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Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL review: The new standard for Android

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
(Image: © Android Central)

Google's smartphone division is in a very interesting, even precarious, position. At once, it's trying to appeal to two disparate ends of the market: the design and experience-focused high-end phone buyer who is typically drawn to the iPhone; and the Google-loving Android enthusiast that wants a very different set of features and desires the "purest" Google experience. The latter comes from years of selling Google-sanctioned Nexus phones that were so often the dream devices of Android diehards, while the former comes from Google's goal to capture the most lucrative and sought-after group of consumers in the market.

The solution, as was the case last year with the canonical Pixels, comes in the form of "one" phone that's actually two — this year, it's the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Starting at $649 for the base model Pixel 2 and going up to $949 for the top Pixel 2 XL, these things are costly — and Google thinks it has both the hardware and software chops to make them worth it. A refined emphasis on in-house hardware design and a compelling story about deep integration with Google's bevy of services make the Pixel 2 and 2 XL rather unique among Android phones — and, of course, quite similar to Apple's playbook with the iPhone.

Google's hardware division isn't a project or a hobby anymore. It's the real deal. Let's see if the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL live up to that standard in our full review.

About this review

I am writing this review after six days using the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. They were used on both the Project Fi and Verizon networks in the greater Seattle, WA area. The software was not updated during the course of our review.

For our video review, Alex Dobie has also been using both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL for a total of five days in Manchester, UK, and Munich, Germany on the EE and Vodafone networks (roaming on Telekom.de and Vodafone DE while in Germany.) The phones were provided to Android Central for review by Google.

Because of their considerable similarities, we're grouping together both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL into a single review. The opinions and observations expressed in this review are applicable to both phones, except in specific places where one model is mentioned in particular.

In video form

Pixel 2 and 2 XL Video review

For the full visual take on these new phones from Google, be sure to watch our complete video review put together by our very own Alex Dobie. For the specific details on the pair, you'll want to read our entire written review here.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Keep it simple

Pixel 2 and 2 XL Hardware

2016's HTC-built Pixel and Pixel XL were identical phones simply built at two different scales. This year, despite Google's insistence on branding of the "Pixel 2" as a single phone, things aren't so simple. Sure, from a glance, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look like the same phone in two different sizes. But pick them up, and each is clearly unique.

The larger Pixel 2 XL is getting a majority of the attention, and rightfully so.

The Pixel 2 XL is getting a majority of the attention, and I'd say rightfully so. The big 18:9 display, rounded corners and smaller bezels just feel more modern, looking very similar to the LG V30 (wonder why) and Galaxy S8+. In stark contrast to the smaller Pixel 2, the 2 XL's front glass is steeply curved on all sides to flow over the edges and meet the metal sides further down. It feels and looks absolutely fantastic, and the lack of any sharp edges or right angles on the entire front just feels "right."

The problem, from my perspective, is its overall size that will be too big for some to manage. It's basically the same size as the Galaxy S8+ — just under 2 mm shorter, but also over 3 mm wider and the same weight. For another comparison, the Pixel 2 XL is larger (and not just a little bit) in every dimension than the LG V30. It teeters on the edge of being too big to reach across, and is definitely too big to comfortably reach the top quarter of the display when holding it in one hand. Thankfully, the Pixel 2 XL has a flat display that doesn't have accidental palm touch issues, and a fingerprint sensor in a perfect position to reach in any case.

The Pixel 2, on the other hand, harkens back in so many ways to the Nexus 5X — the proportions, the curves, the overall look from the front. Its metal sides come up further and to a sharper beveled edge where they meet front glass, and the glass itself is nearly flat with only a minor amount of "2.5D" curving at the edges. The 16:9 display obviously isn't as tall as the 2 XL, but the bezels on the top and bottom add enough height that the overall proportions are very similar to its larger sibling.

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL specs

Once you get past the front and how the glass curves, the phones are almost identical.

For all of this typing focused on the differences between the two, there is so much shared in the hardware of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. Once you get past the front and how the glass curves into the sides, things are as close to identical as possible. The aluminum frame feels thick and finely constructed, with a textured coating that gives you far more grip — albeit at the expense of feeling a bit less like metal than the 2016 Pixels, a compromise I feel is worthwhile. The glass insert at the top of the phones is smaller now and inset perfectly, but now marred by a small camera bump that makes the taller 2 XL wobble on the table a bit when you're tapping the screen.

There isn't much else to say about the design of these phones, particularly when you have them both in black as I do. Like their predecessors, and even more so this time around, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL are monolithic, near-featureless and quite basic in their overall hardware. They don't have the stunning curves, flashy polished metal or distinctive lines of many other phones out there. The best you get here are the offset colored power buttons on "kinda blue" Pixel 2 and "black & white" Pixel 2 XL.

The hardware is clean, efficient and beautiful — but not flashy.

Mercifully, Google has added IP67 water- and dust-resistance to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which is downright table stakes at this point (and some would argue it was last year). Whether directly related or not, this has also coincided with the loss of the headphone jack — which was something Google specifically mentioned as a benefit on the original Pixels. (Ugh. C'mon.) It includes a USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone adapter in the box, and sells extras in the Google Store (opens in new tab) for $20 $9, but frustratingly doesn't put USB-C headphones in the box. The industry is leaving the 3.5 mm headphone jack behind, I get that — but I really wish Google didn't cheap out here, particularly on the $849 Pixel 2 XL, and chose to include some headphones considering how few people have USB-C headphones right now.

Adding to the frustration is attempting to navigate the world of USB-C adapters and headphones. At this point there's no clear or consistent way to know if when you buy them that they'll actually work with your phone. For example HTC's headphones don't work with the Pixel 2, but its headphone adapter does. And Motorola's adapter doesn't work with Google's phones at all.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

A tale of two displays

Alright, back to the differences again — let's talk about displays. Google's biggest selling point on the Pixel 2 XL's display was its color accuracy and the fact that it could reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. And to my eyes, that's clearly where all of the tuning time went: accuracy above all else. Because this screen, I hate to say, looks a bit dull and washed out. Being used to Samsung's vibrant and colorful displays — which by default exhibit punchier, more saturated colors — the 2 XL is kind of disappointing when you first look at it. No matter how you feel about the colors you'll notice an apparent color shifting when viewing the phone off-axis at all, to the point where holding the phone at an angle the colors at the top of the display (further from you) are more blue/green than what's at the bottom.

The Pixel 2 XL's display is actually disappointing, but the standard Pixel 2 surprises.

The 2880x1440 resolution is plenty high, but the Pixel 2 XL exhibits the same sort of soft grain and grit as the V30 on white backgrounds when scrolling — one of those things you can't un-see once it's been pointed out. It's something we expect to see on super low-end phones, but not anything remotely high-end in the past few years — and it's surely not a problem that Samsung has with its OLED displays nowadays.

Thankfully over time your eyes get used to its calibration, as they do with any other phone, and you start to see some of the benefits compared to last year. The Pixel 2 XL gets much dimmer in low-light situations where you want it to, peak brightness is higher — though it is, of course, not as bright as a Galaxy Note 8 — and daylight visibility improved because of it.

Funny enough, it's the smaller, lower resolution, less-accurate and ostensibly lower-end Pixel 2 display that actually looks better to my eyes. Its brightness (both high and low) is very similar to the 2 XL, but it doesn't exhibit the grain on white backgrounds or the color shifting at angles that are annoying on the larger phone. At the same time, its colors have a bit more punch and depth to them — mostly due to the display just being a tad warmer overall.

