The Pixel and Pixel XL mark the first time Google has taken the design, engineering and testing wholly in house. If we didn't know better we'd wager there's an HTC A9 inside. After all, HTC did build the thing.
Bearing these similarities in mind, how does the Pixel XL compare with another of 2016's firebrands, the HTC 10? We thought we'd find out.
Dimensions and design
Google Pixel XL: 154.7x75.7x8.5mm, 168g, USB Type-C
HTC 10: 146x72x9mm, 161g, USB Type-C
If you hadn't noticed, our duo are more than just a little alike. Both are crafted almost entirely from aluminium and glass, and have the same two-tone brushed metal finish. It's hardly surprising considering HTC served as the puppet master behind Google's first phone proper.
The Pixel even mimics the HTC's antenna lines, save for the polished glass 'window' that takes up about a third of the rear. This area houses the phone's 12.3MP camera and fingerprint sensor.
Now here's the funny thing. Despite the Pixel XL's sizable dimensions - 154.7x75.7x8.5mm and 168g - the HTC 10 looks and feels heavier at 145.9x71.9x9mm and 161g.
HTC certainly hasn't shouted about it, but the HTC 10 actually has resistance to the IP53 standard, which is more commonly referred to as rain protection.
Each incorporates a fingerprint sensor into the design. The HTC 10 opts for the more traditional placement on the front bezel, and the Pixel XL locates it on the rear. Both offer high levels of accuracy and responsiveness.
Unlike the Pixel, the HTC 10 is able to take advantage of expandable storage. But instead of combining the two, it places the SIM and microSD slots on opposite sides. Textured power buttons and volume controls live on the right of each handset. Elsewhere you'll find headphone sockets on the top edge, and USB Type-C ports on the bottom.
Google Pixel XL: 5.5in 2560x1440, 534ppi
HTC 10: 5.2in Super LCD, 2560x1440 resolution at 564ppi
Aside from the small difference in panel size, there's not an awful lot between the two. The Pixel XL uses a 5.5in LCD panel that outputs 2,560x1,440 pixels, and the HTC 10's 5.2in Super LCD display offers the same Quad HD resolution.
Put the two phones side by side and the Pixel is clearly the brighter of the two. Both handsets exhibit an abundance of colour that helps with viewing angles, even in the full glare of the sun. Neither exhibits Samsung's heightened levels of pop, but colours are rich and vivid and sharpness makes text extra crisp.
The Pixel XL uses the newer Gorilla Glass 4 as opposed to the Gorilla Glass 3 on the HTC 10.