What you should know about the Pixel and Pixel XL Phones from Google

To understand how the Pixel is different, we need to take a brief sidetrack to the Nexus line. The Pixel phone line is a replacement for the previous Nexus phone series. Nexus phones were made by other phone manufacturers as example devices for new Android releases, and unlike the Pixel, the joint branding was visible on the device. The Nexus 6P, for example, is branded as a Huawei phone, and Google extended the partnership into letting device makers influence some of the design decisions. Nexus phones were sold unlocked (you could use them with any carrier for US devices) and usually without a phone contract. Generally, Nexus phones came with both a high-end model and a more inexpensive model.

The Pixel line was introduced as two sizes of what is essentially the same high-end phone. Pricing initially starts at $649.

Pixel and Pixel XL Features

The Google Pixel runs on Android 7.1 (Nougat) and has a fingerprint scanner on the back, as did the previous Nexus phone line. Fingerprints can be used to unlock the device or authorize purchases.

The Pixel line uses a USB Type C charger connection, which is gaining popularity in devices, including Apple’s new line of MacBook laptops. However, most smartphones in current use still have USB Micro-B ports. That means new Pixel owners will likely have to replace all their old charging cables. The good news is that USB Type C cables are readily available.

Size Matters

The Pixel phones eliminate one of the things we found frustrating in shopping for previous Nexus phones. Rather than deciding between two very different phones from different manufacturers, the Google Pixel comes in two sizes, regular and XL. (5.5 or 6-inch screen sizes) The hardware and performance between the two sizes is nearly identical other than slightly better battery life on the XL (there’s more room for a bigger battery inside the case). Both use Qualcom Snapdragon 821 processors. Other than the battery difference, the two devices are essentially just one device with two choices in size. In addition to size, purchasers can choose between colors (blue, black, and silver) and memory capacity (32 or 128 Gig).

Compatibility

The Pixel line supports LTE and is compatible with all major US networks. The phones are also sold as unlocked “quad-band” phones, meaning that they are also compatible with most international networks as well.

The phone uses the Nano-SIM card. If you replace a phone that uses a larger SIM card, your carrier may need to provide you with a smaller SIM. In some cases, they may be able to trim your existing SIM to fit.

Camera

The Pixel has a 12.3 MP (megapixel) camera in the back, 5 MP in the front. That may not sound like a very large camera if you only look at the megapixels, but between the larger pixel size and smart software algorithms, the Pixel camera may very well live up to Google’s boast that it is the best phone camera on the market. Initial reviews are positive, but we are waiting for more hands-on experience to make conclusions. Photos are backed up for free on Google Photos.

The Pixel comes with either 32 Gig or 128 Gig memory. The memory is mainly for app and offline media use because Google includes free unlimited backups. Many users will be fine with the minimum storage space. If you are pondering a Pixel phone and do a lot of traveling, you may appreciate the 128 Gig models. The extra storage space will allow you to download more movies, books, and music for your entertainment while flying.

Features Not Included in the Pixel Line

The Pixel line is not advertised as water resistant. The battery is not removable, there is no slot for extra memory storage cards, and the Pixel line does not support wireless charging.

Daydream View

The Pixel phone line was introduced in conjunction with the Daydream View VR headset, and the initial release promotion for the Pixel phones included a free Daydream View VR headset.

The Daydream view is only compatible with Pixel phones, although it may be compatible with other phones in the future.

The Daydream View might be considered somewhere between the ultra cheap Google Cardboard (make it yourself at home for free or buy a kit for around $15) and the super high-end HTC Vive VR headset ($799). The Daydream view costs a more reasonable $79. The headset fits around your head, and you secure your Pixel phone into the front of the headset in order to use it, just as you would do with Google Cardboard. The Daydream View uses one handheld remote (Google Cardboard has no handheld remotes and the HTV Vive can support two larger and more sophisticated remotes).

While the Daydream View is not as sophisticated as the HTC Vive in terms of capabilities, it is one tenth the price and may allow more Android developers to go beyond the barely interactive panoramic view apps that currently dominate the Google Play store for Google Cardboard.

If you’re not interested in a VR headset for the sake of games or panoramic tours, consider how an inexpensive headset like the Daydream View would work as a personal movie viewing device for things like watching movies on a plane.

Any Tool to Convert Regular 2D to 3D Videos for Google DayDream?

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