaguing Android devices. The flat out annoying lagging between apps or popups that don’t make any sense, impossible unlock screens, frustrating navigation between screens and options and settings that need a degree to decode. All these issues have seen improvement with the likes of Samsung, Sony, and LG. Some would argue they enjoy using them. My opinion: Stock Android on the Pixel is simply an all around superior experience even in today’s feature phone line up.
Another option is putting a stock Android skin on it to simulate stock Android, but all the features and hardware are not optimized around that skin limiting your experience.
Compared to the S8 running Android 7.0 with an updated TouchWiz, I still enjoy the Pixel platform over the S8 by a long shot. Samsung upped their game, and it’s an improvement over previous versions. They tried to simulate the stock Android feel that we all love but still fall short.
The Pixel is another beast altogether. If usability is on your list of must-haves, this is the cream de la cream for androids and probably all smartphones.
Build and Design
Let’s be real it’s an iPhone, or at least looks like one.
Sid by the side, it’s easy to confuse it with an iPhone 6 or 6s.
Anyway, you look at it, and you have a simple design that worked for 2016 but, dare I say lackluster for 2017. It is, after all, assembled by HTC and that plays a part. That’s another thing I noticed, something about the phone feels HTC, not sure what but it certainly has their DNA on it.
Don’t get me wrong the materials used are premium and feel as such in your hand. The aluminum unibody design, matt finish and perfect angle to the edges give you a good feeling of quality. It’s a high-end phone, and you can feel that just no brownie points for unique design here.
What you shouldn’t do is compare it to your friends Galaxy S8. Just don’t. It’s a no contest win for the Samsung. Samsung’s last three releases have been nothing short of neck breaking masterpieces. While you’re at it, don’t try comparing the Pixel XL to the S8+ because Samsung does this crazy thing where they make a big phone with a big screen feel like a much smaller screen in your hand.
Going forward, you can bet your bottom dollar Google will build a unique and eye-catching design language. It’s the first iteration, and it can only get better from here.
Amazing! Google spared no expense with this screen giving its users the best in the market at the time. Since then the S8 released with a higher aspect ratio and larger screen so, in theory, it’s not as good. However, when I tested the S8, I had a hard time making out the difference. The human eye is incapable of discerning pixels this small, but if you’re a VR geek, you should notice a slightly better experience. Again, in theory.
The S8 comes with an improved screen without the improved battery life. This means you can’t use the S8 displays full potential unless you walk around with a nuclear power plant and want an overheating phone. Out of the box, the resolution is toned down to match the Pixel, and you can turn it up manually. The technology is half there with the S8.
All things considered, again the upper hand has to go to the S8. The new infinity design nearly removes all bezels leaving you with a bigger screen and as I said before a smaller feel in your hand. Even with the aspect ratio toned down, you have to give it to the Korean giant for the magnificent feat in design.
Something to look forward to are rumors the Pixel 2 will have a curved screen and upgraded resolution stealing from Samsung’s playbook and closing the gap once again.
This chip is a monster. Coupled with the fact that it’s fine-tuned to work with the Android operating system your winning. If your coming from an older device, say iPhone 6 or Samsung s5-s6 you’re in for a treat.
Against the S8 it’s slower, but a negligible difference. When I tested the S8, it felt a tad faster, but again we’re talking fractions of a second, and I don’t see that changing my life. If you game a lot on your phone, that’s a different story. The added speed of the S8 should produce faster load times and overall better gaming experience.
Still, I couldn’t help wondering how fast the Samsung will be after six months of use. They’re notorious for having dramatic decreases in performance with use. So, at least for me, the whole faster processor thing doesn’t mean much. Just a real world observation.
What’s all this mean?
What’s important to you? If you’re serious about turning heads with a space age design and want a slightly faster phone, you have options, and you should consider the S8 and LG G6.
It’s a big purchase so take an hour and Consider the S8 or the LG G6 on display at BestBuy or your carrier.
If you’re a hardcore Android fan and your life revolves around Google’s ecosystem, there is no better option than the Pixel even today.
Look we’re talking about all-around premium phones here, so finding fault in them is more of a task than anything. Google is going for simplicity, reliability, and ease of use while Samsung will give you a load of nifty features like gesture controls and out of this world looks.
As much as I love both my Samsung S7 and S7 Plus, when I switch to my Pixel XL, I use it longer before getting bored and switching back. Which for me means, my new favorite device is the Pixel XL.
Being full honest here, I’m a crazy fanboy of the Pixel when it came out and may be trying to hold on to that, but the reality is I just can’t recommend it over the S8 all 100%.
What I can say is If you’re due for an upgrade, try to wait it out till the Pixel 2 releases this year and go all out without hesitating. It’s certain to be a safe bet, and you can’t loose.
If your device has seen better days and you want the best Android experience than don’t overlook the Pixel 1. You just need to know time is catching up to its design and hardware. Faced with new arrivals like the LG G6 Galaxy S8, making a decision today just got a lot harder.
My Crystal Ball
The Pixel lineup is guaranteed to be a serious contender that will make a dent in Samsung’s market share. Their biggest hurdle will be fighting off the low-priced Chinese smartphone makers that are changing the industry. However, their primary target is Apple users, let me explain.
By now, it’s obvious Google sees a gap in the market for easy to use Androids. Their strategy is to draw parallels from Apples IOS and build design so as to directly target and draw in Apple users who would otherwise be intimidated by anything non-Apple.
They’ve had a good start! I certainly believe there going to succeed going forward. If they get hold of enough, loyal, wait in line with no shower for three days Apple crazies, they would have achieved what Samsung and other Android makers have not.
As Pixel establishes its identity and marketing, I expect it will have the allure that Apple enjoys with their iPhone, and evolve to a masterpiece that sparks envy. As of now, it’s achieving this with phone enthusiasts who know what they are looking for, an excellent phone.