Smartphones

Pixel 2: What You Need to Know About Google’s New Top Android Phones

All images: Google

When it announced the
iPhone X
, Apple pushed the expectations (and price tags) for flagships phones higher than they’ve ever been before. Now, Google gets a chance to hit back with its own homegrown handsets that will not only show how Google has matured as a hardware maker, but also what’s coming soon on Android Oreo. And with a full year of experience and development (
including a bunch of new IP and personnel
) under its belt, Google really can’t afford to mess up its second-generation of Pixels.

Meet the new Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2

Like last year, Google is launching two phones for 2017, with the smaller Pixel 2 featuring a 5-inch full HD screen and the larger Pixel 2 XL sporting a full 6-inch QHD POLED display.

Advertisement

Both phones will include the latest version of Android Oreo out of the box, along with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and your choice of storage sizes. The main difference between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is that the due to the smaller phone’s more petite dimensions, Google had to sacrifice the headphone jack (bummer) to make room for its dual-front facing speakers

Design

The black and white color scheme will only be available on the Pixel 2 XL.

This one is a biggie, because one of the most maligned aspects of the original Pixels was their design. But it seems Google is can’t quite let the old designs die, because the company is steadfastly sticking to what is becoming the Pixel’s signature two-toned look. In back, the top third of phones features a shiny glass panel that encompasses the rear camera, while the bottom two-thirds is constructed from matte aluminum and holds the rear fingerprint reader. That said, this time around there seems to have been a lot more attention paid to way things fit together, with both phones sporting a curvier, more streamlined style, in addition to new color options ranging from “Kinda Blue” to my new favorite black and white Panda-like colorway on the Pixel 2 XL.

Advertisement

In front, the big bezel’s on the original Pixel XL have been reduced significantly, giving the Pixel 2 XL a more modern facade befitting a phone in 2017.

New Features

Both Pixel 2's will sport POLED screens for bright colors and darker blacks, smaller bezels and a new 18:9 extra widescreen aspect ratio.

The Pixel 2's revamped appearance ain’t all, as both big and small phones have gotten some crucial new features in the form of IP-68 water-resistance (good down to 5 feet deep for 30 minutes), Bluetooth 5.0 and new dual front-facing speakers. For fans of the old Nexus 6P, those speakers harken back to a time when good smartphone audio was still a big deal, especially in light of all the mono-speaker phones like the Galaxy S8 and LG V30.

Advertisement

Both Pixel 2 will also come with super colorful POLED displays with a built-in polarizer that’ll let you still see vibrant images while wearing sunglasses, on top of a new extra-widescreen 18:9 aspect ratio. And because OLED display’s don’t use any power when displaying black, Google has added a new onscreen display to the new Pixel’s too.

Google has also brought the pressure sensitive feature seen on the HTC U11 over the Pixel 2, so now you can simply squeeze the sides of the phone to quickly access the Google Assistant.

Changes to Android Oreo

In addition to new features on the outside, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are also getting some new tricks on the inside thanks a new Google’s Android update, which features a revamped homescreen layout for stock Android. Instead of having your traditional quick launch icons on the very bottom the home screen, the first thing you’ll see is a new Google search bar, with the the quick launch icons above that followed by the carrot-shaped Pixel Launcher on top. That should make it easier to get to your searches faster, while also making the previous “pill” widget expendable.

Pricing and availability

This story is still developing, stayed tuned for more info.