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Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL hands-on

Introduction

Google acquired the HTC team that built the new Pixel 2 – let’s see what the search giant bought for a billion dollars. Strangely enough, the smaller of the two devices hasn’t changed much, but the larger Pixel 2 XL is much more in step with modern flagships.

First things first, let’s check what’s new. Google upgraded to the flagship-standard Snapdragon 835 chipset, and the phones run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. The screens are AMOLEDs with pixel densities identical to their predecessors, but there are stereo speakers above and below now. The headphone jack is dead, however.

Google Pixel 2 hands-on review

The new Pixels do not feature dual cameras – Google believes it can keep its edge with just one (it was always about that HDR+ processing anyway). Optical Image Stabilization is a nice addition to the feature set (the old EIS lives on too).

We’re glad to see stereo speakers back, but other old Nexus features remain absent – wireless charging and high-grade water resistance.


Google Pixel 2: Just Black
Google Pixel 2: Just Black
Google Pixel 2: Clearly White
Google Pixel 2: Kinda Blue

Google Pixel 2: Just Black Clearly White Kinda Blue

Google Pixel 2

So that’s the Google Pixel 2 for you. It has a 5″ 1080p AMOLED, a new chipset and not a great deal more. Well, outside of HTC’s squeezable feature, this time tied to Google Assistant.

Google Pixel 2 at a glance:
Body: metal and glass; IP67 dust and water resistant
Screen: 5″ AMOLED, 1080p resolution (441ppi); Always On Display; Gorilla Glass
Camera: 12MP 1/2.6″ sensor; f/1.8 aperture; OIS and Dual Pixel AF
Video: 4K recording
OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
Platform: Snapdragon 835 chipset; octa-core CPU (Kryo 280); Adreno 540 GPU
Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64GB or 128GB storage (non-expandable)
Battery: 2,700mAh (sealed); USB Power Delivery
Misc: Active Edge, stereo speakers, fingerprint reader
Price: $650 / 800 / 630 (available October 17)


Google Pixel 2 XL: Just Black
Google Pixel 2 XL: Just Black
Google Pixel 2 XL: Black & White
Google Pixel 2 XL: Black & White

Google Pixel 2 XL: Just Black Black & White

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Google Pixel 2 XL did see a redesign – those heavy top and bottom bezels have been shaved down to more manageable levels. Not quite bezel-less, but the new XL is part of the 18:9 screen crew. This handset was built by LG, perhaps it reminds you of a certain other Fall flagship?

Google Pixel 2 XL at a glance:
Body: metal and glass; IP67 dust and water resistant
Screen: 6″ AMOLED 18:9, QHD+ resolution (537ppi); Always On Display; Gorilla Glass
Camera: 12MP 1/2.6″ sensor; f/1.8 aperture; OIS and Dual Pixel AF
Video: 4K recording
OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
Platform: Snapdragon 835 chipset; octa-core CPU (Kryo 280); Adreno 540 GPU
Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64GB or 128GB storage (non-expandable)
Battery: 3,520mAh (sealed); USB Power Delivery
Misc: Active Edge, stereo speakers, fingerprint reader
Price: $850 / 940 / 800 (available in mid November)

How’s that for a year of progress? Perhaps fans won’t sing songs glorifying the new Pixels, but they do seem like solid devices. We got some alone time with those two, starting with the Pixel 2 XL, which we think is the more interesting device. Here are our thoughts on the matter.