Google has a new smartphone, and if you own a TV or a computer, you've almost certainly heard about it. The ad campaign for the Pixel and Pixel XL is approaching iPhone levels of omnipresence, as Google has reportedly spent over $3.2 million on marketing, with that number expected to skyrocket in the coming months.
As we first reported here on Gadget Hacks, Google's new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones come with an unlockable bootloader, with the exception of models sold by Verizon.
The Pixel XL reportedly uses the same exact display panel as the Galaxy S7 Edge, but according to third-party testing, Samsung's flagship gets at least ten percent brighter than Google's. The same can be said of the regular Pixel, which tops out just shy of its bigger brother's brightness rating.
Google's Pixel and Pixel XL flagship phones are a rousing success, with consumers praising the fluid user experience and overall performance as two of the devices' biggest strengths. But even though Google may have knocked it out of the park with a set of Apple-like smartphones that "just work," there's still room for improvement in a few areas.
Google's launchers are some of the most polished home screen apps out there, but they lack the ability to customize. With the old Google Now Launcher, we had Xposed GEL Settings to add options for tweaking the layout, but that project was abandoned when the Pixel Launcher came out. Now, a new root mod will give us some key customization settings for Google's latest launcher.
As we reported first here on Gadget Hacks, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL have unlockable bootloaders, with the exception of models purchased from Verizon. This means that once the TWRP custom recovery is installed, you can flash ZIPs and even root your device in a few taps—as long as you unlock the bootloader beforehand.
Update 10/23: The hits just keep on coming. We're now seeing reports of a "smearing" effect when scrolling through apps on the Pixel XL 2. We'll expand on that at the bottom of this article, but it's still worth reading the background information on issues with LG's new POLED displays.
The LG V30 is an amazing device that will contend for best smartphone of 2017. It has all the major features you'd expect from a high-end flagship, and it even includes what's become a rare commodity these days — a headphone jack. However, for the purists out there, the LG UX skin strays too far away from stock Android. Have no fear, for with the LG V30, you can have your cake and eat it, too.
Google has an exclusive launcher for its Pixel devices, and it's pretty slick. But even though we've found ways to get this home screen app on other phones, certain features simply wouldn't work unless you were rooted. That's finally changed.
As the first phones to be made by Google, the new Pixel and Pixel XL have several slick customizations that you won't find on any other Android device. There's tons of functional stuff like the new Google Assistant and a much-improved camera app, but also a few aesthetic tweaks to help class up the joint.
If you just can't wait to see the Pixel and Pixel XL, the new Google-branded smartphones expected to be announced tomorrow, you're in luck. After weeks of rumors and blurry images, a smartphone sales company called Carphone Warehouse just accidentally dropped the entire ball. The UK business accidentally set the product pages for the Pixel and Pixel XL live a couple days early, and for just long enough for them to be archived before they were taken down.
Many modern Android devices use a display technology called AMOLED. These screens differ from traditional LCD displays in that each pixel emits its own light, so a backlight is not required. Even better, when rendering a black element on the screen, AMOLED displays simply don't light up the associated pixels, meaning virtually no power is used. Since black pixels use little to no power on an AMOLED screen, more black pixels means lower battery consumption.
Root, TWRP, Xposed, Magisk, custom ROMs — before you can have any of these, the first thing you should do is unlock your bootloader. Thankfully, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are some of the most modder-friendly phones out there, so you only need to send a single fastboot command to unlock the bootloader.
When it comes to technology, there are no bigger names than Google and Apple. They're the two most valuable companies in the world, and they've swapped places a few times over the last year, so they're truly neck-and-neck. But let's put business aside for a moment — which of these companies makes the better flagship phone?
The reviews for the Google Pixel phone have hit the web. There's a lot of praise, but not all are so positive. We've collected some of the best takes on the new devices from the top tech sites around.
While unveiling various other gadgets, Google announced the Pixel Buds at their October 4th event in San Francisco. These wireless earbud-style headphones are particularly interesting thanks to their ability to offer real-time language translation via Google Translate when paired with a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.
Three variants of the Pixel 2 have appeared in Google's Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code, confirming various suspicions about which processor will power the Pixel 2.
In recent weeks, thousands of Nexus 6P users have reported that their devices are shutting down with 30% or more battery life remaining. The phones won't start back up until they're plugged into a charger, so it's as if the battery completely dies even though there is plenty of juice left.
Every smartphone manufacturer is susceptible to defects, but after dropping a good chunk of change on a shiny new device, we as consumers have little tolerance for such issues. We want our gadgets to be perfect in every regard, so even the tiniest flaw is irksome.
The latest trend in smartphone design is all about the display. Manufacturers want larger screens with smaller bezels. The rumors are heating up about Google's next big release, the Pixel 2, and with that, we may have a clue that shows us Google is hopping on the display train.
There were some new hurdles to clear, and then there were a few more, but legendary root developer Chainfire has created a fully-functional root method for Google's Pixel and Pixel XL flagships. Like past devices, this method relies on the SuperSU ZIP, but now, there's an additional file that needs to be flashed in order to bypass issues with Android Verified Boot (AVB).
