Google Pixel

Google Pixel

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

I hope you have enjoyed our reviews of the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL, however since this is the first time that a phone has had the words “Phone by Google” engraved on it, I think it is worth taking another look at the Google Pixel, not to look at the user experience (which we have already covered) but to take a look at the technology, the geeky stuff, that Google has put into these devices.

To do this I am going to delve a bit deeper into the display, the SoC, the battery, the camera and the software of the Google Pixel. I will be using the smaller Google Pixel for my tests, however a lot of what I cover will also be applicable to the larger Pixel XL. Want to know more? Let’s go.

Specifications

A quick look at the table below will reveal just how much tech has gone into the Pixel and Pixel XL. Hopefully we can expand on this list of specifications a bit and get to understand the significance of some of these items:

 Google PixelGoogle Pixel XL
Display5.0-inch AMOLED
1920 x 1080
441ppi
Fingerprint- and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
Gorilla Glass 4
5.5-inch AMOLED
2560 x 1440
534ppi
Fingerprint- and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
Gorilla Glass 4
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 821
2.15Ghz + 1.6Ghz, 64Bit Quad-Core
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
2.15Ghz + 1.6Ghz, 64Bit Quad-Core
GPUAdreno 530Adreno 530
RAM4GB
LPDDR4
4GB
LPDDR4
Storage32/128GB32/128GB
MicroSDNoNo
Cameras12.3MP rear camera with f/2.0, 1.55μm large pixels, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), Laser Detection Autofocus (LDAF), 4K (30fps) video capture, HD 240fps (8x), Full HD 120fps (4x) slow motion video, broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual-LED flash

8MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture, 1.4 µm pixels, Full HD video capture (30fps)
12.3MP rear camera with f/2.0, 1.55μm large pixels, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), Laser Detection Autofocus (LDAF), 4K (30fps) video capture, HD 240fps (8x), Full HD 120fps (4x) slow motion video, broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual-LED flash

8MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture, 1.4 µm pixels, Full HD video capture (30fps)
BatteryNon-removable 2,770mAh
Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging
Non-removable 3,450mAh
Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging
MediaSingle bottom-firing speaker
Adaptive audio amplifier
3 microphones (2 front, 1 rear) with noise cancellation
Single bottom-firing speaker
Adaptive audio amplifier
3 microphones (2 front, 1 rear) with noise cancellation
Wireless and location4G LTE with 3x Carrier aggregation
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS and GLONASS
Digital compass
4G LTE with 3x Carrier aggregation
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS and GLONASS
Digital compass
NetworkWorld-wide network/carrier compatibility with:1
GSM: Quad-band GSM
UMTS/WCDMA : B 1/2/4/5/8
CDMA: BC0/BC1/BC10
TDS-CDMA: N/A
FDD LTE: B 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30
TDD LTE: B 41
LTE 2xCA: B2+B2, B2+B4, B2+B5, B2+B12, B2+B13, B2+B17, B2+B29, B2+B30, B4+B4, B4+B5, B4+B7, B4+B12, B4+B13, B4+B17, B4+B29, B4+B30, B5+B30, B7+B7, B12+B30, B25+B25, B29+B30, B41+B41
LTE 3xCA: B2+B2+B12, B2+B2+B13, B2+B4+B4, B2+B4+B5, B2+B4+B12, B2+B4+B13, B2+B4+B29, B2+B5+B30, B2+B12+B30, B2+B29+B30, B4+B4+B12, B4+B4+B13, B4+B5+B30, B4+ B7+ B12, B4+B12+B30, B4+B29+B30, B41+B41+B41
Pixel is an unlocked phone and works on major carrier networks.
World-wide network/carrier compatibility with:1
GSM: Quad-band GSM
UMTS/WCDMA : B 1/2/4/5/8
CDMA: BC0/BC1/BC10
TDS-CDMA: N/A
FDD LTE: B 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30
TDD LTE: B 41
LTE 2xCA: B2+B2, B2+B4, B2+B5, B2+B12, B2+B13, B2+B17, B2+B29, B2+B30, B4+B4, B4+B5, B4+B7, B4+B12, B4+B13, B4+B17, B4+B29, B4+B30, B5+B30, B7+B7, B12+B30, B25+B25, B29+B30, B41+B41
LTE 3xCA: B2+B2+B12, B2+B2+B13, B2+B4+B4, B2+B4+B5, B2+B4+B12, B2+B4+B13, B2+B4+B29, B2+B5+B30, B2+B12+B30, B2+B29+B30, B4+B4+B12, B4+B4+B13, B4+B5+B30, B4+ B7+ B12, B4+B12+B30, B4+B29+B30, B41+B41+B41
Pixel is an unlocked phone and works on major carrier networks.
PortsUSB Type-C
Nano SIM
3.5mm audio jack
USB 3.0 data transfer
USB Type-C
Nano SIM
3.5mm audio jack
USB 3.0 data transfer
SensorsPixel Imprint
Accelerometer/Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Barometer
Proximity sensor/Ambient Light Sensor
Hall sensor
Android Sensor Hub
Pixel Imprint
Accelerometer/Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Barometer
Proximity sensor/Ambient Light Sensor
Hall sensor
Android Sensor Hub
OtherRGB LED notification lightRGB LED notification light
Wireless chargingNoNo
Water resistanceIP53IP53
SoftwareAndroid 7.1 NougatAndroid 7.1 Nougat
ColorsVery Silver, Quite Black, Really Blue (Limited Edition)Very Silver, Quite Black, Really Blue (Limited Edition)
Dimensions and weight143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm
143g
154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm
168g