I don't think the display quality differences are so big that they alone should make you want to choose one phone over the other. There are other factors like the actual physical size of the screen and the design of the phone that are likely bigger purchase drivers. But it's certainly worth noting that just because the Pixel 2 XL is bigger and more expensive doesn't mean it has the better display.

Google Pixel 2 XL

The best around

Pixel 2 and 2 XL Software and experience

For the vast majority of people out there, the best Android experience comes directly from Google on a Pixel phone. If there's one thing we've seen play out consistently over the years, it's new high-end phones coming out with piles of bells and whistles to appeal to as many people as possible, only to eventually hurt the daily experience because of how they were saddled with all of this superfluous crap. Google's Pixel phones are the exact opposite: in having fewer features and options for customization, they offer a superior daily experience for almost every kind of smartphone user today.

Google has gotten really good at this whole user experience and interface design thing.

Loading up your Pixel 2 or 2 XL for the first time, you won't be greeted by a super-long setup process, duplicate apps, extra account permissions or clunky backup and restore settings. Google's default apps are some of the best in the business — many of which you'd likely install on any Android phone — so for many people, they won't feel like they have to go hunting for anything from the Play Store from the start. As it turns out, Google has gotten really good at this user experience and interface design stuff — everything just flows and makes sense. Android 8.0 Oreo has a lot of nice features that will be great for any Android user, but it's absolutely fantastic to see it all working as intended by its creators with no additional changes.

That's not to say that the Pixel 2 and 2 XL give you the same type of empty, spartan experience of old Nexuses. Google has consistently added little features and changes to its software in the last year, but for the most part they are both simple and noninvasive. Just look at the new feature that passively identifies any ambient music and displays it on your lock screen — that isn't something that gets in your way, but it's a neat bit of magic to see when you glance down at your phone on the table. The same goes for Google Assistant being available with a squeeze of the phone, or being able to back up as many photos as you want in their original quality (for three years) to Google Photos. It's all of these "small" things that are both out of your way and hugely impactful to the overall experience of the phone when you add them up.

And of course Google's core competency of having guaranteed update windows for these phones is something that will always differentiate it. With the Pixel 2 and 2 XL it has promised three years of platform and security updates, meaning if you buy one of these you just won't have to worry about having up-to-date software — that's important if you care about that sort of thing, but really important if you're someone who doesn't.

Performance

This is what people who are "in the know" buy a Pixel for: the performance. And not just in terms of synthetic benchmarks, but in real-world "live with this every day" speed that you just don't get in any other Android phone. With the new processor and another year of optimization, Google picks up right where it left off with last year's Pixels. Both of these phones are ridiculously fast, smooth and consistent in everything you do.

People who are 'in the know' buy a Pixel for the performance.

It's something I've obviously come to expect from Google's own phones, but after using other phones that are fast but still have hiccups now and then, it's just so refreshing to have something this consistently good in your hands. The thing about speed like this is that you don't have to be a smartphone nerd to appreciate it. Everyday people who are used to their slightly old and stuttery phone will be blown away by the Pixel 2 and 2 XL.

I figured this is as good a place as any to mention audio performance — namely, how both of these phones come with front-facing stereo speakers. I'm never going to say that the addition of stereo speakers is a fine trade-off for not having a headphone jack, but these speakers are really good. I'd put them right up next to the HTC U11's in terms of quality and volume, which means they both totally blow away the single speaker on phones like the Galaxy S8. The phones obviously aren't big enough for real stereo separation, but having audio coming right at you when watching video is far better than blowing out one end.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Battery life

With a 3520mAh battery and super-efficient Snapdragon 835 processor, the Pixel 2 XL is poised to have really good battery life. And indeed it lives up to expectations. In my first full day out of the gate with the 2 XL it made it through a 16-hour day with 5 hours of "screen on" time when I tossed it on the charger at 5% battery before bed, which was surprisingly good considering how much I used it throughout the day. This was with everything turned on, syncing and notifying me, with the default "living" wallpaper (a clear increase in power drain), auto screen brightness, plenty of podcast listening over Bluetooth, and time spent in the camera. In subsequent days things were even better as I went easier on the phone.

The Pixel 2 XL's battery life is exceptional, and the Pixel 2 is actually a full-day phone as well.

There's plenty of rational concern that the Pixel 2's 2700mAh battery, being 23% smaller, isn't large enough considering it has the same overall specs and capabilities, with the only change being a smaller 1080p display. Thankfully things seem much better than last year's Pixel with its 2770mAh battery. With a more efficient processor, the Pixel 2's battery is actually really solid. Using the Pixel 2 the same way as the 2 XL, It's good for a full day of use — at least 16 or 17 hours, albeit with less than the 5 hours of "screen on" time ... more like 3 to 4 hours instead. But that's just fine for me — it means I don't really have to worry about battery life, even with what is admittedly a really small battery for a 2017 flagship.

Google Pixel 2

New benchmark

Pixel 2 and 2 XL Cameras

Even a year after their release, the Pixel and Pixel XL were easily still some of the best available smartphone cameras. That was due in no small part to Google's excellent photo processing, which paired with camera hardware that lacked the typical assistance of OIS (optical image stabilization) and produced fantastic photos regardless. This year, Google has added OIS, widened the aperture to f/1.8 and improved its processing, with the only downside (if you could call it that) being slightly smaller pixel size on the 12.2MP sensor.

The results are utterly fantastic. Google hasn't strayed from its core philosophy on photography, which is to give you a mostly accurate photo but also crank up the colors and use HDR techniques to give you a beautiful shot. To that point, HDR+ is now on permanently by default, leaving you to jump into the advanced settings to give yourself a toggle to turn it off. But I'm not sure why you would — HDR+ processing is great, and even faster than before.

So this is what happens when you take Google's great photo processing and add it to even better hardware fundamentals. Shots are crisp with great detail, and some close-up shots have just unreal levels of fine detail in lines. In situations where the smartphone-sized sensor simply can't work out a scene you get some high ISO noise that looks totally normal and expected — not over-processed and gross. Colors are just punchy enough to grab your eye without being crazy. And best of all, shot-to-shot consistency is fantastic. I don't think I took a single photo that was "bad" — I either took "good" or "great" photos.

Portrait Mode

The perfect example of Google flexing its software processing muscle is the inclusion of a Portrait Mode even though it only has a single camera. The camera uses the distance between individual pixels on the sensor to determine depth, then defines the foreground and background in software and applies a background blur in the final photo. Like all of these modes from other companies Google's isn't perfect, but shockingly it's just as good as the rest — and in many cases I found it to even be better.

Portrait Mode still struggles with stray hairs on people's heads, and sometimes with extra accouterments like glasses or big over-ear headphones. But I didn't find that it had issues with inanimate objects that have solid, straight lines on their sides like I sometimes saw on the Galaxy Note 8. Portrait Mode simply won't activate if the software thinks that it can't apply the effect properly on the subject, and in any case gives you a "standard" photo alongside your portrait shot.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Google's Portrait Mode system is that it also works extremely well on the front-facing 8MP f/2.4 camera. The effect can sometimes feel a bit overboard, but its edge detection is still top notch on the front-facer. The extra processing leads to really stand-out selfies — some of the best I've taken with a phone.

