Enter, Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XLBuilt to be not just another run of the mill Android flagship, Google intends the premium-priced Pixel devices to be the deterrent for users who want the high-end feel of the iPhone. If you have been an iPhone user for most of your life and wondering how the Android life feels, The Pixel 2 at $649 and the Pixel 2 XL at $949 should seem enticing.After all, you get to enjoy the stock Android experience with updates rolling out in priority since all your updates come directly from Google. Now that Google is not just the vendor, but also a competitor in the race for the best smartphones, it means competing with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8 and many others.Following in the footsteps of its predecessors from last year, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is being pushed forward as the official flagship devices for the Android OS – but are they really perfect? Here are our first impressions of what Google has in store this year, with all the reasons you’re going to love (and hate) it.
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL specsJust as you’d expect from a successor flagship smartphone, both the Pixel devices released this year get a significant hardware and software upgrade. Before we jump into the details of what Google offers with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, here’s a complete specs sheet for all the geeks out there who want to get right to business.
Google Pixel 2
Google Pixel 2 XL
|Android 8.0 Oreo with Google UI||Android 8.0 Oreo with Google UI|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 835||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|5-inch 1920x1080 AMOLED Gorilla Glass 5 2.5D glass, 441ppi 95% DCI-P3 color space||6-inch 2880x1440 pOLED Gorilla Glass 5 3D glass, 538ppi 100% DCI-P3 color space|
|12.2MP f/1.8 1.4μm pixels, OIS, EIS, PDAF, LDAF||12.2MP f/1.8 1.4μm pixels, OIS, EIS, PDAF, LDAF|
|8MP, 1.4μm pixels, f/2.4, fixed focus||8MP, 1.4μm pixels, f/2.4, fixed focus|
|4K @30fps, 1080p @120fps, 720p @240fps||4K @30fps, 1080p @120fps, 720p @240fps|
|2700 mAh Non-removable||3520 mAh Non-removable|
|USB-PD, 18W rapid Charging||USB-PD, 18W rapid Charging|
|USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.0||USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Yes, on rear||Yes, on rear|
|Active Edge sides, eSIM||Active Edge sides, eSIM|
|64 / 128GB||64 / 128GB|
|Yes, IP67||Yes, IP67|
|Kinda Blue, Just Black, Clearly White||Black & White, Just Black|
|3 years||3 years|
|145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm||157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm|
|143 g||175 g|
Design and build qualityKeeping alive the form factor and visual aesthetics of the original Pixel from last year, Google has made certain improvements to the design. One significant difference comes in the form of the metallic surface, which has more of a soft silicone coating to it compared to the cold and hard aluminum. While the rigidity of the metal still exists, a softer feel to the device does make it much easier to grip.The glass panel on the back of the phone is still present but made shorter by moving over the fingerprint sensor. This somehow makes the oddly placed glass visor seem more natural while keeping the smudges off your fingerprint away during regular usage. With three different color schemes for the Pixel 2 and two variations for the Pixel 2 XL, but the Just Blue is definitely going to be a fan-favorite.
The displayWhile the Pixel XL from last year simply seemed like a jumbo version of the Pixel, the two devices released this year can be drawn apart right from the display screen. The Pixel 2 is somewhat closer visually to the successors, with a standard bezel and chin, along with the newly added front-facing speakers that the audiophiles should be ecstatic about.However, the Pixel 2 XL, which has been developed by LG, gets the bezel-less look similar to the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8. Harboring LG’s pOLED display technology that the newly unveiled LG V30 packs as well, the Pixel 2 XL comes with the mesmerizing 18:9 aspect ratio.The rounded corners compared to the rectangular ones on the Pixel 2, along with a 3D curved display makes for one of the strongest differentiating points between the two devices. While the bezels on the Pixel 2 aren’t too distracting, the fact that its larger brother comes with the trending bezel-less display and twice the resolution makes it worth the premium price point.
The cameraDespite the innovation of the Infinity Display that has become an industry standard, Samsung got quite the hate for not improving the camera on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. With the Galaxy Note 8 now sporting a dual-lens setup, you’d expect Google to uphold the fashion as well. After all, the Pixel was rated highest on the DxOMark camera test last year, which is quite an act to follow.Despite finding just one camera lens on the rear side of the device, Google is doubling down its commitment with incredible hardware and software support for the camera. With a 12.2MP sensor on both the Pixel 2 devices, the wider f/1.8 aperture comes with support with the cherished optical image stabilization support.However, the real banger is Google’s very own image processing technology that is second to none in the industry, where even iPhone’s prized “Portrait Mode” can be replicated even without the dual-lens setup. All of this comes with the dual pixel autofocus system and tons of machine learning that goes on in the back door of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which promises to deliver the Portrait Mode even on its front-facing camera.