Display

The Pixel comes with a 5 inch Full HD AMOLED display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4, while the XL has a 5.5 inch Quad HD AMOLED display also protected by Gorilla Glass. There is no doubt that the displays on both Pixel devices are first class and are a pleasure to use. Looking at some of the tech, we noted in our full review that the display on the XL has a slightly cooler color temperature of 7859 Kelvin, which essentially means the screen has a blue tint. When the display is set to the standard mode (rather than the default adaptive mode), the colors are warmer at 7131k.

This seems also to be true for the Pixel. In terms of color accuracy the display on the Pixel tends to be skewed towards blue when it is displaying green. Notice the top set of vertical points on the graph below, they are left of the pure green target line. The reds, blues and purples however are quite accurate, but not strictly uniform when it comes to the various brightness levels.

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

Talking of brightness levels the Pixel’s display has a maximum of 410 nits. That is what you get when the display is on auto brightness and you shine a torch into the light sensor. If you switch to manual mode and crank it up to 100% then the brightness is marginally less at 406 nits. 50% is 208 nits and as you can see from the graph below the brightness profile is quite uniform:

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

The System-on-a-Chip (SoC) in the Pixel and Pixel XL is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. The 821 is the successor to the Snapdragon 820, Qualcomm’s popular SoC which is found in lots of Android devices including some variants of the Samsung Galaxy S7, the LG V20 and the OnePlus 3. The 821 tweaks the design of the 820 to improve power efficiency while increasing performance.

At the heart of the Snapdragon 821 are the quad-core Kryo CPU and the Adreno 530 GPU. Plus there are loads of other bits and pieces including Qualcomm’s Hexagon 680 DSP and the X12 LTE Cat 12/13 modem. You can see from the specification table above that the Pixel supports and impressive number of 2G, 3G and 4G network frequencies.

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

The Snapdragon 820 could be clocked at a maximum of 2.2GHz, however the 821 has been designed to go as high as 2.4GHz. Qualcomm isn’t too forth coming about the architecture of the CPU, however Google has published information which says that the Snapdragon 821 in the Pixel uses 4 Kryo CPU cores, two clocked at 2.15GHz and two at 1.6GHz. The 821’s quad-core setup is what is called Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP).

In general, the quad-core processors found in desktops and laptops have a set of cores which are all equal in terms of their performance and power consumption. In a HMP SoC, not all the cores are equal (hence, heterogeneous). In the Snapdragon 821 the 2.15GHz cores are tuned for performance while the 1.6GHz are tuned for efficiency. When tasks are run on the 1.6GHz cores they use less power, they drain the battery less, however they may run a little slower. When tasks are run on the 2.15GHz cores, they finish sooner but they use more power to do so. Here is where it gets complicated. A task that finishes quicker but uses more peak power to do so, may actually use less energy as it completed the task in a short amount of time. However a task which uses less peak power may use more energy as it took longer to complete.

The ideal situation is where the smaller cores run tasks which don’t use much power but need to run for a long time (like handling the CPU aspects of streaming video). As you can imagine the hardware and software combination needed to make HMP work well is complicated. ARM has done a lot of work in this area with its big.LITTLE system including contributing code to the Linux kernel. As such ARM is quite open about its HMP efforts, however Qualcomm is less so. If you want to know more about big.LITTLE then please read how the Samsung Galaxy S6 uses its octa-core processor.

When it comes to performance the Snapdragon 821 is a beast! Here is a table of some common benchmarks scores for the Pixel:

BenchmarkScore
AnTuTu141092
Geekbench 4 (single core)1500
Geekbench 4 (multi core)4139
Sling Shot using ES 3.12583
Quadrant31389
Basemark OS II2331

To put those numbers into some context, the Pixel scores higher on AnTuTu than the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Huawei Mate 9. However it scores lower than the Mate 9 for both Geekbench and Basemark OS II.

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

I also tested the Pixel with my own set of custom benchmarks which I have used to test various SoCs in the past including the Kirin 950. The first of my custom benchmarks tests the CPU without using the GPU. It calculates 100 SHA1 hashes on 4K of data and then does some other CPU stuff, I call it “Hashes, bubble sorts, tables and primes. The Pixel gets the best score from any Android phone I have tested!

The second benchmark uses a 2D physics engine to simulate water being poured into a container. Two drops of water are added every frame and the app is designed to run at 60 frames per second. The benchmark measures how many droplets are actually processed and how many are missed. The Pixel scored 10178, which is a good score, but it isn’t the best. The current record holder is the Kirin 960 in the Mate 9, which scores the maximum of 10800.

My third benchmark is written in Unity3D. It is a terrain flyover that yields a frame per second score for a pre-programmed pass over the rendered world. The Pixel scored 37.3 fps, which is again the best score to date.

Battery

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

The Pixel comes with a 2,770 mAh battery while the Pixel XL has a 3,450 mAh unit. According to Google that means the Pixel has a 3G talk time of up to 26 hours. Josh, Lanh and Nirave found that during day to day usage you can expect around 5 hours of screen on time. According to my testing with a mixed usage of web surfing, gaming and watching video will give you 5hr 13mins of screen on time, which matches what Josh et al saw.

Google claim that you can get 13 hours of video watching out of the Pixel, but the search giant doesn’t say how bright the display is during the tests. However it does say that “uses that involve an active display will use battery more quickly.” So I guess the brightness level for those tests are low (and fixed). I tested how long the phone can play a looped video from local storage with the display at 47% (i.e. 200 nits). The result was an impressive 10.5 hours!

If you are wondering how much the brightness level affects battery life, well so did I! I re-run my video test, this time with the display at 100%, that’s over 400 nits. The result was an equally impressive 8.5 hours. So upping the brightness can cost you as much as two hours of screen on time for easy tasks like video.

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

As for charging, you can charge the Pixel from < 5% to 100% in just over 1hr 40 mins, while to get to 50% takes less than half an hour and to get to 80% takes an hour. If you are in a mad rush then you can get 25% charge in just under 15 minutes! As with all quick charge system, the initial charging is much quicker than the final phase above 80%. For example the Pixel uses half of the charging time to go from 70% to 100%.

Camera

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

The specifications of the camera on the Pixel are excellent: 12.3MP rear camera with f/2.0 and 1.55μm large pixels. There is Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) as well as Laser Detection Autofocus (LDAF). It can record 4K @ 30fps and HD @ 240fps. On the front is an 8MP sensor with f/2.4 aperture and 1.4 µm pixels.

