Rumour Zone: what to expect from the Google Pixel and Pixel XL [updated]

“Rounding up all the rumours about the upcoming Google (Nexus) Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones”htc-nexus-featured-copy

Update: the article has been updated with recent leaks. 

The upcoming successors to the Google Nexus Pixel lineup have been shying away from eager eyes for a long time now and as we near their impending launch on October 4, leaks and teasers have started pouring in from all sides. Have a look at (and don’t forget to bookmark) this post containing all the leaks and rumours regarding the smartphones best known for their vanilla Android experience and top-notch performance, as we would be constantly updating this article to accommodate newer leaks as they arrive. 



Earlier this month, reports came up suggesting that Google is dropping the name Nexus for its next lineup of smartphones. Information given to the Android Police exclusively, confirms that the highly anticipated Nexus devices, which were codenamed Sailfish and Marlin, will not go by the moniker Nexus after all, and will instead be called Pixel, and Pixel XL respectively. Interestingly, all rumours also point towards Taiwanese consumer electronics company HTC being the manufacturer of the Pixel duo.



The HTC 10 (first impressions, review) dazzled us with its elegant design and the trend is expected to continue with the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones as well. As per rumours, while these new devices do not resemble the HTC flagship, with Google having a greater say in the design process, one can expect ergonomic and premium body smartphones much like the other Pixel series products such as the Chromebook Pixel and Pixel C tablet.


Leaked renders indicate that there is little to separate the Pixel and Pixel XL with the only difference being their overall size and probably the build materials. Both devices are expected to feature a two-tone black and grey design at the rear, with what seems to be either glass or some other form of glossy material. The Pixel XL, as the name suggests, would be larger than the other variant, and is expected to boast an aluminium unibody with a 5.5-inch display. The smaller sibling on the other hand, is expected to be packed in a soft-plastic body with a handier 5.2-inch display. Several leaks also suggest that the phones will sport only a ‘G’ logo at the back instead of Nexus branding. There’s no word on if the final design will include an HTC logo.

HTC Nexus Sailfish 3D render leak

As per the sources, the Google Pixel will sport a waistline of 7.3mm, and will come with a USB Type-C port at the bottom with stereo speaker grilles on either side. A 3.5mm headphone jack, although not seen in the leaked images, will also be onboard at the top. Several renders reveal antenna lines at the top and bottom back of the device, and a fingerprint sensor placed below the main camera. The Pixel and Pixel XL will reportedly come with a low level IP53 rating and therefore will not be very water resistant. 

Renders leaked by Android Police suggests that the both phones will feature an aluminium unibody design with a circular fingerprint scanner at the back.


Android Authority has posted some 3D renders of the device, and in partnership with @Onleaks, a 360-degree video of the HTC Nexus Sailfish (or Google Pixel) as well.

The new Nexus phones are expected to hit the streets in shades of Silver, Black, and Electric Blue.



The Nexus range has been synonymous with simplicity and one shouldn’t expect any curved-edge, dual-screen or even an amped up 4K resolution display on these smartphones this year.

As per some leaked benchmarks, the Pixel XL is expected to flaunt a 5.5-inch Quad-HD AMOLED display, whereas the Pixel will boast a smaller 5.2-inch Full HD display.

Processor and Memory


The Pixel and Pixel XL are both expected to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, which we saw on the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe (first impressions), is also a prospective candidate. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 821 offers a 10 percent performance increase over the Snapdragon 820, which would be a welcome addition on the Pixel devices. As for the onboard storage, both the devices are expected to come in 32GB as well as 128GB variants.

As per the latest leak which popped up in accidental listings on Canadian telecom operators Bell and Telus, and British mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse, the Google Pixel smartphones will 2.15GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, aided by 4GB of RAM.


nexus-marlin-mockupThe Pixel XL is expected to drive its internals with a 3,450mAh battery whereas the Pixel will offer a smaller 2,770mAh unit, with quick charging support. The Nexus 6 (first impressions) offered wireless charging but the technology was absent on the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X (first impressionsreview) as Google felt that the trade-off between the functionality and the thickness of the smartphone – if Qi wireless charging was implemented – was not worth it. It remains to be seen, if Google’s thinking has changed since then or not. 


Pixel-Launcher-Screenshots-1.png Pixel-Launcher-Screenshots-2.png

Since the LG V20 has already claimed the spot as the first device to flaunt Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, the Pixel duo could very well be launched with an updated Android 7.1 flavour. Android Police has also reported that the two new Pixel devices could sport a new gesture for opening notifications using the fingerprint sensor.

The GIF image suggests users will need to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor on the rear of their device to check notifications. Users will be also able to view notifications through ambient display by double-tapping the screen or picking the phone up. The smartphones are also expected to be amongst the first few devices to support the Daydream VR features. 

As per one source, the upcoming Nexus phones will have dual-tab settings UI – one tab for the general settings and the other for Google Support. The support tab will be powered by Google’s rumoured live support app for Nexus devices, which will enable screen sharing between Google Support representatives and the phone user. 

Android Nougat Night Light

Another new feature expected is the Night Light mode, this feature will reduce the Blue light emitting from the display of the new Nexus phones by offering a Red tint. It will reduce strain on your eyes while looking at your phone’s screen at night. Users will be able to turn on the Night Light mode manually, or custom schedule it as per their needs.


The similarities on the Pixel duo continue in the camera department as well, as the shooters are expected to be the same on both the devices. Reportedly a 12MP Sony IMX378 non-protruding primary camera (an upgrade over the Nexus 6P’s IMX278 sensor) and an 8MP Sony IMX179 1/3.2-inch sensor with 1.4μm pixels would be present on these smartphones. Currently, there have been no reports to indicate the presence of a dual-camera setup on these devices. The Nexus 6P (review) impressed us with its superb cameras and one can expect the same from its successors. 

Launch and availability


The smartphones are confirmed to be announced at an event on 4th October 2016 and should be available for purchase in the weeks that follow. In terms of pricing, the Alphabet-owned company will be aiming at the premium segment, with the expected starting price of $650 (~ Rs 43,500)

In addition to that, Google might launch a 4K variant of the Chromecast, expected to be called either Chromecast Ultra or Chromecast Plus. The voice-controlled Google Home, and company’s own Daydream VR headset might also be unveiled. 

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4

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