Video

Alex does a fantastic job actually illustrating how well the new Pixel 2 and 2 XL do with their video mode in our video review. In short, the addition of OIS to Google's already fantastic EIS (electronic image stabilization) produces great results. The video is so stable it seems impossible that it's coming from a phone with no extra stabilizing hardware assistance.

This year's Pixels seem to be a bit better about letting some of the natural movement of your hand come across in the video, though, which is particularly noticeable when walking and panning the camera. It means that the video remains stable, but doesn't look so artificially stabilized that it bothers your eyes. The Pixel 2 and 2 XL may not have all of the crazy video capabilities of the LG V30 when it comes to tweaking and utilizing specific effects, but for simple "point and shoot" videography it's amazing.

Google Pixel 2

Google does it again

Pixel 2 and 2 XL Bottom line

Google has, once again, made the best pair of Android phones you can buy today. If someone has at least $649 to spend, knowing nothing else about what they want from a phone, I will be able to recommend they buy a Pixel 2 and have no worries about them enjoying the experience.

In either phone, you get hardware that's well-built and beautiful with all of the requisite specs and base hardware features, paired with an unrivaled software and user experience that you'll enjoy every day. You're also getting a smartphone that's likely to produce the best photos you've ever seen come out of a phone, in just about any situation you put it in. Then you get the smaller things you only notice over time — very strong battery life, loud stereo speakers, IP67 water resistance, software that's well hedged against slowdowns over time, and three years of guaranteed updates.

Google has, once again, made the best pair of Android phones you can buy today.

The Pixel 2 XL's display quality is objectively not good enough to match its $849 starting price, but the smaller Pixel 2's is more than good enough for $649. The lack of a headphone jack is troubling for many, myself included. And the software doesn't have the massive number of specialized features you'll find on other phones.

But those few cons are washed away in just a couple of hours of actually using either phone; and that excellent experience will stay strong for months — and even years — to come. Google has outdone itself this year. It has made the phones that everyone should be considering, even if its sales will end up being tiny in comparison to the big names.

The only question, really, is which size you should buy. The Pixel 2 XL is probably too expensive for many people, and its 6-inch display may actually be too big as well. The Pixel 2, with a very attainable price, offers excellent value for the money — it also has a better display and more manageable size. Unless you feel like you need the extra screen size or battery of the 2 XL, pick the Pixel 2. You'll love it.

