Pixel 2 by Google - Impressions

Pixel 2 and XL by Google 

Google has announced second generation of its Pixel smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL along with family of other google devices, google calls it A few new things made by Google. Coming to the show stopper the Pixel 2 looks almost identical to its predecessor announced last year. Pixel 2 XL has shown some substantial design changes, it’s display jumped from a 5.5-inch to a 6-inch display, and that display now covers almost the entire face of the phone but still not as close as Galaxy S8 or iPhone 10 (as Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL direct rivals will be S8, iPhone 8 plus and 10). It’s not a exactly edge-to-edge display, but there are just the tiny bezels covering at the top and bottom of the screen . Its kind of Scandinavian design.

The smaller Pixel is sticks with a 5-inch display. The only real difference is on the back, where on both new phones the glass accent at the top has been shrunken down, so that it no longer encases the fingerprint sensor. The Pixel’s camera lens has gotten larger as well, and it now camera bump is ever so slightly from the back of the phone.

The spec's section is pretty straightforward for a 2017 flagship smartphone, both phones have Snapdragon 835 processors, 4GB of RAM, and an option for 64GB or 128GB of storage standard android flagship hardware. They each have front-facing stereo speakers and OLED displays, though the smaller Pixel has a 1080p resolution display with a density of 441 PPI and the larger version has a 2880 x 1440 resolution display with an even denser density of 538 PPI. There is bad new with Google Pixel this year like iphone 7 last year, the headphone jack is no more.

Both phones support “Active Edge,” which means you can squeeze their sides to trigger certain actions. It will launch the Google Assistant and silence phone calls by default. We saw this feature first on HTC U11 and not an great fan. It’s not clear that Google has made squeezable sides dramatically more useful.

And then there’s the Pixels’ camera's, which once again seem to be talking point and Google is hoping will set its phones apart. Google’s Mario Queiroz, VP product management, says his team has “re-imagined smartphone photography.” They gave the Pixel 2 to DXO for early testing, and the phone apparently got a record-setting score of 98 from last years 89. For context, the iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy S8 comes in second with a 94.Both phones have a 12.2-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization, an needed improvement over last year’s f/2.0 lens and electronic image stabilization. Those two elements together should be enough for better photos, but those spec's just scratch the surface of what Google has done here.

This year, the camera uses something that Google is calling a “dual-pixel sensor,” which is supposed to literally divide every pixel in two instead of two camera's. That means the pixels are a little bit smaller this year (1.4μm instead of last year’s 1.55μm), but there are supposed to be all kinds of benefits from what Google can do with this setup. It’s supposed to allow for faster auto focus. But it also means that Google can offer a “portrait mode just like on the iPhone 7 and 8 Plus, google an year behind though. That’s because the split pixels act like second lens, Google can create a depth map and use that to help it identify the foreground and background of a photo and blur out everything but the subject. Google says the portrait effect will work on objects, in addition to people, and that it will also be enabled on the 8-megapixel front-facing camera.

Google Motion Photos is google's own version of the iPhone’s Live Photos. They work pretty much exactly like iPhone's live photos, Google will record a three second clip around each photo and bundle it into the file. Pixel owners will get to store all of their photos and videos in original quality on Google Photos.
The Pixel camera is also getting support for various augmented reality features including AR stickers. You’ll be able to add 3D characters and emoji into photos and videos and see them move around as you’re capturing the scene. Google is going to be partnering with third parties to add in some famous faces, starting with some cute re-creations of characters from Stranger Things.

Google has made some minor tweaks to the Android home screen. The most notable change is that there’s now a search box at the very bottom of the screen, beneath the app dock. Up top, there’s now an “at a glance” agenda widget, which displays your upcoming meetings, the date and temperature. It seems nicer than last year’s Google tab and weather widget.

The phone will support an always on display this year, to show the notifications and time. And this year’s Pixel will take advantage of the phone’s always on microphones to listen for music  and display what you’re listening to on the screen, even if it’s something on the radio.

Pixel phones will also be the first to get Google Lens, which was first announced this spring an interesting feature. When you active it, you’ll be able to point the camera at various objects, like books and landmarks, and have Google automatically pull up information on them. It’ll also be able to scan email addresses and wi-fi passwords and automatically put that information to use.

The Pixel 2 will come in three colors - white, black, and blue (kinda blue). It’s priced starting $649 for 64GB of storage and $749 for 128GB. The Pixel 2 XL will be offered in just two standard colors - black and white, though the white has some nice touches, including a black glass shade on the back and an orange home button. XL will start at $849 for 64GB and go up to $949 for 128GB available for pre-order from today. Both are supposed to begin shipping by October 17th. Anyone who orders before October 19th will also get sent a promo code to receive a free Home Mini sometime next month.

Google's event Launches:

  • Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
  • Google Home Mini
  • Google Home Max
  • Google Clips
  • Pixel Buds
  • Pixelbook
  • Daydream View