The bottom line: Our quick verdict on Google's Pixel and Pixel XL

They're two of the best phones you can buy right now.

Engadget, @engadget
10.31.16 in Mobile
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    What happens when Google designs its own phones, as Apple does with the iPhone? You get some of the best handsets money can buy, that's what. The 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL are well-built, with fast performance, excellent cameras and great screens (especially on the larger model). No product is perfect, though, and indeed, we've identified a few areas where Google can improve with the inevitable second generation. In particular, we were disappointed to see that these phones are less water resistant (and arguably less stylish) than other handsets you'd find in this price range.

    Speaking of the sort, these things are expensive, with starting prices of $649 and $769, respectively. That's on par with other flagships, but for the money, we don't want to see too many "cons" in those review cards you see below. Thankfully, the pros here vastly outweigh the few shortcomings, and both Pixel phones both earn our strong recommendation.

    Engadget Score
    Poor
    Uninspiring
    Good
    Excellent
    Key

    Pros
    • Excellent build quality
    • Fantastic camera
    • Smooth performance
    • Respectable battery life
    • Beautiful Quad HD screen
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Drab design
    • Less water-resistant than rivals

    Summary

    The 5-inch Pixel is a great phone, and its big brother, the Pixel XL, is ever so slightly better. You'll get the same top-tier performance as on the smaller model, just with a bigger, crisper display and a more capacious battery to sweeten the deal. What's more, it's a little narrower and shorter than the iPhone 7 Plus, so it's a surprisingly easy to hold. It'll cost you, though: The XL starts at $769 for the 32GB model.

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    Engadget Score
    Poor
    Uninspiring
    Good
    Excellent
    Key

    Pros
    • Excellent build quality
    • Fantastic camera
    • Smooth performance
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Yawn-inducing design
    • Less water-resistant than rivals

    Summary

    After years of experimenting with Nexus devices, Google finally decided it wanted to make a phone of its own. HTC might be assembling the phones, but Google designed and developed the Pixel from end to end. In doing so, it crafted a truly great smartphone that, sadly, looks a little dull. Still, the inclusion of a speedy new Snapdragon 821 chipset and a fantastic camera make the smaller Pixel a device to be reckoned with. Now if only it were a little cheaper.

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    All products recommended by Engadget were selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company, Verizon Media. If you buy something through one of our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Engadget is the original home for technology news and reviews. Since our founding in 2004, we've grown from an exhaustive source for consumer tech news to a global multimedia organization covering the intersection of technology, gaming and entertainment. Today, Engadget hosts the archives and expertise of early digital publishing players like Joystiq, TUAW and gdgt, and produces the Internet's most compelling videos, reviews, features and breaking news about the people, products and ideas shaping our world. After 14 years in the game, we're leveraging our history to bring the future into focus.

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