With the release of Android 9.0 Pie, Google's focusing on digital health. Digital Wellbeing is a new set of features designed to help you curb your own smartphone addiction. Starting now, the beta version is available, and Google's looking for testers.
Google and Samsung are the biggest players in the Android world. Despite a rocky launch, Google's Pixel 2 XL became one of the premier Android devices of 2017, headlined by fast performance and a pure version of Android. Still, many users prefer Samsung's offerings, and their Galaxy S9+ is poised to be the phone to beat in terms of specs.
The Pixel 2's camera is one of the best you'll find on an Android phone. Among its standout features is the incredible Portrait Mode, which Google accomplished with some impressive software processing. Thanks to a few clever developers, you can now enjoy the Pixel 2's Portrait Mode on your Galaxy S8 or Galaxy Note 8.
The brand new Pixel and Pixel XL, Google's first direct attempts at taking on the iPhone, haven't rolled out exactly how Google would have liked. The devices have already had more than their fair share of issues, starting with the camera, and now extending to the built-in speaker. The camera issues were marked as "solved" by Google, but the lens flare is still very much there, just not as prominent.
Google makes Android, but now, Google makes its own phones, too. Until this point, they've always stayed on the software side of things and let Samsung and friends handle the hardware, but their new Pixel phones are changing all of that.
Google's new Pixel phones are shaking things up in the world of Android, as the Nexus line is no more, and the Mountain View tech giant has now become a smartphone OEM. The long-term impact of these moves remains to be seen, but we already know that Google, the manufacturer, will be adding extra software and UI features to the version of Android that ships with its Pixels.
Google worked with design agency B-Reel to create some unique wallpapers for its Pixel and Pixel XL flagships, and the end result is quite stunning. These "Live Earth" wallpapers, as they're called, combine Google Earth's high-def satellite imagery with a 3D parallax effect that changes perspective as you move between screens.
Walking while taking a video is always a pain. But it doesn't have to be, especially with Google's new Pixel smartphone and its new and improved Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) feature. A new video, released on Reddit, pitted the Pixel's EIS against the Nexus 6P with some incredible results.
Google's new AI-powered camera, Google Clips, seems to be targeted at parents of young children in its current form, but the idea itself has unique potential. Just set it up somewhere, then you'll never miss a moment trying to capture the moment — you'll have a robot photographer taking care of that stuff for you.
The Pixel 2 has finally arrived. Google unveiled their newest flagship phones on October 4th, and there's quite a few changes in store. For one thing, most of Google's official renders have already showed us something new: The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will have a Google Search bar at the bottom of their home screens.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL launched in 2017 with three colors: Clearly White, Just Black, and Kinda Blue. For those who wanted to stand out from the crowd a bit, Kinda Blue was the clear choice. Verizon, however, had other plans in mind, and Kinda Blue became exclusive to the carrier. That is, until now.
Google's own devices have always been the first to get new Android features — but unlike the Nexus series, last year's Pixel phones have a handful of exclusive tweaks that were never intended to trickle down to other devices once the newer Android version rolled out to them. These Pixel exclusives included the Pixel launcher and a unique set of on-screen navigation buttons.
Samsung Experience isn't for everyone. While it's a far cry from the TouchWiz days, it is still too heavy of a skin for Android purists. But you shouldn't let that dissuade you from a powerful device that checks nearly all other boxes — there are ways to make the Galaxy Note 9's software look and feel almost exactly like stock.
The Pixel 2 has a number of new unique features. One of the most interesting is the Now Playing option to identify songs you hear on a daily basis. Now Playing displays the artist and title of songs playing in the background of your day and shows this information on the lock screen. While this functionality is incredibly useful, the song history is not saved anywhere on your phone.
Update 10/22: We were curious to see if the transparency was available when you activate the Pixel 2's automatic dark theme by setting a dark wallpaper, and we're happy to report that it is!
The Pixel and Pixel XL come with an awesome data-saving feature called Wi-Fi Assistant that automatically connects to open internet hotspots, then creates a secure VPN on your device to keep your data safe.
Thanks to LlabTooFeR's Pixel system image leak, we're starting to see a lot of the features from Google's upcoming smartphones ported to other Android devices. Case in point: Charles Chow at Chromloop was able to pull the brand new camera app out of the Pixel's firmware and turn it into an installable APK.
So, you rooted your Pixel 2 or 2 XL and everything seems to be working quite well. However, a month passes, and you get a notification to install the monthly security update. Like clockwork, Google has been pushing out OTA security patches every single month for a while, but there is a new problem for you at this point — as a rooted user, you are unable to apply the update correctly.
DxOMark, an independent camera reviewer, has become the go-to place where consumers and OEMs alike hope for good camera scores on major new smartphones. The Google Pixel 2 has topped the charts since Oct. 2017, when the score no doubt helped pull the phone out from its troubled launch, but it has just been dethroned by the Samsung Galaxy S9+, which received the highest DxOMark score yet.