Google Pixel 2 overview: plainly nice
Google Pixel 2 overview: plainly nice

Without fail, every one who has picked up the Pixel 2 XL has said just about the same thing: “It looks like it’s made out of plastic.” I stated it myself while I first held it. of course, neither the Pixel 2 nor the Pixel 2 XL are made out of plastic. They Are made out of Gorilla Glass and aluminum, identical to some other prime-finish phone in this day and age.

However Google covered all that aluminum with a textured finish that hides most of the antenna lines and also makes the telephones more uncomplicated to grip. Google took what can have been a visually impressive layout and lined it up in the identify of ergonomics. It actually made a metal telephone really feel like a plastic one. It chose function over form.

At just about each and every flip, with each the hardware and the device, Google made that layout determination again and again. There have been a few times whilst I desire the corporate had risked a little more razzamatazz, however most commonly i have been appreciating the focus on improving the fundamentals.

“it’s not just what it seems like and appears like,” Steve Jobs as soon as stated, “layout is the way it works.”

The Pixel 2 works really well.

Replace, 10/31/17: After the original review was published on October seventeenth, we noticed studies and right away skilled “image retention” at the Pixel 2 XL reveal. On Account That then, Google has answered. It says that burn-in should not be a subject, however device updates are coming. It additionally prolonged the guaranty to an entire two years. we’ve got up to date the overview ’s screen section and rating in mild of this new information.


The Pixel 2 is available in sizes: an excessively humdrum FIVE-inch telephone with a squared-off display and massive, chunky bezels, and a slightly extra impressive 6-inch model with curved corners and smaller bezels. you’ll need to spend $649 for the smaller one or $849 for the larger one, with a $100 premium for expanded garage.

because it did closing 12 months, Google has done its level best to make those telephones equivalent excluding their measurement. you will get the similar energy, efficiency, and (most importantly) camera with either software. the only differences are purported to be the monitor and the battery. it is advisable to eternally debate whether these are the “similar telephone” in different sizes. if you happen to change the keel on a ship, does it make it a distinct boat? for those who substitute the screen, frame, and battery on a telephone, does it make it a distinct telephone? To me, there’s more that ’s identical than other, so let’s no longer go complete Ship of Theseus on them. (Note: when I discuss with “Pixel 2” under, I Am referring to both. I Will call out the “smaller” Pixel 2 or the two XL particularly where acceptable.)

it’s precise that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are more divergent than they have been remaining yr — in all probability as a result of they’re synthetic via other corporations. I choose the XL as a result of I want massive displays, however obviously the smaller Pixel 2 is nicer and more straightforward to hold. The XL is solely a bit of too massive, bigger even than ultimate yr’s Pixel XL, but it surely does have a bigger display than ultimate year ’s, too.

The smaller one is available in three colors, the larger one in . Each And Every colour has a slightly other texture and finish, and a few have jaunty little accessory colors on their energy buttons. All have what has change into the signature layout for Pixel devices: a pitcher “color” on the back of the phone for improved wireless indications. The colour is smaller this yr, stopping above the fingerprint sensor, however we ’ll need to see if it ’s any much less liable to scratching compared to the primary Pixels.

Google is sticking with the fingerprint sensor at the back, in a very easy-to-achieve spot. It’s speedy and correct. I want the facility button, which sits above the volume buttons, was once as simple to achieve at the XL. I should also word that each models do have a small digicam bump this 12 months, nevertheless it’s now not fairly as stated as what you will see at the contemporary iPhones.

Google aimed for “naturalistic” colours, but at the Pixel 2 XL they ’re just plain muted

The screen, especially on the 2 XL, has been polarizing. Google opted to music the show to sRGB (the Galaxy S8, via comparability, offers 4 gamut choices), so it appears a bit extra just like the iPhone’s display. However greater than that, at the 2 XL the colours glance muted in a way that many Android users I’ve shown it to found distasteful (inspite of the “shiny colours” surroundings grew to become on). I BELIEVE many Android telephones, particularly from Samsung, are so brilliant as to be phantasmagoric, so Google’s choice used to be to make this more “naturalistic.”

part of the problem, Google says, is that Oreo is the primary version of Android to have proper color house control. So previously, Android builders actually didn’t have a way to manage exactly how their colours may glance on displays. The Pixel 2 is a component of an attempt to fix that, however nonetheless, the extra “naturalistic” color tuning at the Pixel 2 XL (and, to a lesser volume, the smaller Pixel 2) simply appears just a little off. the issue will get so much worse when you take a look at the display from angles, the color swings simply because that is what pOLED does.