4.5 out of 5

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

308 Comments
  • I can't wait to get mine next week. I must worn you guys though, when I preorder a phone it turns out to be a flop. Maybe this will change things.
  • I've only pre-ordered two phones, and I'm 1 for 2. The original Pixel has been the best phone I've ever owned, but the LG G4 worked great until it died. Twice. Within six months.
  • I've never pre-ordered, but I did buy the Palm Tungsten T3 on the first day, and it turned out great. Still have it!
  • Really looking forward to getting money too! Overall it will be an upgrade to my S8+. Really looking forward to always having the latest software and great hardware together.
  • It's the same SoC, I don't understand buying new phones every 6 months . Good thing it's not my money
  • I have the S8+ and I can't think of any reason to switch to the Pixel 2 XL. Seems like a downgrade to me.
  • https://photos.app.goo.gl/wfmmShNaolSIyLZ63 Yay!! Played around with one at Verizon... I like the feel a lot. Really looking forward to getting it... Hopefully tomorrow!
  • it's the end of 2017 and these phones don't have wireless charging. that is all.
  • I know what you mean, but I personally don't want wireless charging. I don't want a glass-backed phone for one, and it's less convenient to use a phone while it's wireless charging anyway. When the phone is plugged in I can pick it up and do whatever I have to do and it keeps charging while I'm doing it.
  • It's not that I don't want it; I just don't care about it all that much. I'd rather have it than not, I guess, but when I had a Nexus 4 and 5, I almost never actually used it, despite having bought the orb charger when it was first released. Regardless, Apple has it now, so it'll be table stakes by next model year.
  • If you use a case, you could get one of these to add Qi charging: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y5FDXD4?tag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUacUd... I may grab one, but I charge in the car on the way home from work, and at night. Unless I decide to not drive (unlikely) or sleep (even less likely) I am probably covered for even a heavy use day.
  • Same here. Wireless charging is of no use to me. I have to plug my phone into the car to use Android Auto...and it charges. I have wired chargers in my bedroom, and both sides of the living room....I like to use my phone while it's charging. I know many like the novelty of it, but Apple sold hundreds of millions of phones without it for a reason. I just don't think it's truly a necessity.
  • Millions disagree as well
  • I've had both, I don't see a big deal. How hard is it to plug in? Do you take your wireless charger everywhere you go...car, office or only use it at home? You really can't use it while it's charging wireless unless you're right on top of it but cant move it at the same time.
  • Amen to ALL three of y'all!!
  • Agreed. The only thing I like better about wireless charging is that i can just place the phone on the charger when I go to sleep. Otherwise, I get a much better charge through the wired charger. And I plug it in everywhere but in my bedroom, so it's just not a big deal.
  • Different strokes for different folks - I use a wireless charger tilted dock at my office all the time. Also makes it use-able while charging.
  • Same here. I have one sitting right in front of me here at work. Tylt and I'm constantly using my phone (LG G4). If I really need to juice it up, of course I plug it in, but it's rare. It's great to have in my opinion.
  • Unfortunately wireless charging up to this point definitely hasn't been considered one of those "must have" features. It's nice, and I like to use it, but I don't think that many people see it as something they must have when choosing a phone to buy.
  • That may change soon. Since Apple is now including wireless charging in their new iPhones, we just may see wider adoption at places I'd love to see it more often (coffee shops, bars, airports, etc). More surprising is that Apple chose to use Qi as opposed to another one of their own proprietary concoctions.
  • Apple adopting it surely raises the overall awareness in the public, but it's going to take a while (if at all) for it to become a "must have" feature.
  • Agreed. Unless you have something that needs to hop from charger to charger all day long, it's nice, but not a deal breaker.
  • That's cuz Qi is already all over the place and it's an industry standard (for once CrApple realizes they should acknowledge at least a couple 'standards') and more people will be apt to buy their crappy phones because they already have wireless charging pads all over their house because it's been available for years!
  • Very true. Only time I need to charge my phone is either in the car or when I'm sleeping at night. How does wireless charging help me there? Now, I can see it being useful in the future. When businesses like airports, restaurants, etc that offer wireless charging. But until then...it's not a big deal.
  • Yes exactly, why would Google want to put old technology in it? There is no need for wireless charging when your phone charges ridiculously fast on USB c.
  • I have a different experience. My Nexus 5x has a USB C cable, but plugging and unplugging all the time has worn out the port (really!). I have to use books or something to apply pressure to keep the cable from popping out. With my S8, I only need to charge at night, and it's much easier to plop it into the cradle one-handed than to use two hands (in the dark) to plug it in. There are use-cases for wireless charging. It's what kept me from buying a Pixel (or Pixel 2) this time around.
  • One of a few reasons I explain the benefits of wireless charging. A second option. That, and with waterproofing now a mainstream thing there's no worries about frying a port right after submersion if you're going wireless. And not losing your wire brine a desk or nightstand since it's attached to a base or pad. Also, magic. It's just ******* cool. People don't fully realize the benefits of wireless charging.
  • I have wireless charging on all my Galaxy phones , even my old note 2 which still works I might add ,
    the charging port on my note 2 is in good Nick ,
    by comparison the charging port on my 6p that's only ever been charged by cable is loose and despite me pushing it in firmly it often falls out , even though the device has done half the years of service of my old Galaxy .
    I get that you can't use wireless everywhere you go , but it is still very nice to have , and apart from sparing wear and tear on the port if you have extra charging pads around the house , not having to deal with cables is very nice.
    It's not a deal breaker missing out on wireless charging , but like the 3.5 mm headphone jack , it is a nice convenience feature .
  • I admit is is a big deal to plug in if you have a micro USB to plug in because you have to check it make sure it is the right way before plugging in. With USB C or Apple's plug, it makes no difference so even in dim or no light it is easy to plug in so wireless charging is not a big deal to me even though I have a Samsung wireless fast charger from previous phones.
  • I don't understand that difficulty. Even in pitch dark, rub the end of the cable, whichever side has the 2 bumps is the bottom.
    Now I'm not saying I don't like typeC bc it's capabilities are awesome
  • It's just so slow and expensive that most folks would rather just plug it in. It's easy and cheap to have a charger at home, work, car and on person. A wireless charger costs about as much as 3 of those put together, plus it really isn't mobile. With quick wired charging I can get from 20% to 70% in about 30 minutes. That's twice as fast (or more) than I got with Samsung's "fast" wireless charging. Standard Qi was even slower. It's a nice extra, but it's the least important feature on a phone for many people.
  • Or expandable memory! It's a Google iPhone.
  • Could they of not made a black headphone dongle for the black phones?? Come on, that looks awfully in the video.
  • Yup it looks like garbage. The charger is white also, but that's less of an issue IMO.
  • I was thinking the same thing ... Match the in box accessories to the color of the phone...
  • Awesome!! Going to read everything after work. Btw my Pixel 2 XL just shipped.
  • STILL no valid excuse for not having the 3.5mm headphone jack. Especially on the XL.
    On the plus side, those are beautiful pictures of Seattle.
  • Yeah there is. Look at sales numbers of Bluetooth headphones vs wired....
  • Still, the utter mess that is the different standards for USB-C audio only working with specific phones need to be addressed
  • Addressed? Hell, I'd be happy for it to even be acknowledged by OEMs at this point.
  • That mess is likely the reason HTC said "Screw it" and did their own thing.
  • Sadly, while USonic is great and I personally think it should be adopted universally, HTC’s move only proves my point. There’s a heap of standards out there and it’s a mess. What do OEMs do? Make more of those standards and makes an even more fragmented mess.
  • Obligatory: https://xkcd.com/927/
  • Sadly, that comic is so very true. And the even sadder part is that the one standard that's supposed to be the one port for everything has a dizzying number of sub-standards that use the same port which may or may not play well with other devices having the same port. I'm sure ya'll know about my predicament with the Moto Z headphone dongle not working at all with my Note8 and RoG laptop. This is why this should at least be acknowledged and addressed. Proper implementation of a universally accepted USB Audio standard that allows the use of beefier DACs if one were to use more expensive headphones or external DAC/amp combos would already be a big step forward.
  • If you look at those numbers, the biggest reason for increased bluetooth adoption would be due to IPhone users not having a choice but to use bluetooth. It's irrelevant in terms of Android users
  • Ahh... where to start? "For the vast majority of people out there, the best Android experience comes directly from Google on a Pixel phone", this statement was made based on what data or whose analysis? The first gen Pixels sold roughly 2-4 million units and Android phones sold in the same time period was about 250-300 million, implying that the Pixel represented around 1% of all Android phones sold. If I remember correctly 99% is greater than 1%, this is one of the reasons why I don't take your (Android Central) reviews seriously. I get that you guys love your Pixels, but making up "facts" to back up your fanboyism is really laughable and outright dispicable.
