Google has finally introduced its second-generation Pixel smartphones, the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Just as recent rumors and leaked renders had revealed, the smaller Pixel 2 isn’t a huge upgrade over last year’s Pixel in terms of design. The Pixel 2 XL, on the other hand, is quite a significant upgrade over its predecessor in the design department.
Let’s start with the Pixel 2. Like the original Pixel, the Pixel 2 sports a 5-inch AMOLED display with 1080 x 1920 Full HD resolution and a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch. Like most modern flagship smartphones, there is a layer of 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top for protection. Google has added the Always-on display feature this time, which works similarly to the implementations seen on LG and Samsung flagships. The panel itself is high quality, boasting an impressive 95% coverage of the cinema-standard DCI-P3 color space. Under the hood, we have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core SoC clocked at 2.35 GHz with an Adreno 540 GPU. In terms of memory, the Pixel 2 will be available in 64GB and 128GB variants, with both variants featuring 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
The first-generation Pixel smartphones set a new benchmark for smartphone camera performance and the new models are only taking that further. While the rear camera resolution remains the same at 12.2MP, Google has made a few changes to make it better than last year. The camera integrates laser + dual pixel phase detection autofocus, optical + electronic image stabilization, and an f/1.8 aperture lens. In terms of video, the camera can record 4K videos at 30 frames per second and 720p slo-mo videos at up to 240 fps. On the front is an 8MP fixed focus selfie snapper with 1.4um pixel size and an f/2.4 aperture lens. Unlike the rear camera, the 8MP selfie snapper cannot capture video at 4K. Instead, it tops out at 1080p. Connectivity wise, you get the usual Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, NFC, eSIM, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, USB Type-C, and LTE with Cat.15 support (800 Mbps maximum download speeds). Unfortunately, the Pixel 2 does not pack a large battery inside. You only get a 2700mAh capacity battery, slightly smaller than the unit inside the Pixel. You do get fast charging support though, with Google claiming that users can get up to 7 hours of charge with just 15 minutes of charge.
In terms of build, Google is using an aluminum unibody design with a glass portion at the back of the handset. While the design itself may not be very different, the Pixel 2 comes with an IP67 rating, making it water as well as dust resistant. The fingerprint sensor, called the Pixel Imprint, is placed at the back of the smartphone. For improved audio quality, Google has integrated front-firing stereo speakers this time. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack though, so you will need to use the USB-C port for audio output. Of course, Google will bundle a headphone adapter in the box to connect a 3.5mm jack to your Pixel 2. Active Edge is another new feature that sets the new Pixel twins apart from their rivals. Just like the HTC U11, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have a touch-sensitive frame that can detect pressure, allowing users to perform various actions by squeezing on the sides.
Now let’s talk about the bigger Pixel 2 XL. Unlike the smaller Pixel 2, the Pixel 2 XL is more in line with other major 2017 Android flagships with a 6-inch 1440 x 2880 Quad HD+ resolution 18:9 aspect ratio display. It is likely that the Pixel 2 XL uses the very same panel as the LG V30 since the Pixel 2 XL is manufactured by LG. On top of the display is a layer of 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It also supports a wide color gamut than the Pixel 2 panel, covering 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. In terms of core specs, the Pixel 2 XL is identical to the smaller Pixel 2. It features the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM and the identical two storage options. The battery inside is only slightly bigger than the Pixel XL at 3520mAh. Both smartphones run on Android 8.0.0 Oreo operating system out of the box and Google has assured that it will provide software support for at least 3 years. However, you can only expect major OS upgrades for 2 years, while in the third year Google will only be pushing out regular security updates.
The Google Pixel 2 comes in Just Black, Clearly White, and Kinda Blue color options. For some odd reason, Google is offering the Pixel 2 XL in only two options – Just Black and Black & White. Pre-orders for both smartphones are now live in the US, UK, Germany, India, Australia, and Canada. Those of you who pre-order will be eligible to receive a free Home Mini along with the handset. Google has announced that pre-orders in Italy, Singapore, and Spain will go live sometime later this year. The Google Pixel 2 starts at $650 for the 64GB version. If you wish to get the 128GB version, you will need to shell out $749. The bigger Pixel 2 XL has been priced at $849 for the 64GB version and $949 for the 128GB version, making it the most expensive flagship that Google has launched so far. Just like last year, Verizon Wireless will be the only carrier in the US to offer the new Pixel smartphones. If you are a Verizon Wireless subscriber, you can pre-order a Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL from the carrier now for the same price as Google Store. In case you don’t wish to purchase outright, you can get the Pixel 2 starting at $27.08 per month for 24 months with zero down payment. However, only the 64GB variant is currently available. For the Pixel 2 XL, you will need to pay $35.41 monthly for the 64GB version or $39.58 monthly for the 128GB version. Google will begin shipping the Pixel 2 on the 19th of this month, while the Pixel 2 XL will begin shipping on November 1.
What are your thoughts on Google’s latest Pixel smartphones?