Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Hands-on: Evolving Android

Pixel 2 XL

Google’s hotly awaited second-generation Pixel line has arrived, capping off a period of impressive reveals from some of the world’s largest mobile brands, namely Apple, Samsung and LG.

While Google’s Pixel devices may not yet compete with those major brands in terms of sales, the company’s ambition to gain a significant stake in the market is made clear with the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

The Pixel 2 devices feel like the grown-up versions of last year’s models, though there was little to criticize even last year, apart from lack of water resistance and a few technical glitches.

The 2016 Pixels’ easy-to-use operating system and brilliant mobile shooter made the device stand out from the crowd. The Pixel 2 aims to build on that success, while adding finishing touches that make this a full-fledged competitor to the iPhone.

And at first glance, it seems to have ticked the right boxes. The phones are now IP67 water and dust resistant and feature a roster of top-of-the-line internals like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset and a 6-inch P-OLED display.

However, while this may be the Pixel fans are waiting for, the latest crop of flagship devices to hit the market offer stiff competition.

Particularly when it comes to the trend towards dual-camera devices, the Pixel 2 seems slightly out of step. In other ways — ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack — the smartphone is staying with the pack.

Can the Pixel 2’s single camera keep it at the top of the pile when it comes to mobile photography? Has Google managed to polish an already great package? Only time will tell.

But in my brief hands-on time with the device, I was charmed by the marriage of a stellar software experience paired with a significantly more mature hardware design.

A choice between displays

Pixel 2 XL

Although the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL are disparate in size, they feature most of the same specs. The one major difference is display.

The display on the Pixel 2 isn’t vastly different from its predecessor, while the Pixel 2 XL features a new P-OLED display. The curved 6-inch display comes in at 2880 x 1440 pixels with a 538 ppi pixel density and is brilliantly bright with richly vibrant colours. Last year’s device featured a 5.5-inch AMOLED screen coming in at 2560 x 1440 pixels with a 534 ppi pixel density.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 2 has a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixels (441ppi) AMOLED display. While relatively unchanged from a specs perspective, the screen looked notably brighter than the Google Pixel I brought along to compare. Unfortunately, most mobile enthusiasts will likely focus on those big bezels that are so out of step with the rest of the industry. It is certainly a noteworthy difference. Then again, not many small-sized handsets have slimmed down their bezels yet, and Google accounts for their presence with stereo speakers (though these are present on the slimmer-bezeled 2 XL, as well).

Despite the size difference, both smartphones have slimmed down substantially from the previous generation Pixels. The Pixel 2 is 7.8mm thick, while the Pixel 2 XL is 7.9mm thick.

Comparatively, the previous generation Pixels were 8.5mm. In terms of other recent flagships, though, it’s not the slimmest available; it’s thinner than the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and S8+ by a small margin, but thicker than the iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and LG V30.

In terms of weight, the Pixel 2 comes in at 143 grams, while the Pixel 2 XL comes in at 175g. Though it felt well-balanced and comfortable in my hand, this spec is on the bulkier side as well. The V30, which has a screen the same size as the Pixel 2 XL, is only 158 grams. The iPhone X and Galaxy S8+ also come in at slightly lower weights, as did the original Pixel XL, which featured a 5.5-inch screen.

It wasn’t the heftiest among the recent releases though — the Galaxy Note 8 is 195 grams and the iPhone 8 Plus is 202g.

New and stylistically unique look

Aesthetically, the company has evolved from a somewhat unsophisticated — if distinctive — look to a sleek aesthetic that still maintains the core design elements it introduced last year. The glass pane at the top rear of the device now lies above the fingerprint sensor, the displays are larger and new colour options and combinations have been added.

The variant that best exemplifies the design change is the ‘Black and White’ Pixel 2 XL, the one that was referred to as a panda colour variation in various leaks. For that device, the glass visor is a shiny black, while the rest of the unibody is white aluminum and the power button offers a pop of bright orange colour.

It’s an intriguing look, but it may be polarizing since it lacks the usual elegance of a premium phone. The larger device is also available in ‘Just Black,’ which provides a more conventionally high-end look. As for the Pixel 2, it’s available in ‘Just Black,’ ‘Clearly White’ and ‘Kinda Blue,’ which, unlike last year’s ‘Very Blue,’ is a subtle colour that looks almost gray in some lights, featuring a brighter blue on its power button. This was hands-down my favourite colour, and will hopefully be more broadly available than the ‘Very Blue’ variant.

Another design element that may be polarizing is the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack, even after teasing Apple for the decision last year. This means users will have to use Bluetooth headphones or live the ‘dongle life,’ both of which can add expense to the overall purchase. As many have pointed out in the past (including Google), it’s not an exceedingly user-friendly decision, though the company is offering a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box, which offers some level of relief to fans who own expensive wired headphones.

Additionally, Google has implemented a squeezable frame, akin to the one on HTC’s U11, which pops up Google Assistant. The squeezing action worked perfectly on the smaller Pixel 2 but not as smoothly on the 2 XL, perhaps because my hands are small but also perhaps due to a better implementation.

In either case, I far preferred this quick action for pulling up the Google Assistant than saying “OK Google,” which I’m far too shy to do in public. Considering how easy and fun it is to give the phone a quick squeeze, the Assistant might even get more use this way.