  • The statement implies that, if they tried it, most people would agree that the android experience is fastest and easiest on Google's hardware. You may or may not agree with that, and that's fine either way, but in no way did the article imply that most people bought the pixel over other phones this year.
  • How can you judge software without using/owning something running it? "The statement implies that, if they tried it, most people would agree that the android experience is fastest and easiest on Google's hardware", the reviewer didn't imply it, he made it look like a fact.
  • You can't. But a lot of people have had issues in the past with their phones slowing down and a common consensus is because that is due to software overlays and bloatware. Additionally, software updates are often slow to many phones because companies have to take time to make sure the pre-installed apps they threw in still work with the new software/OS. Due to these things, the author suggests that most people would agree that having the pure android experience is more convenient.
  • The Essential phone runs stock Android, and it has more bugs and issues than any Samsung smartphone (the epitome of bloatware, right?) that I've ever used. Google is still adding features to stock Android that have existed on other software skins for years. Most of the things they've added, I have had on my Samsung phone since 2014. So software updates may look significant to someone using a Nexus or Pixel phone but are mostly boring and superficial me.
  • My Galaxy S8 runs great, and I find that I use most of the Samsung software. That bloatware comment is so old.
  • I know, but the tech media will tell you that Samsung software=bloat, or rather anything not made by Google=bloat.
  • Neither the Essential or Pixels run stock Android.
  • I know that they don't run AOSP, but that's what the tech media calls it.
  • Don't try to be sensible by explaining things appropriately. Some people just like lag. It's kind of a fetish, I guess…
  • Life in denial. Some people crave it.
  • I'm not making a claim based on survey data. I'm making a claim based on having used every high-end phone released in the last 5 years and seeing what Google has done in software and how it can appeal to the widest possible number of people.
  • YOU are ONE person. You DO NOT represent the "vast majority" of smartphone or Android users. Your OPINION is not fact no matter how many phones you've used. I've been using smartphones since 2005, I HAVE used "Stock" Android and find it absolutely terrible. Does that mean everybody should/will hate stock Android? No, it's just an opinion like yours.
  • CAPS LOCK makes your COMMENT seem very REASONABLE and NUANCED. I really LIKE it when people present their THOUGHTS and IDEAS in this FORMAT.
  • Definitely worked!
  • I said "majority" of people. Not "every" person. You're clearly not someone who likes Google's take on Android, and for you there are dozens of phones out there that offer something different.
  • That's exactly my point, you don't know what the majority of people want. You're projecting what you want to other people. China has the largest population on earth, do you know what they want from their smartphones? What of India? Russia? Brazil? Canada? What of the U.S.A (where i guess your from)?
  • They do!
  • You actually said "vast majority" implying much greater than a 51% majority. That statement is wishful thinking since the market does not even remotely support that statement. Many Android phones are running on "outdated," skinned software just fine and people are happy and pleased with their phones. Took a look at your typical Android phone while commuting, at an airport or mall. You will not find many Pixels, Motos or Nexi models. I've yet to see a Pixel first gen in the wild and I live in a major city.
  • Using market trends to prove what users want is not a valid argument in this case. Let me give you a great example, consider the market trend in a grocery store for drinks. Everyone buys soft drinks, does that mean they're good for everyone? No. This is the case with Google's nexus/pixel phones, users don't know what's good for them. To complicate things, Nexus/Pixel phones were never properly advertised, suffered terrible launches in terms of availability. It's as if Google was determined to not sell phones. The fragmentation in Android is largely due to the fact the vast majority of the market being on non-Nexus/Pixel phones, and frankly, this was an issue that became apparent before the HTC Nexus One phone was even released. In summary, the market is stupid, but Google is even dumber. The statement that the "vast majority" of people would benefit from the stock Android and that it will appeal to them, is absolutely true.
  • It's not true.
  • I have no problem with Google's take on Android, my problem is with your obviously biased and false statement.
  • Yes, because you clearly have no biases yourself.
  • Of course i do, I'm human. But I've never insinuated that the "vast majority" smartphone users share my opinion, or that my opinion is more indicative of preference than a survey (your words).
  • You would if given the chance but your platform right now is "fair and even keeled". I'm going to assume you're a galaxy owner for the moment when I say I'm sure you've brought up the argument of Samsung selling millions upon millions of devices so clearly the majority of consumers prefer them. When in reality if every consumer spent spent time with every phone, a week each, about a third at best would choose Samsung. Be consistent.
  • You don't need to assume, I stated in a previous comment that I use a Samsung phone. "When in reality if every consumer spent spent time with every phone, a week each, about a third at best would choose Samsung", that's pure conjecture. Is backing up statements with facts really that hard?
  • I haven't read every single comment you read. My apologies. And if someone could do a survey or test like that I'd have facts but it's a little hard to do. But I classify that with the same certainty that if every person were offered five hundred bucks, no strings attached, they would. I don't know a single person who had a Samsung and spent considerable time with a Pixel who then happily returned to a Samsung. It's just a better every day experience. Period. No trickery or gimmicks. What's on it just works and works well into the duration of it's lifespan. That's what people really want. Not bullshit software and gimmicks that work barely function or pull down a phone after three months. I'm glad you're happy with your Samsung define though. And I hope it's not too much of a burden when you have to reboot it daily or reset it every six months.
  • Give me a Pixel, and I'll guarantee you that I'll return it in less than a day. Google's take on Android is just too boring coupled with the fact that there are too many hardware compromises, makes the Pixel a total nonentity to me. I don't reboot my phone daily and neither do I reset my device every six months, I'm sure you won't believe me but I digress.
  • 😂 Really? They are experts. They do this for a living, and they look at more phones in a year that you ever will in a lifetime. Right… they don't represent the "vast majority" of Android users because most people barely change phones once every 5 years. So, yes, their opinion is as close to a fact as there can be, and it's better and has more weight than anybody else's. That doesn't mean you and everybody else is not entitled to their own, more limited, village opinion. Thank that to the 1st amendment.
  • The 1st amendment, say no more. LOL.
  • It's clear you are upset because you don't care and the reason you don't care is that you use the horrible Touc Wiz which will slow down the phone.
  • oh shut up already. geez.
    (Emmanuel)
  • Apples and oranges my friend. I'm not going to argue which phone does or doesn't offer the best android experience, but I suggest that total sales numbers has little to do with it. Google has botched nearly every new phone launch with initial product shortages and ordering system bugs. Usually by the time they would catch up the next big flagship launches. And the other big flagships kill it in sales because of universal presence in carrier stores - a nut that Google hasn't been able to crack just yet (they tried with the Nexus 6, but for various reasons that didn't work out so well). Shortcomings in sales (failure to achieve universal carrier buy-in) spurious marketing and supply chain issues represent most of the reason why the market share is what it is rather than user experience. Another example: Maserati vs Camry. Camry's outsell Maserati's, but which offers the better experience? Sames numbers, it would seem, don't tell the whole story.
  • Uhh....Camry's offer the better experience, since Masarati's are notoriously unreliable and finicky. Try again. Also based on your analogy the Pixel would be the Camry.
    The only thing i could glean from you is that your opinion is different from mine which in turn is different from someone else's, which has been my point the entire time.
  • If you think that a Camry has a better driver's experience than a Maserati then there's no hope for you understanding or being rational. The Camry is better built, more reliable, more ergonomic, and cheaper... which is why it sells more. Driver's experience though? It sucks. The Maserati though is purposely built for the driver's experience.
  • By your rationale everyone prefers "better driving experience" to better reliability, safety, utility, right? You are the one not being realistic. A Maserati is a niche product, hence the high price and supercar like good and bad features. The Pixels also aren't Maserati's since those are actually beautiful and "fun" to drive. The 2XL looks like they put a thick, curved plastic rim around the display. The Pixels look more like what a Russian supercar would look like.
  • Better than any crap OEM phone including Samsung, if all you care is best software experience which just works and up to date on latest security patches etc. Add to that best camera on any phone. So yeah best option for majority people but anyway this isn't going to sell in any meaningful numbers, that will be the iPhone which is a great phone and Samsung phones which sadly represent majority Android devices.
