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Hands on with Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone

I WRITE ABOUT gadgets, which means everyone asks me what laptop or dishwasher or whatever to buy. I struggle with this, because the answer often starts with, “It depends.” Unless you ask about a phone. In that case, I usually say get an iPhone.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Android. But the phones can be… frustrating. Clever features too often seem overwrought or poorly designed, or they’re buried beneath 15 Verizon apps on the homescreen. The iPhone is the Default Phone, the one you buy when you want a phone, not a project.

The Google Pixel changes that. It offers the look and competence of an iPhone, with a truly great camera and loads of innovative software and services. It changes my answer to the question I hear most often: What phone should you get?

You should get a Pixel.

Specs Comparison

Google Pixel
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iPhone 7
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Size 143.8 × 69.5 × 7.3 mm (5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 in) 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in)
Weight 5.04 ounces (143 grams) 4.87 ounces (138 grams)
Screen 5-inch AMOLED 4.7-inch Retina HD LED backlit screen
Resolution 1,080 × 1,920 pixels (441 ppi) 1,334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi)
OS Android 7.1 iOS 10
Storage 32, 128GB 32, 128, 256GB
MicroSD card slot No No
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 A 10 Fusion with 64-bit architecture, M10 motion coprocessor
RAM 4GB 2GB
Connectivity 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 4G LTE, GSM, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera 12.3MP rear, 8MP front 12MP rear, 7MP front
Video 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30, 60, or 120fps 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Barometer, gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor Barometer, gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
Water resistant Yes, IP53 rate Yes, IP67 rated
Battery 2,770mAh 1,960mAh
Ports USB Type-C Lightning
Marketplace Google Store Apple App Store
Color offerings Blue, silver, black Black, Jet Black, gold, rose gold, silver
Availability Verizon, Google Fi AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
Price $650 $650

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