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For many years, tech aficionados and Android enthusiasts have enjoyed the Nexus line of smartphones. These phones were coveted by developers, as they were always released with the newest version of the OS and privy to updates before any other devices.
New for 2016, Google have now launched the Pixel range of smartphones. This replaces the Nexus range and sits alongside the Pixel Chromebooks and tablets that Google also design.
The idea is the same - Pixel smartphones will showcase the best of Android software and hardware. Top of the range processors and camera, alongside the newest Android software features.
Pixel phones will also be supported throughout their lifespans, receiving monthly security updates and be among the first phones to get major Android updates too.
When you buy Google Pixel from Clove it is delivered SIM FREE and Factory Unlocked. This means you are free to use the phone with any compatible network provider or carrier.
This version uses a single NANO SIM card. If you plan to use the phone on 4G/LTE networks outside of Europe, please check the specification list below with your chosen carrier/operator.
The Google Pixel is available in 3 colours; Quite Black, Very Silver and Really Blue. Each colour has an internal memory option of 32 or 128 GB.
Availability of specific colour and memory versions may vary by region and retailer.
For the last few years, Google have partnered with a hardware manufacture to produce a Nexus phone. Often these have been slight variations of that manufacturer's current top-range device, but running Android in a pure, unaltered form.
Pixel is different.
HTC physically manuafcture the hardware and assemble it, however the design is all by Google; this is a first. Even the software is different. In this case it is Android 7.0 - however there are slight modifications.
The Pixel Launcher is not the same as the Google Now Launcher associated with pure Android devices. Instead it has some changes, including more rounded icons and has you swipe up from the base of the screen to reach the app drawer.
The search bar at the top has also been removed, replaced by a small 'G' logo in the top left corenr that can be tapped to initiate searches.
Also, long-pressing the Home button no longer launches Now-On-Tap. Instead Pixel will load the new Google Assistant.
Extra features from Android 7 are available. Seamless updates are included - these download and install to a separate partition which is the swicthed over too once complete. Google's monthly security updates will also be delivered as soon as they become available.
Improved power management and 3D graphics rendering are built straight into Android Nougat.
The new Assistant from Google has been designed to complement your daily life. Whereas 'Google' is a search engine for everyone, 'Assistant' is a Google for your personal life.
Drawing from information based on your personal Google Account and associated apps, the Assistant can intelligently give responses to questions, provide related suggestions and forward you to external apps and services where required.
The Google Assistant is integrated throughout the Pixel software and is connected in your conversations and apps. For instance if you are messaging someone about going for dinner, the Assistant can provide nearby restaurant suggestions without you even asking.
Search results come with related buttons to perform actions. For instance asking for a list of local restaurants will return search cards with names & ratings. Underneath each you may see buttons to instantly call them, see the location on Maps or view the menu. Asistant is able to scour data from the web and display only the relevant snippets to you.
Finally, the Assistant is also deeply integrated with Google's new Home ecosystem. Should you take the plunge and install Home(s) in your home, the Pixel phone and Asistant become a connected web of information and actions.
Pixel is also the first Daydream ready phone. If you're not in the know - this is Google's entry to the increasingly interesting (and crowded) Virtual Reality space.
Coupled with the Daydream View VR headset (sold separately), you can view DayDream certified content to experience the next generation of VR content.
By being Daydream ready, Pixel can download and access Daydream content available on Google Play or YouTube, as well as future partners. The phone simply slots into the Daydream View visor.
Using an AMOLED panel allows for deep blacks and excellent on-screen contrast ratios. This is also a brilliant power saving measure over LCD, as AMOLED varies the power consumption depending on the colour being produced.
The Pixel Imprint fingerprint sensor is fast and reliable. Placed on the rear side of the phone, the surrounding glass shade helps you to align the phone to your touch however it may be positioned in your pocket or bag. Using the sensor you can swiftly unlock your phone and also authorise online and contactless payments using Android Pay.
Global GSM & CDMA network support is available so Pixel is a phone you can truly take with you anywhere (please check the specifications against specific local carriers). LTE speeds up to Cat 9 / 12 are available if supported by your chosen carrier.
Utilising the new reversible USB Type-C connector, the Pixel can take advantage of high speed data transfer and charging. With Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 technology, you can juice up your battery by 75% in just 15 minutes!
Given a rating of 89 by camera analysis experts DxOMark, the Pixel Camera is undoubtedlky one of the best mobile cameras ever developed.
Using the all new Sony IMX378 module, the 12.3 sensor has 1.55μm pixels and is helped by an f/2.0 aperture lens. HDR+ software, coupled with the powerful new image processing capabilities of the Snapdragon 821 processor, results in incredibly detailed images, even in low-light conditions.
Rather than use optical image stabilisation, Google have opted to link the phone's internal gyroscope to the camera software. This detects quick changes in position and motion and compensates for them; especially useful when recording video and tracking a moving object.
Laser autofocus is sharp and fast to respond, meaning you can quickly readjust and take pictures without having to wait. The autofocus also works well in video recording mode to keep subjects in focus as they travel. Pixel's camera can record video in 4K at 30fps and in 1080p HD up to 120fps.
The front facing camera is a very respectable 8 megapixel and also features a high quality Sony sensor module.
People now take far more pictures on smartphones than traditional cameras. Where do you put them all though? Storage space is a big issue, especially when cloud services often charge for extra space and compress your results.
Google are now offering completely unlimited storage for all Pixel owners. This means every one of your images and videos will be abcked up through your Google Account at full resolution.
Google have also made it easier than ever to switch to Android. Included in the box with every Pixel is a Quick Switch Adapter.
This lets you connect any existing Android or Apple iPhone to the Pixel with a standard USB or Lightning cable.
Once you've connected the phones together, the Pixel will ask you to sign in or create a new Google Account to use. You then have a prompt asking you want to transfer.
All the important things can be sent across including contacts, calendar, photos, music, SMS messages, iMessages and more.
Known as Nougat, the Pixel runs Google's 7th major revision of the Android operating system. The full list of features updated in 7.0 is avalable to read on Google's own site.
Stand out aspects include: