Google was very careful when picking the display of the Pixel XL - yes, a 5.5" diagonal is an industry standard, but the resolution and type of display were chosen to benefit its VR effort Daydream.
QHD resolution makes for a sharp 534ppi pixel density. VR is unforgiving when it comes to pixel density, even though outside this viewing case we find 1080p to be enough.
There is a "Display size" setting that changes the scale of the UI, something we're normally used to seeing in heavily customized ROMs. You can adjust it to your eyesight - if it's good, the high pixel density allows for small, dense text. Or you can take it easy and bump up the scale to make things readable (there's a separate setting for font size).
The Pixel XL uses an AMOLED display, specifically a low-persistence display. There is an option called "low motion blur" in the settings and it is specifically for Daydream. You can turn it off entirely, but not enable it for normal operation - it achieves the high frame rate required for VR (and removes ghosting) but is too demanding for regular phone use.
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The 5.5" screen is reasonably bright - 430nits at maximum - but lacks the boost some AMOLEDs do in Auto mode and very bright conditions.
This could have affected its best-case sunlight legibility, but the truth is that the Pixel XL screen is one of the best we have tested under a bright light.
The color accuracy is fairly average - nothing like the accurate Nexus 5X screen or even the HTC 10, which scored pretty well in sRGB mode. The Pixel XL lacks any color screen modes besides the night-time blue light filter, so you are essentially stuck in the Vivid mode of the HTC 10.
For reference, the Pixel XL screen posted an average deltaE of 5.4 and a maximum of 13, compared to HTC 10's avg 2.9/max 5.8 and iPhone 7 Plus' avg 1.3/max 4.
After some digging, we found an sRGB option hidden in the Developer settings. Enabling it dropped the average deltaE to a very good 2.6 and the maximum to 4.7. That makes it better than the HTC 10, though still far from iPhone's accuracy.
Color accuracy is only part of the equation - the color gamut (the number of possible colors) is another. Apple already dove into that market with Wide color gamut displays on the iPad Pro and now iPhone 7 Plus. Samsung has been sticking closely to sRGB and even introduced HDR on the Galaxy Note7 (while that model failed, it's almost certain that the Galaxy S8 will have an HDR screen too).
The Google Pixel XL uses the latest commercially available modem, the Snapdragon X12, and it supports LTE Cat. 11 - that's 600/75Mbps (limited to Cat. 9 450/50Mbps on some carriers).
For supreme audio quality there's Ultra HD Voice, which works either over VoLTE or Wi-Fi (side note: if you use Google's Project Fi carrier, Wi-Fi calling will be a common occurrence). You need carrier support for this, of course, but Qualcomm says it is more resilient towards spotty connectivity than regular HD Voice.
Also, the Qualcomm Fluence Pro technology is used for the noise cancellation. Interestingly, it uses two microphones for the handset and three mics when you use the loudspeaker (as you can imagine, the Pixel XL has three mics).
The rest of the wireless connectivity holds no surprises - fast Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac (2x2 MIMO), Bluetooth 4.2 (with A2DP and LE), A-GPS with GLONASS and NFC. The latter is used for the Android Pay service, secured by the fingerprint reader, the Pixel Imprint.
Wired connectivity has USB Type-C running at USB 3.0 speeds, but no TV out functionality. Oh, and let's not forget the headphone jack on top! With USB Type-C supporting analog audio, it wasn't a given that Google will keep the old-school port.
The Google Pixel XL packs a 3,450mAh battery - not bad for a 5.5" phone. The Nexus devices never had a reputation for great battery life, perhaps the Pixels can turn things around.
The USB Type-C port supports fast charging - Google says that in just 15 minutes of charging, the phone will have 7 hours of "mixed use". In our measurement, the supplied charger charged the battery from 0 to 46% in just 30 minutes.
The charger uses the USB Power Delivery standard (instead of QuickCharge and the like), which is rated at 18W. If you try using a Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0 charger with the Pixel XL, it would default to 5V/2A charging current, which is not bad either.
Google has fit a fairly large battery and with the latest iteration of the battery-saving Doze feature, it managed to squeeze a 78 hour Endurance rating out of it. This beats the iPhone 7 Plus (which, to be fair, has a smaller battery), but isn't as good as Galaxy S7 edge's 98 hours (well, 67 hours if you want to use the Always on screen).
The Pixel XL lived up to its promised 32 hours of talk time and even over-delivered slightly. It didn't last the promised 14 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, though - we only measured about 9 and a half hours. That's hours behind both the iPhone 7 Plus and Galaxy S7 edge. The video playback got closer to the official 14 hour mark, but not that close. For comparison, the S7 edge lasted 20 hours of playing video.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.