We spent so much of time staring at different footage on the Pixel 2, the two XL, the iPhone EIGHT Plus, the Note 8, and the unique Pixel XL. when you look at all the phones facet by side, it is plain that the Samsung telephone is wildly oversaturated, the iPhone 8 looks the most herbal, and the Pixel 2 XL is probably the most muted. Reds on the 2 XL are likely to be extra brownish, and pores and skin tones glance a bit greener than they ought. The smaller Pixel 2 seems to have better color balance; it’s closest to the iPhone 8 of the bunch.

The charitable option to placed it’s that Google opted for something sensible whilst it can have long gone bolder. the less charitable solution to placed it’s that the Pixel 2 XL has a nasty reveal with bad color tuning. For me, at least, i discovered that it does not bother me except i’m actively evaluating monitors to another phone. While I just use the two XL day to day, it is superb. actually, I savor that it’s not as oversaturated as your average OLED Android phone.

There are a few who concern that the Pixel 2 XL will suffer from the display issues that plague a carefully comparable phone, the LG V30. THAT IS NOT the case for me; my display does not have any blotches or useless pixels.

Replace 10/31/17:

after we published our authentic review, reviewers noticed an “Image Retention” issue at the Pixel 2 XL. it is advisable see ghostly versions of the buttons on top of the true image in certain instances, e.g. looking at a gray image in full screen. We ’ve noticed this behavior on more than one assessment gadgets ourselves, together with mere minutes after unboxing a brand new telephone.

Symbol retention is something that’s not unexpected on OLED displays, however this turns out much worse that standard. It ’s also perhaps an indication of burn-in, the place the reveal is permanently damaged by means of pictures sitting at the reveal for too lengthy. Google has published an replace contending that neither of those issues are true. It argues that image retention and burn-in in this monitor are each in line with industry norms.

On The Other Hand, Google has prolonged the warranty at the Pixel 2 XL for two years. It has additionally promised a instrument update that are supposed to do a pair issues: scale back the possible for permanent burn in through the years and provides customers the option for extra colourful colours.

The Ones promises are just right, but they don ’t deal with different middle problems on the screen: graininess and image retention that very obviously is worse than commonplace. Is it liveable, given that you received ’t understand symbol retention except specifically scenarios? Most Probably, but it ’s additionally something you should take into account of getting into.

it is also no longer strictly actual to say that the Pixel 2 XL is a “bezel-less” phone. Although the bezels are so much smaller than those on many different phones, the Samsung Galaxy S8, Notice EIGHT, LG V30, Very Important Telephone, and (I BELIEVE) iPhone X all have smaller bezels. The glass is curved on the edges of the XL, even though the display itself isn’t, And That I vacillate among pondering it seems sublime and considering it seems kind of simple. i don’t have that problem with the smaller Pixel 2; I all the time suppose it seems simple.

On each phones, there are front-dealing with stereo audio system, as against the combo of front-going through and bottom-firing ones at the iPhone. It Is one among the ones layout decisions Google made preferring function over good looks, as a result of despite the fact that the speakers make both phones taller and not more sublime, they sound nice. They get masses loud, but even at max extent there is not any distortion. There Is even a touch of bass. Not as a lot as you’re going to get from a correct Bluetooth speaker, however more than you’d be expecting from a phone.

And as lengthy as we’re talking about audio, let’s speak about the dearth of a headphone jack. For a phone that so clearly places an emphasis on practicality, it is a stupid and tense modification. there is a USB-C dongle in the field, however no headphones are included. I Am well aware that the desire for a standard headphone jack is viewed through many as backwards-taking a look — if now not quixotic — but now not having one remains to be a close to-day-to-day trouble for plenty of.

If there’s any vivid spot approximately Google doing away with the standard headphone port, it’s that the Pixel 2 also has greatly stepped forward Bluetooth performance. On the original Pixel XL, I WAS getting no end of stutters and drops with a couple of differing types of headphones, but nary a one on the Pixel 2. i don’t understand whether to credit higher antennas, higher silicon, or better instrument — possibly all of the above — but I Am happy it is fastened.