So I thought it would be interesting to see how the Pixel compares to a DSLR! So I took four pictures in controlled conditions (with a lightbox) to see how each one fared. My DSLR is a Canon EOS 700D. As you can see from the pictures below the 700D makes better pictures in good light. The colors are truer, there is more color depth and nuance. However for the close up of the Tardis door I would say that the Pixel did a much better job than the Canon. The text is clearer and there is less stippling. Also in low-light I would also say that the Pixel won. The EOS picture didn’t come out quite right because it is out of focus and maybe with more work I could have made it better.

Software

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

The Pixel and Pixel XL run Android 7.1 Nougat which brings with it a number of new features including Google’s new Pixel Launcher and the Google Assistant. The former is an incremental update to the standard Google Now Launcher which does away with the app drawer by making the installed apps available by swiping up from the bottom. The latter is Google’s new AI-based voice assistant, the same one in Google Allo, but now available throughout the whole Android interface.

In terms of storage and RAM, fresh out of the box the Pixel uses about 6.5GB of internal storage for Android and the default apps etc., which means there is around 23GB of free space. Both the Pixel and Pixel XL come with 4GB of RAM and from a fresh boot the phones uses around 1.3GB of RAM. During my testing (which was mainly running benchmarks, taking photos, playing videos etc.) I haven’t seen the average RAM usage go over 2GB.

Besides these two big ticket items there are lots of smaller changes including launcher shortcuts,  a new storage manager called Smart Storage, GIF support in the Google Keyboard, and improved VR thread scheduling:

  • App Shortcuts – These allow users to access key actions within an app directly from the launcher. You just long-press an app’s launcher icon to reveal the app’s shortcuts, then tap on a shortcut to jump to the associated action.
  • GIF support in the Google Keyboard – Android 7.1 supports the new Commit Content API, which provides a universal way for keyboards to send images and other rich content directly to a text editor in an app.
  • Smart Storage – If an app requires more space than is currently available, it can use the Smart Storage page to let the user delete unneeded apps and content to free up sufficient space.
  • Improved VR thread scheduling – Android 7.1 provides new features to improve VR thread scheduling. Apps can now designate one thread as a VR thread. While the app is in VR mode, the system will schedule that thread more aggressively to minimize latency.

Wrap-up

Google Pixel review: a technical deep dive

There are many non-technical factors to choosing your next Android smartphone including price, availability, branding and long term support. However if we push those to the side for the moment at just look at the tech, it is clear that the Pixel and Pixel XL are leading edge devices. Here we find AMOLED displays and not LCD, plus the XL sports QHD resolution.

The SoC is the best Qualcomm has to offer today and the benchmarks show that it is the best in its field (in the majority of cases). You also have excellent cellular support with the X12 modem. On top of that you have a good camera, an above average battery, an option for 128GB of internal storage and the latest version of Android.

What we don’t have is an SD card slot, wireless charging, optical image stabilization, front facing speakers or proper waterproofing (like IP67). So while everything that the Pixel does include is top of the range, it might be what it doesn’t include that could be the deciding factor for you! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Google captures 10% of premium smartphone segment in India with Pixel

According to Counterpoint Research, Google has captured a 10% share of the premium smartphone segment in India with the Pixel and Pixel XL. The premium smartphone segment is defined where the smartphone is priced over ₹30,000 ($440).

Google shipped 33,000 units of Pixel to India as of October end after launching earlier in the month, becoming the number 3 player for the month. However, per the report, Apple continues to maintain a clear lead in this segment with around 66 percent of the overall market share, followed by Samsung with around 23 percent share.

Google is aggressively trying to take advantage of the lack of competition in this segment and does not want to miss-out on the opportunities. The company is leaving no stones unturned with heavy spend on marketing, there are exchange and cashback offers also available for the new entrant. A refreshing and feature packed Pixel is making for a good proposition against the incumbents Apple’s new iPhone and Samsung’s [Galaxy] S7 smartphones.