Super sleek software performance

As for user experience, the device runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box (though won’t be the first to do so in Canada thanks to the tricky Sony Xperia XZ1). Like the original Pixel, I was immediately impressed by the ease and fluidity that Pixel’s form of stock Android provides. At the bottom is an all-purpose Google search bar for local and internet searches. Above is a launcher with a roster of apps that can be swiped up to reveal the full app drawer.

None of that is new, but it’s implemented with such perfection on the Pixels that it somehow looks and feels completely unique. The operating system also looks beautifully at home on a large screen like the Pixel 2 XL’s, where its minimal elegance can truly shine.

On top of the basics, Google has also layered on a few new features. For instance, there’s a new feature called ‘Now Playing’ that is always listening to identify music. When a song plays your phone, resting with its always-on display active, will analyze the music and, if it recognizes it from a database of tens of thousands of songs, it will show what song is playing. For more information, you can tap the subtle notification and your phone will open to a Google Assistant result.

Pixel 2 in case

It worked well when I tried it, guessing Weezer and Beyonce songs in under 20 seconds, but it wasn’t able to guess a more niche U.K. artist, Theophilus London.

The interesting thing about the ‘Now Playing’ feature is that Google says the computing happens locally, with no data sent to the cloud.

Additionally, the Pixel 2 will be the first phone to fully support Google Lens, a handy AI-powered feature that analyzes a user’s picture to tell them more about it or provide useful links. This feature worked exceedingly well in testing.

I snapped a picture of a poster with a website on it, for instance, and after pulling up the picture in the ‘Photos’ app, I just pressed the small ‘Lens’ icon and Google Assistant provided me with the correct link to head to in my browser. It’s also possible to use the feature from within Google Assistant.

It’s not fully-fledged yet, though. For now, it only works on certain categories like books, business cards and landmarks. So far, however, I’m impressed; it’s real world AI that works well.

Iterative, but potentially significant camera updates

Apart from software, one of the Pixel line’s major selling points is its camera experience. This year, the company announced that it was given a 98 rating by DxOMark, the highest to date. That doesn’t mean much to everyone, however, so I’ll try to stick to specs and my brief experience with the device. As I mentioned above, Google went in a different direction with its Pixel 2 camera setups than most of its competitors.

Both feature a 12.2-megapixel shooter featuring autofocus with laser and dual pixel phase detection and a f/1.8 aperture. Additionally, the phone now features optical in addition to electronic image stabilization — a feature that should allow for significantly more clarity. The rear camera is also capable of shooting video in 4K at 30fps.

As for the front camera, it comes in at 8-megapixels with a f/2.4 aperture and fixed focus.

By the specs, the camera certainly doesn’t sound too impressive, but much like its predecessor I found the camera exceedingly fast and noted the vibrancy of the colours in the snaps I took, even in the somewhat poorly lit event space where we were situated.

Ultimately, it seems like a fairly iterative update which consists mostly of tweaks — wider aperture, OIS, more advanced phase detection, smaller pixels — but if those tweaks come together to substantially improve what was already a stellar camera experience from the previous generation, I can certainly see the device leading the industry in this respect.

Coming along with the camera is a new ‘Portrait Mode’ bokeh effect, which works subtly but well on both front and back cameras. This is somewhat impressive, considering most phones do this by creating a depth map using two camera sensors that take pictures spaced about half an inch apart. The Pixel 2 manages this by using its dual-pixel camera sensor, which makes a depth map from images that are spaced less than a micron apart.

Other camera features include ‘Motion Photos,’ which much like Apple’s Live Photos, is a setting that automatically captures video around each snap, and ‘Augmented Reality Stickers,’ which Google demoed with a set of Stranger Things inspired AR creations. With this feature, based on Google’s ARCore framework, you can drag the stickers — for example a demogorgon — onto the screen and create a scene to interact with in real time. This experience isn’t ready yet, but Google says it’s coming to both 2016 and 2017 Pixels in the near future.

Top-of-the-line internals

Powering all of these new software experiences is Qualcomm’s latest chipset, the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage — all premium specs that put it in contention with devices like the Galaxy Note 8, LG V30 and Apple iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X.

During my time with it, I found it perfectly snappy and responsive, even when dealing with heavy processing apps — though more testing is certainly needed.

As for the power source, it’s a 2,700mAh battery on the Pixel 2 and a 3,520mAh on the larger Pixel 2 XL, which is larger than most devices of that size. From spot-on specs to intriguing software, this year’s Pixel looks promising. If it’s able to fulfill the promise of a perfectly paired software and hardware package, it has a shot at making waves in the mobile market.

The 64GB and 128GB Pixel 2 models cost $899 CAD and $1,029, respectively, while the Pixel 2 XL 64GB model costs $1,159 and the 128GB variant costs $1,289.

For more specific Canadian carrier information check here.

Photography and videography by Patrick O’Rourke.

Comments

  • Smanny

    Does it include a 3.5mm audio jack dongle in the box? Or USB-C ear buds in the box? It would be nice if Google would include a USB-C dongle with both a 3.5mm end as well as another USB-C connector on the one dongle. So you could charge and use your headphones at the same time.

    • thereasoner

      My understanding is that a dongle for 3.5 buds is included.

