With Out fail, every person who has picked up the Pixel 2 XL has mentioned just about the same thing: “It seems like it’s made out of plastic.” I said it myself when I first held it. of course, neither the Pixel 2 nor the Pixel 2 XL are made out of plastic. They’re made out of Gorilla Glass and aluminum, similar to any other prime-finish phone at the present time.

But Google covered all that aluminum with a textured end that hides so much of the antenna lines and likewise makes the telephones easier to grip. Google took what can have been a visually impressive layout and coated it up in the title of ergonomics. It actually made a metal phone really feel like a plastic one. It chose function over shape.

At nearly each and every flip, with both the hardware and the tool, Google made that design resolution again and again. There have been a couple of instances whilst I wish the company had risked a bit more razzamatazz, however mostly i’ve been appreciating the focal point on improving the basics.

“it isn’t simply what it looks like and seems like,” Steve Jobs as soon as stated, “layout is the way it works.”

The Pixel 2 works very well.

Update, 10/31/17: After the unique overview was revealed on October seventeenth, we noticed reports and straight away experienced “image retention” on the Pixel 2 XL monitor. Considering That then, Google has answered. It says that burn-in should not be a topic, however software updates are coming. It also extended the guaranty to an entire years. we have now updated the evaluation ’s reveal phase and rating in light of this new knowledge.

Hardware

The Pixel 2 comes in two sizes: a very humdrum 5-inch phone with a squared-off display and big, chunky bezels, and a slightly extra spectacular 6-inch model with curved corners and smaller bezels. you will need to spend $649 for the smaller one or $849 for the larger one, with a $100 premium for multiplied storage.

as it did ultimate yr, Google has done its stage best possible to make those phones identical except their size. you’re going to get the similar energy, efficiency, and (most significantly) digital camera with either software. the only differences are imagined to be the monitor and the battery. it’s essential eternally debate whether or not those are the “similar phone” in two other sizes. if you happen to change the keel on a boat, does it make it a different boat? in case you exchange the display, body, and battery on a telephone, does it make it a unique telephone? To me, there may be more that ’s identical than different, so let’s no longer go complete Send of Theseus on them. (Be Aware: when I seek advice from “Pixel 2” under, I’m referring to each. I Will name out the “smaller” Pixel 2 or the 2 XL particularly where acceptable.)

it’s true that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are extra divergent than they had been final yr — possibly as a result of they are manufactured by means of different corporations. I favor the XL as a result of I desire large monitors, but clearly the smaller Pixel 2 is nicer and more uncomplicated to hold. The XL is just just a little too massive, larger even than closing year’s Pixel XL, but it does have a bigger reveal than last 12 months ’s, too.

The smaller one comes in three colours, the larger one in two. Each color has a slightly different texture and finish, and a few have jaunty little accessory colors on their power buttons. All have what has change into the signature layout for Pixel units: a tumbler “shade” on the back of the phone for progressed wi-fi signals. The colour is smaller this year, preventing above the fingerprint sensor, however we ’ll must see if it ’s any less susceptible to scratching in comparison to the first Pixels.

Google is sticking with the fingerprint sensor on the back, in a very easy-to-succeed in spot. It Is fast and correct. I desire the ability button, which sits above the quantity buttons, was as easy to achieve on the XL. I should also note that both fashions do have a small digital camera bump this yr, however it’s no longer reasonably as suggested as what you will see at the up to date iPhones.

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

The screen, particularly on the 2 XL, has been polarizing. Google opted to song the show to sRGB (the Galaxy S8, by comparability, provides 4 gamut choices), so it looks slightly extra just like the iPhone’s screen. But more than that, on the 2 XL the colors glance muted in some way that many Android users I’ve shown it to found distasteful (inspite of the “bright colors” atmosphere turned on). I FEEL many Android phones, especially from Samsung, are so vibrant as to be phantasmagoric, so Google’s choice was to make this extra “naturalistic.”

part of the problem, Google says, is that Oreo is the primary model of Android to have correct colour house control. So until now, Android builders in reality did not have a way to control exactly how their colors may look on displays. The Pixel 2 is a part of an attempt to mend that, however having said that, the more “naturalistic” color tuning at the Pixel 2 XL (and, to a lesser quantity, the smaller Pixel 2) simply appears a little off. the problem will get much worse while you have a look at the monitor from angles, the color swings simply because that’s what pOLED does.

