The Google Pixel phones are known for a few things: for having top-end cameras and photography software, for providing the cleanest version of Google’s Android operating system, and for their smaller and easier-to-hold sizes.
So if you’re in the market for a new phone, a Google Pixel handset could be one of the ones worth considering, especially if those selling points sound perfect for you.
It’s worth noting though that if you’re actually looking just for Android phones in general – handsets running Google’s operating system – then we’ve got a guide for the best Android phones here. This is a guide for smartphones that were actually made by Google, not just running Google’s software.
Best phones by brand
Google doesn’t put out that many handsets each year, at least not compared to many other companies, but it can still be hard working out which of its phones are for you. Should you go for one of the ‘standard’ phones or stretch to an XL model? Do you want one of the flagship phones or perhaps one of the cheaper A-series devices?
And, perhaps most importantly of all, do you want to buy one of the company’s more recent handsets or perhaps go for an older Pixel phone that might be a bit more affordable?
To help you get your head around all the best phones for you, we’ve ranked all the Pixel phones, from the original Google Pixel all the way to the most recent Pixel 4a. The list below though contains just the best of the bunch – the ones you should actually consider buying.
This list will constantly change as Google brings out more Pixel phones. We’re expecting the Pixel 5 to be unveiled quite soon, and that will likely land alongside an XL model. We’ve also heard a 5G version of the Pixel 4a could be coming along, which might get its own ranking in this list or at least bump up the Pixel 4a’s score.
So if you’re just interested in what the best Pixel phone is because you like to keep abreast of cool tech, keep checking back to see where these new phones land. And if you’re in the market for a new Pixel phone, we’ve included links below each entry so you can see the price for the handset in your region.
Best Pixel phones at a glance
- Google Pixel 4 XL
- Google Pixel 4
- Google Pixel 3 XL
- Google Pixel 4a
- Google Pixel 3
- Google Pixel 3a
Best Pixel phones
The Google Pixel 4 XL tops our list of the best Pixel phones – it’s the most high-end device the company has put out to date, and it also avoids some of the pitfalls its non-XL sibling had.
The Google Pixel 4 XL has a top-end camera, high-quality display, two selfie cameras, and a few neat features designed just for the Pixel 4 range like Soli, offering touch-free gesture controls.
Sure, the phone is a bit behind in a few ways – its chipset was slightly dated even at the time of release, its battery is rather small, and it doesn’t have as much storage as some phones. But its strengths outweigh its weaknesses and that’s why it’s at the top of this list.
Read our full Google Pixel 4 XL review
We were initially disappointed by the Google Pixel 4, but after using it for a while we can concede that it’s a great phone with a few big issues.
The Google Pixel 4’s battery life just isn’t up to snuff, and there’s no fingerprint scanner. This means you’re forced to use facial recognition to unlock the phone, which is certainly temperamental.
If you can look past these issues though, you’re left with a phone with a beautiful FHD+ 90Hz display, a top-end camera and fantastic image optimization software, and a design that makes it super easy to grip.
Like the Pixel 4 XL, this handset isn’t perfect, but depending on what you’re looking for it might be good for you.
Read our full Google Pixel 4 review
The Google Pixel 3 XL is one of the oldest phones on this list, but it’s more affordable than some of the others as a result, which is why we can recommend it to you.
The Pixel 3 XL has a great camera as we’ve come to expect from Pixel phones, but it also has a high-quality screen and, slightly unusually for a Pixel phone, a long-lasting battery too. It was a great phone when it came out, and it still is, even though it’s getting on a bit now.
The phone has been discontinued, but if you can find it somewhere it’s definitely worth considering.
Read our full Google Pixel 3 XL review
The Google Pixel 4a is the company’s affordable take on the Pixel 4, with a few corners cut from the Pixel 4 in order to get the cost lower.
It has a single rear camera, a plastic body, and a physical fingerprint sensor, all traits of cheap phones, but if you don’t want all the top features of the Pixel 4 you likely won’t mind those compromises.
In addition it’s a pretty small phone, and given how rare sub-6-inch-screen phones are in 2020, that might be enough to sway some.
Read our full Google Pixel 4a review
The smallest Pixel phone on this list is the Google Pixel 3, released alongside the Pixel 3 XL higher on this list.
The Google Pixel 3 gives you the company’s camera hardware and UI software in a small frame, so you can easily use one hand to take pictures, scroll through social media, or play games.
It’s one of the oldest phones on this list, so you can get it at a discount from its original price, but it might not last as long and has slightly outdated hardware compared to the others higher on this list.
But if you don’t need cutting-edge hardware or all the newest tech, it could be a good option for you.
Read our full Google Pixel 3 review
When the Google Pixel 3a launched alongside the 3a XL it kicked off the Pixel a-series, as there wasn’t a Pixel a or Pixel 2a. It introduced to phone fans the concept of Pixel phones with reduced features and missing specs, but the same clean Android software and impressive camera capabilities.
The Pixel 3a may have a plastic body, single front-facing camera and lesser chipset than the standard Pixel 3, but its lower price more than makes up for that.
The Pixel 3a won over phone fans, which is likely why we got a 4a, and although the Pixel 4 and 4a are newer and don’t cost a huge amount more than the 3a, some buyers might still prefer the older device.
Read our full Google Pixel 3a review