The tech and AI giant, Google, that we all know due to their search engine, Android operating system that all Google phones run, and more, has actually been in the mobile device market for longer than you might know! They went from releasing budget phones, to flagships, to budget phones again, and again to flagships. Buckle up, cause we’re going to take a look at their entire lineup of Google phones, starting from 2010 to 2022!
All Google phones – the Nexus series
Google has mostly been focused on the phone market since they bought the Android project from its former CEO, Andy Rubin, which we will talk about it in a future article. Let’s take a look at the first bunch of all Google phones, the Nexus series!
Google Nexus S
The beginning of it all, the first Google branded phone.
The Google Nexus S was the genesis of Google’s upcoming mobile phone market entry. Released in 2010, the Nexus S was a solid device for its time. Equipped with a Hummingbird processor, 512 MB of RAM, a 5 megapixel camera, and a 1500mAh battery, the Nexus S had decent specs for the time. It also featured a Super AMOLED 4 inch display that was in competition with the iPhone 4 released the same year. Priced at around 170€, the phone was also released with a tempting price tag for the time, as its competitor, the iPhone 4 was released for 30 dollars more. This device was truly the beginning of something wonderful.
Google’s first flagship, with good specs and powerful software.
The Galaxy Nexus, built by Samsung, was an amazing device. It featured a Texas Instruments OMAP processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM, a 5MP camera that could record 1080p video (this was massive for mobile phones at the time), and a 720p Super AMOLED 4.6 inch display. These specs were amazing for the time, and the 1080p camera was also impressive. Priced at 180€, it was a solid competitor for the iPhone of the time, the iPhone 4S. This devices was a true flagship for Android’s history.
Google Nexus 4
A powerful device, held back by a big flaw.
The Google Nexus 4 was also an amazing device, but it had one massive caveat. It was built by LG and released by Google in 2012, it featured a 4.7 inch 768p IPS display (which was slightly sharper than other devices on the market at the time), 2 gigabytes of RAM this time, a Snapdragon S4 Pro, an 8MP camera that could also record 1080p, and wireless charging. It also featured Google’s flagship Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Released at 250€, this device was on par with most devices it was competing with.
However, as I mentioned, it had a massive caveat. The Nexus 4, didn’t feature LTE bands in the United States, it’s main market. This made it basically obsolete the moment it came out, since all of its competitors had LTE, and the Nexus 4 didn’t. An impressive phone that died due to now having a mainstream feature, I personally miss the Nexus 4.
Google Nexus 5
Now, let’s get to the king of Google’s lineup.
The Google Nexus 5 was truly the king of the Nexus lineup. Released in 2013, it was built by LG like its predecessor, featured a Snapdragon 800, 2 gigabytes of RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage, an 8 MP camera, Qi wireless charging, a 2300mAh battery, and a 1080p IPS display, that was amazing for the time. It was released with Android 4.4 KitKat, with Google’s flagship UI of the time. It didn’t lack LTE bands like its predecessor, the Nexus 4, and had a beautiful red model (which you can see above).
Unlike most Google phones at the time, however, this device was quite budget friendly, compared to other devices that released at the time, like the Samsung Galaxy S4, or the iPhone 5S. It released for 250€, and was available with any carrier, and you could buy it unlocked at Google’s online store. I personally owned one of these devices, and I can confirm that this device is truly the king of all Google phones.
Google Nexus 6
The Google Nexus 6 was a powerful, but high priced flagship from Google.
The Nexus 6, unlike previous Google phones, was a not-so-budget-friendly follow up to the Nexus 5 that didn’t sell as much, due to its high price at the time, and other issues. However, the Nexus 6 had some impressive specs. Released in 2014, the Nexus 6 was built by Motorola, and it featured a Snapdragon 805, 3 gigabytes of RAM, a 13 megapixel camera, a 6 inch display (this was massive at the time, due to the bezels and footprint), and a 3220mAh battery.
The specs were impressive, however, the device didn’t sell that well due to its high release price of 420€. This kind of price tag was never seen on Nexus devices, and as a result, the Nexus 6, unfortunately, flopped.
Google Nexus 5X and 6P
The Nexus 5X and the 6P were Google’s return to the budget market, with low priced but powerful devices.
The Nexus 6P was a success, however, due to its software failures, the Nexus 5X failed miserably. The Nexus 5X and 6P were respectively manufactured by LG and Huawei, and featured a Snapdragon 808 and 810, 2 and 3GB of RAM, the same 12 MP 4K camera, and 1080P and 1440P displays. The Nexus 6P was, as I said before, a success. But, the Nexus 5X had a hardware issue that would lead to permanent bootloops, that couldn’t be fixed. This was a chronic issue and it stayed that way, since a fix was never found.
The Nexus 5X and 6P were unfortunately the last Nexus devices, and would mark the end of the Nexus lineup. However, this led to another brand of Google phones to be released.
All Google phones – the Pixel series
We have arrived at the modern series of Google phones, the Pixel series.
Google Pixel & Pixel XL
A new beginning for Google.
The Google Pixel series began with the original Google Pixel devices, and was the second time Google came out with a two-device lineup. and it was a new beginning for Google to get into the flagship mobile device market. The Google Pixel was a breath of fresh air, with a modern design, an fantastic camera due to Google’s software, and decent specs. The Google Pixel was built by HTC in secret, but released as Google phone, and would be the last Google devices to feature a headphone jack (until the Pixel 3a series).
The Google Pixel featured a Snapdragon 821, 4 gigabytes of RAM, a 2770mAh battery on the base model and a 3450mAh battery on the XL model, 5 and 5.5 inch AMOLED displays, 1080p on the base model and 1440p on the XL, and 12 megapixel cameras on both devices. These specs were very good for the time, and competed nicely with the iPhone. The prices were also fairly reasonable, with the Pixel starting at 300€, and the Pixel XL at 400€. This was a new beginning for Google, where they could finally make the flagships they envisioned.
Google Pixel 2 & 2XL
A fatal flaw burned down these devices value.
The Google Pixel 2 series were amazing but had two issues. They were the first Google phones to lack a headphone jack, and the XL model had a horrible AMOLED burn-in issue. Other than that, they were also priced horribly, around 600€ for the base model, and 800€ for the XL model. The specs were decent, and the cameras were amazing as we expect from Google’s phones nowadays, due to their camera app and software.
They both featured a Snapdragon 835, 4 gigabytes of RAM, 12MP cameras, and decently sized batteries, with the base model having a 2700mAh battery, and the XL having a 3520mAh battery. The Pixel 2 had a 16:9 display with fairly large bezels, and the XL had an 18:9 display, which matched competition like the Galaxy S8, and the iPhone X. These specs were good, but they weren’t 600/800€ good. But, they sold nicely, and Google had a decent marketshare at the time.
Google Pixel 3 & 3XL
The Google Pixel 3 series were one of the first Google phones to not have a massive controversy behind them, and featured decent specs at a very high price. The Pixel 3 had a Snapdragon 845, 4 gigabytes of RAM, a 5.5 inch 1080p AMOLED display, and a 2915mAh battery. The Pixel 3XL features the same specs, but instead has a 6.3 inch 1440p display, and a 3430mAh battery, and a massive notch. I lied, the Pixel 3 series also had some controversies, one of which being the massive notch on the 3XL, which many reviewers dunked on at the time.
The Pixel 3 series were the most expensive Google phones that Google ever released until 2018, priced at 800€ for the Pixel 3, and 850€ for the Pixel 3 XL. However, the devices were true flagships, so the pricing made sense.
Google Pixel 3a & 3a XL
Let’s get to the beginning of the budget kings of the Pixel lineup.
The Pixel 3a series were Google’s first attempt at a budget Pixel phone, and the beginning of the Pixel A series, for getting people into the Google ecosystem, at a low price. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL featured a midrange Snapdragon 670, 4 gigabytes of RAM, 1080p 5.3 inch and 6 inch displays, and a 3000mAh and 3700mAh battery. These devices performed amazingly, and had the flagship Pixel 3 series’ excellent cameras as well. And, unlike their flagship relatives, the Pixel 3a series retailed at around 350€ for the base model, and 400€ for the XL model. These prices for this camera performance was amazing, and Google’s first attempt at a budget Pixel was a success.