We spent a lot of time observing different footage on the Pixel 2, the 2 XL, the iPhone EIGHT Plus, the Observe EIGHT, and the unique Pixel XL. when you have a look at the entire telephones facet by means of aspect, it’s undeniable that the Samsung telephone is wildly oversaturated, the iPhone 8 seems to be probably the most natural, and the Pixel 2 XL is probably the most muted. Reds on the 2 XL tend to be extra brownish, and skin tones look a bit greener than they ought. The smaller Pixel 2 seems to have higher color stability; it is closest to the iPhone 8 of the bunch.

The charitable way to put it’s that Google opted for one thing sensible when it will have long past bolder. the fewer charitable way to positioned it’s that the Pixel 2 XL has a nasty monitor with dangerous colour tuning. For me, no less than, i discovered that it doesn’t trouble me except i am actively evaluating displays to a different telephone. Whilst I just use the two XL day to day, it is fantastic. in truth, I take pleasure in that it is not as oversaturated as your average OLED Android phone.

There are a few who fear that the Pixel 2 XL will be afflicted by the display issues that plague a closely related phone, the LG V30. THAT IS NOT the case for me; my screen doesn’t have any blotches or useless pixels.

Update 10/31/17:

when we posted our original overview, reviewers spotted an “Symbol Retention” factor on the Pixel 2 XL. you’ll want to see ghostly versions of the buttons on top of the true image in sure cases, e.g. taking a look at a grey symbol in full monitor. We ’ve seen this conduct on a couple of evaluate devices ourselves, together with mere mins after unboxing a new phone.

Image retention is something that’s not sudden on OLED screens, but this seems so much worse that usual. It ’s additionally in all probability a sign of burn-in, where the display is permanently damaged by way of images sitting at the reveal for too long. Google has published an update contending that neither of those things are true. It argues that symbol retention and burn-in in this display are both in line with trade norms.

On The Other Hand, Google has extended the guaranty at the Pixel 2 XL for 2 years. It has also promised a instrument update that are supposed to do a couple things: cut back the prospective for everlasting burn in over time and provides customers the choice for extra colourful colors.

Those guarantees are excellent, but they don ’t address other middle problems on the monitor: graininess and image retention that very clearly is worse than normal. Is it habitable, for the reason that you won ’t realize image retention except for particularly situations? Almost Certainly, nevertheless it ’s also something you desire to have in mind of getting in.

it is also not strictly true to say that the Pixel 2 XL is a “bezel-much less” telephone. Despite The Fact That the bezels are so much smaller than the ones on many different telephones, the Samsung Galaxy S8, Notice 8, LG V30, Essential Telephone, and (I BELIEVE) iPhone X all have smaller bezels. The glass is curved at the edges of the XL, despite the fact that the monitor itself isn’t, And That I vacillate among considering it seems to be elegant and pondering it appears to be like kind of simple. i do not have that drawback with the smaller Pixel 2; I always suppose it looks plain.

On both phones, there are entrance-going through stereo speakers, as against the mix of front-going through and backside-firing ones at the iPhone. It Is one of those design choices Google made who prefer function over attractiveness, as a result of even supposing the audio system make both phones taller and not more chic, they sound great. They get masses loud, however even at max volume there is no distortion. There’s even a touch of bass. Not as so much as you’ll get from a proper Bluetooth speaker, however greater than you would be expecting from a phone.

And as long as we’re talking about audio, let’s talk about the shortage of a headphone jack. For a telephone that so obviously places an emphasis on practicality, it’s a dull and anxious amendment. there’s a USB-C dongle in the box, but no headphones are incorporated. I’m well aware that the desire for a conventional headphone jack is viewed by way of many as backwards-looking — if now not quixotic — however no longer having one is still a close to-day by day hassle for plenty of.

If there’s any bright spot approximately Google eliminating the standard headphone port, it’s that the Pixel 2 also has a great deal progressed Bluetooth performance. On the original Pixel XL, I USED TO BE getting no end of stutters and drops with a few differing types of headphones, but nary a one at the Pixel 2. i don’t recognize whether or not to credit higher antennas, better silicon, or higher device — maybe all of the above — but I’m satisfied it’s fixed.

