Google Pixel vs Google Pixel XL: Which Pixel should I buy?

Last night Google unveiled its new Google Pixel smartphone, which is available in regular and extra-large sizes. But with quite a gap in price between the two, exactly what is the difference between Pixel and Pixel XL? We explain all: Pixel vs Pixel XL. Also see: Pixel review and Pixel XL review for more in-depth information.

Also see: Best Black Friday Phone Deals

Google Pixel vs Pixel XL: Price and UK availability

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL will both be available on contract via EE and Carphone Warehouse, but we’re primarily interested in their SIM-free prices. Also see: Pixel and Pixel XL UK release date, price, specification and features.

Available to pre-order from the Google Play Store now, with delivery expected on 20 October, there is quite a gap in pricing with the standard Pixel costing £599 and the standard Pixel XL £719. You can bump up the storage capacity for an extra £100, making the 128GB Pixel cost £699 and the 128GB Pixel XL £819.

Click here to pre-order Google Pixel SIM-free from Google.

If you do wish to get the new Google Pixel or Pixel XL on contract, Carphone Warehouse is offering the 32GB Pixel for £47 per month with no upfront cost (£52 per month with £9.99 paid upfront for the 128GB version)and the Pixel XL for £55.99 per month with £9.99 paid upfront (£62 per month with £29.99 upfront for the 128GB version).

EE’s recommended plan for the 32GB Pixel includes 10GB of data and costs £50.99 per month with £9.99 paid upfront, or £55.99 per month with £9.99 paid upfront for the 128GB version. The same deal with the Pixel XL will cost you £55.99 per month with £9.99 paid upfront, or £60.99 per month with £9.99 upfront for the 128GB version.

Whichever route you take, the Pixel is by far the cheaper of the two.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel vs Pixel XL: What’s the difference between Pixel and Pixel XL?

Almost everything is the same between Pixel and Pixel XL. The key differences are the size and weight, the screen size and resolution, and the battery capacity. Also see: Best phones 2016; Best Android phones 2016

Google Pixel vs Pixel XL: Size and weight

With a smaller display the Pixel is clearly going to be the smaller of the two Google phones. While both are 7.3-8.5mm thick, the Pixel XL is both taller and wider than the standard Pixel.

Pixel: 143.8x69.5x7.3-8.5mm

Pixel XL: 154.7x75.7x7.3-8.5mm

It goes almost without saying, then, that the Pixel is also lighter than the Pixel XL. There’s a not insignificant 25g between the two, with the Pixel weighing in at 143g and the Pixel XL at 168g.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel vs Pixel XL: Screen size and resolution

Both new Google phones are fitted with a gorgeous AMOLED screen, which is known for its vivid, punchy colours and excellent contrast. They’re also protected with Gorilla Glass 4 2.5D curved glass - the screen is not curved in the sense of Samsung’s Galaxy edge models, but rounded on the edges of the screen to make it feel smoother when you run a finger across the top.

The difference comes in their size and resolution, with the Pixel measuring 5in on the diagonal with 1920x1080 pixels and the Pixel XL 5.5in on the diagonal with 2560x1440 pixels.

We’re all in favour of Quad-HD screens such as that on the Pixel XL, but with a larger area over which to spread all those pixels it’s possibly not as much sharper as you might think. The Pixel has a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch (ppi), and the Pixel XL 534ppi. Both are incredibly sharp and clear, and many people will not even be able to tell the difference between the two.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel vs Pixel XL: Battery capacity

Battery life is an area we’ve been wanting to see manufacturers work on for years now, because what good is an amazingly fast phone with a brilliant camera if the battery is flat? If you’re not a particularly heavy user then you might not feel our pain when it comes to battery life, but if you do you’re probably as much a fan of power banks as are we.

With extra room inside the case the Pixel XL is able to fit a 3,450mAh battery in comparison to the Pixel’s 2,770mAh battery. Cynics might suggest the larger, higher-resolution screen would gobble up this extra capacity, but it does in fact lead to a marked improvement in battery life (if you believe Google in any case, since we’ve not been able to properly test the phones in our lab just yet).

Below is a comparison of how each phone fares with various tasks, and the Pixel XL is the clear winner.

Task

Google Pixel

Google Pixel XL

Standby

19 days

23 days

Talk time (3G/WCDMA)

26 hours

32 hours

Internet (Wi-Fi)

13 hours

14 hours

Internet (LTE)

13 hours

14 hours

Video playback

13 hours

14 hours

Audio playback

110 hours

130 hours

It’s worth pointing out that Google says both phones offer all-day life, and that each is able to get the equivalent power to seven hours of runtime from a 15-minute charge over the 3A USB-C connection.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel vs Pixel XL: What’s the same?

Google spoke of five key features at the event, and all apply to both Pixel and Pixel XL. Both get the new Google Assistant, which allows for natural two-way conversation between Google and the user to more effectively get what information they need, both have what Google is calling the best camera on a smartphone ever with unlimited storage for original-resolution photo and video, and both support Daydream VR and come preloaded with Google’s new Duo video-calling app.

We discussed the Google event right after it happened on our podcast. Listen here:

Other mutual specifications include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and either 32- or 128GB of storage. There’s a 12.3Mp rear camera with 1.55um pixels and f/2.0 aperture, and an 8Mp selfie camera with 1.4um pixels and an f/2.4 aperture.

USB-C, a Pixel Imprint rear fingerprint sensor, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a bottom-facing mono speaker, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS and 4G are common across both handsets.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are metal unibody devices available in Very Black and Quite Silver; a limited edition Really Blue will also be available.

Google Pixel

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017

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Google Pixel: Specs

  • 5in Full HD display 1080x1920
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 12MP rear camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 2770mAh battery
  • USB-C charging port
  • Fast Charging support
  • headphone jack
  • SIM card slot
  • Android 7.1 OS
  • 5in Full HD display 1080x1920
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 12MP rear camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 2770mAh battery
  • USB-C charging port
  • Fast Charging support
  • headphone jack
  • SIM card slot
  • Android 7.1 OS

OUR VERDICT

We wouldn’t say one of these phones was arguably better than the other, since in essence they are almost the same phone. The Google Pixel is our pick for its more manageable size and lower price, but the Pixel XL stands out for its larger, higher-resolution screen and higher-capacity battery - if video and gaming is your thing you might well prefer the Pixel XL.

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