Google is the last in a given year to release its set of flagship phones. Since last year, the company entered the smartphone hardware business with its Pixel and Pixel XL. The 2017 successors, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, stand against the Apple iPhone 8 lineup, Samsung Galaxy S8 duo, and also target impressive handsets from other Chinese manufacturers. But are they truly remarkable to stand against dual cameras, Infinity Displays, and massive RAM? Here’s what reviewers have to say about the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
“The Pixel 2 works really well,” writes Dieter Bohn of The Verge. Bohn notes how everyone thinks the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are made out of plastic, but it is still the aluminum and glass design which Google has followed. It is in fact the design of the phone that tends to give a different impression. “Google literally made a metal phone feel like a plastic one. It chose function over form,” and this is what makes the Pixel 2 “plainly great”.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL differ only in terms of display and battery capacity. There’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC running under the hood, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. For optics, Google has stuck to the conventional single lens module, however, its 12.2-megapixel rear camera is powered with machine learning-based Portrait Mode to add the DSLR-touch to your photos. With competing smartphones offering similar specifications on paper, with a bump in RAM and default storage, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL still make for the best Android phones to buy this year. ALSO READ: Google Pixel, Pixel XL users will get unlimited original-quality storage for photos, videos for life
“After about a week of using both models, the Pixel 2 and the larger Pixel 2 XL, but mostly the XL, I can safely say the Pixel 2 is the Android phone to buy,” writes Wired‘s David Pierce who has given the phone a rating of 9/10. To sum Pierce’s review, “There is no better Android phone. The camera is amazing, and it has as much to do with the software as the hardware. Runs pure Android Oreo, and you get security updates before everyone else. Always-on notifications, including a tiny song-identifying widget, are excellent. AI-powered features like Google Lens are fun, and will only get better over time.”
One of the talking points of the Pixel 2 lineup is that Google has finally added water and dust resistant capabilities, which were missing from the last-gen Pixel phones. “Oh, and for the first time, we have a pair of Pixels that are actually IP67 water-resistant. This might not sound like a big deal, but it’s a feature that has become common among premium smartphones. Obviously, taking a dip with a Pixel in hand is a lousy idea, but this additional life-proofing is definitely a welcome addition. (Just ask anyone who ever got pushed into a pool.),” notes Engadget‘s Chris Velazco. ALSO READ: Google Pixel 2: Even if the newest flagship doesn’t succeed, Android is still winning
Camera capabilities being the second highlight, reviewers have positive words for the ‘incredible camera’. “Google is treating photography like a data problem instead of just a light problem,” says The Verge. “I find the Pixel 2’s photos to be way sharper than the iPhone 8 and the Note 8 — almost to a fault in a couple of cases. HDR shots are equally impressive. I prefer the Pixel 2’s images overall, even though occasionally it goes a little overboard.” To compare, the Galaxy Note 8 features a dual-camera setup with a pair of 12-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto lens. The dual cameras on the iPhone 8 Plus also feature a set of 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel camera with wide-angle and telephoto lens.
Out of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, while the performance output stays similar, it is essentially the display and the battery capacity which might put you in a fix as to which model should be fit. To understand, the Pixel 2 features a 5-inch display with “chunky bezels” while the Pixel 2 XL features “a slightly more impressive 6-inch display with curved corners and smaller bezels”. Now, if you want to settle for a smaller phone with lesser battery prowess, undoubtedly, the Pixel 2 is the choice, also since it is cheaper by almost Rs 12,000. However, if you really want to leverage what Google’s offering then Pixel 2 XL is a better option. “The Pixel 2 XL’s bigger size comes with some perks,” writes Lynn La from Cnet. “The waterproof Pixel 2 XL perks up the excellent Pixel 2 with more screen space and has a fantastic camera. Its unique Lens feature uses Google’s search database to help you learn more about the world around you,” La says. ALSO READ: Google Pixel 2 camera samples prove why it got the highest DxOMark score
Amidst all positive views, there are some who have marked the new Pixel phones as average. “The sequel to last year’s hit phone isn’t a radical upgrade. If it were an Apple product, the company would put a somewhat resigned “S” after the model number as an affirmation that this is one of those in-between years. It’s an evolution of a good phone that helps the device keep pace with the market, but lacks the sort of wow factor that drives early adopters to trade in last year’s model,” writes Brian Heater from TechCrunch.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the company’s first set of phones this year to run on Android Oreo out-of-the-box. And it is here that the duo takes the cake for being able to leverage Google’s latest OS with up-to-date hardware. “Rather than build two identical Pixels this year, Google decided to make its new small smartphone a little more conservative. Make no mistake: the Pixel 2 is still an incredibly fast phone, and a clean build of Android 8.0 Oreo combined with Google’s intelligent features make the device incredibly capable. And its camera? Just fantastic. Because of its more traditional design and smaller battery, though, the Pixel 2 doesn’t make as strong an impression as the Pixel XL. Still, if you’re looking for a first-rate Android phone that won’t make your hands cramp, you’d do well to start your search here,” concludes Engadget.
But is the Pixel 2 duo the penultimate destination in the premium Android category? Some beg to differ. “Last year, I called the original Pixel the best phone on the planet. I’m hesitant to do so again, only because the iPhone X comes out in two weeks. (I’ll update this review when that happens.) Here’s what I can say for sure, right here and right now: There’s no better Android phone, anywhere, than the Pixel 2. Especially that black and white Pixel 2 XL. I mean, have you seen that thing? Come on,” writes Wired.
To sum up, “The Pixel 2 isn’t the nice dining room table with the fancy silverware. It’s the kitchen counter where you actually eat. It’s not as impressive, but it’s much more comfortable. That’s what makes the design of this year’s Google Phones great. They’re meant to be of use, and they are,” says The Verge. ALSO READ: Google poked fun at Apple for ditching the 3.5mm audio jack last year, only to do it with Pixel 2