Google has been running a 360 degrees advertorial campaign in major cities across India as well as heavy spends on digital and print. The company offered no-cost EMIs for buying Pixel devices from both online and offline stores, cashback for HDFC Bank card holders, as well as an exchange program and extra discount on Flipkart.

Of course, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco aided the numbers for Google. The expected launch of the device in October never happened, leaving a void in the market for other flagship smartphones.

We are very enthused by the feedback from Indian customers and the initial response for Pixel has been extremely positive and in line with our expectations. Pixel is Google’s take on the total user experience as we envision it — bringing the best of Google’s software, such as the Google Assistant, with hardware that really brings the experience to life.

– A Google spokesperson

Mind you, the report is based on units shipped, and not necessarily sold. The idle inventory with the retails too is counted towards the number. However, with heavy spends on marketing and generally positive reviews all around, Google is likely to maintain the market share, if not extend it in the quarter.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL see huge discounts at Verizon this Black Friday

If you don’t mind being locked into a two-year payment plan, Verizon has a really, really good deal on the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

From this Thursday, November 24 through Friday, November 25, Verizon is selling the 32GB Google Pixel and Pixel XL for an incredibly low $10 per month, while the 128GB Pixel and Pixel XL are going for just $15 per month. That means, essentially, both 32GB models will cost you only $240 in all, and the 128GB versions will cost only $360. As you may recall, the 32GB Pixel and Pixel XL normally start at a hefty $649 and $769, respectively, making this one of the best Pixel deals we’ve seen thus far.

This is one of the best Pixel deals we've seen thus far

Before we get too excited, there’s a hefty dose of fine print we should talk about first.

To get the deal, you’ll need to purchase your Pixel or Pixel XL on a standard device payment plan. After roughly 2-3 months, Verizon will start applying monthly bill credits to your account to make up for the discount. So, if you were to buy the 32GB Pixel on a payment plan, for instance, you’d get a total of $409 ($649 full retail price – $240) spread out over 24 months. In order to get the full discount, that line will need to be active for the full 24 months.

So no, you’re not getting these phones for $10 or $15 per month the simple way. But if you can get past the few caveats listed above, you’ll end up saving yourself quite a bit of money in the long run.

Don’t miss: Black Friday 2016: best tech deals

This deal will be available both online and in-store, so you can even buy your new Google phone from the comfort of your home.

If the Pixel phones aren’t for you, Verizon is also letting new customers take $200 off any Android smartphone priced $400 or higher when they switch to Verizon or add a line from November 24-27. Alternatively, current customers can save $100 on any Android phone priced $400 or higher. In both cases, you’ll need to activate your new phone on a payment plan to get the discount.

Oh, and one other thing – Verizon, just like many other retailers, is selling the Google Home for just $99, which is a steal.

Next:

Best Verizon Android phones (November 2016)

7 hours ago

New Canadian Pixel update brings “double-tap to check phone” and “lift to check phone” gestures

If you happen to live in Canada and own a Google Pixel, it’s your lucky day. A 261MB update is rolling out now, carrying build number NPF26J, bringing two new ‘Moves’ to Google’s new flagship phone.

In case you’re unfamiliar, ‘Moves’ is a section in the settings menu on Google’s Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X devices running Android 7.1 or later. Moves are basically quick little gestures that control your phone. For instance, in the Moves menu you’ll find the option to swipe the fingerprint sensor to activate your notification shade, double-tap the power button to activate the camera, and a few other useful tricks.

The new Moves coming to the Google Pixel are “Double-tap to check phone” and “Lift to check phone.”

Once your update is installed, head to the Moves section of the settings menu and enable both of them. After they’re enabled, you’ll be able to double tap your screen to check for notifications, as well as lift your phone up to check for notifications.

New Canadian Pixel update brings “double-tap to check phone” and “lift to check phone” gestures

If you’d like to grab the update early, the folks at XDA Developers have the OTA .zip file for the new update. Note that this is for Canadian variants of the Google Pixel only, not the Pixel XL or any international or Verizon variants of either handset.

