Meet the Pixel, a phone by Google. The phone may be manufactured by HTC, but there's no HTC branding to be found anywhere on the packaging (or the phone itself, for that matter). Google built this phone, and it wants you to know it.
Does this T-Rex like the Pixel XL as much as we do? We think it does. This is a 5.5-inch phone, which makes it considerably less unwieldy than the 5.7-inch Huawei Nexus 6P.
In the box, you get a fairly standard set of accessories, including a pair of earbuds, a USB-C to USB-A cable, and a USB On-The-Go (OTG) dongle, which lets you read flash drives directly on your phone.
Here's a look at the Pixel XL (middle) beside the Nexus 6P (left) and Samsung Galaxy Note7 (right). The Pixel XL measures 75.74mm across, which is a hair thicker than the Note7's 73.9mm. Exploding batteries aside, there's no denying that the perfectly symmetrical Note7 felt great in hand, and the Pixel XL comes close to approximating that feeling.
Quite Black, quite black indeed. In an odd bit of (accidental?) continuity, the oft pilloried glass bar on the Nexus 6P has morphed into a sheet of Gorilla Glass 4 that covers a full third of the Pixel XL's metal back. We think it makes for quite a nice look, but you may very well beg to differ.
Look Ma, no camera bump! You can't quite tell from this picture, but the phone is ever so slightly wedge-shaped (it is thicker at the top), which helped Google accommodate the entire camera apparatus while still keeping the back completely flat. The camera is a 12.3-megapixel shooter with f/2.0 aperture which, as far as the consensus goes, may be even better than that on the iPhone 7.
At first we thought that the glass portion on the back would help with transmitting radio signals, but there are still antenna lines on the bottom and sides of the phone.
If we had one gripe about the design, it would be the large bottom bezel that's really just occupying valuable screen real estate. There's not even a physical Home button here, which makes the empty bezel even more grating.
The Pixel XL relies on a USB-C port for charging. The two bottom-firing speakers flank the charging port, and it's safe to say that we miss the front-firing speakers on the Nexus 6P.
The power button and volume rocker is located on the right edge of the phone. The former sports a crosshatch texture, which helps to differentiate the two buttons when you're fumbling blind for the phone.
The nano SIM slot is located on the left edge. Note also how the transitions to the front and back of the phone differ. The phone curves smoothly to the back, but it transitions to the front via a chamfered edge. This means it doesn't look or feel as elegant as the iPhone 7, but you could also say that it gives the phone more character.