Google’s newest smartphone lineup just got its official unveiling. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are a decent upgrade over their predecessors, with improved designs and better internals.
But they certainly don’t give Apple or the iPhone anything to worry about.
Google’s own smartphone lineup used to be focused on giving Android developers capable devices at an affordable price. In recent years, however, the company has switched its focus to consumers, and those devices have gotten a lot better.
Last year’s Pixel devices, which celebrate their first anniversary today, were Google’s best yet. They offered excellent hardware and impressive features packaged in premium designs. They were the first Google devices to compete with the iPhone on all fronts.
They gave fans high hopes for the Pixel 2, but for many, today’s unveiling has been a disappointment.
Thanks to the Galaxy S8, the LG G6, and the upcoming iPhone X, edge-to-edge displays are the hottest thing in mobile right now. But you won’t find one in the Pixel 2 lineup.
If you opt for the smaller Pixel 2, you get a 5-inch 1080p display — just like last year — surrounded by the bulky bezels you’re used to seeing on Pixel phones. In fact, those above and below the display appear even bigger this time around.
Google has slimmed them down for the Pixel 2 XL, however. It’s not an edge-to-edge display, but it does have rounded corners, and the bezels on its top and bottom edges are thinner. Its display is also larger, measuring in at 6 inches, and it’s sharper with a Quad HD resolution.
That resolution gives the Pixel 2 XL an aspect ratio of 18:9 — like the Galaxy S8 — and 538 pixels-per-inch. The Pixel 2 maintains its 16:9 aspect ratio and 441 ppi. Both are always-on, pOLED displays with 1000:1 contrast ratios.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are made out of aluminum and Gorilla Glass. They have fingerprint scanners on their backs, a power switch and volume rocker on their sides, and a USB-C port on their bottom edge. As suspected, there is no headphone jack.
For the first time, the Pixel lineup is dust- and water-resistant. They also boast a pressure-sensitive body, which lets you squeeze the sides of the device to summon the Google Assistant, or to use other features like the camera shutter.
Earlier rumors promised the Pixel 2 would be powered by a newer, faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 836 processor. Instead, it packs the same Snapdragon 835 chip found in other 2017 flagships, like the Galaxy S8, the LG V30, and the OnePlus 5.
That means performance won’t match up to the A11 Bionic chip found inside iPhone 8 and iPhone X, which scores incredibly impressive results in benchmark tests. However, coupled with pure Android, it will still deliver a smooth and snappy experience.
Both devices pack 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as standard, but there is an option to pay more for 128GB of storage. They’ll launch with Android 8.0 Oreo pre-installed, and Google promises they will always be up-to-date.
Google has packed fast-charging technology into its latest handsets, and promises up to 7 hours of use after a 15-minute charge.
Even better cameras
One area where the Pixel 2 won’t disappoint is in photography. DxOMark has issued both devices with an “unprecedented score” of 98 — the highest ever achieved by a smartphone camera.
It’s made possible by a 12-megapixel camera with high dynamic range and optical image stabilization. It uses Dual Pixel technology to deliver iPhone-like Portrait Mode without a second camera sensor, and, again, iPhone-like Motion Photos.
Portrait Mode is also available on the front-facing Pixel 2 camera.
Available to pre-order today!
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are available to pre-order today from the Google Store in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, the U.K., and the U.S. Prices start at $649 for the smaller model, and $849 for its big brother.
All customers get free and unlimited Google Photos storage, and a free Home Mini speaker worth $49 for a limited time.