For all the flak both Apple and Google get for “copying” one another, it’s genuinely interesting to watch how their very different paths through the smartphone landscape have converged time and time again. On the hardware front, we’ve watched Apple grow from a “one size fits all”, take it or leave it approach to handsets to this year’s lineup, with not just the greatest number of phones ever, but also a couple distinctly different designs.
The Pixel phones are back, and Google’s switching things up again. We’ve still got one Pixel and one jumbo-sized XL model, and while these two share a lot of common hardware, we’re also getting a bit of an iPhone 8/iPhone X split, as the HTC-made Pixel 2 with its traditionally-shaped 5.0-inch display goes up against the LG-built Pixel 2 XL and its curved-cornered, super-widescreen 18:9 6.0-inch screen.
With different manufacturers helping Google create this hardware, and fundamentally different screens on these two options, does this year’s Pixel lineup lose some of its unity? How do Google-designed phones compare to the rest of very, very competitive lineup? And can we still look forward to some of that best-in-class camera performance?. Let’s check it out.
Great hand feel, the fingerprint sensor is both fast and accurate, attractive looking (and unique) design, and an excellent, premium, aluminium build. The black and white Pixel 2 XL looks especially cool!, Fully water-resistant body and pretty compact design. This is the Pixel to get if you either have smaller hands, or value portability over a large display.
More than anything else, the Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL is about its absolutely brilliant camera – which is arguably the best overall camera on any smartphone right now even beating the likes of the iPhone 8 Plus, and Galaxy Note 8 (although not by a lot). Another interesting and useful add-on is the Google Lens, built into the camera’s photo app, which calls up a trove of information on objects like a landmark or a piece of art. The best way to put it is that camera simply works, no matter what the conditions, it can handle all sorts of tricky environments like low light, shadows and brightly lit backgrounds – Google’s HDR+ continues to beat the pants off of everyone else, and the addition of OIS helps take the camera up another notch from last year’s Pixels.
Even bokeh shots are managed rather well, and without any fuss (even without using a dual camera setup like other phones – purely using Google’s excellent software algorithms). All in all, this is a truly impressive camera, and a milestone in how far we have come with mobile photography, the presence of OIS takes up video quality a notch higher too, you will be impressed by how smooth and natural-looking the stabilization is, the front camera is pretty great too and can also take bokeh style shots like the rear camera, something thats only offered by a handful of phones right now.
Top-end performance backed by the best-in-class Snapdragon 835, the phone is consistently fast no matter what you throw at it and matches other top end flagships in benchmark tests.
Good set of dual front-facing speakers and good audio quality via headphones, but it has no standard headphone jack, Google goes the way of the iPhone here and that is kind of a drag for people who have a pair of great wired headphones or earbuds they’d rather keep using without an adaptor dongle (which comes included in the box).
Has a bigger, sharper 6-inch display versus a 5-inch AMOLED display on the Pixel 2 – making it a better device for immersive video and web browsing more – plus, that higher resolution is especially advantageous when using a VR headset. Good display, bright and sharp (though not quite as rich as a best in class screens on Samsung’s flagships, and it also has some discernible blue shift when you tilt the display), well the larger screen size than the Google Pixel 2 means its not quite as comfortable to use and handle as its smaller cousin.
This is Google’s Android software, as it is meant to be simple, clean, easy to understand with a few handy add ons like the Pixel Launcher, automatic offline music detection, and Always On lock screen. Google also borrows from the HTC U11’s pressure sensitive sides you can squeeze the phone to open Google Assistant and tell it what to do.
Well, the battery life while good, is certainly not class leading among the flagships it is significantly behind for instance the Galaxy Note 8 and the OnePlus 5 both of them comfortably give battery life of over a day also noo support for wireless charging, that’s now present on the likes on iPhone 8. Still, the battery life is solid wwill comfortably last the day with moderate use overall its similar to what you would get from the iPhone 8, or the Google Pixel 2. Pretty good charging speed too you will get about 7 hours of battery life with a 15 minute charge.
On the whole, if you want the Android phone that does the most stuff, you might choose the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – it remains the “All The Things” phone to beat, but if you want a phone that you don’t have to learn to use or fuss with, just to make work properly, you will want the Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL for sure.