Each phones are rated IP67 against dust and water, and we dunked ’em both a few instances without any issues. because of the aluminum unibody design, they do not support wi-fi charging. i find that disappointing, as each Samsung and Apple do make stronger it. a minimum of Google’s quick charging works neatly with the integrated AC adapter, offering a couple of hours of rate with a snappy most sensible-up.

The Pixel 2 telephones have the similar processor as another flagship Android telephone this year: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. They Have Got 4GB of RAM, that’s lots. Beyond preferring it aesthetically, I Have discovered that Google’s version of Android just tends to run higher overall than Samsung’s or LG’s. i am hoping that maintains to be the case over the years with the Pixel 2 and Oreo. so far, it’s been snappy.

Battery lifestyles also seems excellent. It takes some severe paintings to drain the battery on the Pixel 2 XL in a unmarried day; usually it lasts till bedtime just nice. For those who pay attention to such things, I Will say that i have been getting around six hours of screen time with the brightness at around SEVENTY FIVE percent. at the smaller Pixel 2, my effects haven’t been that impressive, however nonetheless rather just right. My colleague Vlad Savov has spent more time with the smaller one, and he tells me he is getting via an entire day without issue.


Ultimate year’s Pixel had the most efficient camera it is advisable get on a cellphone, and not only in DxO benchmarks, however in actual-global trying out. after all, for the reason that then the Galaxy Observe EIGHT, HTC U11, and the iPhone EIGHT all came alongside. And I have not done sufficient trying out to say whether or not the Pixel 2 can beat the pack once more. However after a couple of week of the use of the digital camera, i can say this: it has an actual shot at being the best again.

I Have already described the multitude of technologies which are crammed into the Pixel 2’s digital camera stack and image processing workflow, so I’m Going To simply keep on with the quick version right here. Google is the use of its largest strength, device learning, to make the camera a lot better.

there’s a 12-megapixel dual-pixel autofocus sensor on the again and an 8-megapixel sensor on the front. at the rear, Google is the use of a slightly brighter lens than ahead of with the added improve of optical image stabilization. but the technical main points are less significant than how Google strategies photography: it’s treating images like a knowledge problem in place of just a gentle downside.

Grid View

For Normal photographs in complete vehicle, the Pixel 2 is superb. It handles challenging lighting situations with out blinking: low-mild, backlit subjects, and my very own shaky arms don’t seem to be an issue for this digicam. The selfie digital camera is EIGHT megapixels, and it most certainly the best entrance-facing camera I Have ever used. It has a “face retouching” feature, which, like so much I Have attempted, is a little bit over-aggressive in smoothing your pores away.

Take low gentle, for instance: Google tells me that even if it will stay the shutter open longer to bring in extra light, it’s not bothering. It doesn’t want to as a result of each and every picture you are taking on the Pixel 2 is an algorithmically mixed set of as much as 10 photographs.

Simply a contender for easiest telephone digicam

i locate the Pixel 2’s photos to be means sharper than the iPhone EIGHT and the Note 8 — virtually to a fault in a couple of cases. HDR pictures are equally impressive. I favor the Pixel 2’s photographs total, even though on occasion it goes a little overboard. Colours are a bit of bit extra subjective: Google seems to lean toward the iPhone’s more naturalistic look more than Samsung’s vibrant colors. However even then, it’s worth mentioning that the main monitor you actually take a look at the photos on is likely going to be your phone’s monitor, so the Pixel 2’s footage are going to look a bit of much less colourful, especially at the Pixel 2 XL.


The Place issues get more attention-grabbing — and a bit of more blended in the results — is in portrait mode. Google attempts to do the same thing with a unmarried lens that different cameras do with : stumble on intensity knowledge and blur the historical past. Most telephones do this by way of combining pc popularity with a little little bit of intensity information — and Google isn’t any different in that regard.

what’s other is that Google is a lot better at pc reputation, and it is collecting depth data from the twin-pixel device, the place the part-pixels are actually not up to a micron apart on a single symbol sensor. Google’s proficiency at machine finding out means portrait images from the Pixel 2 do a better job of cropping around hair than either the iPhone 8 or the Note 8. the twin-pixel depth sensing makes it imaginable to get portrait mode working on non-human subjects, however there it’s a bit extra of a wash. Now And Again the Pixel 2 can’t somewhat tell what to blur.


not just can each sizes of the Pixel 2 do portrait mode, both cameras on each of those telephones can do it, too. at the selfie digicam, alternatively, there don’t seem to be the ones dual pixels to rely on, so it wishes to peer your face. Portrait mode is fun, and often you can get really amazing results, but to me, on all three of those phones, I nonetheless really feel like this mode is ham-passed. you’ll be able to almost always see the crop if you look for it.