Google Pixel 4 & 4XL
The face of the Google flagship is back.
The Pixel 4 and 4 XL were one of the least interesting Google phones, due to not having that big of a spec bump, and lacking some features that were available in competitor flagships of the time. The Pixel 4 and 4XL lacked a fingerprint sensor, and featured a massive top bezel, as opposed to the small chin, and the reasoning behind that was the Soli radar sensor, which was promised to be amazing, but lacked any interesting features, so it was just a glorified skip-song sensor. Though, the Pixel 4 was the first dual camera Pixel phone, so there’s that.
The Pixel 4 and 4 XL featured a Snapdragon 855, 6 gigabytes of RAM, Google’s usually amazing cameras, and 90Hz AMOLED displays. The Pixel 4 was 5.7 inches, and the 4 XL was 6.3 inches. They respectively featured 1080p and 1440p displays. The Pixel 4 series were also not sold in India, due to the Soli sensor not being allowed in the country. The pricing didn’t change compared to the Pixel 3 series, and they retailed at around 800€ for the base model and 850€ for the XL model.
Google Pixel 4a
Return of the budget king.
Google’s 2nd attempt at the budget Android phone market was also a success, with the Pixel 4a. The device was the first Pixel device to not feature an XL variant, and featured the same camera as the Pixel 4, a Snapdragon 730G, 6 gigabytes of RAM, and a 3140mAh battery. The camera performance was amazing, and it also brought back the fingerprint sensor, which was removed with the Pixel 4 series, however it lacked Face Unlock. The phone retailed at 350$, and was an amazing deal, so it was a definite win for Google. It was also refreshed in 2021, when it was re-released with a 5G modem.
Google Pixel 5
A budget… flagship? From Google? What universe are we in right now?
The Pixel 5 was Google’s first flagship at a budget price, with budget specs. It featured a Snapdragon 765G 5G, 8 gigabytes of RAM, a 4080mAh battery, a 16 megapixel 4K camera, and a 1080p 6 inch display. It has a 90Hz refresh rate, and decent specs for the price. The camera had the usual Pixel performance, and took amazing photos, the battery life was decent, and the price was right, too. Out of all flagship Google phones, the Pixel 5 was one of the cheapest. It retailed at 699$, and for the specs and camera, it was a great deal.
Google Pixel 5a
And we return to our regularly scheduled budget phone from Google.
The Pixel 5a was another budget phone from Google, which basically had the same specs as the Pixel 5, at a lower price. The Pixel 5a features a Snapdragon 765G, 6 gigabytes of RAM, as opposed to the 8 on the “flagship” variant, the same camera as the Pixel 5, and a bigger battery. These specs were quite impressive, and the device retailed at 449$, as opposed to the 699$ price tag on the Pixel 5. Due to the price gap and similar specs, most users gravitated towards the Pixel 5a, and it was another win for Google’s budget phone division.
Now, lets get to the most recent flagships from Google.
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
The return to true flagships, and an in-house processor, the Pixel 6 series are the most recent flagships from Google.
The Pixel 6 series, are the most innovative Google devices, due to their new design (which slightly resembles the Nexus 6P in my opinion), and Google’s in-house Tensor processors. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro feature Google’s flagship Tensor processor, 8 and 12 gigabytes of RAM, 50 megapixel cameras, 6.4 and 6.7 inch 1080p and 1440p AMOLED displays, with the base model having a 90Hz display, and the Pro having a 120Hz display, under-display optical fingerprint sensors, and the first time Google has dubbed one of its phones “Pro“.
Both phones feature 30W charging, and amazing cameras, as we expect from Google phones. The retail price for the devices was also good, with the base model retailing at 599$, and the Pro model retailing at 899$, which is a little pricey, but you get an amazing phone. The Pixel 6 series are amazing, and very innovative as I mentioned before, and we hope that the upcoming 6a series will be as good as the previous A series phones were.
So, what do you think about Google’s lineup of phones? Do you agree with us? Do you own a Pixel or Nexus? Let us know in our Telegram channel, which you can join here.