Pixel 2 XL Teardown Reveals Google's Custom Pixel Visual Core SoC

pixel 2 xl
In case you missed it, we here at HotHardware have given the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL a thorough examination in our recent review. We took an exhaustive look at the two smartphones' features, performance, battery life and camera array. However, if you want a look at what's actually inside Google's new flagship, here's your chance.

The folks at iFixit managed to pry apart the LG-made Pixel 2 XL, giving us a glimpse of what's inside and to inform us how hard (or difficult) is to make repairs, if you manage to damage your device by accident. Getting inside was relatively simple, as the display is affixed to the chassis using foam tape (no heat treatment required).

pixel 2 xl 2

Once inside, we are greeted with magnesium mid-frame (compared to plastic on the LG V30), which helps wick heat away with an integrated heat pipe. You'll also see the 13.6 WHr battery, which is a slight improvement from the 13.3 WHr battery found in last year's Pixel XL. The battery itself is glued to the inner frame, making removal a bit more difficult than last year's model.

Delving deeper inside the chassis, we're given a close-up look at Google's first custom-designed co-processor for consumer applications: the Pixel Visual Core

Magnified Die Map Of Pixel Visual Core
Magnified Die Map Of Pixel Visual Core

Google first made mention of the custom chip -- which is labeled SR3HX X726C502 -- earlier this week, and revealed that it includes 8 Google-designed cores, which give the Image Processing Unit (IPU) the ability to deliver 3 trillion operations per second. According to Google, it can process HDR+ content 5x faster than general purpose SoC while using one-tenth the energy. The Pixel Visual Core isn't yet active in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but it will come to life when Google releases Android Oreo 8.1.

pixel visual core
Google's Pixel Visual Core, highlighted in magenta

In the end, iFixit gave the Pixel 2 XL a repairability score of 6 out of 10, which is quite good for a modern smartphone. Hopefully you won't need to dig inside your Pixel 2 smartphone, but at least you can find out what's involved in completing the adventure by following the teardown guide.

The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are shipping today, priced from $649 and $849 respectively.