Custom ROM developers and various OEMs have been implementing these “Double-tap to check phone” and “Lift to check phone” features for years, so it’s great to see them finally make their way to Google’s devices.

Next:

Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview 2 goes live for Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 9 and Pixel C

3 hours ago

Deal: Get £70 off Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones at Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse is trying hard to get your attention before the holiday shopping season gets in full swing. The company started offering a free VR Goji headset with any pay monthly smartphone purchase a couple of days ago. Now, the retailer is taking it up a notch with its »Black Tag Event«. It’s currently offering a discount in the amount of 70 pounds for Google’s Pixel smartphones, which launched about a month ago. The smaller of the two – Pixel — will set you back 529.99 pounds, while the Pixel XL can be yours for 649.99 pounds.

See also:

Google Pixel XL review: a Pixel’s perspective

4 weeks ago

Do note that the offer is only valid for the 32GB version of the devices. So if you want to get your hands on the 128GB model, you’ll, unfortunately, have to pay full price – £699.99 (Pixel) and £819.99 (Pixel XL).

This is currently the best deal for Google’s Pixel smartphones we’ve seen in the UK. As always, the deal won’t last forever, so if you’re interested in getting it, head over to Carphone Warehouse’s official website by clicking the button below. You can choose between the Quite Black or Very Silver color options, while the Really Blue version still remains a US exclusive.

Are you thinking of getting this deal? Will you be opting for the Pixel or Pixel XL? Let us know.

Get the Pixel deal
Get the Pixel XL deal

Google Earth and Trends Live Cases are now on sale for Pixel phones

Owners of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones now have a couple of new Live Cases to potentially buy to make their phones look cooler. The company is now officially selling the Google Earth and Google Trends cases in the Google Store for $49.99 each.

See also:

Best Google Pixel and Pixel XL cases

2 weeks ago

As the name suggests, the Google Earth cases come with a selection of images from the company’s popular app. You can choose from images that show “ice formations in Antarctica, the beaches of the South Pacific, or the rolling deserts of East Africa” for the case. In addition, it comes with a live wallpaper that can display even more images from Google Earth on your Pixel smartphone.

Get it at the Google Store

Google Earth and Trends Live Cases are now on sale for Pixel phones

The Google Trends case is even more interesting. It comes in two colors (Sunset and Asphalt) but the live wallpaper that is included actually shows what’s currently trending online via the Google Trends system. Trending topics can be viewed from that wallpaper and you can see what’s hot on the net in the last 24 hours.

Get it from the Google Store

As with any of the Live Cases for the Pixel phones, all of the new designs for the Google Earth and Google Trends cases can be moved or rotated before you buy them in the Google Store interface to get a more customized look to the case. Which of these new cases will you be getting for the Pixel phone?

Google explains why Pixel’s security features are “better, faster, stronger” in latest blog post

Google has outlined the security features of its latest smartphone, the Pixel, via the Google Security Blog. In a post titled ‘Google Pixel: better, faster, stronger’, two of Google’s senior software engineers describe how the Pixels’ encryption implementation improves the “user experience, performance, and security” of the smartphones.

Unlike the more common smartphone encryption method known as full disk encryption, or FDE, the Pixels make use of a type of encryption known as file-based encryption, or FBE. FBE means that different files are encrypted with different keys that can be unlocked independently.

Using this method, Google says it has combined a smartphone’s unlock and decrypt screen, meaning that users can access applications such as “alarm clocks, accessibility settings, and phone calls” immediately after booting.

See also:

Google Pixel successfully hacked during PwnFest, exploit will be patched

7 days ago

Google also discussed its use of ARM’s TrustZone software, which provides two benefits. Firstly, TrustZone enforces the Verified Boot process, which means that it won’t decrypt disk encryption keys if it detects that the OS has been modified/compromised. Secondly, TrustZone enforces “a waiting period between guesses at the user credential, which gets longer after a sequence of wrong guesses.” With this in place, Google says that trying all of a smartphone’s four-point lock screen patterns would take more than four years.

