Android, as you all know, is an operating system that is owned and run by Google. The release of this open software operating system spawned a vast army of Android smartphones, and the trend hasn’t stopped to this date. However, with each passing year, the number simply increased, and with the platform being open, a bulk of the manufacturers had to add their own unique skin to the software. This obviously was a hit or a miss with the public. So what were the fans to do if they wanted a truly uncluttered “Vanilla” Android smartphone? Well, Google phones or Pixel phones are the answer today. The company started off its project with the HTC Nexus One, and the line has grown into the HTC made Pixel 2 today. Google also contracted its pure Android branding to other manufacturers like LG, Samsung etc. While these phones were manufactured by others, the software used was identical to vanilla Android with no bloatware or clutter included.
Best Google Phones
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So if you’re in the market for a new Google phone next year, we’re going to talk about some of the options you have right now.
5 best Google phones in 2018
The smartphone, manufactured by HTC, has made quite some news since it was launched. The phone refreshes last year’s moderately popular Pixel. The handset comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, and is one of the few phones to have the honor at this moment. In terms of features, the phone packs a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED display, the octa-core Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64/128GB of non-expandable storage, a 12.2-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front camera, Android 8.0, and a 2,700 mAh battery. The phone is IP67 certified for water/dust resistance, which is quickly becoming a prerequisite among flagship phones.
In the era of borderless or bezel-less phones, the Pixel 2 somewhat disappoints with its relatively large bottom and top bezels. The design is pretty stunning, however, the dual tone colors on the back, offering a premium look. The Pixel 2 is sold in Kinda Blue, Just Black, Clearly White color variants. The handset can be bought via Verizon or Project Fi in the U.S. and through a handful of carriers and retailers overseas. You’ll have to shell out the big bucks for this 2017 Pixel, however, as it will cost $850.99 unlocked and off contract. If you don’t want to be held down by carrier restrictions, be sure to have a closer look at the handset on Amazon.
This particular smartphone can be likened to a Nexus phone of the past, as it comes with the same mid-tier hardware with some premium features on board. More importantly, the handset is more reasonably priced compared to the Pixel lineup, which makes this an appealing catch. What’s more important is that this is an Android One offering, which is Google ambitious project to sell Vanilla Android phones at developing nations. But this is the first Android One phone to ever make its way to the U.S., which makes it special. For a first, the Moto X4 is certainly an excellent start.
In terms of hardware, the Moto X4 comes with the same 5.2-inch 1080p display, a 12-megapixel dual-camera system on the back, a 16-megapixel front camera, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, the octa-core Snapdragon 630 SoC, Android 7.1 Nougat (can be updated to 8.0 Oreo), and a 3,000 mAh battery. The phone is IP68 certified water/dust resistant as well. Since this is an official Google product, the company promises consistent software updates for two years. This factor alone makes this a very exciting mid-range option for many customers. The handset can only be bought via Project Fi in the U.S., and will set you back by $499.
The phone that started it all off for Google. This marked the official end of the Nexus lineup for Google, as the company replaced it with a premium smartphone lineup with a focus on features and new hardware. The resulting Pixel and Pixel XL (both made by HTC) managed to please the experts and users alike. Luckily, this particular model can be bought at a relatively cheaper cost thanks to the arrival of the next-gen models not too long ago. The handset comes with a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED display, the quad-core Snapdragon 821 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 32/128GB of non-expandable storage, Android 7.0 Nougat (upgradable to Oreo), and a 2,770 mAh battery. The phone also comes with a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front shooter.
While getting the Pixel now might not make a lot of sense, if you’re getting the device for a decent price, it’s surely worth a look. You’re set for another year or two at least as far as software updates are concerned. Since this product comes directly from Google, updates will be prioritized to the lineup. The 32GB version of the first-gen Pixel can be bought for nearly $550 on Amazon right now.
Dialing back the clock even further, we take a look at the 2015 Nexus, the Nexus 6P. This handset showed a lot of promise and was manufactured by Huawei, making it the company’s only Nexus device in its history. The handset is pretty well packed in terms of hardware, boasting of a 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 resolution AMOLED display, the octa-core Snapdragon 810 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32/64/128GB of non-expandable storage, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front camera, Android 6.0 Marshmallow (upgradable to Oreo), and a 3,450 mAh battery. Given the kind of hardware it’s packing, we feel the Nexus 6P is a decent buy even today. The handset can be yours for somewhere around $450 in the U.S. today.
The smaller sibling of the Nexus 6P, the LG made Nexus 5X was designed after the massively popular Nexus 5. The handset comes with a pretty similar design as the Nexus 6P, albeit in a significantly smaller frame. The handset is sold in Carbon, Quartz, and Ice, although it’s hard to tell if all color variants are on sale now. The Nexus 5X comes with a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED display, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera, 2GB of RAM, 16/32GB of internal storage, Android 6.0 Marshmallow (upgradable to Oreo), and a 2,700 mAh battery.
The phone packs the hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chipset. Overall, the Nexus 5X isn’t as powerful as the other phones we’ve mentioned on this list, but is still a good buy provided you find a good deal on it. Since it’s already two generations old, it’s likely that you’ll find a decent deal online. Refurbished models of the Nexus 5X can be sold for as low as $190, while brand new models are selling for $399. Be sure to head over to Amazon for more deals on the handset.