Both phones are rated IP67 against dust and water, and we dunked ’em both a couple of occasions with none issues. because of the aluminum unibody design, they don’t toughen wi-fi charging. i find that disappointing, as both Samsung and Apple do enhance it. a minimum of Google’s quick charging works well with the integrated AC adapter, offering several hours of price with a snappy most sensible-up.

The Pixel 2 phones have the same processor as every other flagship Android phone this yr: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. They’ve 4GB of RAM, that is plenty. Past preferring it aesthetically, I’ve found that Google’s version of Android just tends to run higher overall than Samsung’s or LG’s. i’m hoping that continues to be the case through the years with the Pixel 2 and Oreo. thus far, it has been snappy.

Battery life additionally turns out good. It takes a few severe work to empty the battery on the Pixel 2 XL in a single day; regularly it lasts till bedtime simply nice. For folks that pay attention to such things, I’ll say that i have been getting round six hours of display time with the brightness at around 75 %. at the smaller Pixel 2, my effects haven’t been that impressive, however nonetheless moderately good. My colleague Vlad Savov has spent more time with the smaller one, and he tells me he’s getting thru a full day without issue.

Digicam

Ultimate year’s Pixel had the best camera that you must get on a phone, and not just in DxO benchmarks, however in actual-international trying out. of course, due to the fact then the Galaxy Word 8, HTC U11, and the iPhone EIGHT all got here alongside. And That I haven’t done enough trying out to say whether or not the Pixel 2 can beat the pack again. But after a couple of week of the usage of the digicam, i can say this: it has a real shot at being the most efficient again.

I’ve already defined the multitude of applied sciences which can be filled into the Pixel 2’s camera stack and symbol processing workflow, so I’m Going To simply persist with the short model right here. Google is using its largest power, device finding out, to make the digicam much better.

there is a 12-megapixel twin-pixel autofocus sensor at the again and an 8-megapixel sensor at the entrance. at the rear, Google is using a slightly brighter lens than sooner than with the brought improve of optical image stabilization. but the technical main points are less important than how Google strategies images: it is treating photography like an information downside as opposed to only a gentle downside.

Grid View

For Regular photographs in full automobile, the Pixel 2 is very good. It handles difficult lighting fixtures situations with out blinking: low-gentle, backlit topics, and my own shaky hands are not a problem for this camera. The selfie camera is EIGHT megapixels, and it most likely the most efficient entrance-dealing with camera I Have ever used. It has a “face retouching” feature, which, like most I’ve tried, is slightly over-competitive in smoothing your pores away.

Take low gentle, as an example: Google tells me that even supposing it might keep the shutter open longer to bring in more gentle, it isn’t bothering. It doesn’t want to because each and every picture you take on the Pixel 2 is an algorithmically mixed set of up to 10 pictures.

Simply a contender for easiest telephone digicam

i locate the Pixel 2’s footage to be manner sharper than the iPhone EIGHT and the Notice EIGHT — nearly to a fault in a pair of instances. HDR pictures are equally spectacular. I desire the Pixel 2’s images total, even though every now and then it goes just a little overboard. Colors are somewhat bit extra subjective: Google turns out to lean towards the iPhone’s more naturalistic glance more than Samsung’s shiny colors. But even then, it is worth mentioning that the primary screen you really have a look at the footage on is probably going going to be your telephone’s reveal, so the Pixel 2’s footage are going to appear a little bit less colourful, particularly at the Pixel 2 XL.

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Where issues get extra fascinating — and a little bit more blended within the results — is in portrait mode. Google attempts to do the similar factor with a single lens that other cameras do with : hit upon depth information and blur the historical past. Such A Lot telephones do that by way of combining pc popularity with a bit little bit of depth knowledge — and Google is not any different in that regard.

what is other is that Google is significantly better at laptop reputation, and it’s collecting intensity information from the twin-pixel machine, where the half-pixels are literally not up to a micron aside on a single symbol sensor. Google’s skillability at system studying approach portrait images from the Pixel 2 do a greater process of cropping round hair than both the iPhone EIGHT or the Note EIGHT. the twin-pixel depth sensing makes it possible to get portrait mode engaged on non-human subjects, however there it is a bit more of a wash. Once In A While the Pixel 2 can’t fairly tell what to blur.