    • Rose Behar

      Yes as noted in post, dongle is included.

    • gommer strike

      Dongle is included in the box, but USB headphones is not. For what you’re asking for, you need to look to 3rd parties like Belkin to make that for you.

    • John Lofwire

      Plz read the full thing before posting ( the first part of your reply ) as its clearly written they include an adaptor in the box.

      But yes its would be nice that the adaptor be made to charge and use headphone at same time.

  • Shoey5

    I’m sorry but how are the Pixel 2 devices evolving Android and why is everyone giving it such a rave review? Feature wise, there isn’t much more than a few updated chips over last year’s model which wasn’t anything to write home about, on top of that, they just followed Apple in making wired headphones harder to use. Nothing wrong with a Pure Android device and you can’t go wrong with A Google Supported device but at it’s price point, the devices have more of a “Nothing to see here, move on” feel to them.

    • thereasoner

      All flagships are stupid expensive and these are no less worthy than any others. You don’t get wireless charging or SD card support with the Pixels but they have their own advantages in class leading cameras, the latest features, best support and free full resolution unlimited storage to go along with the best performance in stock Android.

    • Shoey5

      Can’t speak for the Pixel 2 camera but the Pixel camera is not as good as everyone makes it out too be. Takes some amazing pictures in the right conditions but not as good as other devices when you average out all the different conditions. I agree, those are pluses but the issue I have is it features don’t justify it’s cost compared to other phones in the same price tier.

    • thereasoner

      I own the original Pixel and it’s camera is amazing.

      For me it’s the others that are lacking in this price tier. They don’t have the best cameras, best support, fastest updates, free unlimited full resolution storage, the latest features and the best performance in stock Android.

    • Shoey5

      I must have a defective Pixel XL then 🙂 I find while it takes some amazing pictures with the right lighting conditions, it’s no were as good as some of the other phones I’ve tested it against, especially low light or real optical lens aperture

    • John Lofwire

      You must have shaky hand then 🙂

    • Shoey5

      If that’s the case, good thing all the other phones handle those shaky hands 🙂

    • John Lofwire

      Its the optical stabilisation that do that.
      As i said in a previous post the new pixel 2 and xl 2 have the best stabilisation ever put in any mobile device 😉

    • Elky64

      The original Pixel/XL was missing OIS, only had EIS I believe

    • Adderbox76

      Dx0Mark just scored the Pixel 2 camera a 98; 4 points above the iPhone 8 and the Note 8. So for now at least it’s objectively the king of the heap. But those things change seemingly daily as phones come out and top each other constantly.

      I’m of the opinion that at a certain point, what’s the difference? Certainly between a 94 score and a 98 score…is the person pulling out their phone to take a picture of the Avocado toast to post to instagram, going to CARE about a 4 point difference? No.

    • Shoey5

      Dx0Mark benchmarks (like other benchmarks) nothing more than marketing fluff. They have their uses but nothing beats real world tests. I’m talking about personal (real world) experience and overall picture quality in all environments. No one cares about 4 points when taking a picture of avocado toast, they just want to take a picture that looks good. The original Pixel Camera takes some amazing pictures in certain conditions it can be very sub par in others. I think a lot of it has to do with it’s lack of true Optical Image Stabilization. I believe it’s something they addressed in the Pixel 2

    • John Lofwire

      Go see the review of pixel on DXO directly.
      See comparison they made of identical subject taken with various handset under various situation ( did you know they take 1500 pictures in various condition like differents places as well as different light situations? )

      As for pixel 1 its took amazing picture in low light but yes if you had shaky hand like some do its was more prone to take a bad picture.

      New pixel has the best stabilisation of any smartphone so that fixed.

    • John Lofwire

      Shoey5 i disagree with your assessment about Camera on pixel one.
      its one of the best all around camera i ever used.

      Blind test in various conditions also proved it right.

    • John Lofwire

      All questions of point of view.

      Its gonna be faster than the competition ( as proven last year pixel with sd 820 was faster than anything else on the market at about everything )

      Top of the line camera with no gimmick dual lenses.
      Best video stabilization and from a long shot compared to anything else.

      Good battery for its size.
      Price is in league with other brand name OEM. ( yep they are ALL overpriced now.. )
      got water resistance.
      Got a version with big screen with almost no bezel or one with bezel ( thanks god! i hate no bezel phone )

      You sound like a Samsung fanboy that need a phone full of crap features you can easily get by downloading apps. i take a clean phone i can fill with the features i want over one with load of crapware i cannot remove.

    • A.Tom

      Dual lenses aren’t gimmicks. A telephoto lens (iPhone, Note 8) isn’t a gimmick. A wide angle lens (V30) isn’t a gimmick. These are viable, useable cameras that the single Google lens can’t replicate. What I’m sure you’re referring to is the bokeh and studio features as gimmicks, which they sort of are, but they are also pretty cool gimmicks that Google is trying to replicate with the single lens. I don’t have a phone with the bokeh effect, but someone recently asked me to take their photo and they just happened to have an iPhone with the portrait mode on and I thought it looked pretty decent. I have a mirrorless camera when I travel to take photos but I don’t always have it with me, so it would be nice to be able to have a camera in my pocket with some extra reach (telephoto), or get a wide angle perspective or get a nice bokeh shot.

      All in all, I’m still a fan of the Pixel 2 XL and I’m deciding between that and the Note 8 as my next phone. It’s a tough decision and not because they are similar but because they are so different.

    • John Lofwire

      Gimmick as those OEM make a building budget for each part.
      the budget they put on those two lenses Google put in one better lenses camera.

      End result is in mostly all case the pixel 2 destroy the others dual lenses beside on one thing Zoom and to be truthful most ppl dont need it as the more you zoom in the more your camera is prone to shaking ( try it ) and give bad result.

      The aperture on those telephoto lense are also total crap for low light usage making them unusable in nearly 50% of the time or give bad result.

      Bokeh on pixel 2 look pretty good i seen comparison and in some case its worst than note 8 and iphone 8 plus sometime its better.

      As for your hesitation well its depend on what you want each device has good side and bad side.

      note 8 has the pen and the telephoto lenses as bonus with a headphone jack ( can be a deal breaker if you dont have it ) and SD support. Bad side is well.. all the samsung crapware that you cannot remove and its will be slower than the pixel 2 ( compare pixel one with S7… ) and its has a smaller battery with a bigger screen… bad mix.

      Pixel 2 XL good point is if you take a picture its gonna be amazing and if you like making video its has the best stabilisation ever seen on a mobile device if not any type of video device… i seen a video comparison and its just out of this world , super fast and optimised for android like no others , instant OS update when new OS is out , based on hardware and battery will have a better battery life than most in the same class of device and can have super fast 27 watt charge. Bad side… no SD , no headphone jack are the only real bad side i can see. arguably the lack of a telephoto lense as well maybe.

      So its really depend what you are looking for.

    • A.Tom

      That’s the thing. I want a little of both. I want a headphone jack and expandable storage. I’d love stock android, instant updates and infinite cloud storage. I’d love Google’s magic camera software with the Note’s dual lens setup. I’d love Samsung’s AMOLED Display with Pixel’s bigger battery. I’d love the Pixel’s fingerprint placement and stereo speakers but I want it in the Note 8’s bezel-less body.
      I think I just built a $1500 phone that probably isn’t even possible to build.

      I can pass on the S pen and wireless charging (a little harder to give up but I can compromise as I’m not totally greedy). Regarding the Pixel 2, the front facing speakers are an odd add on to me. I had the HTC M7 which had them and were great, but I’d trade the speakers for a headphone jack in a heartbeat.

    • John Lofwire

      Its okay I personally take the best camera at taking pictures and video.

      Headphone jack still exist in the form of an adaptor not a perfect solution for some case just like bluetooth but as I have free satellite music in my car and only time I listen to music is in my car.

      As I said they wont put much more as building budget so they all sacrifice something.

      I play games on my phone and I like more to have dual speaker as I hate wearing headphone for a long time.

      Let me add one thing to that dream phone you built.. Make it dual boot android and iOS so ppl can choose os lol.

    • Shoey5

      First, I have a Pixel XL, think you missed that. Second, I’m speaking from personal experience, not just regurgitating marketing material.

    • John Lofwire

      Having a dedicated way to launch Google assistant is not a gimmick 😉

      Beside on zoom the pixel 2 is superior in almost any scenario go see comparison of it vs iphone 8 plus and note 8 shot at dxo website.

      As I said in another reply oem put similar budget for camera on the flagship so two inferior sensor and lenses cannot beat a better overall one.

      I had the smaller pixel for about 6 months (change phone very often as I work in the industry.)

    • Shoey5

      Lots of dedicated ways to launch Google Assistant, sorry but squeezing your phone to do it is just a gimmick. As I said in another post, don’t hold much faith in DXO scores based on there Pixel phone vs my personal experience. Also said that I can’t speak for the Pixel 2, having never used one. You seem to be focused heavily on the camera so back to my original comment, what’s in the Pixel 2 that justifies being in the same price category as other phones.

    • John Lofwire

      Its like a physical button to me and as its like edge sense on the HTC u11 its could be used for much more that remain to be seen.

      As for dxo I was talking specifically of the comparison between pictures took from latest handset you can go there and look for yourself I dont care about numbers.

      As for your last question:

      1- based on hardware used and battery size its will have one of the best battery.
      2- its support faster charging speed than any others devices 27 watt versus 18 max for others.
      3- has water resistance
      4- based on picture comparison its more versatile than others phone and will take good picture in all lighting conditions.
      5- fastest and smoothest android experience.
      6- fastest update.
      7- unlimited cloud storage for picture and video
      8- choice of bezel or no bezel whitout sacrifice on hardware (unlike competition that tebe to sacrifice camera and even power in smaller versions)

      So I think its have enuf to be in this league.

      Others have different thing like sd card or headphone jack but dont have some of the thing the pixel have.

      You win some you loose some.

    • Shoey5

      Ah ok I get it now on how Google can justify putting the Pixel in the same price point as other flagships….I guess they realized what I didn’t….doesn’t seem to take much to impress people. Thanks for clarifying with your list

    • John Lofwire

      Wait a second are you resorting to small talk and lil insult after I give you plain good reason?

      That quite pathetic.

    • Shoey5

      No I’m resorting to the fact that you pretty much listed last years flagship specs

    • thereasoner

      SD cards and wireless charging are new?

    • Shoey5

      No those two great features are old and lacking on the pixel 2

    • thereasoner

      So? Many top end phones have lacked one or both before, including the best selling iPhone for years.

      Why does the Pixel have to be held to a higher standard than everyone else? It’s not like the Pixels don’t bring their own advantages over the others.

    • Shoey5

      You seem to be missing the point, I did not say Pixel 2 was a bad phone, I said there isn’t much over the original nor like the original does it justify the price point putting it in the same class as flagships that are more feature rich. How can you not see this? It has nothing to do about being held to higher standards, justifying lacking features or expensive price by comparing it to equally lacking devices until said features finally become available is the age old cry of the fan boy.

      As for Apple, they are in a class of their own, they could put dog poo in a box and people would buy it like they buy whatever the current fashion is no matter how ridiculous it looks on them. Just because Apple does something stupid or screws their users, doesn’t mean everyone else should. Most Android users are a little smarter when it comes to best bang for the buck due to the amount of options available to them.

    • thereasoner

      I’m not doing this all over again with you, sorry. Perhaps you can get your attention fix elsewhere.

      The Pixels are well established among the best phones you can possibly buy all things considered by everyone but blind fanboys. Last years Pixel was considered the best phone released that year in many reviews and this years are even better. Fanboys of other brands cherry picking features won’t change that.

    • Shoey5

      Again, as per my original comment which also applies to the first gen…

      “I’m sorry but how are the Pixel 2 devices evolving Android and why is everyone giving it such a rave review?”

    • thereasoner

      SD card support and wireless charging is impressive now? I have to agree with Lofwire, the Pixels are top of the line devices with their own advantages over the others. You don’t have to value those advantages, that’s fair but they are advantages regardless.

    • Shoey5

      Unfortunately there just isn’t much to justify their cost.

    • thereasoner

      Don’t forget an extra year of support/OS version and stereo speakers.

    • John Lofwire

      And countless others advantages.

      But its all question of needs I am glad there is devices for everyone needs.

    • Cortizone

      Universal real time translation seems more than a gimmick to me. It’s the realisation of science fiction. If all you focus on are the speeds and feeds though, you’ll never understand where Google is going.

    • Shoey5

      Its also not new or really specific to Pixel harware.

  • MoYeung

    “The 64GB and 128GB Pixel 2 models cost $899 CAD and $1,029, respectively, while the Pixel 2 XL 64GB model costs $1,159 and the 128GB variant costs $1,289.”

    Prices like these, no way!

  • Goldfinch

    The round display reminds me of my HP Pre 3 display.

  • jay

    Funny three years we talked about 16GB base storage and now 64 GB and still asking for SD card? Last time I checked I used 22GB on my iPhone. But I believe a SD card reader should work with USB C. Headphone jack is great to have but some people don’t even use it anymore.

    Is it me but do we always look for something negative? Pixel are great phones with good software

    • Razvan Zamfir

      As phones evolve, so does the use of them. Three years ago, people didn’t really film 4k videos and games and apps didn’t take much space necessarily. Now, you have gigabyte-sized apps and games, 4k videos can fill 64gigs in 2hrs (and of course, the real space available is not really 64 gigs, but more likely around 45-50ish, if even that).
      That’s not even taking into consideration people who like having offline music stored on the phone; it’s not like our ISPs offer unlimited data plans on phones.

      TL:DR, asking for an SD card is not unreasonable.

    • jroc

      Counter point, we now have things like Spotify so you no longer need to have 10,000 songs on your phone. You’re also able to store your 4K videos and full res pictures in the cloud without limits (with a Pixel).

      Although we don’t have unlimited data, most people have access to wifi on a very regular basis.

    • Elky64

      Great if you’re “connected” but what if you aren’t?

    • jroc

      How often do you sit there watching all of your old videos? If you’re in a spot where you’re not able to get service, chances are that you should be doing something other than staring at your phone anyway.

    • Elky64

      How about doing things that relate to ones job? A phone is an integral part of mine and EVERY day I’m in places where connections are non-existent.

    • jroc

      So on your job, where you have no signal, you need to stop and watch some 4K videos and reminisce about some old vacations while looking through photos. Got it.

      If you have photos that you have to look at for work for whatever reason, don’t remove the device copy of them, or pull the ones you are gonna need ahead of time. It’s not rocket science.

      Also, if a phone is so integral to your work, how are you able to do your job if you’re constantly in areas where you phone doesn’t work…that’s like me saying my computer is an integral part of my job, but every day I go to the office and it doesn’t turn on.

    • Razvan Zamfir

      @jroc, what you keep saying basically: plan ahead for the convenience that google is offering you for cloud-based data. I’m sorry, but I don’t need to have to bother to sync my pix/videos/data/music with the cloud in case I’m going out of reach.

      Personally, I have a lot of data available at a price I can’t complain. And I’m always using at least 7 gigs a month for just playing a few online games when in transit, maybe a bit of netflix, youtube, maps, etc (spotify included). I wouldn’t like to use additional data to sync my media (or wait until I’m on wifi).

      I don’t need the hassle to have to worry about my phone space. 32 gigs my htc 10 has is plenty for the usual phone stuff. The 128gb card I have inside of it can hold data I could need at a moments notice.

      Like Elky said, it’s all nice and well to have it as an additional back up, but it shouldn’t be the only choice when some easier, tested option do exist, but are being removed for the sake of “courage” (read: cash – what will happen if 2-3 years down the line, Google decides unlimited storage was abused and it will be limited to x data?).

      Anyway, it’s fine you’re okay with these options. I’m happy it works out for you, but I don’t agree with your reasons to go along with these choices and as such I will vote with my wallet. It’s not only Google going this way, mind you, so I’m not just annoyed by them. HTC seems to go the jackless route as well, so they lost me as a loyal customer too (had the HTC One V, One S, M7, M8, M9, M10). I guess, it’s gonna be LG or some Chinese brand (Huawei most likely).

    • jroc

      I think the chances of it actually impacting your job or slim to none.

      Anyone can make up scenarios to fit their point…for example, what happens if your SD card fails? If 32GB can hold what you need, then it’s a moot point anyway. That’s fine that you don’t agree with my reasoning, I think the ones that have been presented as counterpoints to mine are ridiculous, so agree to disagree.

    • John Lofwire

      i got nearly 20 games on my phone all online one and its dont even use 300-400 mb a month.
      pretty sure your 7 gb is more those video streaming 😉

      Did you know most new phone support OTG?
      I have a portable drive from seagate ( wireless plus 2 tb )
      i can access it with local wifi or by OTG cable.
      The thing is a tad bigger than a cigarette pack and 2 tb is much better than a sd card 😉

      best is i can have 7 ppl connect to it at the same time and all access it easy ( try to do this with your phone sd card )

      In life there is different road to reach the same place.
      Some ppl are lazy others are not.

      for me 64 gb with no sd card is fine ( more than enuf for all my games and taking pictures before they go to the cloud or on my portable drive )

      PS: Yes my drive has its own battery so i dont need to plug anywhere.

    • Elky64

      Yep that’s what I do, sit and watch 4K video all day long. If only you knew.

      Either way it is MY data and having it on removable storage alleviates the possibility it won’t be retrievable if my phone dies, can reset my phone without having to do a lengthy back-up at THAT moment (problem dependent of course). And like Razvan Zamfir said, if google decides to restrict the allotted storage space to its users then no worries, got my own local back-ups.

      Cloud storage is a great secondary method but there’s no way on earth I’ll depend on it solely as my main.

    • jroc

      You don’t have to depend on it as a main storage method, maybe you’re forgetting the part about the phone having 64GB or 128GB of space on them? There’s your main. Back it up to a computer too if you need some assurance. Like I said, it’s really not that difficult.

      And you’re right, I don’t know what you do for work. All I know is that a phone is very integral to your job, but you’re often in situations where your phone doesn’t work. I don’t know how you get anything done in those cases, nor do I really care.

      People need something to whine about though, I guess.

    • Zbiba

      I use a USB, they’re cheaper and more practical to move things around from my pc to my phone.

    • John Lofwire

      You buy a phone with a SD card if you need it.

      Most ppl dont anymore and its truth.

    • Elky64

      That’s because many people buy iPhones which never supported it in the first place. But Apple has a proven track record of supporting their devices, Google’s in their infancy w/the Pixel at 1 year and already they are waving somewhat on their commitment. What next?

      Why do think Samsung brought back MicroSD support after negating that feature in the S6, because people wanted it.

      The only reason companies aren’t incorporating it is because no revenue is generated by doing so and/or, the user isn’t locked into their ecosystem. It has nothing to do with the expense to incorporate, cards being poor quality (most are not), card being unreliable, causing loss of data, inducing crashes, etc. I guess “Apple’s way” has finally rubbed off – And NO, I am not anti-Apple but do not like how they lock people into their ecosystem either in the way they do.

    • John Lofwire

      First of all I own a pixel and verified with google and all picture taken from my pixel now and any in the future will not take space in my google allowed space so plz dont lie about taking back something they given that would be pathetic.

      They put the information for the pixel 2 so you do know what you are getting.

      The rest of your argument have no basis because google (nexus and pixel) NEVER had sd support. So your comparison to Samsung is irrelevant.

      I work in cellphone industry since more than 10 years and many clients had issues with ad card and even more never had issues. Yes cheap card exist I made the mistake two times to buy them and I lost data back in my HTC desire us day and on a Samsung s3.

      So sure today as card improved but its still possible that they get corrupted. Same as any memory (nand or disque based)

      Those picture taken with pixel phone are pretty much eternal and same for pixel 2 because all the pictures and movie taken wont EVER take space on your cloud (taken in 2 to 3 years with pixel 2 and forever with pixel 1)

      I repeat want a phone with sd card get one nothing stop you!

      I have a lg g6 now guess what? I put a 128 gb card in it! Cant get more than 32 gb for that model so I got to compensate.. The crap about this I got to limit myself in app and games and its annoy me to hell so my next phone gonna be one of those pixel in 128 gb and its will solve this issue even 64 gb would not be enuf with games that take several gb now (yep I dont play candy crush)

    • Elky64

      I’m not lying about anything, seen many entities in the techno world come and go, even those online based. Anyone thinking once they giveth that they can’t taketh hasn’t been paying close attention then. And you know that for sure do you? Sorry but there is no way you yourself nor anyone outside of Google can predict what they will do tomorrow or in the future with 100% certainty.

      Google may not die out as a company but I’ll bet your phone dies before my memory cards do. 😉

      Been using flash memory for over 18 years and it’s track recorded speaks for itself where I’m concerned. Yeah bought a couple of cheap cards back in my day that failed but never again. Own enough cards at present that it’d be like walking into a candy store, can’t recall the last time one was problematic or failed… OOPS sorry, do have “A” Sandisk which would be my 3rd card ever to have an issue.

      And just out of curiosity- What’s your reasoning behind the fact these companies are not adding expandable memory slots.

      I change phones every week or so, at present have 8 (two active) – iPhone, BB, LG, Samsung and Windows.

    • John Lofwire

      You said google removed the first pixel unlimited backup or made it feel that way wich was a lie.

      I dont say google cannot go out of business i Said your sd card will probably die before.

      As for my phone dying before your sd card well most of my old phone still work great. My old blackberry storm work well so do my old HTC desire hd.
      So why not my pixel? I do like to keep my old phone or give them sometime.

      Here a simple explanation why sd card are an issues for apps and games.

      The 2 time they failed on me was when they had app on it (also happened often to clients in same situations even with high quality card so I guess that why we can less and less do it as mostly all my app cannot be put on sd now..) usually they dont fail with only media (usually)

      Another explanation is why do most oem remove a google feature made to adopt a sd card as onboard memory?

      Lg said its because of performance issue of cheap card same with Samsung. So if oem hellbent in putting sd card access limit a feature making it easy to install all app to sd because of performance issue what do this say?

      I want 128 gb minimum to install app and games I am tired to limit myself.

      See how funny this is? Your need are different than mine. We are both power user in different way you dont need space for app and game but files and media. I need space for app and games and files and media.

      Who deliver me what I need? Any oem that give me 128 gb of onboard ultra fast memory. Unlimited cloud storage is even better as its will free my phone memory for more games.

      So let me return you a simple question.. Why those oem who put sd card dont give 128 or 256 gb option (and I mean everywhere not in just a few market like Samsung do )

      The cost difference is very small.. A few $ but on million of device that a lots of money saved and for some like Samsung they can sell you a sd card (or many and make even more)

      Ofcourse oem use any trick to make more 😉 google the same.

      I can see both side of the medal and I beleive both bigger onboard memory phone with no sd and smaller onboard memory with sd have place in this market as this situation prove it.

      A Samsung s8 or note 8 is not the best device for me 32 or 64 gb for apps and games is not enuf for me .

      And no sd device is not good enuf for you because you need load of sd card and its your right. Just dont try to manipulate fact like what you did with your accusation for the pixel backup.

    • Elky64

      FYI I wrote… “Google’s in their infancy w/the Pixel at 1 year and already they are waving somewhat on their commitment”. So the 1st Pixel was announce on October 4, 2016 and now it’s Oct 2017, that’s only a year. Does not matter if it affects the 1st gen or not, my point was that in a years time they are already changing the rules of the game and who’s to say they won’t be inclined to do it again, and again. No one should ever think anything out in cyberspace is a given no matter who the company is, obviously they want you to believe otherwise so you’ll buy into their product. And again, Apple has a proven record for such, Goggle does not, in the phone sense… truth be known I wouldn’t put all my eggs into Apple’s basket either.

      “So let me return you a simple question.. Why those oem who put sd card dont give 128 or 256 gb option (and I mean everywhere not in just a few market like Samsung do)?” For me expandable has been much more versatile than internal. And as an example, w/Pixel 2/XL they are charging an extra $130ish for that “added” 64GB, tell me those are peanuts in the grand scheme of things – my card will travel to my next device – shall I say more.

      Yep many manufactures are “locking down” their devices and definitely don’t think it is a good thing for “us” as a consumer. When a battery starts to show its age, time for a new phone because it’ll probably be more cost effective than to have it replaced, if that’s even possible with the new reiteration of some phones. No headphone jack, time to spend on more for accessories so you can listen and charge your device at same time, not to mention the added bulk these dongles instil. Water resistant, great to a point but another aspect that will make repairability expensive and once done, highly unlikely that phone will be iP67/68 rated afterwards. Assume this is for those who have a knack of dropping there’s into the toilet… Got buy perfectly fine without it before no reason that still wouldn’t hold true.

      Well you have your perspective and I have mine. But I’m not buying into what these companies are selling nor will I, rather move down the rung(s) if that’s what it takes – if the trend continues and my idea of a smartphone becomes nul and void, doubt we’ll be able to use one any because senility will have set in making it impossible LOL.

    • gommer strike

      If I’m not mistaken, even if you aren’t connected you can have your songs stored from Spotify locally. Spotify needs to check in every so many days or so, but you’re fine. If you listen to Spotify on your phone and often, then it makes sense to store store locally or destroy your mobile data plan.

    • Elky64

      Exactly this…

      Then there’s the fact, even though Google give you unlimited on-line storage – What happens when you are in an area where there is absolutely no cellular or wifi connectivity, how is one going to retrieve their clouded data then? I like it as an addition tool for back-up purposes yet still prefer to have ALL data on my device.

    • John Lofwire

      Thats a possibility that why there is others phone on the market with SD support 😉
      i was the same before as i have 30 gb of music and tons of pictures.
      I still keep my music on my phone but all pictures are on the cloud now and even if i consult them often its did not make me use really more data..

      Most ppl dont need SD anymore.
      Some niche ppl do but for them there is others phone available 😉

    • thereasoner

      External storage/USB stick?

    • Elky64

      Yup those are two “choices” – see what I did there LOL.

    • John Lofwire

      I have 30 gb of music ( like 12000 mp3 ) on my 64 gb phone.
      If you need more than that well you need to consult someone or maybe get a bigger phone ( like 128 gb ) as you are someone out of the ordinary.

      As for 4k video with unlimited cloud storage its not an issue as we both know you wont keep it on your device or SD card as its would take a way too big amount of space.

      Asking for a SD card is not unreasonable.
      expecting every handset to give you one IS unreasonable.

    • jay

      Agree with you 4K needs a lot storage but again some people do not have a 4K tv. 64GB should be enough for regular users. But pixel is more for the hardcore user.

    • John Lofwire

      When you are a Fanboy of Samsung or Apple any reason is good to bash any others brand.
      Even more when that brand destroy your preferred brand in thing like Camera…

  • TechRanger

    From what I have heard/seen of this generation of Google products, Google is clearly working on enriching the user experience by leveraging their abilities with AI and surprisingly maintaining much of it functional locally on the device. Not sure if their tech requires any special electronics/chips to function locally or if it’s all software based but clearly a strong push in this field – Google Lens, Google Clips, Google Home Max etc. The value of these features is hard to measure or even evaluate at face value, since the “A.I.” aspect requires “learning” in order for it to be most effective but theoretically, it has much potential to enrich the user experience!

  • gommer strike

    It needs to be pointed out that in the photo above there – that you are comparing the original Pixel vs Pixel 2 XL. I assumed for a second that you were comparing the Pixel 2 vs the 2 XL – but then I wondered why the bottom chin looked so massive…and why don’t I see the bottom firing speaker?

    At any rate the 2 XL is the one to get.

    • jroc

      Just an FYI, the bottom chin (and top whatever you want to call it) are actually slightly bigger on the Pixel 2 than on the original Pixel.

    • gommer strike

      I see, but at least there is some semblance of excuse – to make room for the top and bottom speakers. Still though.

    • jroc

      True. The speakers do add some function, although I wish they made it visually identical to the 2XL.

  • nokye

    Theophilus London is definitely from New York, lol

  • Raion

    Am I the only one worried about the possibility of breaking the USB port (or the dongle itself) by bending the dongle when the phone is in a pant pocket? Should I be? The whole 3.5mm assembly seems a bit stronger to me given the depth at which the male connector is inserted, The absence of a jack is pretty much the only thing holding me back at this point. I hate batteries and am definitely not switching to bluetooth headphones.

    • watchman88

      Just keep the dongle attached to the headphones

    • Raion

      That’s not the issue. My worry is that something will break when I have headphones plugged into the phone and the phone is in my pocket. Perhaps when I’m sitting down and the stress on the USB connector is too big.

  • RG

    To me it seems obvious but I guess not everyone agrees … phones should never be 2 colours.

    • Cortizone

      The black and white version (panda as some call it) sold out within minutes. People love it. It is just you I’m afraid 🙁

    • RG

      May be I can claim to be different 😉

    • Yeah the 10 units they had sold out. Much impressive. (Note: I actually like the panda version)

  • Cortizone

    “ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack — the smartphone is staying with the pack.”

    What pack would that be then? Samsung? LG? Huawei? Oppo?

    There is no pack. You’ve simply given away your loyalties.

  • BetelgeuseOrion

    can someone explain to me how not having the headphone jack is better?

    our ears are still analog and we require a DAC w/ Audio Amp in order to hear anything, moving those components to a smaller device such has a pair of ear buds is worse since you dont have access to a large battery, and dont have the space for high quality parts.

    the audio quality difference between the V30 or even the Axon 7 with 32bit dacs+high quality amps and some POS Bluetooth earbuds is very apparent.

  • Balls O’Steele

    When will Google let MS publish a full review?

  • Steve Pons

    Ordered a 128GB “Panda” version of the Pixel 2 XL within 10 minutes of the store going live… My delivery date is DECEMBER 20th!!!
    What are the odds that Google may deliver any devices early?
    I had ZERO delay when I ordered my Nexus 6P… Any Pixel 1 people out there have any feedback on published delivery times??

  • Ryan

    iPhones are better value than Android flagships now, almost twice the performance for around same price.

    • JD

      Don’t forget long term support.

  • Balls O’Steele

    I’ll wait for the OnePlus 5t coming in November. Same specs as pixel 2XL for 30% less $

  • Michal Zebrowski

    why is nobody asking the important questions!
    Since the new XL is made by LG will it:
    1. Tap to Wake?
    2. Include that neat retro tube tv animation when turning off the screen?

    • Daniel Szilagyi

      you forgot the most important question:

      3. will this bootloop in like 6 months from now?

      to answer your second point, no it won’t that’s a custom LG thing, not a stock android thing