  • ...........
  • Lol, just accept it is the vast majority : D
  • Let me make it simple for you with an example. For the vast majority of people, Betamax was the best home videotape experience. That didn't mean that Sony made the best VCRs. It didn't mean that they sold the most either, as VHS supplanted them. The experience watching their tapes was clearly better though. Why am I wasting my time though. You are probably too young to even understand the reference.
  • How did the vast majority know that Betamax was better if they all had VHS? Tech nerds said Betamax was better, just like tech nerds are saying stock Android is better. They are not representive of the vast majority, tech nerds are a vocal minority. Also, LOL at being to young to know the reference,
  • Oooooo...random internet guy thinks he's older than me because he knows betamax.
  • You're inferring something that isn't there. You don't have to buy a Pixel in order to think that Google's take on Android... You just have to think it. No purchase necessary.
  • ?
  • He didn't say the majority of people who buy phones choose to buy pixels. He said the majority of them acknowledge the software of pixels.
  • Majority of people don't know what the Pixel software looks like or how it runs. How can they acknowledge something they've never seen?
  • So this is based on the idea that the majority of Android users have never heard of the Pixels or more vanilla type iterations of Android? Or most Android users don't know Android runs better on Google phones?
  • Pixel 2 it is... Can't wait to get it.
  • Same! Preordered the white
  • Charging the XL at nearly $1K thinking they're worth that price while their first gen models hardly sold any for a whole year...4mill I think it was. Pretty low numbers.
  • Eh, no one expected them to sell in any large numbers. I was honestly surprised they sold as many as they did. And they certainly would've sold quite a few more had they not run into whatever nebulous productions issues that they had with the XL model. But yeah, I'm not buying a phone for $850, regardless.
  • The Pixels could've, and would've, sold far more if Google really wanted them to. Google has thus far refused to make changes and compromises for more than one carrier in a market (which is wholly understandable considering the premise of the handset), and has also restricted production. There's plenty of people (like me BTW) who wanted to buy a Pixel but couldn't get one when we wanted one, especially in the best configurations/colors.
  • Pretty lame phone if you ask me. It's an iphone copy, after they mocked iphone 7 for not having a 3.5 headphone jack. And it doesn't even have wireless charging or 2 cameras (just a photoshoping hack on the camera app). google was never very good at doing phones anyway
  • I've said for a couple years now that if they would sell me a phone with iPhone hardware and pure Android, I'd buy it. My Pixel 2 XL will be here soon enough. Lol.
  • Yeah. Google is definitely taking a lot from Apple's playbook, and I mostly mean that in a good way. But man, dunking on Apple for removing the 3.5mm jack and then turning around and removing it on their own devices one model year later? Weak. And that's coming from someone who doesn't personally care about the 3.5mm jack at all.
  • I don't necessarily agree with your statement but I think a lot of others would agree... The pixels offer an iPhone experience and you know what there is nothing wrong with that.
  • Aside from lacking a headphone jack, I'm not sure what on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL is an iPhone "copy" — there are clear similarities in approach, but no copying here. If you think that the camera's Portrait Mode is a "photoshopping hack" you obviously haven't used it. It's a pretty advanced system that uses more than just software to determine a background and apply a blur. I'd love to see what your Photoshop skills could do, and how they'd compare to what happens automatically in about ~2 seconds on the Pixel 2.
  • They don't have MicroSD Expandable Memory. That's certainly another similarity. I agree that Pixel like Nexus before it (and I own a Nexus 4 but currently use an LG V20) will likely provide the smoothest Android software experience, but frankly these Pixel devices are not exciting to look at, lack essential features provided by most other Manufacturers like Expandable Memory, Headphone Jacks, Dual rear Cameras, Wireless Charging (to mention but a few) and are overpriced. Under US $850 many other devices present way better value. Heck, even the maker of the Pixel 2 XL, LG, has a vastly better Smartphone in their just-released V30, offering all of the aforementioned 'essential features' missing on the Pixel 2, plus incredible headphone audio, better display, better waterproofing, sleeker form factor, double the warranty, decent earphones included (B&O, I believe) and, at least for a limited time, an included VR accessory. If you, Mr. Martonik, believe all those extras are worth giving up, for more frequent updates and perhaps smoother software, then you stand in the great minority as evidenced by sales of both LG and Samsung, to mention a mere couple of Manufacturers which justifiably outsell Pixel tremendously. While I respect your opinions, I find your Reviews somewhat suspect, at best.
  • The fact that they're copying Apple isn't all bad. The sad part is that they cannot copy Apple's app ecosystem, because Android apps are pretty terrible compared to those (or equivalent/alternatives) on iOS. It's the single biggest issue moving from iOS to Android. When I went to iOS, from Android, it was a easy to make that impulse decision. I feel like my overall user experience has done nothing but benefit as a result. Yes, the iPhones lack in some areas compared to Android flagships, but no hardware can make up for the better apps on Apple's platform, or the fact that it is designed specifically to integration and interoperate flawlessly with a desktop operating system (macOS), which has a huge impact on workflow and your device usage. You have companies like Microsoft talking about how much work they put into designing their macOS and iOS Apps, and how the users there expect consistency, etc... I feel like Android needs this kind of culture. People - even in this very thread - are still way too fixated on checking off boxes (Headphone Jack, SD Card, Wireless Charging, etc. etc. etc.) and not enough on actually getting app developers on Android to deliver quality products. I think this is why Android is such a bad ecosystem to sell apps in... All of the users who really care about quality, and are willing to pay for it, have gone to Apple... I'm in a certain "market," though, so this may differ from others. Almost all the coaches here, and probably 95% of the athletes use iOS because of the superior Video Analysis apps on iOS. Yes, Android *finally* got the apps ported over, but they're absolutely terrible. It doesn't help that Google's camera software is even more anorexic than Apple's, and their media playback software is relatively subpar. The video player on my Galaxy S3/Note 3 was amazing. The video player from Google... not so much. Additionally, the AdWare on Android is worse than the first boot of an OEM Windows PC from 2005. I had been using my HTC M8 as a PMP for a while, but decided to put a dummy Google Account to try some apps out (because of the possibility of moving back over), and these apps are unacceptably bad with the Full Screen Ads, Auto-Playing Video Ads (with sound, of course), Full Screen Ads that have a Count Down (5-15 seconds I've seen) before you can proceed, etc. It feels like Android is the perfect platform, if you patchwork pieces from different OEMs and add it to stock. Otherwise, it's just you scouring the play store trying to find apps of acceptable quality which perform functions that devices "lacking in features" do out of the box - flawlessly. Yes, "Google's Android" looks nice, nut they don't make everything on the App Store. How nice does that "other stuff" look? Even apps like Twitter and Facebook are worse on Android than they are on iOS, IMO. It seems like the developers go out of their way to produce a quality product for Apple's platforms, because they know they will be called out (and probably get their app rejected) if they don't, but they go the bare minimum on Android. I think the camera on the Pixels is amazing. The software support is game changing. If it weren't for the terrible apps on Android, I'd already be buying one... But it's the absolute biggest sticking point of the platform. I just cannot... Not with the general quality of software on the platform. It's so easy to move from Android to iOS, and feel like you've gained everything and lost nothing. I got my friend to move over to the iPhone 6 Plus from his Moto Droid Maxx 2 or whatever. He won't go back to Android now, largely because even he's noticed the relative disparity in software quality. And I've been trying to get him to upgrade so that I can keep his iPhone 6 as a backup and get a Pixel or something else while I wait for the "redesigned normal iPhones" next year, Lol. The quality disparity is so real and you feel it immediately. Google really needs to emulate Apple's way of developing platforms (i.e. I shouldn't have to view "system requirements" for phone apps [don't troll this comment, I can easily provide multiple Play Store links with them :-P ]; they should be able to query device capabilities and give me everything supported - as they do on iOS devices - but this does NOT happen on Android, so you end up with apps ported from the iPhone, which are missing almost all fo the features you use it for (i.e. recording high frame rate video in-app at various resolutions)), fostering developer support, and controlling their App Store.
  • I have 127 apps installed on my HTC, 57 of which have no IOS equivalent, and none of them have full screen adds. I thinking that you probably focused on games or freeware apps, but that's just a guess and I may be wrong. There are certainly way too many ad-driven apps on Android, but none of them are critical, and you should never have an ad on paid apps. If an app I'm trying out comes at me with a full screen ad, and there's no option for a paid ad-free version, it gets deleted immediately.
