has been designing and building premium Android
smartphones for many years, co-branding with various hardware partners since back in the days of the company's Nexus
devices. More recently with its first generation Pixel series
, the Mountain View team has taken more prominent ownership of the brand, with devices specifically underscored as "Made By Google." And indeed the design signatures of the first generation Pixel and Pixel XL were distinctly different from any other handset on the market, as are the latest Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
that Google is launching today, along with a redesigned Daydream View VR headset.
Designed by Google but manufactured by HTC (Pixel 2) and LG (Pixel 2 XL), these two new handsets also boast Google's latest Android 8.0 operating system, aka Oreo
, an exclusive to Google Pixel and certain Nexus devices, at least for now. In some ways, this is also a big advantage as you'll note on the pages ahead.
So Google's new dynamic duo takes on the competition from Apple
and others, in just two neat and clean sizes, the 5-inch Pixel 2, with its more traditional styling and prominent top and bottom bezels, along with the 6-inch Pixel 2 XL, which adheres to a more current theme perhaps, with thin top and bottom bezels that help the larger format device feel smaller and fit better in average-sized hands. Regardless, with interesting color combinations and accents like "Clearly White" and "Kinda Blue," the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in certain configurations can really stand out, though we're working with two of the most low profile models you'll find in -- you guessed it -- "Just Black."
Google Pixel 2 And Pixel 2 XL
Specifications & Features
From a straight-up features and specs standpoint, the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have it all and then some, save for wireless charging, unfortunately. Beyond that, they are powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
SoC backed with 4GB of RAM and come in either 64GB or 128GB storage variants. The 5-inch Pixel 2 sports a 2700 mAh battery while the 6-inch Pixel 2 XL is backed by a bodacious 3520 mAh power plant. The Pixel 2 has a 5-inch AMOLED display at a 1920x1080 FHD resolution, while the Pixel 2 XL has a 6-inch pOLED display at a 2880X1440 QHD+ resolution. pOLED stands for Plastic OLED display (built by LG) and it's a similar technology to standard AMOLED. More on these displays shortly.
Other than their display and chassis sizes, as well as battery capacities, specs between these two new Pixels are identical. Both devices are also outfitted with the same 12.2MP rear facing cameras with both optical and electronic image stabilization, as well as laser and dual-pixel phase-detection autofocus and f1.8 apertures. More on these cameras, shortly as well.
Distinctive color combinations mark the family, versus our Just Black test units.
Google Pixel 2 XL
Google Pixel 2
Those camera arrays are accented with Google's signature polished upper shroud, that styles the device unmistakably as a Google Pixel
phone, just like its previous generation brethren.
Pixel 2 XL Always On Display
The other standard feature with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, is their Always On Display technology that displays the time and date on-screen continually, even when the device is asleep, but can also offer quick glance app and calendar notifications as well.
Google Pixel 2 And Pixel 2 XL Bundled Accessories
Finally, with both Pixel 2 versions Google included the usual requisite AC adapter, which is a USB-C only affair, as well as a USB-C to USB converter and a USB-C to analog headphone adapter. You also get a SIM pin extractor tool and a small lit pack, all of which is standard fare these days. Starting at $649 for the Pixel 2 with 64GB
of storage and $849 for the Pixel 2 XL with 64GB
, with a $100 premium tacked on for 128GB models, the new Pixel 2 devices aren't cheap, but they are price-competitive with premium Android devices on the market these days (unlocked, off contract), and roughly on par with Apple's iPhone 8, give or take $50 depending on display and storage configurations. Also, the Pixel 2 XL is much less expensive than an iPhone X, no matter how you slice it.
Let's get a closer look at Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL design and build quality...