At their San Fransisco event today Google took the wraps of a whole host of new products. Chiefly amongst them were the Pixel and Pixel XL Android phones. I got to spend a little one on one time with the devices, before reluctantly handing them back (they had security at the door). How did they feel? Read on to find out.

This is not a review, I spent far too short an amount of time with the phones to form a definitive opinion, however, my initial impressions were promising.

Build Quality

The Pixel line is by far the most premium Android devices Google has ever constructed. From the all aluminium housing to the rear glass panel to the gentle but precise curve of the rear edge the Pixel and Pixel XL are the physical expressions of what Google thinks a smartphone should be.

The devices are exquisite to hold and stand out amongst the top few of the Android Handset market in late 2016. The phone’s felt natural in the hand, the textured aluminium body gripped in the hand with a reassurance sometimes absent from the more premium tier devices. The front bezels whilst angular were rarely felt and actually provided a sharp contrast for the display, especially on the silver and blue models.

Overall it is clear that Google obsessed about every element of this design, and partnering with HTC for the construction, a company that is known for precise engineering especially with these types of designs, has delivered a device of immaculate execution of vision and engineering.


So we know how the device looks and feels, but what about the display, after all, we spend most of our time looking at the screen, not the device inside the case we bought. Well with the Pixel line you’ll be looking at a beautiful screen. There is little doubt the AMOLED displays are fast becoming recognised as the best in the industry., and the Pixel screen is no exception.

The colours were vibrant, the blacks were crisp and the refresh rate was amazing. During my hands-on with the Daydream View using the Pixel XL I was hard pressed to see any ‘screen door’ effect or other issues with the display just centimetres from my (admittedly ageing) eyes. During the limited testing afforded the display was nothing short of excellent.


Snappy, there’s no other word for it. The Pixels were just quick. From navigating around the device to opening multiple tabs the phone just felt responsive.

In our discussion with several senior Google execs following the event, Dave Burke, Senior VP of Android said that the Pixel devices had achieved the fastest touch response of any Android device, ever, and was on at least an equal footing with the iPhone. This was evident in the short time I used the device.

Of course, we won’t be able to test the real word performance until we have them configured for real use and live with them daily. But from the outset, it looks promising. I for one am willing to conduct a thorough one year review!

We will be discussing the camera performance a little later, so for now check out the video of our first impressions of the Google Pixel devices.

Duncan attended the Made By Google event in San Francisco as a guest of Google Australia. Ausdroid would like to thank HP Australia for supporting our coverage of the event.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hi Duncan,

When you say that the bezels provide a sharp contrast to the display are you implying this to be a positive aspect?

I’m leaning towards the silver over the black as from what I can tell the screens seem to pop a bit more on the white bezel units. I s this the case?


HI Jesse, I found it appealing and not a negative at all.


I’m still convinced Google doesn’t understand the Australian market. Our data plans are expensive, so the last thing I want to do is have to upload my photo’s/video’s to the cloud when I run out of room. I will never buy a mobile these days without an SD expansion slot!

Sam Z.

Perhaps a little more market research can get them to make better decisions. Yes we all want our captured moments quite close.


The idea is the photos and videos continually backup on Wifi. When you get close to running out of space it the dynamically starts to clear older images and videos.

Yianni soc

Those quick link shortcut things are great. Had no idea that was part of the pixel launcher.
Thanks for the video.


Yeah I had no idea the launcher had that. This is the only place I’ve seen it.

Thanks for the video Duncan. Looks great.