    You mentioned querying device capabilities, and I've had that happen several times where the app page said the app was not compatible with my device. Perhaps it's just specific apps? I've never checked system requirements. Interesting factoid: My iPhone 7 (128 GB in matte black), and HTC U11 (64 GB in sapphire blue) were acquired on the exact same day. But oddly, even though the HTC has half the memory and twice as many apps, it's still faster than the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8. Strange.
  • There are pas k. Android that will show ads even after you activate USPS. Also, you ignored a lot of shot in my post. The AwAre was just one part of it. Don't really care what phone bis faster. The Android apps are literally knit for what I need my phone to perform. The speed is a non factor because the phone literally isn't an option for me even if I personally preferred it. Préférences don't pay my bills. Welcome to reality. I don't game on my phone. I have < 20 apps l'installes on my phone. I don't scour the platform looking for random adware, and whether the apps are exclusive is a hapless metric. IOS has its exclusives as well. The issue is the quality of the apps, not the fact that iOS may or may not have more exclusives. There is a disparity in quality, in Apple's favor. And AdWare on iOS never gets that bad because Apple would likely reject that shot.
  • The auto-correct on this HTC key part is atrocious. Gonna make sure I use a different one in the future. Mobile Nations needs to fix their comment software. It's almost impossible to hit the edit link on the mobile website.
  • Wasn't trying to respond to everything in your post, but if you have apps on IOS that you need, I completely understand. I spend little time gaming and most of my apps are for productivity, engineering, etc. I own both platforms and have owned every iPhone since gen 2 (still have my 3GS on the bedside table plugged in for sentimental reasons). I'm not seeing the difference in quality, but that's probably because I avoid the crummy ones. I basically have the phone setup to do everything I need, and none of the apps have ads except for Wifi Analyzer, which has a small bar on the bottom for ads to support the developer, with an option to turn it off. Our software needs are obviously different, and there's nothing wrong with that.
  • What garbage apps are you using? I don't have run-ins with any of these so called ads you see. Zero. But I pay for apps and don't download crap. So I'm curious...
  • I need to get some hands on myself, but it seems like I'd like the Pixel 2 over the XL, especially based on comments about it being easier and more comfortable to handle and having sightly better speakers.
  • I'm now leaning that way too. Giant bezels aside, it's nice to have a smaller phone for handling. Then there's the slightly more palatable price... White or Kinda Blue??
  • Kinda Blue for me.
  • White for me
  • I really like the Kinda Blue color, but since I'm in the US and not using Verizon, I stuck with the boring black variant. I'm sure they won't do this (if ever) until the product line is a little more mature, but I'd love to see some bolder colors. Give me a really deep purple phone and I'll be all over it.
  • I went to my local Verizon store to play with them the other day, and i was amazed at how good the regular Pixel 2 felt in hand. Yes, the bezels are large, but you get over that almost immediately with how premium and well manufactured the phone feels and looks. It almost made the 2 XL sitting next to it look bad. You will not be disappointed with the physical aspects of the 2 should you choose to get it.
  • Nice. Please elaborate on why it makes the XL look bad :)
  • I did the same although it was hard to get a good feel for them with those security contraptions on the phones. For me it was the opposite, Pixel 2 XL all the way. Mine comes next week!
  • I went to Verizon as well and had the same thoughts. The smaller pixel just felt better.. I'm not sure why exactly but after 45 minutes of playing with both I decided on the smaller of the two... The bezel size doesn't really bother me and to be honest the complete package makes more sense at that price point
  • I feel like there's no appreciable difference in speaker quality between the two.
  • Thanks for giving feedback on that. Even before reading reviews, I expected the regular Pixel 2 to have somewhat of a better sound, assuming the bezels housed a more spacious sound chamber for the external speakers.
  • Habiib - where did you hear the the smaller one has slightly better speakers? I've asked others if there was any difference between the Pixel 2 and the Pixel XL 2, but did not get a response.
  • The review I read on PhoneArena. Per their assessment: "And just as we'd expect, that's exactly what we get from both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Of the two, we'd say the speakers on the smaller phone have the slight edge, being both louder and sounding a little cleaner than on the XL. Maybe that's due to having more room to work with thanks to the larger bezels, but neither phone should steer you too wrong." https://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Google-Pixel-2-and-Pixel-2-XL-Review_...
  • Ok, thanks!
  • If you’re not buying the 2 XL in the Panda color, you’re doing it wrong :P That said, $900+ for 128GB? Wouldn’t it be nice to have 256GB?
  • Yeah. Last year, an extra $100 got you four times the storage. This year, $100 only doubles it, despite storage being a less expensive commodity this year than it was last. I have no need for more than 64GB, but still, not cool
  • "Google has, once again, made the best pair of Android phones you can buy today." You misspelled "Samsung".
    Or you're completely drunk.
    Pick one. Also, the "new standard" is being sh*t hardware, with basic features missing and crappy software?
    If that's the standard no wonder there are so many crappy Android phones.
  • Super glad you have a stronger opinion on these phones you haven't used than I do after using them for a week. I'm not drunk or misspelling anything. I objectively think these phones are better overall than Samsung's latest phones.
  • I don't need to use phones to know that they aren't better than Samsung's latest. You know why? Because the moment a phone removes or misses something that is essential for people's use of it, it makes it automatically worse. Cases in point:
    - microSD slot
    - wireless charging
    - headphone jack. Now let's see:
    - I'm very aware that Google never had microSD slots on Nexus phones nor the original iPixels. Apple doesn't have it on iPhones either and well, we all know where Google is copying from. However, that doesn't mean it's a good decision. If fact, it isn't. It ensures that you: either get trapped on some cloud service you might not want to use (because, you know, not everyone wants their personal files stored on the servers of some shady Corporation thousands of kilometres away) or you might lose everything in case something goes wrong with the phone. As for me, the lack of a microSD slot is an immediate deal breaker. I do NOT store personal photos on the cloud nor will I do so ever. So a microSD is essential. The iPixels lack support for it? Then it's immediately inferior to the competition that offers it. - Wireless charging. I don't really care if YOU use it or not. Wireless charging will eventually become standard on all phones because Apple has finally joined the rest of the non-Google world in 2017.
    I, personally, haven't charged a phone with a cable since 2012. The iPixel doesn't support wireless charging? It's making me go back 5 years if I want to charge it? Then it's immediately inferior to the competition that offers the feature. - Headphone jack.
    I don't think I even need to spend much time here. They mocked Apple last year. This year they copy them because they realised they could charge idiots who buy iPixels, money for a dongle ($25 which now they were forced to lower to $9) to get their headphones to work once again with their phones.
    They have NOT offered users a better audio experience, they have NOT offered users a good pair of bluetooth headphones alongside the phone, they simply removed a feature because Apple did it and the iPixel is pretty much a rip off of the iPhone. I don't blame Google for milking money out of idiots, though. Just like I don't blame Apple. But I do blame anyone who tries to justify the decision with anything other than corporate greed.
    And once again, this puts the iPixel behind the better offerings from the competition. You can argue that the iPixel is an "overall better phone"...but I don't see how you can justify it. Because everything in them is, at best, on pair with the competition. They don't excel in anything except, maybe, in "point-and-shoot photos for noobs" where the camera does make a good job (but, once again, it's not the best camera because it ostracises anyone who knows and cares about photography by lacking a full manual mode for example). And then you have the software. Which is an absolutely subjective thing. You like stock Android? Good for you. Most people apparently don't (or Nexus and iPixels would outsell the Galaxies and the LGs and Huaweis etc).
    I, for example, prefer a "dreadful" OEM skin that actually gives me better functionality than a "bare-bones always snappy experience" that actually doesn't. I prefer, for example, that split screen is actually useful by giving me a list of the apps to open on the bottom portion instead of expecting me to split the screen, then return home, go to the app icon I want (be it in the app draw or the homescren), click it and then having it open again in split screen.
    Or being able to have my phone providing a blue-light filter automatically at a certain time instead of having to rely on some third party app from the PlayStore.
    Is the software why it's the "best overall" phone? Because in that case, again, it isn't It might be FOR YOU, but it's not for the average consumer. Of course, just like last year, the main difference here is that *I* do NOT need to fall on Google's good graces. I don't run an Android fansite and I don't need to make Google happy with my opinions or I'll stop getting review phones.
