Google Pixel release date, news and features

Everything you need to know about the new Pixel smartphone

Update: The new Google Pixel is hitting stores and hands on October 20 and Google is making it easy to root.

The new Google Pixel smartphone has been unveiled, ushering in a new era of handsets for the search giant.

At the core of the new Pixel handsets is Google Assistant, giving you your own personal Google. It's the first phone with Assistant built in.

But it's not just the software that's new, with a cutting-edge processor, a premium design and an apparently class-leading camera also included. Here's everything you need to know.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Google's next own-brand smartphone
  • When is it out? Pre-order now, on sale October 20
  • What will it cost? Starts at $649, £599, AU$1,079

Google Pixel

Google Pixel release date

Hottest facts

  • Pre-order now
  • On sale from October 20

The Google Pixel release date has been confirmed as October 20, which is now just a few days away, but you can stake your claim for the search giant's latest smartphone ahead of time, as Pixel pre-orders are open in the UK, US and Australia.

Google Pixel price

Hottest fact

  • From $649, £599, AU$1,079

A selection of retailers and carriers are offering the new Pixel handset – including Google itself.

In the US you'll find the new Pixel on Verizon, with contract deals starting at $27.08 per month, while on the Google Store the entry level 32GB model will set you back $649.

Meanwhile, in the UK the Google Pixel will be available from Google itself from £599, and from EE and Carphone Warehouse, with a free handset available from £50 per month with 10GB of data.

Who's the daddy?

Hottest fact

  • It's HTC!

That's right, HTC is back in the Google-making business. The Taiwanese firm was behind the very first Nexus device, and now it's also behind the very first Pixel phone.

You won't know it picking up the new Pixel though, as the HTC logo isn't anywhere to be seen. All you get is "Made by Google" and a Google "G" logo on the rear of the handset.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel design and display

Hottest facts

  • Aluminum and glass design
  • 5-inch display

Google Pixel

The Google Pixel sports an aluminum and glass design, giving it a premium look and feel. There's the choice of three colors: quite black, very silver and really blue – a blatant pop at Apple's new 'Black' and 'Jet Black' iPhone 7 handsets.

You'll find the power/lock switch and volume rocker on the right hand side of the phone, while round the back a fingerprint scanner sits below the camera and flash.

The screen on the new Pixel is a 5-inch affair, coming in at 1080 x 1920 - if you're after QHD you'll want to check out the Google Pixel XL.

Google Pixel operating system

Hottest facts

  • Android 7 Nougat
  • Clean and polished look
  • App drawer changes

The Google Pixel runs the firm's latest mobile platform, Android Nougat. As this is a "Made by Google" device – it even says those words on the rear of the handset – you'll get a pure Android experience on screen.

Even though the Pixel has been made by HTC, there's no sign of the Sense UI we've seen on the HTC 10 and One A9.

The new Pixel Launcher has "a clean, polished look and all your apps just a swipe away". Google has ditched the traditional app drawer, instead keeping it in a swipe up panel you access by sliding your finger up from the app dock.

Long press the home button, or say the hot word, and Google Assistant will jump into action. It's now smarter and more intuitive, blending Google's knowledge graph with more human responses – making it more like Apple's Siri on iPhones.

It also links to your Google Assistant on other devices, such as Google Home, ensuring you have a continuous experience wherever you are.

You'll also be first in line for the latest security updates and software upgrades, with these downloads and installs now happening in the background so you never have to worry about initiating them.

If you buy the Pixel direct from the Google Store it will also have an unlockable bootloader, making it easy to root - that lets you take far more control over the phone and is ideal for tinkerers who like the openness of Android.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel power and storage

Hottest facts

  • Flagship power: Snapdragon 821 & 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB and 128GB storage options

The new Google Pixel is packed full of power, including a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 821 processor backed up with 4GB of RAM.

Google says touchscreen response and snapping pictures have never been quicker – with super slick performance at the center of the handset.

You have the option of 32GB or 128GB of internal storage, and Google has also pledged free unlimited cloud storage for all your photos and videos. What's even better is Google Photos will save all of these at full resolution – including 4K video.

