Out of the two new Pixel smartphones that Google announced at its big event San Francisco, it is quite clear that the Pixel 2 XL is the more exciting one. The Pixel 2, with its relatively small 5-inch display, may will probably attract a smaller number of buyers, especially given its premium pricing. Google Pixel 2 XL, on the other hand, offers a more contemporary 18:9 aspect ratio display measuring 6-inches diagonally. In this post, we will comparing the Pixel 2 XL against the Pixel XL from last year to get a greater idea of what’s changed and if the new model is worth the premium.
Design & Display
While the Pixel XL sports a design that can be considered similar to HTC smartphones such as the One A9, the new Pixel 2 XL is very different in terms of design. In terms of build materials, both handsets use aluminum for the most part, with a glass portion at the back. However, the most significant difference is on the front of the handset. Unlike the Pixel XL, the Pixel 2 XL features an 18:9 aspect ratio display with much thinner bezels and a slight curve on both sides. The display is also bigger in size, measuring 6-inches diagonally. Even though the screen size is bigger, it is the Pixel 2 XL that has the higher pixel density at 538 PPI, thanks to the higher 1440 x 2880 Quad HD+ resolution. The display is protected by a layer of 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. Another key advantage is that the new model is IP67 certified for dust and water resistance, a significant upgrade over the IP53 splash resistance rating of last year’s model. The fingerprint sensor, or should we call it the Pixel Imprint, is placed roughly at the same location as the Pixel XL.
The Pixel XL is powered by Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 821 SoC, a minor upgrade over the Snapdragon 820. Like most flagship Android smartphones released this year, the Pixel 2 XL runs on Qualcomm’s latest flagship SoC, the octa-core Snapdragon 835. The 64-bit SoC has been clocked at 2.35 GHz on the Pixel 2 XL, slightly lower than its maximum clock speed. Powering the graphics is the chip’s integrated Adreno 540 GPU. Even though the Snapdragon 835 isn’t a huge upgrade over the Snapdragon 821 in terms of benchmark performance, it is still a very impressive chipset. Unfortunately, Google has decided to stick with just 4GB of RAM, which is certainly a bit disappointing. The Pixel 2 XL comes in two storage options – 64GB and 128GB.
Even though we don’t have any solid battery life figures yet, we aren’t too hopeful of seeing significantly improved battery life on the Pixel 2 XL. While the Pixel XL features a 3450mAh capacity battery, the new Pixel 2 XL comes with a slightly larger 3520mAh capacity unit. Both smartphones support fast charging via the USB Type-C port. Google claims users can expect up to 7 hours of usage on the Pixel 2 XL from just 15 minutes of charging. Thanks to the more efficient internal components and a slightly bigger battery, the Pixel 2 XL should be able to deliver superior battery life, although not by a huge margin.
The Pixel and Pixel XL have received a lot of praise for their excellent camera performance. With the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google has tried to set a new benchmark for smartphone camera performance. And going by the DxOMark review, it has actually managed to do just that. The Pixel 2 XL uses a 12.2 megapixel rear camera with 1.4um pixel size, laser + dual pixel PDAF autofocus, optical image stabilization, electronic image stabilization, and a brighter f/1.8 aperture lens. The combination of these upgrades make the Pixel 2 XL a fantastic performer in almost any situation. Low-light performance, as expected, has improved significantly. Sadly, the selfie camera isn’t much improved. It is the same 8MP unit with 1.4um pixel size, an f/2.4 aperture lens, and fixed focus.
Since the new Pixel 2 XL is powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 SoC under its hood, the smartphone boasts updated connectivity features. It offers Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, NFC, GPS with GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, USB 3.1 Type-C port, and 4G LTE Cat.15 (maximum download speeds of up to 800 Mbps). It is also the first smartphone on the market, along with the smaller Pixel 2, to feature a built-in eSIM that can be used with Google’s Project Fi network.
Thanks to some serious upgrades both inside and out, the Pixel 2 XL is Google’s most expensive flagship smartphone yet. In the US, the Pixel 2 XL 64GB version is priced at $849, while the 128GB version will cost you $100 more. That makes the Pixel 2 XL only slightly more affordable than the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and more expensive than pretty much every other Android flagship smartphone on the market currently. Google Pixel XL is obviously priced much lower now, thanks to it being on the market for close to a year now.
So, is the new Pixel 2 XL worth the upgrade? Going by the spec-sheet alone, it is pretty evident that the Pixel 2 XL is one of the most impressive flagship smartphones released this year. It combines a truly premium design with fantastic hardware and a stock Android experience. However, the Pixel XL still remains a great buy with its excellent camera and fantastic system performance. If you’re in the mood to upgrade to a new smartphone, the Pixel 2 XL can be a great choice. On the other hand, if you don’t actually feel the need to upgrade to a new phone, the Pixel XL should easily get you through another year.
Are you going to upgrade to the new Pixel 2 XL?