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Google has launched two new flagship smartphones: the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. The latter features a longer bezel-less screen, but both gadgets showcase Google’s vision of the ideal Android smartphones.
As we know well already, there is no “ideal phone”. People have different preferences and priorities. So before you order one online or go to the store to grab it, you need to know a few things.
Price and Availability
Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are available for pre-order now, and shipping starts on October 17. You can place orders at the Google Store.
- Pixel 2: $649 (64 GB) or $749 (128 GB)
- Pixel 2 XL: $849 (64 GB) or $ 949 (128 GB)
The Pixel 2 has three color options: “Just Black,” “Clearly White,” and “Kinda Blue.” The Pixel 2 XL’s color options are “Just Black” and “Black and White.”
Besides the screen and the battery, Google has some major improvements and additions in the new Pixel 2 phones. Here’s a quick look at the important specifications of both phones:
What’s the Difference Between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL?
Unlike the iPhone and iPhone Plus, both of Google’s Pixel phones share most of the same hardware. The biggest difference is the screen size.
The Pixel 2 XL has an infinity display, which means it removes the bezel at the bottom. What you get instead is a larger 6-inch screen in what would have been the size of last year’s Pixel XL with a 5.5-inch.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 2 sticks to the standard touchscreen phone format we have been used to for years now. It’s a 5-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, just like its predecessor.
Both smartphones use OLED displays for better colors. The 5-inch Pixel 2 has a resolution of 1920×1080 (441 ppi), while the 6-inch Pixel 2 XL boosts the resolution to 2880×1440 (538 ppi), in an odd 18:9 aspect ratio.
The other difference in the phones is the battery capacity. The Pixel 2 packs a 2700 mAh battery while the Pixel 2 XL has a 3500 mAh battery. However, Google is quick to state that you shouldn’t go by the numbers alone here. The larger screen size requires the larger battery. But the actual battery life for both phones is the same, lasting you all day of regular usage, or giving you seven hours of use on 15 minutes of charge.
The Best Phone Camera Ever?
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have the same camera, and it’s a monster. In fact, it is the best-reviewed mobile ever by DxO Mark, an industry-wide camera and image quality analysis service. The Pixel 2 camera got an overall score of 98, eclipsing the iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which both got 94. Individually, the Pixel 2 scored 99 on photo abilities and 96 on video recording.
To learn more about the camera, watch this quick video from the 9:50 time mark:
Note that this achievement is with a single camera unlike most new dual cameras like the iPhone and others. Google also says its camera can take Portrait photos, which focus on the subject and blur the background.
Goodbye 3.5 mm Headphone Jack
Like the iPhone, Google has gotten rid of the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. The only port on the second generation Pixel phones is a USB-C port. So you’ll need wired headphones with such a connector, or a converter for it. And of course, you could use wireless Bluetooth headphones too.
Ever since the iPhone 7 removed the headphone jack, other phone makers have been going with a single port. Google has followed suit, and honestly, it’s not a bad ploy.
The standard 3.5 mm analog headphone jack takes up more circuitry than new smartphones can afford, so the change makes sense. But there is plenty of backlash from users. If you have a favorite pair of headphones to listen to songs on your phone, this is a big disappointment.
Water Resistant and Improved GPS
The new Pixel 2 phones are also IP68-rated dust and water resistant. In simple terms, this means that both phones will survive rain, water spills, and other liquid accidents. But if you drop it in a river, the phone can’t handle that.
Apart from that, Google has made Maps a highlight here. GPS, or Global Positioning System, is an American product with American satellites in a limited orbit. Partnering with non-American satellites improves your localization on earth. To that extent, Google has partnered with GLONASS, BDS, and GALILEO to improve location tracking.
eSIM, So No SIM* (*Conditions Apply)
The other big thing about the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is that apart from a standard nano SIM, it comes with a new eSIM, or electronic SIM. With this, a user does not need to insert a SIM card into the phone, as we have all been doing for ages.
The eSIM is a new standard that Google says you can use as long as you are a subscriber of Project Fi. Project Fi is pretty awesome, but it’s not for everyone. If you are someone who travels across the USA (or the world), or if you aren’t a US citizen, Project Fi is useless right now. So don’t weigh this heavily in your purchase decision for now.
Project Fi matters for some US natives who will use the service without any logistical issues, and big carriers like AT&T are expected to incorporate it soon. But don’t let this be a purchase decision unless you want to and can use Project Fi.
Smart Software Is the Difference
The new Pixel 2 phones have a shortcut for Google Assistant, the smartest phone assistant. While you’re holding the phone, squeeze it to active Google Assistant, and then you can issue voice commands. It’s a small but convenient factor in one-handed usage of an excellent everyday gizmo.
The phone also comes with Google Lens, which is a smart algorithm that identifies different things in a photo. This lets you interact with each in a different way.
And as you probably know by now, Google throws in a bunch of goodies with Pixel phones. Buyers will get unlimited Google Drive storage for their photos, videos, emails, and other cloud data.
Will You Buy the Pixel 2?
So that’s everything you need to know about Google’s two new phones. Overall, these are excellent gadgets that seem to focus more on smart software than over-inflated hardware specifications. After all, it’s the experience that matters, not the specs.
Which leads to the obvious question, should you buy it over an iPhone or other Android phones? And if yes, which of the two is right for you? What do you think?