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Our best alternatives to the Google Pixel and Pixel XL

The Google Pixel and the Pixel XL are the first 100% Google smartphones and are available from October 20 in many countries, though a global release is not expected. Seeing as it's difficult to get your hands on one, especially if you live in a country where Google failed to launch the device, let’s discuss some alternative options. Some of you may not be aware that there are some good (actually, really good) smartphones on the market other than the Pixel phones.

The best alternatives to the Google Pixel

Nexus 5X: Pixel's little brother

Google Pixel offers a flawless Android experience; the best according to Google. If that’s what you're after, the Nexus 5X is your next best option. This latest device in the range of Nexus smartphones (alongside the 6P) is guaranteed to get the latest Android updates. Android O and security updates are therefore guaranteed for the smartphone manufactured by LG. You won’t have access to the Pixel Launcher or the latest version of Google Assistant but this is the closest smartphone to the Pixel as far as software is concerned.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5X 8942
The Nexus 5X offers a true Google experience. © ANDROIDPIT

Of course, the smartphone won’t win any beauty contests for its design that is starting to look a little old-fashioned. Its battery life is quite disappointing and the smartphone often overheats but from a technical point of view, it hold its own. The Nexus 5X features a 5.2 inch screen, 16 or 32 GB of memory, a Snapdragon 808 processor, 2 GB of RAM and an excellent 12.3 megapixel camera, which is among the best in the market at the minute. And finally, another advantage: it’s the least expensive alternative at a little less than $300.

  Nexus 5X
Android version Android 7.0 Nougat
Android O update expected

Display IPS 5.2 niches (Full-HD)
Processor Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808
Graphics Adreno 418
RAM 2 GB
Internal memory 16 and 32 GB
SAR Head: 0.42 W/kg
Body: 0.355 W/kg

Amazon price for Google Nexus 5X
$319.79
Amazon
Lowest price: Google Nexus 5X
$185.00
eBay

Samsung Galaxy S7

It’s difficult to not bring up the Galaxy S7 in this discussion. “The best Android smartphone” offers everything that a smartphone can offer in 2016: an attractive design, exceptional performance, water resistance, the best camera on the market (the Pixel claims to be better) and an eye-catching QHD screen. However, its only fault in the eyes of Android fans is the TouchWiz interface. 

Androidpit s7 tricks 1148
The Galaxy S7 is the camera phone benchmark.. © ANDROIDPIT

Under the hood, the Galaxy S7 features the company’s own Exynos 8890 processor paired with 2 GB of RAM and a 12 megapixel camera. 3000 mAh ensures that the battery life lasts for more than a day even with intensive usage.

  Samsung Galaxy S7
Android version Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Android Nougat update expected

Display Super AMOLED 5.1 inches (QHD)
Processor Exynos 8890
Graphics Mali-T880 MP12
RAM 4 GB
Internal memory 32 GB (with microSD card)
SAR Head: 0.41 W/kg
Bosy: 0.62 W/kg

Amazon price for Samsung Galaxy S7
$569.99
Amazon
Lowest price: Samsung Galaxy S7
$132.99
eBay

HTC 10

Contrary to what some might think, HTC is still alive and kicking. Their latest flagship, the HTC 10, proves it. This brand also manufactured the Google Pixel. Just like the others, the smartphone offers a simple and elegant design. The device is very thin, which makes for excellent device handling. It also benefits from an interface close to Stock Android and offers stereo sound. 

AndroidPIT HTC 10 Hands on 5033
The HTC 10 doesn’t overheat like the Nexus 5X tends to. © ANDROIDPIT

Regarding performance, the HTC 10 offers technical specifications that are typical for 2016 flagships with a Snapdragon 820 processor and 4 GB of RAM. As for the camera, you’ll find a 20 megapixel sensor with excellent image quality.

  HTC 10
Android version Android 6.0.1 Marsmallow
Android Nougat update likely

Display AMOLED 5.2 inches (QHD)
Processor Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820
Graphics Adreno 530
RAM 4 GB
Internal memory 32 et 64 GB (microSD slot)
SAR Head: 0.417 W/kg
Body: 0.174 W/kg

Amazon price for HTC 10
$558.05
Amazon

Huawei P9

The Huawei P9 is the alternative that is the most different from the Google Pixel as its interface is more like iOS than Android and the updates are slow to arrive (if they arrive at all). This doesn’t make it any less of a good phone and for people looking for a reliable and inexpensive flagship smartphone, the Huawei P9 is an excellent alternative.  

