Both smartphones come with impressive specifications that are worthy of Android flagship status. The Pixel features a 5-inch 1080p display, while the Pixel XL counters with a 5.5-inch QHD display. The smaller Pixel comes with a 2,770 mAh battery, while the larger Pixel XL crams in a 3,450 mAh battery.
All other hardware specs between the two remain the same, which means that you get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor (underclocked from 2.4GHz to 2.15GHz), 4GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 128GB of internal storage. Given that these Pixel phones are among the first to ship with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 821, we were expecting to see the smartphones put up stellar benchmark numbers. However, some early Basemark X 1.1 and Basemark OS II 2.0 scores show that the Pixel XL lags behind current flagships, and even falls behind some of last year’s flagships.
In Basemark X 1.1, the Google Pixel XL ranks in 29th place with a score of 34,865. This puts it just slightly behind the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, which launched last year with an Exynos 7420 processor. This year’s Galaxy S7 Edge left the Pixel XL in its dust, turning in a score of 42,629.
Things didn’t pan out much better for the Pixel XL in Basemark OS II 2.0, where the iPhone 7 Plus dominated the competition with a score of 3,412. For comparison, the Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 6s turned in scores of 2,868 and 2,464 respectively. The Pixel XL sauntered in with a score of 2,373.
However, we have to take these early benchmarks with a grain of salt. For starters, these are just two points of data for the Pixel XL, and these numbers could very well come from early prototypes running unoptimized drivers on an early build of Android 7.1. So while these benchmarks at face value are disappointing, things could change by the time the phones start arriving in the hands of customers.
However, if performance doesn't change, Google could be in a tricky position with enthusiasts. These aren't flagship devices with value pricing, as has been the case with previous Nexus devices. Both the Pixel and Pixel XL are priced in the premium sector of the smartphone market. The Pixel XL pricing mirrors the iPhone 7 at 32GB and 128GB capacities, coming in at $649 and $749 respectively. Likewise, the Pixel XL mirrors iPhone 7 Plus pricing at 32GB and 128GB capacities: $769 and $869 respectively.