Google took centre stage today to debut their newest gadgets before a rapt audience. Of course, most fans were there to catch an official glimpse of the highly anticipated Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. As anticipated, Google’s latest mobile devices pair modest design touch-ups with copious amounts of new intelligence. Indeed, Google is all too aware that the tide has turned firmly toward learning capability, in part because they’re the ones who helped turn it.
Physically speaking, the Pixel 2 XL touts a noticeably thin bezel and a screen that’s jumped to 6 inches from the previous 5.5. By contrast, the Pixel 2 looks virtually identical to its predecessor at first glance. Both phones have scaled down the glass paneling on the back so that it no longer holds the fingerprint sensor. Also, the camera lens on both models has grown in size and now protrudes slightly from the phone.
Meanwhile, the differences between the two new models primarily boils down to size and battery. That is, the XL variant is a little bigger and lasts longer. Otherwise, both phones cover a lot of similar ground. They both utilise the same camera and speaker, and run on Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors with 4GB RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage.
For pictures and videos, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL utilise a 12.2 megapixel rear camera that’s allegedly the best in class to date. It scored a whopping 98 during early testing by DXO and comes packed with all sorts of innovation. Among the slew of camera specs is f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilisation, lightning fast autofocus, and dual-pixel phase detection, which somehow divides every single pixel to create a dual-camera effect. That’s joined by virtually limitless storage through Google Photos. Also, at some point down the road the camera will support augmented reality features and icons, and you’ll be able to inject 3D graphics into your pictures.
In a nod toward fellow Android operators HTC and their new U11 smartphone, the Pixel 2 includes “Active Edge”. That means you can do things like activate Google Assistant or perform other functions by squeezing on the sides of the phone. And showing that Apple’s decision wasn’t so controversial after all, the Pixel 2 has done away with the headphone jack. A pair of wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Pixel Buds are included in every purchase.
Naturally, being a Google phone, we’re just skimming the surface. And with three years of OS updates being part of the package, even the surface will continue to expand over time. Like the brain itself, each Pixel 2 and 2 XL will learn as it goes. Now available for pre-order, Google’s new phones will land October 17th. The Pixel 2 with 64GB and 128GB will retail for $649 USD and $749 USD, while the Pixel 2 XL with 64GB and 128GB will retail for $849 USD and $949 USD.