Update: The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are expected to be the star attraction at the company’s confirmed launch event on October 4 – that’s today!
It’s been almost a whole year since we last had a Nexus device, and we would really like Google to launch another. Thankfully, it appears two new handsets will arrive today, with the rumored Google Pixel XL the larger of the hotly tipped duo.
- Short on time? Check out our rumor round-up video
So what can you expect from the new Pixel XL? A bigger screen? Probably not. New Android? Absolutely. More power? Obviously. Some actual innovation? We really hope so.
We’ve rounded up all the latest leaks, rumors and internet chatter surrounding the new Pixel phablet and condensed it into the information you need to know. Let’s jump in.
Cut to the chase
- What are they? Google’s next phablet
- When are they out? Launching today
- What will they cost? Pixel XL set to be pricey – think Samsung/Apple level
Google Pixel XL release date
- Launch happening today
- On sale towards the end of the month
Google has sent out invites for an event on October 4 (that’s today!), and we fully expect it to launch its new Pixel handsets at it – including its next phablet. We’ll be reporting live from the event to bring you all the latest.
In terms of an actual Pixel XL release date things are still a little unclear. One source suggests the Pixel will be ready to ship on October 20, but there’s no mention of the Pixel XL. Hmmm.
TechRadar’s take: The October 4 date is set in stone and we wouldn’t be surprised is the Pixel XL hit stores on October 20 with the Pixel.
Google Pixel XL price
In the past Nexus smartphones have been cheaper than the flagship devices they tend to be put up against, but that distinction became blurred in 2015 with the Nexus 6P sporting a lofty price tag of its own.
With a smaller Google Pixel phone on the cards, it’s likely we’ll see a high Google Pixel XL price which will likely challenge the propositions from the established names in the flagship market.
TechRadar’s take: The Google Pixel XL price is going to be much closer to the current flagship offerings than the small Pixel phone.
Say my name(s)!
- Codenamed: Marlin
- Most likely: Pixel XL
We were ready to welcome in a pair of new Nexus handsets into our arms this October, but it appears we won’t be able to.
That’s not because Google isn’t launching any new phones – rather it’s apparently going to ditch the iconic Nexus name. That’s why we’re now looking at the Google Pixel XL, rather than the Nexus 7P.
TechRadar’s take: It looks set Google will retire its Nexus name in favor of extending its Pixel line, which already includes the Pixel C tablet and a couple of Chromebooks.
Who’s the daddy?
Google has relied on a number of manufacturers down the years to make its own-brand devices, and this year will be no different.
The front runner for the Google Pixel XL is HTC, which is tipped to be making both the smaller Pixel and its bigger brother – although it’s not the only name in the hat.
Chinese manufacturer Huawei is also rumored to be involved after its success making the Nexus 6P, but the latest leaks say Huawei turned down the option to build another Google device – leaving the door wide open for HTC to sweep in for the double.
TechRadar’s take: Our money is on HTC to make both the Pixel and the Pixel XL, and with the firm’s strong design past we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a couple of stylish smartphones.
Google Pixel XL design and screen
- 5.5-inch, QHD display
- All-metal body
With two new Pixel phones on the cards, it’s no surprised that the Pixel XL will be the larger of the two – with the majority of the leaks pointing towards a 5.5-inch display.
That would be a downsizing following the 5.95-inch Nexus 6 and 5.7-inch Nexus 6P, and would see the new Pixel slide in comfortably alongside the OnePlus 3, iPhone 7 Plus and LG G5.
One benchmarking result meanwhile suggests the larger Nexus Marlin (which we now believe to be called the Pixel XL) device will come with a 2K display.
A leaked render posted online by Android Police seems to suggest a svelte looking aluminum uni-body and a rear facing fingerprint scanner – just like on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The source who provided the image also claims the new Nexus phones will be available in silver, black, and “electric blue”.
The blue and silver colors have since been given more of a boost after Evan Blass tweeted press shots of the Pixel XL in each shade.
We’ve seen more images from Android Police, and these are some of the clearest leaks we’ve had. It’s hard to tell if they rock the Google branding because there’s a lot of blurring going on to protect the leaker. But, the transition between glass and metal is fairly clear.
When it comes to comprehensive leaks however, look no further than UK retailer Carphone Warehouse which appeared to post listing pages for the Google Pixel XL and Pixel a day ahead of the launch event. They seem to confirm a 5.5-inch QHD display, microSD slot and USB-C port for the new phablet handset.
TechRadar’s take: it looks like Google may stick with the same design for both handsets, with the Pixel XL gaining a larger screen and bigger dimensions for its all metal body.
Google Pixel XL OS and power
- Android 7 Nougat straight out the box
- Flagship power under the hood
- Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM
The new Nexus XL (new Pixel XL) will of course launch with Android Nougat, but rather than Android 7.0 it could arrive with Android 7.1 on board.
The 7.1 update is almost certainly in the works, especially as it’s been spotted on Google’s developer console and it’s been rumored that it will launch with the Pixel and Pixel XL handsets.
That would make sense, as the LG V20 has already beaten the new Pixel phones to the Nougat punch, so this way Google’s handsets would have something new to launch with. What Android 7.1 will contain is unknown, but it’s possible that it will include support for Daydream VR.
In terms of power, we’ve seen leaked benchmark tests suggesting both handsets will be sporting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip, which has already found its way into the G5 and HTC 10.
However Qualcomm has launched the shiny new Snapdragon 821, which boosts power up even more and it’s certainly not out of the question that the new Pixel smartphones could benefit from the additional oomph, especially as the chip is built with VR in mind – making it beneficial to Daydream VR.
There’s increasingly more evidence pointing towards the Snapdragon 821, with a recent leak suggesting that both new Pixel phones will sport it, and a comprehensive leak from a retailer also highlighting the 821 chip and 4GB of RAM.
We also expect the fingerprint scanners to return and based on a leaked image it looks like they’ll be on the back of the phones once again, but complete with a new feature, allowing you to reveal your notifications by sliding a digit across it.
TechRadar’s take: With most evidence now pointing towards the Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM that’s our best guess, along with Android 7.1.
Check out what Android Nougat has to offer in our beta walkthrough
Google Pixel XL camera
- 12MP rear, 8MP front snappers
- 4K video recording
Early GFXBench details suggested the Pixel XL would have a 7MP selfie shooter and 11MP rear facing camera. That’s a strange set up that we haven’t seen before – but more recent leaks appear to have cleared it up.
There’s more likely to be a 12MP rear and 8MP front combo, which has also been leaked, with Sony tipped as the firm to supply the lenses for the new Pixel duo. That’s been backed up by a leak from UK retailer Carphone Warehouse which has the same specs for the camera on the Pixel XL.
The back camera is said to have all the features you’d expect, such as 4K video recording as well as an LED flash, face detection software and autofocus tech.
TechRadar’s take: With HTC on board we could well see the firm’s UltraPixel technology make its way into the new Pixel handsets, with improved low light performance and possibly some additional camera tricks.
Something the new Nexus devices are likely to feature heavily is virtual reality (VR). Google announced its Daydream VR platform at its IO conference in May, and you can expect the new service to be a highlight of its new Nexus handsets.
Google even teased its own VR headset with controller – and we could well see the hardware launch alongside the new phones later this year. It would make sense, as the headset will be dependent on a smartphone to function – and what better device to use than a shiny new Pixel?
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a “free VR headset when you pre-order a new Nexus” offer come September.
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