Where the Pixel 2 can not slightly sustain is with the extra fancy results that both Samsung and Apple layer on best of pix. With the Pixel 2, the only possibility is portrait mode on or off. You must set it earlier than you’re taking the photo, and you can’t adjust it after the shot.

Google may be throwing a couple of other tips on the Pixel 2 digital camera. My favorite is Motion Photos, which is Google’s take on embedding little movable photographs within your picture. Like Apple’s Reside Pictures, they’re adorable and a laugh and not neatly-supported on social networks. Unlike Apple’s Reside Footage, you’ll be able to’t really do much with Google’s Movement Photos. If there may be some way to set a special a part of the moving symbol as your key frame or an effortless method to export to GIF (without resorting to a third-birthday party app), i could not find it.

i am hoping that Google iterates quickly on each portrait mode and Movement Pictures. the fundamentals are here and they are amusing, but without the power to do extra with them, they feel tremendous restricted. I WAS not able to check the opposite large digicam function, augmented reality stickers, as they’re getting released later.

One last item about the digicam: while you tap the little thumbnail on your final shot, it jumps instantly into Google Photos in place of that bizarre limbo-zone camera roll you used to must care for.

AI & Instrument

if you happen to still suppose that the version of Android on Google’s phones is “natural Android” and the whole lot else is Google’s Android with extra crap layered on, I’m here to tell you that ’s probably not correct anymore. More and more, “pure Android” is simply a shell of functions and a few key apps and everybody builds on that. So Google’s version of Android is extraordinarily Google.

the primary and most significant piece of that puzzle is the Google Assistant. it’s, of course, available on other phones, however at the Pixel 2 it simply seems to subtly feel like it’s extra critical to the revel in. For me, it become transparent while I said “OK Google” and the Pixel 2 actually heard me from across the room and aroused from sleep.

Android telephones were promising that voice revel in for years now, however the fact is that it never actually labored all that well. The Pixel 2, with its loud speakers and obviously stepped forward microphones, practically seems like a Google House sensible speaker to me.

Google isn’t touting that function so much. As A Substitute it’s speaking approximately Lively Edge, the feature that lets you squeeze the telephone to release the Assistant. there is a brief setup workflow, which I strongly counsel you do not skip because it explains that to use Energetic Part, you want to supply the thing a handy guide a rough squeeze, not a difficult grip.

you’ll be able to alter how exhausting you need to squeeze it to make it cross; i found over time that more difficult is healthier, otherwise you may release the Assistant simply by choosing your telephone up. you can also set the squeeze to silence an incoming call, however those are truly the one choices that topic. you’ll’t set the squeeze to do anything, just like the Bixby button on Samsung’s telephones. Aggravating.

Besides, Energetic Side works, and it’s convenient, but i have such a lot of years of “long press the house button for Siri or Assistant” muscle memory constructed up that i didn’t in point of fact use it to start with. But over time i began to appreciate it extra, if simplest as it used to be moderately sooner than maintaining the house button down. I’m still no longer a talk-to-my-telephone person, however i am doing it somewhat bit more than before.

And “doing just a little bit greater than earlier than” is more or less a subject matter with the Google Assistant. Google will happily tell you it can provide “100 million” extra answers than it would a 12 months in the past, but that seems like an extraordinarily inflated number to me. having said that, the Assistant does not relatively get enough credit score for the enhancements it ’s made in the past year, because they’ve been so in my view iterative and small.

there is one whiz-bang feature getting delivered to the Pixel 2: Google Lens. It Is a part of Google’s plan to make your camera a brand new roughly enter, along typing and speaking. That Is a pleasant imaginative and prescient, but the Pixel 2 is very far from knowing it at launch.

