Google Pixel XL release date, news and features

Everything you need to know about Google's new phablet

Update: The Google Pixel XL is out in a matter of days. Here's the release date, price and all of the specs and news.

The Google Pixel XL is the larger version of the Google Pixel, and uniquely, its specs don't differ much from that of the smaller 5-inch phone.

It's big, powerful, promises the best camera on a smartphone and is available to pre-order. Here's everything you need to know about Google's new flagship.

Google Pixel XL release date and price

Hottest facts

  • Available to pre-order now
  • Arrives in stores on October 20
  • Starts at $769/£719/AU$1,269

The Google Pixel XL is available to pre-order now, direct from Google, where it starts at $769 (£719, AU$1,269) unlocked.

Alternatively, if you're in the US you can pick up the phone from $27.08 a month over two years on Verizon, while in the UK it's available through EE from £55.99 per month with no upfront cost. In Australia you can pre-order the Pixel XL from Telstra or JB Hi-Fi. 

It will be landing in stores on October 20, which is now just a few days away - so get your order in if you want it on day one.

Google Pixel XL design and display

Hottest facts

  • Aluminum and glass design
  • 5.5-inch QHD screen

The Pixel XL is a blend of aluminum and polished glass, striking a two-tone form factor in black, silver or blue, with a fingerprint scanner sat in the glass portion on the back.

The 5.5-inch AMOLED display is pin sharp at 1440 x 2560, up from just 1080p on the standard Google Pixel.

That puts it in line with flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge - so make no mistake, this is a truly premium smartphone.

That resolution also makes it ideal for Google's new Daydream VR platform.

Google Pixel XL news

Google Pixel XL specs

Hottest facts

  • Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB or 128GB of storage

The Pixel XL debuts the Qualcomm 821 processor in the US and UK, since the true world's first, the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe, hasn't launched in the West just yet. That's a fast chip, set to rival Samsung's flagship Exynos processor, especially as it's paired with 4GB of RAM.

There are two sizes: 32GB and 128GB. Sadly, there's no 256GB model and no microSD card slot, but Google is offering unlimited storage of photos at their original size through Google Photos – only for Pixel phone users.

Just like the Nexus 6P from last year, the Google Pixel XL uses the reversible USB Type-C charging port, and, yes, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Google Pixel XL operating system

Hottest facts

  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Google Assistant built-in
  • Easy to root

One of the biggest selling points of the Pixel XL could come from its software rather than its hardware. The phone runs Android 7.1 Nougat and day one updates to new versions of Android are promised.

It also has Google Assistant (essentially a supercharged version of OK Google) built in, and supports the new Daydream VR platform.

There are some changes to the interface compared to the Android you probably know, even coming from a Nexus device. Google's own apps now have circular icons for example, and the app drawer is now slid up from the bottom of your home screens.

There's good news for advanced users too, as if you buy the Pixel XL from the Google Store it will come with an unlockable bootloader, making it easy to root, so you can take more control over the software.

Google Pixel XL camera and battery

Hottest facts

  • 12.3MP rear camera
  • Best in class snapper (according to Google)
  • Big battery with fast charging

Google is promising the best camera on a phone, though we've heard big camera promises before from the company and its products don't always live up to them, so we'll let you know in our full review how good it really is. 

Its specs amount to a 12.3MP sensor with 1.55 microns (allowing it to capture more light) and an f/2.0 aperture (which actually lets less light in than a lot of phones), so we're interested to see how that will balance out.

Round the front you get an 8MP snapper, and the Pixel XL can also shoot video in 4K.

Google Pixel XL

The Pixel XL has a rear fingerprint sensor and a 3,450mAh battery. Battery life is a perk of going with the bigger Pixel XL, as the normal-sized Pixel has a 2,770mAh battery capacity. 

With an efficient processor and Google's Doze 2.0 technology which works behind the scenes to extend life, we're hopeful that this will be one long-lasting phone. You'll be able to juice the Pixel XL up quickly too, as it supports fast charging.

Google Pixel XL

Original article...

It's been almost a whole year since we last had a Nexus device, and we would really like Google to launch another. Thankfully, it appears two new handsets will arrive today, with the rumored Google Pixel XL the larger of the hotly tipped duo.

In 2015 we had the excellent Nexus 6P, with its commanding 5.7-inch display lining up alongside its smaller, and cheaper 5.2-inch brother in the Nexus 5X.

The market has moved on though, and the 6P is now showing its age against the likes of the LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, OnePlus 3 and iPhone 7 Plus.

  • Short on time? Check out our rumor round-up video

So what can you expect from the new Pixel XL? A bigger screen? Probably not. New Android? Absolutely. More power? Obviously. Some actual innovation? We really hope so.

We've rounded up all the latest leaks, rumors and internet chatter surrounding the new Pixel phablet and condensed it into the information you need to know. Let's jump in.

Cut to the chase

  • What are they? Google's next phablet
  • When are they out? Launching today
  • What will they cost? Pixel XL set to be pricey - think Samsung/Apple level

Google Pixel XL release date

Hottest leaks:

  • Launch happening today
  • On sale towards the end of the month

Google has sent out invites for an event on October 4 (that's today!), and we fully expect it to launch its new Pixel handsets at it - including its next phablet. We'll be reporting live from the event to bring you all the latest.

In terms of an actual Pixel XL release date things are still a little unclear. One source suggests the Pixel will be ready to ship on October 20, but there's no mention of the Pixel XL. Hmmm.

TechRadar's take: The October 4 date is set in stone and we wouldn't be surprised is the Pixel XL hit stores on October 20 with the Pixel.

Google Pixel XL price

In the past Nexus smartphones have been cheaper than the flagship devices they tend to be put up against, but that distinction became blurred in 2015 with the Nexus 6P sporting a lofty price tag of its own.

