The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are now available in India at a steep price cut via Flipkart and other retailers across the country thanks to a cashback offer. Now, this usually means you get your money back for purchases made via credit or debit cards issued by specific banks. But in a refreshing change, the Pixel and Pixel XL purchases made via cash will also be eligible. What this means is that you get a Rs. 13,000 instant discount on the smartphones.
A prominent retailer told Gadgets 360 that the reason why the phone is getting such a big discount is because there's a lot of unsold inventory in India - a stark contrast to the US where the phones can’t be found. But are the Google Pixel phones worth buying at the new price, nearly seven months after their release?
At launch the Pixel and Pixel XL were the fastest in their class, toting the then top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC along with integrated Adreno 530 graphics, 4GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 128GB of internal storage. The Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch 1440x2560 pixels display, while the Pixel has a 5-inch panel at 1080x1920 pixels.
Seven months later, Google’s flagship isn’t really flagship material any more. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ (review) both sport far more processing power, and they're not alone. Xiaomi had launched the Mi 6 with faster, more efficient internals as well, and OnePlus's new flagship is said to be around the corner as well.
At the same time, flagships from brands like LG and Sony, while also sporting last year’s internals have made some interesting strides in camera tech, with the LG G6 sporting a dual camera setup and the Sony Xperia XZs cramming in a Motion Eye camera system, which essentially shrinks the tech found in cameras such as the Cybershot RX10 III, to fit inside a smartphone.
The newest flagships are moving to sleek bezel-less designs, as we saw at the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. Google's own industrial design looked familiar months ago, and it seems plain outdated today. Plus the mix of glass and metal on the back gives it an unfinished, inconsistent feel. All of this results in smartphones that are chunky, and even boring, considering what else is available in the price range today.
Speaking of the price range, the Google Pixel carries a maximum retail price of Rs. 57,000 for the 32GB storage variant; if you want more storage, you're going to have to put down Rs. 66,000. The Pixel XL Rs. 67,000 and Rs. 76,000, for the 32GB and 128GB models respectively.
The cashback offer means the Google Pixel will be available at an effective starting price of Rs. 44,000, which isn’t too bad. But most flagships with comparable specs have gotten deeper price cuts at the time of writing.
These include the LG G5 (Rs. 31,600), HTC 10 (Rs. 37,600), and the Sony Xperia XZs (Rs. 38,468), while the likes of the OnePlus 3T were cheaper than the Pixel and Pixel XL from launch itself, and continue to be cheaper even now.
In the smartphone world, seven months is a lifetime. Despite touting a best in class camera, its lens flare issue is yet to be resolved. In addition to this, Bluetooth pairing is still inconsistent and batteries in some units are prone to early shutdown. Don’t expect Google to be supportive either with some suggesting that after sales service, at least in India isn’t quite capable of fixing all issues.
For all of these reasons, it's hard to justify a Google Pixel or Pixel XL today, even after the price cut. The only reason could be knowing that you'll get the latest versions of Android ahead of everyone else - at least until October 2018. If that's enough of a reason for you to spend at least Rs. 44,000, then your choice is pretty simple; for everyone else, the Pixel phones need to go the extra mile to get us on board.