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not just can each sizes of the Pixel 2 do portrait mode, both cameras on both of these phones can do it, too. on the selfie camera, on the other hand, there are not those dual pixels to depend on, so it needs to peer your face. Portrait mode is amusing, and sometimes you’ll be able to get really wonderful effects, but to me, on all 3 of those phones, I still feel like this mode is ham-handed. you’ll nearly always see the crop if you search for it.

The Place the Pixel 2 can not quite keep up is with the additional fancy results that both Samsung and Apple layer on top of photos. With the Pixel 2, the one option is portrait mode on or off. You have to set it sooner than you’re taking the photograph, and you’ll be able to’t adjust it after the shot.

Google may be throwing a few other tricks on the Pixel 2 digicam. My favourite is Motion Photos, that is Google’s tackle embedding little movable images inside of your photograph. Like Apple’s Live Photos, they’re cute and a laugh and never well-supported on social networks. In Contrast To Apple’s Live Footage, you’ll be able to’t truly do much with Google’s Movement Footage. If there may be some way to set a distinct part of the transferring image as your key body or an easy solution to export to GIF (with out resorting to a third-birthday celebration app), i couldn’t in finding it.

i am hoping that Google iterates briefly on each portrait mode and Movement Photos. the fundamentals are right here and they’re fun, but with out the ability to do more with them, they really feel tremendous restricted. I USED TO BE unable to check the other big digicam feature, augmented reality stickers, as they’re getting launched later.

One very last thing concerning the digicam: whilst you tap the little thumbnail in your final shot, it jumps right away into Google Footage as opposed to that bizarre limbo-zone camera roll you used to need to maintain.

AI & Tool

should you nonetheless suppose that the model of Android on Google’s phones is “natural Android” and the whole lot else is Google’s Android with further crap layered on, I’m right here to tell you that ’s not likely accurate anymore. More and extra, “pure Android” is just a shell of functions and a few key apps and everybody builds on that. So Google’s version of Android is fairly Google.

the first and most vital piece of that puzzle is the Google Assistant. it’s, of course, available on other telephones, but on the Pixel 2 it simply turns out to subtly feel like it is extra vital to the experience. For me, it was transparent when I mentioned “OK Google” and the Pixel 2 in reality heard me from around the room and aroused from sleep.

Android telephones were promising that voice experience for years now, however the fact is that it never truly labored all that neatly. The Pixel 2, with its loud speakers and obviously progressed microphones, essentially appears like a Google House smart speaker to me.

Google is not touting that characteristic a lot. Instead it’s speaking about Lively Facet, the function that allows you to squeeze the telephone to release the Assistant. there is a short setup workflow, which I strongly suggest you do not skip as it explains that to make use of Lively Facet, you must provide the item a handy guide a rough squeeze, now not a hard grip.

you’ll regulate how hard you have to squeeze it to make it pass; i discovered through the years that harder is healthier, otherwise you may release the Assistant simply by choosing your phone up. you can also set the squeeze to silence an incoming name, however those are actually the one options that topic. you’ll’t set the squeeze to do anything, just like the Bixby button on Samsung’s phones. Annoying.

Anyway, Active Facet works, and it is convenient, but i’ve so many years of “lengthy press the home button for Siri or Assistant” muscle memory built up that i didn’t actually use it in the beginning. But through the years i started to understand it extra, if simplest as it was once fairly sooner than preserving the home button down. I Am still now not a chat-to-my-phone particular person, but i’m doing it somewhat bit greater than ahead of.

And “doing a little bit bit more than before” is roughly a subject with the Google Assistant. Google will happily let you know it may well provide “100 million” more answers than it could a 12 months ago, but that appears like an awfully inflated number to me. having said that, the Assistant doesn’t slightly get enough credit for the enhancements it ’s made in the previous yr, because they’ve been so in my opinion iterative and small.

there is one whiz-bang characteristic getting brought to the Pixel 2: Google Lens. It’s a part of Google’s plan to make your camera a new more or less enter, alongside typing and speaking. That’s a pleasing vision, however the Pixel 2 may be very removed from realizing it at release.

