Google’s two new Pixel phones are here. You’ve got the regular Pixel, with its 5-inch OLED screen, and the larger Pixel XL with a 6-inch display. These Android Oreo phones are Google’s high-end devices for the leadup into 2018, and they’ll square off against the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30.
In some ways, the Google Pixel 2 phones bucks today’s biggest trends; in other ways it fits right in to the latest crazes. For example, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL don’t have super thin bezels and dual cameras like the competition. But they do add water resistance like so many top devices, and an uncommon extra — in this case,. They also shake off the headphone jack, a divisive move that’s going to .
These pixels are also the first phones to launch with Google Lens, a camera feature we loved when we first learned of it back in May. (They’re not, however, the first to launch with Oreo; that’s the Sony Xperia XZ1.)
To Google, the new Pixels’ most important feature is the camera, which is a huge buying factor for many. The same on both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google hopes it can top its best-in-class low light photography of last year’s Pixel and beat out the fine-detail quality and portrait modes of phones that have two camera lenses, by doing the same with one. That’s right, neither of the new phones have dual cameras.
The Pixel 2 and 2 XL are pivotal for Google. As the second generation of the Pixel family, their success will cement Google’s place in the playing field, and Google’s $1.1 billion deal to basically buy Pixel talent from struggling phone maker HTC. On the other hand, if Pixel 2 sales sag, it could mean more Android fans are switching to other phones in the extremely important holiday season — and away from Google’s “pure” vision of Android.
As always, it’s impossible to say how good the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are after only seeing them for a brief time. We do like what we’ve seen of the camera improvements like better portrait shots and OIS (optical image stabilization), and sides you can squeeze to launch Google Assistant. But the competition is crazy-fierce, from the iPhone 8 and to the , and even the midprice champ, the OnePlus 5, all of which also have great cameras and impressive, high-end specs.
We’ll compare the Pixel 2 and 2 XL to those other heavy hitters once we get them in for review. For now however, Google hopes that small software upgrades, a powerful camera and Google’s brand cache are enough to sway buyers looking for strong alternatives from the Apple and Samsung mainstream.
Read on for the Pixel 2 sale price, camera, design, squeezable edges and Google Lens feature.
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL prices and sale date
You can preorder both phones starting Wednesday, Oct. 4 in the US and UK. Preorders in Australia begin Oct. 20. The Pixel 2 comes in three colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black and Clearly White and the Pixel 2 XL has two color variants: Just Black, and Black and White (which reminds us of a tuxedo, a penguin or a panda, depending on our mood).
In the US, they’ll be available in retail stores by Oct. 19 and you can buy them through Verizon, the Google Store, Project Fi and Best Buy. The Pixel 2 costs $649 (64GB) and $749 (128GB). The Pixel 2 XL costs $849 (64GB) and $949 (128GB).
If you preorder the Pixel, Google is offering a special bundle that gets you the newdevice for free, in some countries like the US.
Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL pricing
|Pixel 2 (64GB)||$649||£629||AU$1,079|
|Pixel 2 (128GB)||$749||£729||AU$1,229|
|Pixel 2 XL (64GB)||$849||£799||AU$1,399|
|Pixel 2 XL (128GB)||$949||£899||AU$1,549|
Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
In general, the main difference between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is size. Neither is more “advanced” than the other. But the Pixel 2 XL has a higher screen resolution and higher pixel density. It has a bigger battery to accommodate the larger screen, too.
Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL
|Google Pixel 2||Google Pixel 2 XL|
|Display size, resolution||5-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels||6-inch; 2,880x1x440 pixels|
|Pixel density||441 ppi||538 ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||5.7×2.7×0.3 in||6.2×3.0x0.3 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||145.7×69.7×7.8 mm||157.9×76.7×7.9 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||5.04 oz; 143g||6.17 oz; 175g|
|Colors||Just Black, Cleary White, Kinda Blue||Just Black, Black and White|
No headphone jack, but they’re waterproof
For anyone hoping against hope that the Pixel 2 phones will keep the headphone jack, I have some sad news. Alas, like the recent Apple iPhones and Motorola Motos, the Pixel 2s don’t have headphone jacks. (This is especially amusing given that Google originally touted the Pixel with a “3.5mm headphone jack” that is “satisfyingly not new.”)
The company said there were many reasons it lopped off the jack (it makes the phones thinner, allows for a bigger battery, more people are listening using wireless headphones anyway, and so on) and it will include an adapter in the box. Still, no headphone jack can be a deal breaker for some, especially since carrying around a dongle is annoying.
It’s not all bad news, though. Both audio speakers have been moved to the front now (which probably contribute to the thick bezels) and the phones are now water resistant. Satisfying IP67 waterproof standards, they can be submerged in about 3 feet (1 meter) of water for up to 30 minutes, meaning you’ll have one less thing to worry about at the beach or pool.
Overall, the Pixel 2s look like a tidier, cleaner version of last year’s phones. There are fewer lines and visible bands going around the phones, and the glass shade on the back (which is now made out of the more durable Corning Gorilla Glass 5) is better integrated, running right up to the phones’ edges. But unlike last year there’s a camera bump now, and the top bezel and bottom chin on the Pixel 2 are especially thick. This isn’t a huge deal, but now that thin bezels are in, this makes the phone look slightly dated.
Still single-lens camera, with ‘better’ portrait mode and OIS
The Pixel 2s don’t have a dual-camera setup, unlike most major flagship phones, with the exception of the Galaxy S8, though the more recent Note 8 has two rear shooters. But Google insists that its single-lens camera is still the best around, and its Portrait Mode feature, renamed from last year’s Lens Blur, works just as smooth with one lens as other phones that use two.
Using a combination of facial algorithms and a depth-mapping image sensor, the Pixel 2’s camera renders blurred backgrounds for a dramatic, short depth-of-field effect. When we used Lens Blur last year, it was patchy and wasn’t impressive at all. It’ll be interesting to test how Google will execute it this time around, while still using a single lens, albeit with more advanced tech. You can take bokeh images with the front-facing camera too, but because only the facial training is built into that shooter, it will only work on faces and not objects.