Google Lens must be introduced to extra parts of the instrument prior to it’ll be useful

For now, Lens is just a button throughout the Google Photos app. You faucet it on a photograph you’ve got already taken and it’ll attempt to determine the object. Google is purely supporting roughly obvious stuff at first: guide covers, album covers, widespread paintings, landmarks, and the like. it may possibly determine other issues, but how incessantly do you need your telephone to inform you that a espresso mug is a coffee mug? It did successfully determine approximately half the cars I pointed it at, which is neat, and as a “find more lovely dogs just like the one I just noticed on the park” instrument, it is extraordinary.

but the real point of Lens is for it to be constructed into the Assistant, operating in real time in a more conversational means, after which after that, in Google Keep and the digital camera app and who knows what else. In All Places you sort, Google desires to be in a position to use pictures. Until it might probably get further towards that goal, Lens is a sideshow in the Photos app. a good show, to be certain, but not a really important one.

I’m extra impressed with the feature that ambiently listens for no matter what song is being silly you and displays it on the at all times-on lock screen. It seems like a creepy feature, however the Pixel 2 is already all the time listening for you to mention “GOOD ENOUGH Google,” so this is just yet another factor for it to take heed to. All of that track recognition happens in the community at the telephone, and the database of songs is saved in the neighborhood, too, which will help alleviate a few of the most obvious privateness issues that come along side these types of options.

Speaking of that always-on lock screen, it’s nice but extra limited than what you’ll be able to get on a Samsung phone, and there is not any method to set a subject matter on it.

yearly, Google movements a few stuff round on the house screen, and this yr is no different. The Google search button has been built-in into the dock, and additionally it is been mixed with on-device seek. In theory it’s great, and it’s undoubtedly more uncomplicated to faucet than while it was on the most sensible, however I regularly ended up tapping one thing i didn’t wish to whilst I just desired to do a quick internet seek. Also, when you combine it with the new Weather / Calendar widget on the most sensible of the display, you end up with less space on your icons than you had sooner than.

There are some nice little shifting wallpapers, but there are not enough of them and there is not any strategy to make your own. One nice bit: whilst you make a selection a gloomy wallpaper the notification coloration and app drawer robotically switch over to a depressing subject.

so much of phones are designed to razzle dazzle you with their first impressions. The monitors on Samsung phones wrap round the edges. The iPhone X and Crucial telephones have monitors that cross so far to the threshold that they’ve notches reduce out of their screens.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL do not razzle dazzle. it isn’t just the moderately disappointing reveal on the Pixel 2 XL, it is that Google has long past out of its approach to do issues which can be practical instead of flashy. in place of going bezel-much less, it introduced entrance-facing audio system. rather than one million camera results, it all for one or two, even as making the center digital camera enjoy significantly better with device finding out. The list is going on.

Nice telephones, however they ’re no longer wonderful

The Pixel 2 has many, many things going for it. Had Been it no longer for a few problems — the monitor, the slightly inelegant layout, and (sure) the dearth of a headphone jack — it will have gained the highest ranking we’ve ever given a phone. as it is, it’s a great phone, however now not rather a home run.

Nonetheless, there are just a lot of little issues which might be better at the Pixel 2. you locate yourself using the Assistant extra because it’s providing you with higher solutions over time. you are capable of triage your notifications a bit of faster. The camera makes it so much more straightforward to get great shots, even in low mild.

The Pixel 2 is not the nice eating room table with the fondness silverware. it’s the kitchen counter where you really consume. it’s not as spectacular, however it’s much more comfy. that is what makes the design of this year’s Google Phones great. They’re meant to be of use, and so they are.

Replace, 10/31/17: As stated above, after the unique overview we spotted the image retention factor with those screens. We ’ve up to date our score underneath to reflect that fear with the show

EIGHT Verge Score

Google Pixel 2 XL

Great Things

Unbelievable digital camera Nice audio system Best Android experience

Dangerous Stuff

Monitor shows image retention in an instant Colours are muted, even compared to different sRGB displays No headphone jack Purchase for $849.00 from Google Purchase for $849.99 from Perfect Purchase EIGHT.5 Verge Ranking

Google Pixel 2

Great Things

Incredible digicam Nice audio system Very Best Android enjoy

Unhealthy Stuff

Massive bezels round screen No headphone jack Lacks a few customization in digicam features Purchase for $649.00 from Google Purchase for $649.99 from Very Best Buy

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