Google Lens needs to be delivered to more portions of the instrument prior to it’ll be helpful

For now, Lens is simply a button inside the Google Photos app. You faucet it on a photo you have already taken and it is going to try to identify the item. Google is purely aiding more or less obvious stuff to start with: e book covers, album covers, popular art work, landmarks, etc. it may possibly establish different things, however how continuously do you want your phone to tell you that a espresso mug is a coffee mug? It did successfully determine about part the vehicles I pointed it at, which is neat, and as a “find extra lovable dogs like the one I simply noticed at the park” tool, it is remarkable.

but the real element of Lens is for it to be built into the Assistant, running in real time in a extra conversational manner, after which after that, in Google Keep and the digital camera app and who is aware of what else. Everywhere you sort, Google desires to be in a position to use images. Until it may get additional towards that function, Lens is a sideshow in the Pictures app. a fair display, to make certain, but now not a really essential one.

I’m more impressed with the characteristic that ambiently listens for whatever music is being silly you and presentations it at the all the time-on lock display. It sounds like a creepy characteristic, however the Pixel 2 is already at all times listening for you to say “GOOD ENOUGH Google,” so this is just yet another factor for it to listen to. All of that music reputation occurs in the neighborhood at the phone, and the database of songs is stored locally, too, which can help alleviate some of the obvious privacy issues that come along with those kinds of options.

Talking of that usually-on lock display, it is nice however more limited than what you’ll get on a Samsung phone, and there is not any solution to set a subject on it.

yearly, Google actions a few stuff round at the house monitor, and this yr is no different. The Google search button has been integrated into the dock, and it is also been blended with on-instrument search. In concept it is great, and it is no doubt more uncomplicated to faucet than while it was once at the best, but I ceaselessly ended up tapping one thing i did not wish to whilst I simply desired to do a quick internet search. Additionally, when you combine it with the brand new Climate / Calendar widget at the most sensible of the display, you finish up with much less house on your icons than you had ahead of.

There are some great little moving wallpapers, but there aren’t sufficient of them and there is not any method to make your individual. One nice bit: whilst you make a choice a dismal wallpaper the notification coloration and app drawer mechanically transfer over to a gloomy theme.

a lot of phones are designed to razzle dazzle you with their first impressions. The screens on Samsung telephones wrap round the sides. The iPhone X and Very Important telephones have monitors that pass up to now 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 reasonably disappointing monitor at the Pixel 2 XL, it is that Google has gone out of its approach to do things which might be practical as opposed to flashy. instead of going bezel-less, it introduced entrance-facing audio system. in preference to 1,000,000 camera results, it all in favour of one or two, while making the middle camera enjoy significantly better with gadget learning. The checklist goes on.

Nice phones, but they ’re now not faultless

The Pixel 2 has many, many stuff going for it. Have Been it no longer for a couple of issues — the monitor, the slightly inelegant design, and (sure) the dearth of a headphone jack — it might have won the highest rating we have ever given a phone. because it is, it’s a great phone, but no longer slightly a home run.

Still, there are just a lot of little issues which can be higher at the Pixel 2. you find your self the use of the Assistant more because it’s giving you higher solutions over time. you’re able to triage your notifications a bit of sooner. The digital camera makes it so much easier to get great shots, even in low mild.

The Pixel 2 is not the great eating room table with the fancy silverware. it is the kitchen counter where you really eat. it is not as impressive, nevertheless it’s a lot more comfy. that is what makes the layout of this 12 months’s Google Telephones nice. They’re intended to be of use, they usually are.

Update, 10/31/17: As referred to above, after the unique evaluation we spotted the image retention issue with those monitors. We ’ve updated our ranking under to reflect that worry with the display

8 Verge Ranking

Google Pixel 2 XL

Good Stuff

Implausible camera Great audio system Absolute Best Android experience

Bad Stuff

Screen presentations image retention right away Colors are muted, even in comparison to different sRGB monitors No headphone jack Purchase for $849.00 from Google Purchase for $849.99 from Perfect Purchase EIGHT.5 Verge Rating

Google Pixel 2

Great Things

Fantastic digital camera Nice speakers Very Best Android experience

Bad Stuff

Massive bezels round screen No headphone jack Lacks some customization in camera features Purchase for $649.00 from Google Purchase for $649.99 from Best Possible Purchase

Video by way of:

Director: Phil Esposito
Host: Dieter Bohn
Assistant Director: Felicia Shivakumar
Camera: Vjeran Pavic
Producer: Will Joel
Graphics: Garret Beard
Audio: Andrew Marino
Supervising Director: Tom Connors

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