Earlier in October, Google blessed us with its new Pixels. They announced the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Since the announcement, they have been all over the news, but do they live up to their hype? Let's find out in more detail.
What do the Pixel 2 phones compare to?
Unlike the usual, we can not really just name some phones. It is a bit more complicated in this case. The main reason for the complication is the fact that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are very different phones. The Pixel 2 XL goes head-on with phones like the LG V30 and the Galaxy S8+. The Pixel 2 on the other hand, is probably most comparable to something the like the iPhone 8 or HTC U Ultra.
The main reason of the splitting of these two phones is the design. Their back design is pretty much identical but the front is where it all changes. The Pixel 2 has more of a "2016" design to it. It has big bezels and a normal 16:9 aspect ratio. The Pixel 2 XL, however, sports a much more up to date 18:9 aspect ratio with minimal bezels.
Where do they Excel?
Both Pixel 2's are quite amazing and here we will scrutinize both of them on same criteria.
Both of the new Pixels offer the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. That, along with 4GB of RAM and stock Android 8.0 make them easily the smoothest Android phones you can get. The phones simply fly through the Pixel 2 launcher. The Pixel phones have been praised and loved by Android fans for their stock and bloat-free user experience. That certainly has not changed this year, with the stock Android experience remaining the highlight of its phones.
Last year's Pixel phones were capable of taking stunning pictures with their rear, single lens cameras. They were rated the highest of 2016 by DxOMark Mobile. The same has happened this year, with both getting an amazing score of 98/100. That is four points better than the next best phones, the iPhone 8 Plus and the Galaxy Note 8, both with a 94/100.
The 12MP sensors on both phones are nothing short of amazing. They take beautiful vibrant and detailed photos. This really surprises me and comes to show how much capabilities we have in the palm of our hands. The front camera is also great, and just like the back camera, it can take amazing portrait photos using the software. The real world functionality of this remains to be seen, but for now, it seems to be pretty good.
Even though neither of the Pixels has a headphone jack, they both have a great speaker output. Both of them are packed with Dual Front facing speakers. Surely, the output quality will be stellar, and it has been a while since we saw a smartphone with Dual Front Facing Stereo speakers. Hopefully, other manufacturers such as Samsung will take note of this.
There really is not much of an advantage to the smaller Pixel 2, other than the fact that it is small. With today's phones slowly turning into phablets, small phones, especially flagships are becoming very hard to find. There really are no competitors to this phone in terms of size other than the iPhone 8.
While it might not be very special, the display on the Google Pixel 2 XL is far superior from that on its predecessor. While the resolution is the same 1440p from last year, and the two technologies are very similar, something else has changed. It is the size, which moved by a huge 0.5" to become 6". The Polymer OLED technology is great, despite not being all that different from AMOLED.
While it does not stand out from the crowd, especially now with the 18:9 aspect ratio, it is great. The likes of the S8+, V30 and even the Xiaomi Mi Mix2 can look a bit better. It still is, however, much better than the displays found on the iPhone 8 Plus and the HTC U11.
Where do they fall behind?
The old Pixels were hated for there ugly "glass meets metal" design. The piece of glass on the back of the phone really seemed like an afterthought. While this year's design is much more refined, it still keeps the same basic design. The color loved by everyone, the "Panda" theme, is very ugly in my opinion. It looks cheap. I would definitely prefer the black color option. Either way, the Pixels are out-shined by the competition.
Namely, there is none of it. Yes, there is Active Edge, which lets you squeeze the phone to trigger an action which you can specify. It is not exactly new though. We have already seen it with the HTC U11. While it might be a bit useful, and definitely a conversation starter, I would not call it a deal maker.
The phone simply blends in with 2017. It does not stand out with any immediate feature. Note 8 has a stylus, LG V30 has the Quad DAC, and the iPhone X has the benefits of being an iPhone. The IP rating is lower than most of the competition, and there is no headphone jack.
The problems of Pixel 2
The Pixel 2's 5" display is by no means bad. It just feels like it belongs to a mid-range phone, such as an A-Series or even J-Series phone from Samsung. The resolution is mediocre, and the bezels have come straight out of 2016. With budget phones sporting bezel-less designs, it is a big shame to see a flagship with such design and display.
The problems of Pixel 2 XL
At 76.96%, the screen-to-body ratio of the Pixel 2 XL is slightly underwhelming. It is by no means bad, it is in fact pretty good. However, you would expect slightly more, especially when you remember that the competition is well over 80%. The display itself is great, and the top and bottom bezels don't seem too bad. It is the side bezels that keep it behind, however. They are slightly thicker than what we are used to.
While this might seem like a rant for the Pixels, it really is not. The new Pixel smartphones are excellent smartphones. They just don't stand out that much, which is why I would not buy either of them. Despite being a huge fan of Samsung phones, my current phone of choice would have to be the LG V30+. It combines all the great aspects of a dream smartphone. Google, take notes.
Well, this wraps my review of the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Do you agree with me? Make sure to tell me in the comments below, I would love to know your opinion!