Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL are two smartphones that everyone was eagerly waiting to be unveiled after the shocking launch of Apple’s new iPhone 8, iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 breaking covers.
Last year marked a big step for Google’s smartphone business and a bid to compete against the likes of Apple, Samsung, LG, and every other top-tier smartphone manufacturer. With some help from HTC, Google Inc launched its very own consumer-friendly smartphones that had no problem in going head-to-head with the leaders in the market. Fast forward one year, it’s Google’s next attempt at winning over the consumers and it comes hot on the heels of its HTC’s employees-acquisition which were responsible for showing the Google Pixel series the light of the day.
This year, the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL bring a refined design, top-of-the-line specifications, and a camera that has been touted as the best one to feature in a smartphone ever.
First things first, since the Google Pixel 2 XL is the larger of the two, it will be the one facing the highest level of scrutiny and since it is the smartphone that has what it takes to challenge the likes of iPhone 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and even poke iPhone X to some extent, Google Pixel 2 XL is something of a combatant in this case.
However, before dwelling into the details, you need to know that the 3.5 mm jack has gone missing and neither a bezel-less display nor dual cameras are what you will be looking at. That said, man, Google Pixel 2 XL is definitely a book that shouldn’t be judged by its cover and definitely not the one to ignore, to say the least.
Google Pixel 2 XL is priced at $849 for the 64GB version and $949 for the 128GB storage version.
Google Pixel 2 XL Specifications
- 6-inch (2880 x 1440) Quad HD+ pOLED display with 100000:1 super contrast ratio, 100% DCI-P3 coverage and 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection, offering 538 PPI.
- Octa-Core Snapdragon 835 SoC coupled with Adreno 540 GPU
- 4GB DDR4X RAM and 64GB/128GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB via microSD
- Android 8.0 (Oreo) out of the box
- 12.2MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture, 1.4μm pixel size, LED flash, OIS, EIS, laser + dual pixel phase detection, Motion Photos and 4K video recording at 30fps.
- 8MP front camera with fixed focus, f/2.4 aperture, 1.4μm pixel size and Motion Photos
- Fingerprint sensor at the rear panel
- Water and Dust Resistant (IP67)
- Stereo front-firing speakers
- 3520mAh battery with fast charging (No wireless charging)
- Google Pixel 2 XL measures 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm and weighs 175g
- Color Options: Kinda Blue, Just Black and Clearly White
- 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5 LE, WiFi 802.11ac 2x2MIMO (2.4/5 GHz), GPS, USB Type-C and NFC support.
- Other features: Music Detection, At a Glance, Always On lock screen and support for Google’s ARCore for AR/VR
Google Pixel 2 XL Review
What we like about the Google Pixel 2 XL
- The design is something where this smartphone really scores as it can be distinguished easily from its competitors. The two-tone finish on the metal back, curved edge display offering great viewing angles and covering almost all the front display, front-mounted stereo speakers and a sleek body, all this makes Google Pixel 2 XL one of the most mature-looking smartphones in the market.
- Despite the size, it feels comfortable to hold with one hand and is also easy to operate. Moreover, many will argue that the noticeable bezels hold it back, they also need to understand that Google Pixel 2 XL has front-speakers to cater to.
- Rather than a button to launch an Assistant, Google Pixel 2 XL comes with an Active Edge feature (ala HTC Edge Sense) which lets you squeeze the sides to launch the Assistant. While not as powerful as Edge Sense, it’s still plenty fun to use.
- Stock Android 8.0 proves that Android is something to enjoy in its purest form and we really appreciate the negligible bloatware as well as the ease of search bar operations, which has been shifted to the bottom of the display.
- Unlike the iPhone X or even the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Google Pixel 2 XL comes with a single camera lens. The 12MP camera takes advantage of optical image stabilization as well as a wider f/1.7 aperture which lets users capture more light, resulting in better pictures. There’s also a portrait mode which uses machine learning to blur the background as well as for the bokeh effects just like its dual-camera counterparts.
- Just like the rear camera, the front 8MP selfie shooter is rated as the best unit ever seen a smartphone and it also performs well under both outdoors as well as low lighting conditions.
- Google Pixel 2 XL scores a whopping 98 points, making it the best smartphone cameras ever tested by DxO.
- While we were expecting the smartphone to come with an all-new SoC, the SD 835 has been the go-to chipset for every flagship maker and in the case of Google Pixel 2 XL, it doesn’t disappoint either. Be it heavy duty gaming or regressive multitasking or even shuffling between heavy apps, the chipset coupled with 4GB RAM, makes everything feel like a walk in the park.
- Coming to the battery, it might seem a tad bit underpowered but considering the SD 835 and Quad HD+ pOLED display, it offers enough juice that Google Pixel 2 XL requires to live through a whole day of moderate usage.
What we didn’t like about Google Pixel 2 XL
- There is no 3.5 mm jack, however, Bluetooth headphones or USB Type-C dongle, which comes inside the box can be used. Additionally, users can buy Google Pixel Buds at $159, which is equipped with live-translation of languages as well as comes with Google Assistant support out of the box.
- Wireless charging and high-grade water resistance (IP68) remains absent
- Active Edge feature could have come with an improved usability.
- Considering the competition, a bumped up 6GB RAM could have made the way easier for Google’s flagship smartphone.
It’s not that we don’t like Pixel 2, but the fact is Google Pixel 2 XL is where the party starts. It might seem to be on the other side of VFM devices but that is what 2017 has been all about.
That said, still, Google Pixel 2 XL feels pricey and most of its marquee features are more of a software update than a hardware evolution. And when you consider that it lacks a headphone jack as well as wireless charging, this makes for an even tougher justification to side with Google Pixel 2 XL over the competition, as Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30 feels more of a bargain.
But when we take iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X into consideration, the ball is definitely in Google Pixel 2 XL’s court with a more realistic price tag and class-leading specs to offer.
As for Google Pixel 2 XL’s Indian launch, its 64GB variant will cost Rs 73,000 and the 128GB storage option will be available for Rs 82,000. The pre-orders commence on October 26 and the device will be available in over 1,000 stores across India while its availability on Flipkart starts November 15.