Google have shown off their next smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2 sets Google’s smartphones apart from Apple and Samsung’s offerings by offering more substance than style, utilising Google’s strengths to create an experience that goes beyond design changes or an upgraded display.
Welcome to the Pixel 2
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both have Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors connect to 4GB RAM. Internal storage comes in 64GB or 128GB offerings.
On the back, the rear camera has 12.2MP, 1.4 4μm pixels, autofocus with laser and dual-pixel phase detection, optical and electronic image stabilisation and f/1.8 aperture lens. The front camera has 8MP, 1. 4μm pixels, f/2.4 aperture lens, fixed focus. The video is shot in 1080p at 30, 60 or 120 fps on the rear camera. The USB is USB Type-C with fast charging, and there is Bluetooth 5.0. Neither Pixel 2 model has a headphone jack or wireless charging, but a 18W power adapter and USB-C headphone dongle come in with the phones.
A good thing is that both phones are splash-proof, but still this is not waterproof. The phones come with a water and dust resistance rating of IP67, meaning the Pixel 2 can only survive in up to 1 metre of fresh water for up to 30 minutes at a time.
The Pixel 2 has a 5-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 AMOLED display, 95% DCI-P3 coverage and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. The total size of the phone is 5.7 x. 2.7 x 0.3 inches and the weight is 143 grams. Battery size is 3520mAh.
For the Pixel 2 XL, the screen is 6-inches with a 2880 x 1440 pOLED, 100% DCI-P3 coverage and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. The size of the phone is 6.2 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches, and the weight is 143 grams. Battery size is 2700mAh.
The Best Camera
Google’s Pixel had the best camera on a smartphone last year, and this year’s Pixel 2 continues that dominance. There is now a dual-pixel sensor on the back that makes each pixel become two smaller pixels. Optical image stabilisation has been added to the existing electronic image stabilisation.
Portrait mode is a standard feature in smartphone cameras, but Google has made it possible to use portrait mode with the front camera. Smartphone cameras used to require dual cameras to get the blurred effect, but using images spaced less than a micron apart, Google uses an algorithm to increase the signal to noise to overlap multiple shots.
Video stabilisation is improved thanks to Google working with the parts manufacturer to allow for the OIS module to work in different ways. The gyro will be able to detect a handshake, detect where the OIS module is and use Google’s machine learning algorithms to produce a stable video.
Users will be able to take motion files from multiple images. Machine learning is utilised here to cut out things you don’t want, like a moving hand. Augmented Reality stickers will be able to be stuck to images, and custom stickers will be available over time.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be released with Android Oreo as standard. An interesting feature added to the Pixel 2 is the ability to squeeze both sides of the phone to get Google Assistant up. Active Edge is a feature that some users may like, while others may not have any interest it. The search function on the home screen is now found integrated into the dock at the bottom of the screen.
Google Lens will be fully supported by the Pixel 2. This add-on device can recognise objects in photos and currently is limited to books, movie posters, business cards and landmarks. Google says that the list of categories will be updated in the future. Lens can be found in the Google Photos app or Google Assistant.
The phone will be able to ambiently identify music you’re listening to, display the artist, song and album on the screen. This is a little creepy, but Google says the feature happens with a small database stored on the phone that’s updated periodically. How the information on the database is formed is a different question.
Google have learned from last year’s issues with the rollout of the Pixel and have put in place a waiting list for pre-orders. The Pixel 2 will come in three colours, kinda blue, just black and clearly white. The Pixel 2 XL will come in just black or black and white. The 64GB Pixel 2 will be $649 and $749 for the 128GB model. The Pixel 2 XL will be $849 for the 64GB device and $949 for the 128GB variant.
Pre-orders are available now through Google. There is a limited offer of a Google Home Mini if you pre-order the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.