The softwareEven if you’re dead-set on an Android smartphone, the fact that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL come directly from Google makes it a mouth-watering treat. The software is a huge part of the Android experience, and these devices come with Android 8.0 Oreo baked right out of the box, which not only brings along a range of UI tweaks and subtle performance improvements but the promise of premium Google services and apps as well.Google has moved its iconic search bar to the bottom of the screen on the new Pixel devices, making room for a smarter calendar/appointment widget on the top. While most of the software tweaks can be expected over time, a unique addition that you get right away is the Active Edge feature, which is inspired by the Edge Sense feature that HTC recently rolled out.What this feature essentially does is let you set the pressure sensitivity for when you press the sides of your device and help you set customizable commands for every time you “squeeze” your phone. One other exciting addition that is presently reserved for Pixel 2 devices is Google Lens, which connects the goodness of Google Assistant to your camera. Putting their visual AI tech to good use, the Google Lens feature should allow you to grab information from the images you capture.
Bye bye headphone jackWho doesn’t remember the jab Google took at Apple for ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus just last year. The official trailer for the Pixel from 2016 mocks the Cupertino company for its decision and pointing out that the Pixel has a “3.5mm headphone jack, satisfyingly not new”. Well, you can call Google a hypocrite, now that they have silently removed the headphone jack from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.While the IP67 water-resistant rating does bring some ease, it does not justify the decision, especially since the competitors offer the headphone jack alongside a high water-resistance rating. For some of us, the thought of using a smartphone without a headphone jack seems unimaginable, but the move just goes to prove Apple’s point when they removed the headphone jack and gave themselves a pat on the back in the name of “courage”.
New accessoriesWhile Google may have been silent on the whole issue of the missing headphone jack, they have been considerate enough to help users address the issue. Rivalling the Apple AirPods come Google’s very own Pixel Buds, which are wireless in principle, but still, come with a tether that attaches the right and left earpieces.Just like the AirPods have Siri, the Pixel Buds have the ability to activate Google Assistant with just a quick tap but is restricted to the Pixel devices for now. Apart from being built for comfort with an adjustable loop to keep them on your ears firmly, Google’s software kicks in to give a little extra. With support for over 40 different languages, Pixel Buds come with Google Translate support to help you become multilingual on the fly.While Apple hasn’t even scratched the surface in the VR industry, Google already has the Daydream VR platform up and running. With the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, the company also debuted the Daydream View 2 virtual reality headset to keep the VR fans covered. In terms of design and look, the fabric-clad headset with its controller is practically untouched.However, Google has upped the price of the Daydream View VR headset from $79 last year to $99. Apart from a couple of design tweaks to accommodate the newer Pixel devices and allegedly improved lenses for a better visual experience, the product is now also being sold in new colors – Charcoal, Fog, and Coral.
Our thoughts on Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XLThere’s only so much you can get out of a smartphone with first impressions, but even so, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL has our engines revving. A fitting reply to its claim last year of being the best at everything Android, the reiteration of the premium smartphone from Google is a worthy competitor in today’s intensely competitive market.Ever since Qualcomm Snapdragon became the standard in high-end processors, there’s not much you can negotiate over when it comes to hardware. However, adopting an improved camera and excelling despite the lack of a dual-lens setup makes the Pixel and Pixel 2 a must-have for photography enthusiasts. Similarly, having the dual-front facing stereo speakers will surely add a whole new dimension to the surround sound experience for audiophiles.The single biggest disappointment from the 2017 flagship from Google is the removal of the headphone jack, but people have grown far more tolerant to that over the past couple of years, thanks to Apple. While the larger Pixel XL from last year had nothing more than a bigger battery and display to justify its price, the bezel-less display adopted by Google in support of LG does make it worth the extra couple hundred dollars.Again, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL aren’t even out yet in the markets, so there’s a whole lot more than we need to uncover in terms of performance, daily usage, and battery life. However, the Phone by Google on paper at least seems to be the gold standard by which every other Android device will be measured, and a fitting choice for many who are abandoning the Apple camp and joining team Google.Are you among the Android users who will be flocking to the nearest store for the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. What are your thoughts on everything that the flagship Android from Google has to offer this year, and the little things it doesn’t? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below or be the first to start a conversation on Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on the Updato Forum.
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October 11th, 2017
October 11th, 2017