The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL separate themselves from all other Android phones by constantly sitting on the cutting edge of the tech giant's mobile platform. The duo of smartphones made their debut alongside a vast range of products, all featuring the tech giant's excellent Google Assistant.
Unlike last year's Pixel and Pixel XL, which were essentially the same phone in two different sizes, their successors are much easier to tell apart, thanks to their vastly different display panels. The larger Pixel XL 2 packs a slightly curved 6-inch display with 18:9 ratio, while the Pixel 2 has a more conventional-looking 5-inch 16:9 screen.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have a similar design as their predecessors, defined by an all-metal body with a glass element in the area around the camera on the back. The bigger Pixel XL 2 definitely commands more attention than the Pixel 2, courtesy of its larger curved display.
Google offers the Pixel 2 in a trio of colors — Just Black, Clearly White, and Kinda Blue. On the other hand, the Pixel XL 2 is available in Black and White, and also Just Black, with the former looking decidedly Stormtrooper-ish. The Black and White and Kinda Blue color variants also have a contrasting power button, which adds even more character to their appearance.
Both phones have larger screen bezels than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note8, and LG V30. However, we feel that this is a fair price to pay for having front-facing stereo speakers — a notable omission in their rivals.
The build quality is excellent as expected given their price range. This year, Google has made both devices IP67 water-resistant, which is a welcome upgrade from the original Pixel and Pixel XL.
The latest Google phones pack Qualcomm's range-topping Snapdragon 835 chipset, coupled with 4 GB of RAM. You can pick between 64 GB and 128 GB of non-expandable storage. Every Pixel 2 also comes with three years worth of unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos captured by it.
The Pixel 2 has a 5-inch Full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) AMOLED display panel, while the Pixel 2 XL packs a sharper 6-inch pOLED panel with a resolution of 2,880 by 1,440 pixels. The screen of the Pixel 2 XL is a tad more advanced, covering 100% of the P3 color spectrum (the display of the Pixel 2 tops out at 95%).
The main camera of every Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL has a 12.2 MP sensor with f/1.8 lens and optical image stabilization. The front-facing camera utilizes an 8 MP sensor with f/2.4 lens.Both devices can capture 4K video at 30 fps, as well as slow-motion clips at 240 fps.
Google has equipped both phones with a pressure-sensitive frame, which enables you to summon its virtual assistant via a squeezing gesture. The feature is called Active Edge, and it works just like Edge Sense in the .
The Pixel 2 is powered by a 2,700 mAh battery, while the Pixel 2 XL packs a much beefier 3,520 mAh unit. Both devices have rapid charging capabilities over USB-C. There's no support for wireless charging.
An audio jack is notably missing in both devices, so you'll need the bundled a USB-C adapter in order to enjoy your older headphones.
There's a great selection of Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL accessories you can choose from. They range from cool protective cases, through USB-C headphones, all the way to a brand-new Google Daydream View virtual reality headset with an improved field of view over last year's version.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL run the latest iteration of Android called Oreo. The latest version of Google's mobile platform brings a number of essential resource management and security improvements, as well as a more polished user experience.
It's genuinely remarkable how many different ways the Pixel 2 phones give you to call upon the Google Assistant. There's the option squeeze them, use an OK Google command, or long-press the home button.
Another cool trick that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL can do is automatically show you what song is playing in a room the moment you enter it. You don't even need to unlock your screen to see what tune is on.
Being Google phones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will get Android and security updates faster and more frequently than any other smartphone out there. Google promises that it'll support the devices for at least three years, which is a rare thing for any other Android manufacturer. In this instance, the Google phones are truly in a category of their own.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are incredibly fast, and they're capable of seamlessly powering through any task you throw at them. This is hardly a surprise given the top-shelf chipset powering the phones.
You'll easily get a full day of battery life out of each Pixel 2 model. Keeping your screen-on time in check with the larger Pixel 2 XL will get you close to two days between charges.
The 12-megapixel camera of the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is truly one of the best you can find in a smartphone. By combining high-end hardware components with the tech giant's machine learning tricks, the phones can consistently capture superb photos on almost any occasion.
Even though they have only one camera sensor, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL also offer a rather excellent portrait mode. The feature typically requires a dual-camera sensor, but thanks to Google's AI wizardry, it still manages to deliver impressive results.
Video capture is another camera feature where Google showcases its machine learning prowess. By utilizing both optical and electronic image stabilization, the phones can capture smooth videos even when handheld.
The main camera of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, just like the snapper of last year's first generation, sits alone on top of the prestigious DxOMark Mobile rankings, with a record new score of 98. To find out more details about its performance, head over to .
Overall, as far as single-camera smartphones go, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are most likely the best of their kind. They deliver consistently great performance, wrapped in an intuitive user interface.
The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the most advanced Android phones you can buy. Each device is a hardware expression of Google's perfect vision of its own mobile platform and all the services it offers, headlined by its own virtual assistant. If you're looking for a high-end Android phone, you need to have these two on your shortlist of potential options.
It's great that Google managed to add stereo speakers and water resistance to the new generation of Pixel phones, thus addressing two major flaws of its predecessor. The devices' main cameras, on the other hand, will be an industry benchmark for the next year and beyond.
Pricing of the Pixel 2 kicks off at $ for a variant with 64 GB of storage; upgrading to 128 GB will cost you an extra $100. The larger Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 for a 64 GB version, with a 128 GB option also available for another $100.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8, as well as the LG V30, are the most notable Pixel 2 alternatives worth your attention. They offer sleeker design, a standard audio jack, and available dual cameras that offer more versatility than the single sensor of the Google phones.
However, if you opt for an Android phone that's not a Pixel, you'll have to wait for months before receiving an update to Android Oreo; security updates typically arrive later as well. Because they don't run stock Android, non-Google phones also come with a few too many preloaded apps you might not want or need, which might lead to a less-than-ideal user experience.
Over the past year, Google had trouble making enough Pixel phones to meet the demand for them. Pre-orders for the the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have already led to a waitlist, though we hope that wait times will be better than last year. In any case, opting to get one will be well worth the wait.
Photos by Stefan Vazharov
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