Google Pixel 2 review – tests


One pixel two, two pixel twos, large pixel two, small pixel two, pixels twos everywhere. Except in Google online stores, but that’s a whole different matter. The true Pixel experience in a (slightly) smaller package and minus the display issues – this is the Google Pixel 2 in size Medium and not Extra Large.

Google Pixel 2 review

You get the same everything with the Pixel 2 that you get with the XL – or mostly everything. That includes the top-end Qualcomm chipset, the industry-leading camera, and the stereo speakers, but leaves out the taller 18:9 display and with it some of the battery capacity.

With yesterday’s 16:9 5-incher on the front guarded by sizeable chin and forehead, the Pixel 2 looks decidedly out of touch with current trends for bezellessness. A classic, you can call it. Leading them trends, however, is the camera – what others do with two, the Pixel 2 does with one – computational photography for the win.

If you’ve already read our Pixel 2 XL review, you’re probably familiar with most of the specs, but you can always go over the following list for a refresher and a quick round of spot the difference.

Google Pixel 2 key features
Body: Metal body with matte Premium Hybrid Coating; “2.5D” Gorilla Glass 5 on front; IP67 water resistance
Display: 5.0″ AMOLED, 1,080 x 1,920px resolution, 441ppi
Rear camera: 12.2MP, 1/2.6″ sensor size with 1.4µm pixel size, f/1.8, OIS, dual LED flash and Google’s HDR+ algorithm
Front camera: 8MP, 1/3.2″ sensor size, f/2.4, 1.4µm pixel size
Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720@240fps; front camera:1080p @ 30fps
OS/Software: Android 8.0 Oreo with updates directly from Google
Chipset: 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU – Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo); Adreno 540 GPU; dedicated image processing chip to be enabled via OTA Android 8.1
Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64/128GB of internal storage (non-expandable)
Battery: 2,700 mAh Li-ion (sealed); USB-C Power Delivery 2.0 (5V @ 3A or 9V @ 2A with included 18W adapter)
Connectivity: nanoSIM; eSIM for Project Fi (US); Cat 15 LTE 800/75 Mbps; Bluetooth 5.0 LE, A2DP, aptx HD; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi-Direct, DLNA; NFC; USB-C 3.1
Misc: Fingerprint scanner, dual stereo speakers, Always-on/Ambient display, Active Edge squeeze detection.

Main shortcomings
No 3.5mm headphone jack (ships with an adapter).
No microSD card slot.
Video camera records mono audio only.
You can’t assign the Active Edge squeeze detection any other feature but Google Assistant.
We know you have to fit the innards somewhere, but still – bezels.

With so much being the same between the two Pixel 2s, there’s no escaping the fact that they share the same weak points. You wouldn’t expect Google to stick a microSD slot or a headphone jack in the small Pixel 2 and not the big one, right?

Google Pixel 2 press images - Google Pixel 2 review
Google Pixel 2 press images - Google Pixel 2 review
Google Pixel 2 press images - Google Pixel 2 review
Google Pixel 2 press images - Google Pixel 2 review
Google Pixel 2 press images - Google Pixel 2 review
Google Pixel 2 press images - Google Pixel 2 review

Google Pixel 2 press images

Here, however, we’ll be adding bezels to the list of shortcomings – for the reduction in display area you’re not getting all that much savings in terms of actual size. Don’t read that the wrong way – we like battery, and speakers, and all, it’s just that the display diagonal makes a promise the physical dimensions can’t keep.

One thing’s for sure, though – the Pixel 2 non-XL is smaller enough to be more easily squeezable. We’ll touch on that on the next page when we go over the hardware.