Finally, Google talked about how it dropped industry-standard eCryptFS encryption – which Google said didn’t meet its performance requirements – for an encryption method created directly inside Android’s ext4 filesystem. Google said that the ext4 encryption performance is “similar to full-disk encryption, which is as performant as a software-only solution can be.”

Find out everything Google had to say about its Pixels security in the blog post here.

Lots of Pixel resellers have had their Google accounts suspended

If you were thinking about buying a Google Pixel or Pixel XL smartphone with the sole idea of reselling it for a profit, you need to beware. Such actions are actually against Google’s terms of service and now many of those people have had their Google account suspended.

See also:

Google Pixel XL vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

1 week ago

This activity was first reported on the deal monitoring site Dan’s Deals. It stated it started receiving emails from people who found that they had been locked out of their Google account. All of these reports came from folks who had bought a Pixel phone and then sent them over to a reseller in New Hampshire who paid them back with a small profit, before selling those phones again to other people. The report said that over 200 Google account holders were affected.

In response, a spokesperson for Google sent the site an official statement:

We identified a scheme in which consumers were asked to purchase Pixel devices on behalf of a reseller, who then marked-up the cost of those devices in order to resell them to other customers. We prohibit the commercial resale of devices purchased through Project Fi or the Google Store so everyone has an equal opportunity to purchase devices at a fair price. Many of the accounts suspended were created for the sole purpose of this scheme. After investigating the situation, we are restoring access to genuine accounts for customers who are locked out of many Google services they rely on.

Obviously, the lesson here is that people should read the long and boring terms and service agreement when they buy any smartphone, and not just the Pixel. Will this incident make you think twice about reselling your phone for a profit?

TWRP for the Pixel and Pixel XL has been released

Android geeks across the globe love tinkering with their devices by flashing ROMs, mods, and custom kernels. This has quite a few advantages, as it allows you to change the look and feel of your device, and makes it a bit more fun to play around with.

But before you’re able to customize your Android device, you need two things. First, you have to unlock the bootloader. Second, you have to flash a custom recovery image onto the device — like TWRP — which will allow you to start your Android customization project.

If you’re currently using either Google’s Pixel or Pixel XL and are interested in customizing it, you’re in luck. Dees_Troy, Senior Recognized Developer over at XDA, has announced that the first TWRP alpha for Google’s latest smartphones has been released.

See also:

Those who pre-ordered a Google Pixel can now order their free Daydream View (US)

7 hours ago

So, if you’re already fed up with your new Pixel device and would like to customize it (provided you have already unlocked the bootloader), now is your chance. But as always, please keep in mind that this is an alpha release and is therefore not 100% stable. It has its fair share of problems, one of them being caused by the introduction of File Based Encryption (FBE) in Android Nougat, which can automatically wipe the data of your device if a restore doesn’t work correctly.

Please also note that installing TWRP will break your root. And in case you’re using the multi-user feature, you should put your customization project on hold for now. Currently, TWRP only supports single user setups.

If you’re still up for it, head over to the XDA Developers forum for more detailed instructions on how to install TWRP on your Pixel device and avoid problems in the process.

Those who pre-ordered a Google Pixel can now order their free Daydream View (US)

Google is now sending redeem codes for its Daydream View VR headset to those who pre-ordered the Google Pixel. According to 9to5Google, once a customer receives the code via email, they can follow the link to the Google Store where they will be able to order their free Daydream View.

In early October, Google announced Google Pixel and Pixel XL pre-orders would include a free Daydream View coupon when the device launched. It was only last week that Google started shipping the VR product.

The Daydream View is Google’s new VR headset which works in conjunction with a compatible smartphone (like the Pixel or Pixel XL). In our full Daydream View review, we said we’d hesitate to recommend the headset for the full $79 retail price. If you’re one of those who can get it for free, it’s certainly worth checking out.

See also:

Launch day: Daydream VR apps roundup

5 days ago

If you pre-ordered one of the Pixels in the US, check your inbox to see if your promo code has arrived – it’s valid until the end of this year.

Have you received your code yet? Let us know in the comments.