CTECHGoogleGoogle Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Review

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Review

There had been many leaks surrounding Google’s next pixel phones in the past indicating a whole host of features and design renders. However, the wait is over and the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is finally here. Google released the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on October 4th, 2017. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are both impressive phones. They both reshape and polish the already impressive original Google Pixel. The Google Pixel 2 brought general improvements to its predecessor, the Google Pixel. Beginning from the designs and ending with the camera. To cut to the chase, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both have us exciting. The Phone’s narrower bezels and and slimmer thinner body are only, the proverbial, icing of the cake. Google further improved an already great camera, perhaps the best, with the Pixel 2’s camera. The Android Oreo driven device comes with Active Edge which is Google’s version of the HTC Squeeze feature. Squeezing the edges activates Google Assistant.



It’s not just the outside of the phone that has us excited. The specs, including the Snapdragon 835 processor, improvements made to the camera and the intriguing Active Edge feature, look to put it up against (and in some regards, beat down) the toughest round of competition ever put forward by leading manufacturers.

When it launches worldwide later this year, the Pixel 2 XL will ship for the hiked-up price of US$849/GY$187,000 for the base 64GB model, while the 256GB is priced at US$949/GY$209,000 – we’re getting close to the ceiling in terms of prices set by the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone X.

Design and Active Edge

After an incredible year for smartphones, which so far has seen the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8, iPhone X, LG V30, Essential Phone and many more boundary-pushing entries, especially in respect to design. Google could have done a much better job with the Pixel 2s. Now, let me be clear, the Pixel 2 and Xl’s design is not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but considering the phone is being sold as a flag ship and in the same categories as the other top ranking phones, we feel that the design for the two Pixel 2s simply does deliver the “WOW” the other top-tier smartphones does, namely the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Note 8. Needless to say, the design is simple and elegant and would suffice for a modern 2017 design.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

One positive amongst the barrage of design criticisms, however, is the front-facing speakers. Last year’s Google Pixel’s design was the phone biggest downfall and whats worst is the gigantic forehead and chip of the phone. This year, Google made better use of that space by placing front-facing speakers. Not fully making full use of the bezels, but atleast its a step in the right direction.

The Pixel 2 is following a slowly growing pack of smartphones with no 3.5mm headphone jack. This might be a little more forgivable if Google had not gone out of its way to rake Apple over the coals last year by proudly proclaiming the presence of a headphone jack.

That gripe aside, the design is a little underwhelming, but the software and enhanced Google services that lie underneath make for an impressive package overall. This year’s “Made by Google” smartphones are IP67 water and dust resistant. The Pixel 2 can be had in three colors, Just Black, Clearly White, and Kinda Blue. Sadly, the latter is available only through Verizon, the sole carrier retailer for the Pixel 2 smartphones.

Display

The Pixel 2 packs a 5-inch display of the AMOLED variety. Like last year’s smaller Pixel, full-HD is along for the ride with a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. While not a pixel-density crushing spec, 441 pixels-per-inch is more than enough to enjoy any type of media or user interaction. It also means we can expect great performance and excellent battery life since the processor and GPU will not likely break a sweat.

Camera

You will want to use that storage too, because the Pixel 2 promises to continue the baseline of excellence set by its predecessor. While dual-cameras are all the rage it seems, last year’s Pixel can still hold its own against 2017’s flagships, and that is why we are not disappointed to see a single sensor on the Pixel. Measuring in at 12.2-megapixels with an f1.8 aperture, the Pixel’s main camera adds optical image stabilization to the well-executed digital stabilization that impressed us last year. Laser-assisted autofocus remains as well.
True to Google’s form, AI drives a lot of the features of this camera, particularly its own take on Portrait Mode. Instead of relying on a second camera to collect data enabling the bokeh effect, the dual-pixel implementation allows Google’s algorithms to do the heavy lifting. Google earned new bragging rights again this year for the camera, with DXOMark giving the Pixel 2 camera a score of 98.

Pricing, availability, and expectations

You can pre-order the Google Pixel 2 now, including Verizon devices, direct from Google. The 64GB model costs $649, and the 128GB option is $749. Google’s “Preferred Care” is available for $129 (netting you 2 years protection and support). Units will be available in retail outlets beginning October 19th.
As of this writing, pre-orders for the Pixel 2 XL in Black & White were already sold out. We do not expect that this new generation of “Made by Google” smartphones will be lacking for demand, just like every year. If you recently picked up a first generation Pixel, you should not feel compelled to make the upgrade unless you live to be in the early adoption space. However, if you have been holding on to an older Nexus, hoping for a return of Nexus pricing, it is time to upgrade.
For a limited time, if you purchase a new Pixel 2, Google will throw in a brand new Google Home Mini.

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