AndroidPIT huawei p9 1459
The P9 also has an ultra-efficient fingerprint reader. © AndroidPIT

The Huawei P9’s dual camera system is its main feature. Gamers or multi-taskers have nothing to fear regarding the performance of this Chinese smartphone. Its in-house Kirin 955 processor and 4 GB of RAM are more than enough. Finally, its 3000 mAh battery ensures excellent longevity. 

  Huawei P9
Android version Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Android Nougat update likely

Display IPS 5.2 inches (Full-HD)
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 955
Graphics Mali-T880 MP4
RAM 4 GB
Internal memory 32 GB
Sar Head: 1.43 W/kg
Body: 0.55 W/kg

Lowest price: Huawei P9
$470.00
Newegg.com

The best alternatives to Google Pixel XL

Nexus 6P

Like the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6P is one of the first smartphones to receive the latest Android updates. Although it is not available to buy from the Play store anymore, the smartphone can easily be found on Amazon and various shopping sites. Even a year after its release, the Nexus 6P is still one of the best Android smartphones. 

androidpit Nexus 6P 14
The Nexus 6X is without a doubt the best alternative to the Pixel XL. © ANDROIDPIT

Its camera abilities are as good as the Nexus 5X. The Nexus 6P’s 5.7 inch AMOLED screen and metal encased design give it an undeniably premium look. The device is larger than the Pixel XL but is just as thin. So if you’re looking for a smartphone that has a similar software interface to the Pixel XL, the Nexus 6P is your number one option.

  Nexus 6P
Android version Android 7.0 Nougat
Android O update expected

Display AMOLED 5.7 inches (QHD)
Processor Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810
Graphics Adreno 430
RAM 3 GB
Internal memory 32 and 64 GB
SAR Head: 1.49 W/kg
Body: - W/kg

Amazon price for Google Nexus 6P
$500.00
Amazon
Lowest price: Google Nexus 6P
$400.00
eBay

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

As the Google Pixel XL is the larger version of the Google Pixel, it makes sense to recommend the larger version of the Galaxy S7, which is none other than the Galaxy S7 Edge. There are a few differences between the Edge and the original version. The screen is slightly bigger and curved in at both sides. More importantly, the battery has a higher capacity.  

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 edge review
The Galaxy S7 Edge is the most attractive alternative to the Google Pixel XL. © ANDROIDPIT

From a technical point of view, there are no surprises. In the absence of the Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy S7 Edge is the most successful Samsung smartphone. Samsung has received various awards for this mobile achievement.

  Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Android version Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Android Nougat update expected

Display Super AMOLED 5.5 inches (QHD)
Processor Exynos 8890
Graphics Mali-T880 MP12
RAM 4 GB
Internal memory 32 GB (with microSD card reader)
SAR Head: 0.264 W/kg
Body: 0.507 W/kg

Amazon price for Samsung Galaxy S7
$569.99
Amazon
Lowest price: Samsung Galaxy S7
$132.99
eBay

OnePlus 3

The “flagship killer” brand, as it likes to call itself, launched their new OnePlus 3 device last June. Although this device doesn’t particularly stand out for its design, it’s a preview that shows us how much OnePlus has refined its concept. The smartphone offers a performance equal to the Google Pixel thanks to 6 GB of memory.

AndroidPIT OnePlus3 soft gold 6523
The OnePlus 3 is the latest flagship killer from the Chinese brand. © AndroidPIT

Regarding the camera, OnePlus' latest newcomer doesn’t need to shy away from competing with the Pixel XL.  Although its 5.5 inch Optic AMOLED screen doesn’t have QHD resolution, it’s one of the best Android displays since its most recent update. Oxygen OS is also relatively close to Stock Android. Those who have a digital allergy to manufacturer user interfaces will be thrilled.

