Google Pixel 2 And Pixel 2 XL Review: Perfecting Android

Google Pixel 2 And Pixel 2 XL Battery Life And Our Final Analysis

Ever since the introduction of Android 7 Nougat and even more so with Android 8 Oreo now, battery life test methodology has gotten pretty tricky. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, Google's operating system is getting more aggressive at killing tasks that are consuming significant power and haven't had any user interaction. As a result, our PCMark Android battery test effort continually failed on the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which is something we've seen on the Motorola Z2 series of smartphones as well. However, our usual worst-case, heavy load AnTuTu Battery test seemed to run and does still give us a relative gauge with respect to comparable battery life performance versus a few current premium Android handsets. 

This test sets the display brightness to high and cranks up workloads for the processor, graphics core, and memory, and runs through many real-world scripted workloads as well, including web browsing, gaming and video playback.

AnTuTu Battery Test Pixel 2 Pixel 2 XL

Team Google Pixel 2 was able to flank the ever-capable Samsung Galaxy S8+ here and score well in the 5- and 6-inch smartphone rankings, respectively. The Pixel 2 was able overtake the standard Galaxy S8 by a comfortable margin and the Pixel 2 XL edged-out a win over its large format Samsung competition. However, the Pixel 2s couldn't quite catch the battery monsters that are Motorola's Moto Z family. These Moto devices employ Qualcomm Snapdragon series 600 mobile chipsets that offer significantly lower performance in some scenarios, but they're also less power hungry than Qualcomm's fastest Snapdragon 835 SoC. Regardless, long story short, Google's new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL deliver excellent battery life in this always-active test condition. 

When you look at more real-world, mixed usage and on-off display activity, Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL also perform admirably with respect to battery life. The latest Android Doze power state features really help devices running Android 7 or 8 to sip power. The result is, when they're in your pocket, these phones ramp way down, and even power users should able to get through an entire day no problem with either of Google's latest Pixel 2 smartphones.

What's most refreshing about the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is that they're truly the embodiment of what Google envisions for best-in-class Android platform features and performance. Though they lack wireless charging, and the omission of a 3.5mm headphone jack will disappoint some consumers, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL offer some of the latest features in camera and display technology, as well as new software hooks like Now Playing, Google Lens, and Picture-In-Picture mode. You could make the case that these features have been done before, but then again they're tried-and-true features on any smartphone platform, rather than just gimmicky bells and whistles, only now they're officially baked right into Android

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL With Case
Perhaps more impressive, Android Oreo on these two new Pixel 2 phones just sails, from its lightning fast-boot times, to its obvious advantages in certain benchmarks, that point to sizable performance gains in general compute and responsiveness, as well as gaming and graphics. What's also stand-out with Oreo are its ever-growing AI capabilities with Google Now Playing and Lens. These applications demonstrate excellent advancements in machine learning, and image and pattern recognition for mobile devices. The fact that Now Playing actually runs resident on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL and doesn't need a network connection, is both kind of creepy and awesome. We're hopeful that Google will drive adoption of Android 8.0 Oreo vigorously with other device manufacturers as well, though we're pretty sure Mountain View will for its obvious ecosystem benefits.

Hardware-wise, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handle, look, and feel great. Both Pixel 2s are thin, light, and comfortable to use, with a premium fit and finish and punchy OLED displays. We could easily see either one of them as a daily driver, depending on whether you like a 5 or 6-inch footprint. We would have liked to see the smaller Pixel 2 get the thin bezel treatment as well, but the device is already pretty diminutive in the hand as it is. Neither device has quite the physical polish (literally) as Samsung's Galaxy S8 line or perhaps the LG V30, in our opinion, but design signatures are a very subjective thing and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. And yes these new Pixels are still pricey, starting at $649 and $849 respectively for 64GB versions, $100 more each for 128GB models, but that's kind of the going rate for a premium Android phone these days, unlocked and off carrier contract.

Google took it up a notch and then some with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Especially if you're an Android purist, you'll love Oreo with its new-found performance and features. We had a short runway with the new Pixels before launch, but we're looking forward to spending more time with them in the months ahead. Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are available today on Verizon or unlocked for any carrier and we highly recommend this latest offering from Google Team Pixel. 

  • Great design and build quality
  • Pure Android Oreo
  • Break-out general performance
  • Boots in as little as 10 seconds
  • Great camera performance and features
  • Excellent displays
  • IP67 dust and water resistance
  • Pricey
  • No wireless charging
  • No legacy headphone jack

Related content