Google's flashy new Pixel phones have opened for pre-order and arrive on the high street on 20 October. The handsets replace Google's long-standing Nexus range and are instead a direct affront on devices like the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7, featuring flagship specs and a price tag to match.
The Pixel comes in two sizes, 5in and 5.5in, and is the first smartphone to come with Google Assistant built in. It's also Daydream-ready, which means it's designed for use with Google's new virtual reality headset, Daydream View. Hardware specs include a Snapdragon 821 chipset, fingerprint sensor, up to 128GB and, apparently, the best smartphone camera ever built.
The Pixel phone won't be as widely available as rival devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7, due to the nature of Google's agreements with network operators. Saying that, it should be easier to pick up on high street than previous Nexus devices, which in the past have sometimes proved difficult to track down outside of the Google Store.
As always, it's a good idea to shop around to see who's offering the best deals and figure out whether going SIM-free will be better in the long run.
Google is stocking SIM-free versions of the Pixel and Pixel XL on the Google Store. The five-inch Pixel will cost you £599 for the 32GB model, or £699 if you want 128GB. The Pixel XL costs £719 for 32GB, or £819 for 128GB.
We'd note here that Google is bundling unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos with the Pixel phone, which will be saved in their original resolution all the way up to 4K. Being the case, it might be worth figuring out whether you still need all that storage space before you spring for the more expensive models, particularly if you use music and video streaming services.
EE is the exclusive network partner for the Pixel handsets and as such is the only UK network operator that will stock the phones.
The Pixel is available for free on a £50.99 a month, 24 month 4GEE plan, which comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 10GB of mobile data a month for existing customers. The Pixel XL is also available free on a £55.99 a month, 24 month plan, and comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 10GB of mobile data a month for existing customers.
4GEE Plan customers also get unlimited minutes, texts and 500MB of data a month for use abroad in the EU.
For £5 more per month, customers can get the Pixel and Pixel XL on 4GEE Max plans, which offers faster 4G speeds and access to the BT Sport App. Customers who pre-order the Pixel before 20 October will receive a £50 Google Play voucher.
Carphone Warehouse is offering the Pixel phone on EE, Vodafone, iD and O2 pay monthly contracts, as well as SIM-free.
Recommended deals for the Pixel start at £42 from Vodafone. This includes 6GB of data plus unlimited calls and texts and 500MB of data to use abroad. The handset costs £79.99 upfront, which increases to £159.99 if you opt for the XL.
For £5 more a month, you can get 12GB of 4G data and 2GB to use abroad, while the handset cost drops to £39.99, or £199 for the XL.
Next up is a plan from EE which includes 10GB of data, unlimited calls and texts, 500MB roaming data and six months of free Apple Music for £50.99 a month. The upfront cost is £9.99 for both the Pixel and Pixel XL.
O2 is offering the Pixel for £45 a month, plus £29.99 upfront (£109.99 for the XL). This includes 5GB of data unlimited calls and texts and a £50 Google Play Store voucher. You can get the handset for free for the same amount per month if you're happy with just 1GB data.
Carphone Warehouse is offering the Pixel on its own network, iD, although the data offers are limited. The cheapest tariff offers 1GB data, 600 minutes and 5,000 texts for £37.50 a month, with an upfront cost of £129.99, or £239.99 for the Pixel XL.
Carphone Warehouse has several more contract deals for the Pixel and Pixel XL, so it's worth visiting the website to have a look for yourself.