Pixel Reviews Are Divided But All Agree Timing Is Perfect

Google’s push into the smartphone market was made official with the launch of the Pixel and the larger Pixel XL. Now that Alphabet’s Google has unveiled its latest smartphones, the reviews have begun pouring in.

While it’s up to debate whether or not the phones will be game-changers, one thing is for sure: The timing of the Pixel and the Pixel XL couldn’t be more perfect. That’s according to The New York Times, which pointed out that the demise of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 makes one less smartphone the Pixel has to compete against. NYT said the timing is good news because the phone is “mediocre” compared to Apple’s iPhone 7.

“Photos shot with Pixel’s camera don’t look as good as the iPhone’s. And Google’s built-in artificially intelligent virtual assistant, called Assistant, is still fairly dumb,” NYT wrote.

While NYT doesn’t appear to be impressed with Google’s offering, Bloomberg noted it marks a shift for the company since they are the first phones that were “conceptualized, designed, engineered and tested in-house.” Bloomberg went on to say the Pixel handsets feature a Siri-like virtual assistant, “flashy camera features” and are the first to include Android’s new Nougat 7.1 operating system. Bloomberg said the debut of the devices signals Google’s push into the $400 billion smartphone hardware business. It also demonstrates that Google isn’t worried about angering partners that sell Android-based smartphones. 

“Google is now the seller of record of this phone,” Rick Osterloh, chief of the company’s new hardware division, said in the report, noting Google is managing inventory, forging relationships with carriers, sourcing components and managing distribution. Google is also making accessories for the phone.

Meanwhile, DxOMark gave the new phones an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 89, making it the highest-rated smartphone camera the website has ever tested. “Its image quality scores are impressive across the board, but it is particularly strong in providing a very high level of detail from its 12.3MP camera, with relatively low levels of noise for every tested lighting condition. It also provides accurate exposures with very good contrast and white balance, as well as fast autofocus,” wrote DxOMark.

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