Google’s Nexus programme gave birth to a pure Android smartphone or two every year. The idea behind Nexus was always to showcase Android in its purest form, away from the poking and prodding of manufacturer skins. Importantly, Nexus was a chance for Google to say “this is what Android is”.

But this year brings some big changes. The biggest change is a shift from the Nexus program entirely and into Pixel. The message is clear from the Pixel launch: in 2016, it’s all about being “Made By Google.”

Here is everything you need to know about the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

  • Two smartphones, probably made by HTC
  • Launched as Pixel devices, not Nexus

Google has changed things up for 2016, opting for Pixel branding instead ofNexus. Of course, Google hasn’t just built a factory that assembles smartphones so a manufacturer is behind the Pixel and Pixel XL, though it might never be confirmed who.

The weight of rumours suggest HTC is responsible, and both devices look like HTC-built handsets, even if we will likely only ever know them as “Made By Google”. Sources talking to The Information earlier in 2016 claimed that Google was looking to play a much greater role in the hardware design, as well as software, making the smartphone manufacturer more of a contractor than a partner, which has clearly happened.

  • Metal body with an upper rear section made of glass
  • Same design, different sizes, both 8.6mm slim
  • Rear fingerprint sensor

The Pixel is the smaller of the two devices, while the Pixel XL is the larger, suggested in its name. The Pixel measures 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm and weighs 143g, while the Pixel XL measures 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm and weighs 168g.

Both have the same design, offering a mostly metal build with a glass panel for the top third of the rear. Within this panel is a centralised, circular fingerprint sensor, while the rear camera and flash sit flush in the top left corner.

There’s a chamfer at the front edges, similar to what you’ll find on the HTC 10. Speakers are positioned at the bottom of the devices, either side of the USB Type-C charging port. The power button and volume rocker are both on the right-hand side of the device but that’s it when it comes to physical buttons.

The front of both handsets sees just a speaker at the top, with a sensor below and a front camera in the top on the left. The Pixel and Pixel XL will be available in Quite Black, Very Silver and Really Blue colour options.

  • Google Pixel has a 5-inch Full HD display
  • Google Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch Quad HD display
  • Both offer Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection

As we mentioned above, the Pixel is the smaller of the two new devices, offering a 5-inch AMOLED display. It has a Full HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 441ppi and it has Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection.