The second iteration of Google’s flagship smartphone brand is finally upon us. At their annual developer conference held today, Google showed off its new 5-inch Google Pixel 2 and 6-inch Google Pixel 2 XL. Both of these phones are packing the Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of lightning fast RAM, and a starting base configuration of 64GB of storage.
Similar to other android devices released lately, the XL’s 6-inch OLED display comes with a 18:9 display format, which promises to deliver a smooth, crystal clear viewing experience for its users. On paper this display sounds fantastic, however consumers in the past have raised questions as to whether these handheld devices can be efficiently powered while delivering “all day” battery life. Google themselves asked a series of questions in recent teaser ads leading up to today’s launch. One of these ads addressed concerning battery problems us as consumers have. Today, Google says the new Pixels will feature “all day” battery life and fast charging—with a claim of 7 hours of juice after just 15 minutes plugged in. Currently we cannot be sure of exactly what that means, so stay tuned for the upcoming reviews of the product
It was only recently that Google announced support for ARCore, the company’s in-house augmented reality platform- this obvious rival to Apple’s HomeKit is touted by Google to be a forerunner in bringing AR content to the mass market. So you must be asking yourselves, is there no Google answer to Apple’s “animojis”? No please, and that in my opinion is a good thing. Also unlike Apple, you won’t be able to unlock your phone with your face using something akin to FaceID. Both Pixel phones will have your typical fingerprint sensors, of which we have grown used to.
The new Pixels are also water resistant (should have been last year as well) and this time around, the devices have front facing stereo speakers, which is a welcomed addition to these premium devices. Unfortunately, Google has decided to follow in the controversial footsteps of Apple, and removed the headphone jack.
The camera features have once again taken center stage, with the Pixel smartphone brand- Google is highlighting its own version of portrait shots with background blurs, from both the front and back cameras, similar to what Apple promises on the new X. Google says it achieves this feat not with dual rear cameras but equal sensors.
The Pixel camera also can capture a few seconds of video before and after you take a still image, something Apple also does on iPhones through its Live Photos feature.
The latest Pixels can also take advantage of fused optical and electronic video stabilization when you’re shooting video, the goal being to smooth out the shakes.
Google is once again supplying free cloud storage for all the pictures and videos you take with the devices, this is a welcomed feature that Apple should look to copy for its future products. After all, we live in a world where every day, millions of photos are uploaded to the various social media platforms.
Another big talking point this year was Google’s updated AI assistant- they “borrowed” the HTC‘s U11 squeezable sides. You can just give the frame of the device a squeeze and the Google Assistant will launch and start listening. This works even when the phone is off, and hopefully just like the U11, we will be able to customize different pressures in the squeeze, to launch other apps.
At launch, the Pixel 2 phones will be available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, India, and Canada. The 2 XL will arrive in Spain, Italy, and Singapore at a later date. The Pixel 2 starts at $649, the same price as the 2016 model, while the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849, an $80 increase over 2016. Pre-orders start today, and Google says you get a free Google Home Mini with the purchase. Google did not say when the phones would be shipped.