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Google Phone Showdown: Nexus 6P vs. Pixel XL

Google Phone Showdown: Nexus 6P vs. Pixel XL Related Blogs Two Cents Vitals Skillet Gear Gizmodo Media Group Blogs Deadspin Gizmodo Jalopnik Jezebel Kotaku Lifehacker Google Phone Showdown: Nexus 6P vs. Pixel XL Eric Ravenscraft 10/23/16 8:00am Filed to: sunday showdown Google’s new Pixel phones are here to replace the Nexus line. Normally, we wouldn’t pit new phones against old ones but if you’re shopping now, or looking to replace an explodey Galaxy Note 7 , these are your two best options. Let’s look at how the old guard stacks up against Google’s new hardware play, and where the real value lies. The Contenders The Nexus 6P is (alongside the 5X) the last generation of Nexuses that Google will ever produce. Meanwhile, the Pixel XL (along with the Pixel) is the first in a new line of hardware with a clear goal to appeal to everyone . Here’s are our contenders: Nexus 6P: Google’s large-screen Nexus was built by Huawei. It’s an all-metal phone with a 5.7" display, an eight-core Snapdragon 810 processor, a 12.3 megapixel rear camera, and a whopping 3,450mAh battery. It also features the baffling non-standard dual front-facing speakers, which are perfect for watching videos. Notably, the 6P had a number of differences from its little brother the 5X. Among them, the smaller version had a less powerful processor, less RAM, a lower quality front-facing camera, oh and it was manufactured by an entirely different company (LG). Pixel XL: The Pixel line is a lot more uniform than its Nexus predecessors. Both the Pixel and Pixel XL come with a crazy fast quad-core Snapdragon 821, 4GB of RAM, a 12.3 megapixel rear camera and an all-metal, HTC-manufactured body. The Pixel XL has a slightly larger screen (5.5" vs 5") and a bigger battery (3,450mAh vs. 2,770mAh). These two differences aside, they’re nearly identical. While we’ll be focusing on the XL, you can safely treat both Pixels as roughly the same. We’re not going to compare the two phones spec-for-spec, since that wouldn’t really make sense—and if you already have a Nexus 6P, you definitely don’t need to spend $650+ to upgrade. Instead, we’re looking at the overall value of both phones for anyone who’s already looking to upgrade right now and might have a phone older than both of these handsets, or just wants something new and is considering a Pixel versus a used or refurbished Nexus 6P. The Pixel Has the Best Camera, But The 6P Is No Slouch The Pixel has better focus and handles low light and shadows better, but both cameras are still pretty great. If you want the absolute best camera you can possibly get, the Pixel is worth your attention. The Nexus 6P’s camera isn’t terrible—in fact, personally it’s the best smartphone camera I’ve ever had, and before the Pixel came out, one of the best you could get in an Android phone—but a few features make the Pixel stand above the crowd. Advertisement For starters, the Pixel’s camera starts taking pictures the moment you launch it and keeps taking pictures the entire time the app is open. By the time you hit the shutter button, the camera has already captured the scene you want, and it just saves that one. This means the camera is fast. Faster than it feels like it should be. It also means you can leave HDR+ on all the time (though you might want to turn it off for some pictures ). The Pixel also includes laser autofocus, which makes focusing on objects in the fore and backgrounds super fast and accurate, and it’s an even bigger benefit when you’re shooting video. Autofocus has been a particularly thorny problem on my Nexus 6P—while I can get it eventually, it’s often a struggle to focus properly—so it’s a relief that the Pixel improves on it. This feature also helps with the Pixel’s electronic (but not optical) image stabilization. When shooting video, the Pixel tries to stabilize shaky cam to an almost uncomfortable degree . This is excellent news if you want to plan shots, though it can compensate a little too much for casual videos. Of course, for the average smartphone user, these improvements might not matter that much. Third-party camera rating site DxOMark gave the Pixel a score of 89 out of 100 . For comparison, the iPhone 7 received a score of 86 and the Galaxy S7 Edge got an 88 . The Nexus 6P received an 84 . That’s still pretty impressive. If you have an older phone, both will probably be a huge step up from what you have now. However, if you absolutely need the best quality photos you can get from your phone, the Pixel is your best bet. You Can Get Most of the Pixel’s Best Features In Android 7.1 We’ve already shown you how to get some of the Pixel’s best features on older phones, including the 6P, so for anyone who’s comfortable tweaking or rooting their phone, the comparison is almost moot. If you buy the 6P, you can get nearly every feature of the Pixel with minimal effort. Sponsored Even if you don’t want to root, though, you’ll still get most of the Pixel’s features. Many of the Pixel’s neatest and overloo