Introduced last year, the Google Pixel line has just gained two new members. Just as expected, today at its special press conference in San Francisco Google presented the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Since both phones have been one of the most frequently rumored devices of the recent weeks, the announcement confirms what we already learnt about the phones rather than unveils them. Manufactured by HTC the compact Pixel 2 packs exactly the same hardware as its LG-made bigger sibling XL.
Google introduced the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL offering the best camera on the market, improved Assistant, new launcher and combination of cool Augmented Reality dedicated features.
Considered by many far too boring the last year’s homogenous design has gone into oblivion. Google decided to redefine their approach to design and releases two differently looking devices. The Pixel 2 XL has thin bezels. Meanwhile, the standard Pixel 2 speaks the well-known, traditional design language with prominent “chin” and “forehead”, which surely makes it a less attractive handset – at least in term of the external design, as many of us will still opt for it as a more compact alternative to the 6-inch giant. The power button has been painted red, but the device still lacks the 3.5mm headphone jack. Both phones are water-resistant.
Specs-wise, both devices are high-end offerings. The Pixel 2 and its XL variant both deliver amazing, full of details, and hence incredibly realistic viewing experience thanks to Quad HD+ resolution. Both 5-inch and 6-inch screen panels come with Always-O feature allowing for a quick access to notification without the need of turning on the display, which should significantly influence battery life. Powered by the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB RAM, the Google Pixels are the very first smartphones to arrive with Android Oreo out of box. In addition, Pixel’s users are promised to be always the first to receive OS and security updates.
Optics are stunning and include an 12MP primary sensor with OIS and an 8MP selfie-oriented shooter on the front. Both cameras produce extremely vivid photos and record 4K videos. Thanks to such a top-quality camera parameters, both Pixel phones provide unforgettable augmented reality experience. The camera on the new Pixels is so great that DxOMark awarded them with unprecedented 98 score, praising its fast auto focus and excellent OIS. It is the highest score any smartphone camera has ever received. In practice it means that the Pixel 2 outpaces the iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8. Quite impressive isn’t it? However, the Pixel camera isn’t deprived of shortages as DxOMark also draw attention to the limited dynamic range of the tested camera.
Don’t forget that all those will be nothing without a powerful battery. Although Google hasn’t officially unveiled the unit capacity (we’ve only learnt that the XL model packs a 3,520 mAh non-removable cell), they claim that it reaches 7h of power in just 15 minutes of charging.
New Launcher and Improved Google Assistant
Moving on to software side, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL debut along with several interesting software developments – most of them focusing on improving Google Assistant experience. The traditional search box has been moved to the bottom of the display and stays there even if you switches the screen. Google says that the new location of the bar allows for a more natural and hence more convenient usage. Except for internet records the search box has also access to the content of your device, which is possibly the fastest way of finding a contact or a file.
Another key improvement is that both phones has been equipped in a shortcut, allowing you to activate Google Assistant by relying on the pressure-sensitive frame. For instance, you can squeeze the device, say “take a selfie” and the device will shoot your portrait immediately. Other than that, the improved Google Assistant can sync with your Google Home speaker and send a voice message straight to your home so that you family can hear what you want to tell them.
In addition, Google Assistant may now work as a driving assistant, giving you all the necessary information on weather, traffic and distance you need to travel to reach your destination. Plus it will also read all the messages you will receive while driving. Furthermore, thanks to sound recognition you can finally find the title of a song intoxicating your mind, whereas AR games and stickers including those dedicated to Star Wars Episode 8 or Netflix’s Stranger Things (the second season of which kicks off at the beginning of November) will provide you with long hours of fun.
Price and Availability
Last but definitely not least, both Pixel 2 devices will be available only on Verizon Wireless whose pricing is still pretty much a mystery. Those who don’t like contract can pre-order the unlocked Pixels via Google Store paying $650 for the 64GB Pixel 2 or $750 for the 128GB variant. Meanwhile, those of you opting for the Pixel 2 XL will have to pay from $850 (for a 64GB model) to $950 (for a $128 version) to benefit from the bigger display. Google promised to run a special trade-in program for the owners of the first-gen Pixel, and every pre-order will be granted with a bonus in a form of a free Google Home Mini speaker. Finally, available in blue, white and black color options, the Pixel 2 officially goes on sale on October 19th, whereas dressed in black or black and white (panda-like), the Pixel 2 XL is scheduled to hit retailers on November 15th.