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Google Pixel XL Review

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Google Pixel XL Review

James Shisiah

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What We Love

  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 4GB RAM
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Incredible Internal Storage Capacity
  • Fantastic cameras
  • USB Type-C
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • A powerful quad-core processor
  • Google Assistant is great.


The Google Pixel XL smartphone is a product from Google.  It’s amongst the best smartphones on the market featuring top-end specifications. It was launched as a flagship for Google as a way of introducing the latest Android Version 7.1 Nougat into the world. The Google Pixel XL was launched together with Google Pixel, which is a smaller variant of the phone – i.e., the Google Pixel XL features a 5.5-inch screen while the Google Pixel features a 5.0-inch, all other specifications and features remain the same. Both phones are available on Verizon Wireless website. In this review, we look at the Google Pixel XL.


The Google Pixel XL is available for ordering from the Verizon Wireless website. The packaging includes the Google Pixel XL, OTG dongle, USB-C adapter, USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-C to USB standard-A plug cable, safety and warranty information, service guide and quick start guide.



This is a top end smartphone with an exceptional exterior design.  The slightly rounded corners make the device feel very premium in hand. This is not a whole plastic smartphone rather, it has a metal frame, although the back panel is half-metal half-glass. Google gave a reason that the half glass upper cover helps improve signal transmission. This means better phone receptions, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals. And also that's where the fingerprint sensor, camera, and the LED flash lives. There’s no camera bump on the back cover which is a very nice thing. Also, worth mentioning is that the back cover is fixed in place so not removable whatsoever.

The front panel is a 5.5-inch AMOLED display. The bottom and upper bezels are thicker, even though the phone doesn't have physical navigation keys. But the bezels on the sides are thin leaving you with a wide view to enjoy more content. The phone features the cryptic navigation keys of Android 7.1 Nougat which shows up nicely on the lower part of the display. The strengthened Gorilla Glass 4 makes the front display durable and resistant to tampering.

The power/unlock keys together with the volume rockers are on the right edge. It includes a headphone jack on the top edge, and the bottom edge has the Type-C USB port and speaker grilles on either side. However, only one of the grille fires out sound.



Google Pixel XL features a 5.5-inch WQHD AMOLED display with a pixel density of 534ppi. The screen offers a cinematic widescreen experience with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The AMOLED technology gives deep blacks and a vibrant color spectrum that shows everything brightly. The Ambient light sensor on the upper of the display adjusts the screen brightness ensuring that you see items on the screen whatever the lighting condition in the surrounding. The display boasts a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 enhancement for durability.



The lens on the Google Pixel XL includes a 12.3MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera. The phone undoubtedly features an outstanding camera. The camera captures more natural tones with a sharp brightness in the photos.

The front facing camera is also a great contender. I shot some of the best-looking selfies with the 8MP camera. Interesting enough, the phone includes HDR+ on the front lens which is really nice. Since the phone ships with the stock Android, the camera app includes only the necessary features to get you started on photos. The good thing is camera apps are available on Google Play Store that you can download freely to enjoy more features like filters and more.



The Google Pixel XL falls in the class of big screen durable phones I have used in terms of battery life. The phone features a 3450mAh battery with a talk time of up to 32 hours and up to 23 days of standby time. Google included a non-removable battery. Hence they had to ensure the battery lasts long enough.

With average usage, the battery lasted a day and a half. I was able to use the phone continuously for close to 7 hours - streaming videos online and playing games. Thus, the onscreen time is 7 hours - which is a typical full work day. The phone supports fast charging: with just 15 minutes of charging, you get up to 7 hours of use.

If you are into music and videos, you will love the phone because it gives about 130 hours of audio playback and up to 14 hours of video playback. Verizon Wireless offers fast internet connectivity when within your data plan, which means on LTE, you get up to 14 hours of internet.



Google offers two variants of the Pixel XL. One with 32GB internal storage and another with 128GB internal storage. The 128GB option is higher on the price tag with $100 more when compared to the 32GB variant. The phone doesn't feature an external microSD card slot, so you have to do with the 32GB or the 128GB internal storage.



Google Pixel XL is among the best performing phones I have used. This phone features top-end specifications. It was launched in 2016, to usher in the latest Android version. It's what Google does whenever they release a new Android version. The previous versions of Android were introduced by the Nexus series, which were made from other big smartphone companies like HTC and HUAWEI. Google decided to take part in the design and manufacturing phase of the Pixel XL. Hence this is the first and also a flagship smartphone for Google.

The phone is powered by the recently manufactured Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset running at 2.1GHz and paired with 4GB of RAM. With such onboard power, the phone excelled at anything I threw at it. It has the best multitasking experience I have seen in a phone. It doesn't feature an app drawer button, however, when you slide your finger on the screen from the bottom up, it launches a list of your installed apps.

For the gaming department, the Google Pixel XL features Adreno 530 GPU. This advanced GPU ensures rich graphics with the best frame rate I had experienced before. The ample 4GB runtime memory can hold any Android game available on Google Play store with no freezing or lag whatsoever.

Google Pixel XL has the Google Assistant incorporated in every aspect of its operating system. This personal AI is arguably smarter than Siri, Google Now, and Cortana. Google Assistant is way ahead of itself as it can hold two-way conversations, act on voice commands, understand and interpret context. This is one of the amazing and enjoyable features on this smartphone. You can say Google promises the future in terms of Artificial Intelligence.

Google promises unlimited cloud storage for your photos and videos. This is an easy backup solution for all your media directly implemented in the Google Photos app. This being a wholly Google gadget, it’s the first gadget to get updates when a new Android version is released. Overall, the Google Pixel XL has everything to love.



  • 4G LTE/Wi-Fi/CDMA.
  • Display: 5.5” WQHD 534ppi AMOLED, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4.
  • Android 7.1 Nougat.
  • Internal Storage (32GB or 128GB).
  • RAM: 4GB.
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 421, Quad-core 2.1GHz.
  • Camera: 12.3MP back. 8MP front.
  • Battery: 3450mAh. Non-removable.
  • GPS capable.
  • USB Type-C.
  • Sensors: fingerprint scanner, gyro, accelerometer, proximity, compass, barometer.
  • Hearing Aid Compatible.

Google Pixel XL Phone Accessories