  OnePlus 3
Android version Android 6.01 Marshmallow
Android Nougat update expected

Ecran Optic AMOLED 5.5 inches (Full-HD)
Processeur Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820
Puce graphique Adreno 530
RAM 6 GB
Mémoire interne 64 GB
DAS Head: 0.39 W/kg
Body: 0.32 W/kg

Huawei Mate 8

While we wait for its successor to be introduced next month, the Mate 8 could also be considered an alternative to the Google Pixel XL. However, it shouldn’t be your first choice unless battery life is the most important aspect for you. The Huawei Mate 8 is a worthy successor to the Ascend Mate 7 with a 4000 mAh battery that easily lasts for a day and a half without needing to be charged. 

Huawei Mate 8 hero 2
The Mate 8 is big for a smartphone. © ANDROIDPIT

Among its many special features, the Mate 8 offers an attractive 6 inch screen, making it the largest device in our selection of alternative choices to the Pixel XL. The Mate 8 features a Kirin 950 processor with 3 GB of RAM and a 13 megapixel camera.

  Huawei Mate 8
Android version Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Android Nougat update unknown

Display IPS 6 inches (Full-HD)
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 950
Graphics Mali-T880 MP4
RAM 3 GB
Internal memory 32 GB
SAR Head: 1.18 W/kg
Body: - W/kg

Lowest price: Huawei P9
$470.00
Newegg.com

We hope that you have found your perfect smartphone match in our list. If not, tell us about your chosen alternative device in the comments below this article.

17 comments

Write new comment:
  • How about ZTE Axon 7? It's an amazing and beautiful phone, for just US$400.

  • No ZTE, or Alcatel? :-]p

  • What about Sony z5 premium? Waterproof,fingerprint sensor,4K screen

  • What about the LG V20? It's already running Android 7; is good looking with top tier specs.

  • Motorola anyone? Motorola newest flagship Moto Z, Z force and even Z play are great phones, yes the Force is Verizon only, but the other phones you can get in most places, the reason alot of people loved Nexus was because of pure android and there low pricetag, now with the pixel if you want a stock experience too a low price your better bet is iPhone (I says stock now stock android)... And that is scary, futher more I whom live on Norway won't be able too get my hands on a pixel yet... And it's way too expensive for my taste. Moto Z with its Moto Mods is a better alternative then Samsung, because i still love the stock android, I have been using a Huawei for 2 months and it's killing me too see how bad somebody can make android. You aren't forces into using the mods they are just a nice touch, but on Samsung too get around a bunch of the apps you have too live with 20+ disabled apps.. I manage too live with Samsung note 3 for 2 days before I went mental on the software, even with now launcher. So too the guy below(or above I don't know where this comment will be placed) why do you say that you have too be paid too say things about Motorola? The name of the article is "our best alternative too pixel and pixel XL" but when they ignore Motorola they are ignoring the very thing alot of people loved Nexus for...

  • What about the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe? With a beautiful AMOLED 5.7 inch display, an 820/821 processor, 6gb RAM, a slender and elegant metal body, and a 23mp camera with OIS and EIS, I'd pick this over some of the other phones you listed. In fact, I own one and it's great!

    • Hi Steven, just out of curiosity, how is the OS implementation on the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe? I was considering this phone for myself, too, but bloatware and cartoonish touch could be a deal breaker... Thanks for letting me (us) know.

  • Fact check: Nexus 6P display is 5.7 inches, and not 5.5 inches.

  • 8
    Darcy 1 month ago Link to comment

    I don't desire either of the Google phones, they're "cloud" devices so of no interest to me. I'm pretty happy with my Motorola Moto X Style, the only thing that would improve it would be to free it of Marshmallow, which has not been a good experience. Just hope Motorola/Lenovo keep their word about Android Nougat, and send it to us sooner rather than later!

  • Fact check: HTC 10 has a 12 megapixel (Ultra Pixel) rear camera, not 20! It is the same sensor used in the Nexus 6P

  • The biggest problem with Motorola.. Verizon only. The only reason any Android site would recommend a Motorola product is if Motorola or Verizon paid them to.

  • along with Moto I think you should have Sony in that list..
    not that many flagships with stereo speakers and waterproofing..

  • No Moto Z, Z Force, or Z Play? They are great alternatives for people looking for a Nexus substitute. Even without Moto Mods, they are great phones.

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