They don’t have dual cameras, headphones jack, or even support for wireless charging, yet the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL sit in the premium category. Here they seek to compete against other flagship phones such as the Apple iPhone 8 lineup and Samsung Galaxy S8. The new Pixel phones are yet to arrive in India, however, a lot of early reviewers got their hands on them, and here’s what they have to say about the second-generation made by Google phones. Also Read - New avatar of Google Chrome’s offline dinosaur game: How you can play
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The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL bring fewer, but significant, upgrades over the predecessors in terms of design. The bezels have narrowed in the larger model, while there is IP67 rating for better protection against dust and water. While the dual-tone glass and metal design continue in the second-generation Pixel phones, Google has borrowed the squeeze feature from HTC U11 to trigger the voice-controlled Assistant. Also Read - Timex Helix Smart 2.0 with temperature sensor, heart rate sensor launched: Details here
“..Designs for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are remarkable: in its second year of making phone hardware, Google is establishing an aesthetic that isn’t just consistent, but is distinct from what both Apple and Samsung are doing. Google hardware is all about pragmatism and approachability,” writes Dieter Bohn from The Verge.
Techradar‘s John McCann says the new Pixel phones still have a thick bezel design. However, they do look and feel premium in the hands. He writes, “On the Pixel 2 the merging of the glass and metal is far more subtle, making for an attractive finish which looks and feels great in the hand,” adding that the Pixel 2 can be easily held, and used with one hand when compared to the Pixel 2 XL. For understanding, the Pixel 2 packs a 5-inch display with full HD resolution. ALSO READ: Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL: From big display to active edge, here are the top features
It must be noted that the Pixel 2 XL now features a much larger 6-inch display with 18:9 aspect ratio. In comparison, the older Pixel XL packed a 5.5-inch display. This year, the fingerprint sensor has also been enlarged. As Android Authority‘s Nirave Gondhia writes,” The fingerprint sensor is a little larger than last year, making it easier to find. The glass panel on the back side is smaller and stops short of covering the fingerprint sensor.”
CNET‘s Lynn La writes, “The Pixel 2s fit right in to the latest crazes, by adding water resistance and showing off an uncommon extra — in this case, squeezable sides. They also shake off the headphone jack, a divisive move that’s going to upset plenty of people.”
Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM with onboard storage choices of 64GB and 128GB. There’s a bump in the default storage as compared to predecessors, which included only 32GB. However, the new Pixel phones do not offer storage expansion capabilities.
“The bump in storage is welcome too the older Pixel XL started with just 32GB but the lack of a microSD card will no doubt irk many,” writes TrustedReviews‘ Max Parker. As for performance, Parker says, “In my short time with the phone it felt fast, but then I wouldn t expect anything less and the real test is how it performs over an extended period of time. The first Pixels impressed in this area, so fingers crossed it s the same here.” ALSO READ: Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel: What s different?
“There is a lot about these phones that is not very surprising: the standard Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, OLED screens, 12-megapixel rear cameras and 8-megapixel selfie cameras. When people say phones are boring now, what they often mean is that you can’t really differentiate them by looking at a spec sheet. That’s mostly true of the Pixel 2.
The new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL join the list of other flagships smartphones running the same processor, such as the OnePlus 5, Samsung Galaxy S8 (international variant), and the Honor 8 Pro among others.
The biggest talking point of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is that DXOMark has given it a score of 98, which surpasses both the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, all without the dual cameras. Pixel 2 features a 12.2-megapixel camera with f/1.8 aperture and 1.4 m pixel size. And, as Google says the single-lens camera can still deliver portrait photos, where you can keep the subject in focus and blur out the background.
“I have high hopes for Google Pixel XL 2 s rear camera, but I will need to spend a lot more time with it to see just how has changed. The 12-megapixel sensor now benefits from optical image stabilisation, a big addition, plus a wider f/1.7 aperture that will let more light into the snaps. There s also a portrait mode that uses machine learning to blur the background behind the subject,” writes Parker.
La also has a positive opinion after reviewing the camera briefly. “We do like what we’ve seen of the camera improvements, like better portrait shots and OIS (optical image stabilization), and sides you can squeeze to launch Google Assistant. But the competition is crazy-fierce, from the iPhone 8 and iPhone X to the Galaxy Note 8, LG V30 and even the midprice champ, the OnePlus 5, all of which also have great cameras and impressive, high-end specs.”
DxOMark in its review says,”Impressively, it manages this despite having only a single-camera design for its main camera. Its top scores in most of our traditional photo and video categories put it ahead of our previous (tied) leaders, the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, despite the Pixel 2 coming in lower in the new Zoom and Bokeh categories. The Pixel 2 is also a major step forward from the Pixel (which was our top scorer when it was released a year ago), moving from 90 to 98.”
It is important to note that similar to Apple, Google has also added AR capabilities to its new Pixel phones. The phones are compatible with Google’s ARCore framework, and the company is working on moving stickers for an engaging experience. These stickers can superimpose on your real environment through the camera app.
Talking about the prices, the Pixel 2 will cost Rs 61,000 and Rs 70,000 for the 64GB and 128GB models respectively. The Pixel 2 XL is priced at Rs 73,000 for the 64GB model, and Rs 82,000 for the 128GB version. To conclude, the second-generation Pixel smartphones skip plenty of modern features such as full glass design, wireless charging, and massive RAM. However, with the inclusion of brilliant cameras, no non-sense design, with AI and AR tricks thrown in between, the Pixel 2 lineup stands a positive chance against the competitors.
“What Google has is that it’s Google, so it can find clever ways to apply machine learning and AI to problems that other companies can just force with nicer hardware. The main battlefield there will be the camera, but it will play out in all the other usual arenas, too: battery life, performance, and, of course, in personal assistants,” says Bohn. He further adds,” This isn’t going to be the year when the Pixel takes on the iPhone and the Galaxy in terms of sales numbers, but Google is very serious about taking them on in terms of quality and functionality.”
McCann says, “The only real mark against the Google Pixel 2 is the fact it’s dropped the headphone jack, and some may turn their nose up at the ‘only’ full HD display when similarly priced rivals offer larger, QHD screens. It does feel a touch on the expensive side, but the Google Pixel 2 is set to be an excellent all round smartphone.”
Parker’s opening impressions read,”The biggest thing holding back the first Pixel XL was its bland design. Thankfully, with the Pixel 2 XL that s no longer the case. This is clearly the phone Google is hoping will go toe-to-toe with the iPhone X.”
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL go up for pre-orders in India on October 26. They will go on sale starting November 15 and will be available exclusively on Flipkart. RELATED: Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL India prices start at Rs 61,000 up to Rs 82,000; here is when they go on sale in India
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