Google Pixel camera

Hottest facts

  • 12.3MP rear camera
  • Best in class snapper (according to Google)
  • HDR+ and Smart Burst modes

Google Pixel

The Google Pixel comes equipped with a 12.3MP rear camera.

Google says the camera has received the highest ever DxO rating for a smartphone – which means the snappers on the Google Pixel should be very good, though DxO ratings don't always translate to great all round performance, so we'll be putting a lot of focus on the camera in our full review.

Smart Burst takes a number of images and Google Photo will then select the best, most in focus image automatically. It also features HDR+, for brighter, less blurred shots with an extended dynamic range.

There's zero lag on the shutter key, allowing you to capture multiple shots quickly, and it has one of the shortest capture times of any smartphone.

Google Pixel battery

Hottest facts

  • 2,770mAh non-removable battery
  • Fast charging - 7 hrs of use from 15 mins

The Google Pixel comes with a non-removable 2,770mAh battery, which Google says has been optimized for even better performance – although we'll have to put that to the test in our full review.

There's also fast charging via the USB-C port, and you'll be able to get up to seven hours of usage from just 15 minutes of charge time.

The rumors we had before the launch

Google Pixel release date news and rumors

Google Pixel design and screen

Hottest leaks:

  • 5-inch or 5.2-inch full HD display
  • All-metal design revealed

With the appearance of the T50 and T55 codenames, it looked like the new Pixel will get a 5-inch display, making it the smaller of the two with the Pixel XL.

It could be a little larger than that though, as a leaked build.prop file for the Nexus Sailfish suggested the smaller phone may have a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 screen, which would be a match for the Nexus 5X.

However the 5-inch form factor has been given a big boost after a UK retailer leaked an almost full spec sheet for the Google Pixel. That same leak also points towards a full HD resolution, USB-C port and microSD slot.

A leaked render posted online by Android Police seems to suggest a svelte looking aluminum uni-body and a rear facing fingerprint scanner - just like on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The source who provided the image also claims the new Nexus phones will be available in silver, black, and "electric blue".

New Nexus 2016 LEAK Android Police

Credit: Android Police

The blue, silver and black color options have appeared in further leaks too, with Evan Blass posting press images showing the first two hues, while US carrier Verizon accidentally posted a product page for the phone for a brief time which showed all three colors.

Google Pixel LEAK

Google Pixel bottom and Pixel XL top (Credit: Evan Blass)

This design has been given a boost as even more images showing a similar style for the Sailfish device have made their way online.

Google Sailfish

Credit: Android Pure

Google Sailfish

Credit: Android Pure

More recently still yet another set of Sailfish (aka Pixel) renders have emerged from Android Authority, showing the same design again, but with the addition of a USB-C port and dual speakers for stereo sound - all of which can be seen on the bottom edge of the handset.

Sailfish renders

The source claims that although not shown in the renders the phone will have a 3.5mm headphone port on the top edge, and that the dimensions are 143.8 x 69.5 x 7.3 - 8.5mm, making the phone slightly more compact than the 147 x 72.6 x 7.9mm Nexus 5X.

Also from Android Police, these shots below are some of the clearest leaks we've seen of the rumored devices. It's hard to tell if they rock the Google branding because there's a lot of blurring going on to protect the leaker. But, the transition between glass and metal is fairly clear.

Google Pixel

Courtesy of Android Police

TechRadar's take: with a number of renders claiming to show the Nexus Sailfish (likely the smaller Google Pixel phone) we reckon the rounded, metal body will come to fruition.

Check out what Android Nougat has to offer in our beta walkthrough


Google Daydream

Something the new Nexus devices are likely to feature heavily is virtual reality (VR). Google announced its Daydream VR platform at its IO conference in May, and you can expect the new service to be a highlight of its new Nexus handsets.

Google even teased its own VR headset with controller - and we could well see the hardware launch alongside the new phones later this year. It would make sense, as the headset will be dependent on a smartphone to function - and what better device to use than a shiny new Pixel?

We're keeping our fingers crossed for a "free VR headset when you pre-order a new Nexus" offer come September.


Phones, Tablets and Wearables UK Editor

John (Twitter, Google+) got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile, churning his way through a multitude of handsets, tablets and wearables. Signalling his arrival at TechRadar by becoming a Guinness World Record holder in his first week, John hasn't looked back since.