With a smaller Google Pixel phone on the cards, it's likely we'll see a high Google Pixel XL price which will likely challenge the propositions from the established names in the flagship market.

TechRadar's take: The Google Pixel XL price is going to be much closer to the current flagship offerings than the small Pixel phone.

Say my name(s)!

Hottest leaks:

  • Codenamed: Marlin
  • Most likely: Pixel XL

We were ready to welcome in a pair of new Nexus handsets into our arms this October, but it appears we won't be able to.

That's not because Google isn't launching any new phones - rather it's apparently going to ditch the iconic Nexus name. That's why we're now looking at the Google Pixel XL, rather than the Nexus 7P.

Early rumors pegged the Pixel XL as the Nexus M1, Google Marlin and T55 (referring to its 5.5-inch display) - but the most recent leaks all point towards the Pixel name.

TechRadar's take: It looks set Google will retire its Nexus name in favor of extending its Pixel line, which already includes the Pixel C tablet and a couple of Chromebooks.

Who's the daddy?

Hottest leaks

Google has relied on a number of manufacturers down the years to make its own-brand devices, and this year will be no different.

The front runner for the Google Pixel XL is HTC, which is tipped to be making both the smaller Pixel and its bigger brother - although it's not the only name in the hat.

Chinese manufacturer Huawei is also rumored to be involved after its success making the Nexus 6P, but the latest leaks say Huawei turned down the option to build another Google device - leaving the door wide open for HTC to sweep in for the double.

TechRadar's take: Our money is on HTC to make both the Pixel and the Pixel XL, and with the firm's strong design past we're keeping our fingers crossed for a couple of stylish smartphones.

Google Pixel XL design and screen

Hottest leaks:

  • 5.5-inch, QHD display
  • All-metal body

With two new Pixel phones on the cards, it's no surprised that the Pixel XL will be the larger of the two - with the majority of the leaks pointing towards a 5.5-inch display.

That would be a downsizing following the 5.95-inch Nexus 6 and 5.7-inch Nexus 6P, and would see the new Pixel slide in comfortably alongside the OnePlus 3, iPhone 7 Plus and LG G5.

One benchmarking result meanwhile suggests the larger Nexus Marlin (which we now believe to be called the Pixel XL) device will come with a 2K display.

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 and silver colors have since been given more of a boost after Evan Blass tweeted press shots of the Pixel XL in each shade.

Google Pixel XL LEAK

Pixel XL top, Pixel bottom (credit: Evan Blass)

We've seen more images from Android Police, and these are some of the clearest leaks we've had. 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

When it comes to comprehensive leaks however, look no further than UK retailer Carphone Warehouse which appeared to post listing pages for the Google Pixel XL and Pixel a day ahead of the launch event. They seem to confirm a 5.5-inch QHD display, microSD slot and USB-C port for the new phablet handset.

TechRadar's take: it looks like Google may stick with the same design for both handsets, with the Pixel XL gaining a larger screen and bigger dimensions for its all metal body.

Google Pixel XL OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • Android 7 Nougat straight out the box
  • Flagship power under the hood
  • Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM

The new Nexus XL (new Pixel XL) will of course launch with Android Nougat, but rather than Android 7.0 it could arrive with Android 7.1 on board.

The 7.1 update is almost certainly in the works, especially as it's been spotted on Google's developer console and it's been rumored that it will launch with the Pixel and Pixel XL handsets.

Android N

That would make sense, as the LG V20 has already beaten the new Pixel phones to the Nougat punch, so this way Google's handsets would have something new to launch with. What Android 7.1 will contain is unknown, but it's possible that it will include support for Daydream VR.

In terms of power, we've seen leaked benchmark tests suggesting both handsets will be sporting Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chip, which has already found its way into the G5 and HTC 10.

However Qualcomm has launched the shiny new Snapdragon 821, which boosts power up even more and it's certainly not out of the question that the new Pixel smartphones could benefit from the additional oomph, especially as the chip is built with VR in mind - making it beneficial to Daydream VR.

There's increasingly more evidence pointing towards the Snapdragon 821, with a recent leak suggesting that both new Pixel phones will sport it, and a comprehensive leak from a retailer also highlighting the 821 chip and 4GB of RAM.

Nexus scanner

We also expect the fingerprint scanners to return and based on a leaked image it looks like they'll be on the back of the phones once again, but complete with a new feature, allowing you to reveal your notifications by sliding a digit across it.

TechRadar's take: With most evidence now pointing towards the Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM that's our best guess, along with Android 7.1.

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

Google Pixel XL camera

Hottest leaks:

  • 12MP rear, 8MP front snappers
  • 4K video recording

Early GFXBench details suggested the Pixel XL would have a 7MP selfie shooter and 11MP rear facing camera. That's a strange set up that we haven't seen before - but more recent leaks appear to have cleared it up.

There's more likely to be a 12MP rear and 8MP front combo, which has also been leaked, with Sony tipped as the firm to supply the lenses for the new Pixel duo. That's been backed up by a leak from UK retailer Carphone Warehouse which has the same specs for the camera on the Pixel XL.

The back camera is said to have all the features you'd expect, such as 4K video recording as well as an LED flash, face detection software and autofocus tech.

TechRadar's take: With HTC on board we could well see the firm's UltraPixel technology make its way into the new Pixel handsets, with improved low light performance and possibly some additional camera tricks.


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.


Matt Swider is TechRadar's gadget-savvy, globe-trotting mobile editor in Los Angeles. As an expert in iOS and Android, he owns over 120 phones that someone keeps setting the alarms on – simultaneously. He received his journalism degree from Penn State University and is never seen without his TechRadar headphones.