Death of the Pixel was Made by Google

Could Google’s Pixel duo be dead on arrival?

Google’s new Pixel phones are set to ship out October 20 and offer in-store availability at Verizon and pop-up stores. If you want to be one of the first to have this phone in-hand, you will have to think real hard about dropping that cash – cause it’s a lot of cash. The top end Pixel XL with 128 GB will set you back almost $950 after tax – at least in New York City.

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Once must ask themselves, “is it worth it?” That price is smack in the middle of Apple’s iPhone camp. Many people online have been complaining about the price – saying it is up to $300 more than it ought to be. Let me tell you, it hurt. It really hurt. I’m pretty sure my credit card melted at the edges. There are many things to love about the new Pixel phones, but there are many things to love about other phones. Phone that offer similar or more value at a lower cost. I’ve rounded up a few phones that can take on the Pixel and Pixel XL at a fraction of the cost.

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe Edition vs Pixel and Pixel XL

The Asus ZenFone series has always offered an incredible value. Mid-range to high-end specs at mid-range to low-end prices. Variations of the ZenFone 2 sold for as low as $249 at retail. The Deluxe trim of the ZenFone 3 is a high-end phone by nearly everyone’s standards.

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You get the latest Snapdragon 821 chip clocked at 2.4Ghz – a higher clock rate than the Pixel’s 2.14/2.15Ghz. The Adreno 530 GPU is equally matched, but you gain an extra 2GB of ram from the 6GB LPDDR4 you get in the ZenFone 3. You gain an extra .2” from the 5.7-inch screen on the ZenFone, but take a hit on resolution, as it drops to 1080p rather than qHD you will find on the Pixels. At least they are both AMOLED.

Internal storage on the Deluxe starts at 64GB and goes up to a whopping 256GB. The Pixels only offer 32/128GB. As expected, internal storage is MIA on the Pixels ­– the ZenFone 3 supports Micro SD SDXC cards up to 2 TB. Asus WebStorage is offered free for life – up to 5GB – and also bring two years of free 100GB storage on Google Drive. Google offers free full resolution photo and video backups, as long as you keep the Pixel. Does this mean we will lose it if we switch phones? Google has yet to comment.

Okay, okay – Google’s Pixel phone offer a larger battery – 3450mAh compared to the ZenFone’s 3000mAh – but the resolution of the ZenFone may make up for the disparity. Oh, and did I mention Asus chose to support the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 standard? Well, it does. Google said “No thanks. We’ll just use the USB-C standard for fast charging.” At least they both utilize USB-C 3.0.

Both of the brands jammed as many antennae into the phones as they could, so not much needs to be said there. The cameras are a mystery at the moment. Google is touting the Pixels’ cameras as the best mobile cameras out now. We won’t know until we get our hands on it. The ZenFone 3 Deluxe camera looks fantastic on paper, beating out the Pixel in resolution with 23MP and similar autofocus and aperture.

Lastly, we come to price. The 64GB variant will retail for $499. Bam! Between price and specs, I think the ZenFone 3 Deluxe Edition out-does the Pixel. Especially since the ZenFone 3 Deluxe will receive Nougat, and is Daydream compatible – pending that update.

ZTE Axon 7 vs Pixel and Pixel XL

zte-axon-7The Axon 7 has been blowing people’s minds recently. The phone offers the same clock speed as the Pixels but wrapped in a Snapdragon 820 and share the same Adreno 530 graphics. Ram and screen specs are identical. The Axon 7 has a slightly higher megapixel count at 20, but it suffers a tad in low light. The pixel as a marginally higher capacity battery at 3450mAp, compared to the Axon 7’s 3250mAh capacity. The Axon 7 is expected to receive Nougat, be Daydream ready, and shipped with one internal size capacity at 64GB with the ability to add more storage with an SD Card up to 256GB. Again, Quick Charge 3.0 is supported over the USB-C port on the Axon 7.

With this phone being nearly identical to the Pixel XL – being 5.5 inches – it offers one extra benefit, dual front facing speakers. This is a feature I have grown to love, and will miss dearly if the Pixel XL becomes my daily driver. The ZTE Axon 7 retails for $499, just like the Asu ZenFone 3 Deluxe. I am starting to feel that so-called $300 premium everyone is talking about may be real.

An argument can be made for the Pixel and Pixel XL when price is ignored. But the high price Google chose to go with will always be at the heart of the argument. Is the Pixel right for you? It’s probably an easier answer than you think. Just look inside your wallet.

Honorable mentions: Lenovo Z2 Plus and OnePlus 3

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