    And that's my biggest problem with AC's (and some others) reviews of these iPixels. You're far too lenient with Google's decisions. Heck, just look at the way you almost forced yourself to criticise the removal of the headphone jack with the "we get it, the industry is moving away" even though no actual relevant brand in the market did it apart from Apple (the ones who did it were HTC and Motorola, both absolutely irrelevant in the consumer space. And then you have Huawei who's absolutely inconsistent with it). Heck, LG and Sony for example are moving in the exact opposite direction. And Samsung included those AKG-tuned earphones which, if anything, sent a message about the importance they're giving audio quality. So yeah. This is how one can have a very strong opinion about phones without even needing to use them. See? It's not that difficult ;)
  • Once you remove the Saumsung out of your ass you might be able to realize there is more to the world then your own righteous opinions.
  • I have a feeling a stick might be lodged up there as well.
  • In the past 10 years I've been blessed and privileged with a monetary situation that gives me the opportunity to afford any phones and things that I want. These phones you buy, you want them to work according to your advantages and needs.
    I have the Note 8, it just suits me right now. It has all the latest features and the best display as a whole, going in the market.
    With that being said, I also own a Pixel, a Moto G5 plus, ordered the Hauwei mate 10 PRO,
    {LG V30+} had to return because of gray banding, no problem, changed up went with IPhone 8 plus, a new LG V30 plus is on its way. I still wanted to give it a shot, and as I write, an unlocked Blackberry Key one should be here tomorrow, and last but not least
    HTC U11 unlocked. I get the best of both world's.
    I have phones I've gotten rid of, only to try newer phones. This was a hobby to me, buy now I take these phones serious. With that being said, the best experience I've ever had with a phone, was with my S6 edge plus, now off into the hands of another owner. The second best was with the Pixel which I still use sometimes. What truly matters is, what you are comfortable with as the consumer, aka What makes you happy. If you can afford to accumulate various phones you'd see this in about 5 years, I say this because, I'm still holding on to the Pixel. I like that phone, smoothest UI on the market. I've never experienced lag with Samsung, number 1, I take extreme care of my phones and 2, I really don't know if this helps or not but, all phones that I have are rebooted once a day, including the Pixel.
    The worst phones I've had were the
    LG G3 and G4, boot loop issues out of this world. The G6 wouldn't even turn on when I got it, LG phones just haven't been my cup of tea.
    That doesn't mean they're bad. Just for me it's been a bad experience one after another.
    Htc U11, if you want a phone that you can take care of, get it, it's affordable and does just about everything the other phone do.
    Bezeless phones are the future. Samsung has this on lock imo, so if anyone doesn't like it, cool, go and buy what you want. In the end it is what makes you happy. It is your money, and use it wisely. Just because you buy a phone that can give you the updates early, really, is that a go getter. The phone you really want may get the updates later, All in all, you want the phone to become a part of you, just like an extention of yourself. This is my personal experience, this was not to offend anyone or any manufacturer. Just respect other people's opinions that's all. And just because AnTuTu and Benchgeek, give great scores.
    Will that phone become an extention of you?
    The real phone connoisseur will know what I'm talking about.
  • Just don't buy one and move on, dang.
  • Holy ****, you are coming off as a bad person who is defiantly proud of his own ignorance. I really wish you could take 20 seconds to breath and actually become educated about the nonsense you're spewing.
  • Also, Google doesn't give any cares at all to what Android Central writes. The blog articles do not inform their decisions on product creation and they do not determine whether or not Android Central is allowed to write review pieces. Same for the comments, same for the forums.
  • Be careful about putting all of your pictures on your SD card. I had two Vacations on my SD card in my 7 Edge - and the card got corrupted before I backed them up (never took it out by the way...). SD cards have their place, but in all honesty - they are not the best form of memory, or the most reliable. I will miss the wireless charging - it is a convenience. And has its limitations. Headphone jack - I went to Bluetooth about a year ago. I thoroughly enjoy walks and found the cord a distraction. So I'm ok with that. What I found more important was the timely frequency and consistency of the security updates and OS updates Google has to offer with their phones. That meant more to me than missing those attributes. I've had my identity stolen before - and the integrity of providing those security updates in a timely manner - to me - shows me that Google is serious about protecting my data. Samsung (admittedly other OEMs too) is not in the same ballpark - not even close - it took me 170+ days to get the Nougat update on my 7 Edge. Time for something different. I want to support an OEM who looks after their consumers or clients in a truly professional manner. If other people want more amenities - over security - go for it. Do it. Just don't complain later if you get compromised - own it.
  • Eh, don’t store all your pics in the SD card. I had my SanDisk card corrupt itself when I put it on my Note8. Took it out and reinserted and while most of my stuff were there, the thumbnails were all messed up and some of my photos were flat out gone. A lesson to always back up to another medium.
  • I can't wait to ditch my S8 for the new XL.
  • Ok why is the look of a phone so important when 9 times out of ten your putting it in some kind of case....
  • They're both ugly :(
  • I have to disagree on the Pixel 2. Yes bezels, but I actually played around with one in a Verizon store yesterday, and I was blown away by how nice and premium it felt. HTC did an awesome job on it. The XL is definitely not a looker, but I went ahead and bought it regardless. I wanted a premium, Google designed software experience above anything else, and so I was willing to sacrifice a little in the hardware department.
  • The new standard for about 50 people on android websites
  • Sounds like the Pixel 2 and 2 XL aren't for you. That's OK! There are lots of other phones out there.
  • I'm guessing his point is, 50 people on Android web sites doesn't amount to "THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE OUT THERE" -- a figure you pulled out of your behind.
  • The article seriously goes on about the phone's camera/image taking capabilities. But... where are the example images taken with the phone's camera(s)?? For all the expounding on the virtues of the phone's image capabilities, you have one single image of a spider and a blurred background. For the whole article, you have one single image example.(?) Maybe I speak to soon, and you're working on a gallery chock-full of indoor/outdoor and daytime/night time example and/or comparison photos. But... with all due respect, as it is with one single example image, this article is considerably underwhelming where the supposed camera capabilities are concerned.
  • Both of those images are actually galleries. There are roughly ~30 example photos in here. If the galleries aren't loading properly, hit us with your device details and we can try to figure it out :)
  • You're a gentlemen Andrew and I appreciate your politely pointing this out. Reading the article though the play store app, it didn't occur to me to click on the picture of the spider for additional images. Thus far the images look great. Maybe a bit early to tell, but they seem to have a slightly more organic/film like appearance (less digital) compared to the V30 images I've been combing through.
  • I think that's an accurate observation. The V30 probably offers even more sharp/fine lines in some situations, but they're kind of in an over-processed or digitalized fashion. The Pixel 2 instead has a more "realistic" look where you do get grain and textures in the images rather than smashing it all to bits and rearchitecting it straight/flat.
  • Bummed to hear about the display quality difference. I was thinking about going with the 2xl when I saw that it was close in size to my Z but I may have to rethink.
  • I can't believe how trash the 2XL display is. I just don't understand why someone would pay close to $1000.00 to look at a janky display everyday. But to each their own. I really expect much more from such a powerhouse like Google. And oh yeah, "pure Android" is so overrated.
  • It just means you're not used to accurate displays
  • Indeed, I think everyone expects more than what the 2 XL's display offers at that price.
  • Speaking only for myself, I expect it to just be as good as it's little brother's, especially after they made a big deal of saying both phones had the same stuff.
  • It is interesting that I did not see that referenced from the day Google showed them to the press and I read just about every initial hands on and the poor screen on the P2XL was definitely not a common theme. I do not remember reading about that at all. Now I have seen several sites saying this.
  • It's not always something you can tell just from your initial impressions using them for 15-30 minutes in a crowded room at the event. Takes a little while when you actually have them in your hands at home in a normal environment.
  • No headphone jack = I'm not buying the phone.
  • This is boring now.
  • Boring but true
  • Boring but boring.
  • Any thoughts on the screen issues with this and the V30 being related to firmware? Hard to believe with LGs OLED televisions that they wouldn't knock this out of the park.
  • With phones and TVs, you're looking at massively different pixel densities and power consumption restraints though, right? Hoping someone else catches up to Samsung soon. As least Samsung is selling their screens to some other Android phone makers. The relatively cheap Axon 7 has a Samsung AMOLED screen.
  • the colors can be adjusted, sure, and a future update could theoretically make things pop a little more. but new software/firmware isn't going to fix the off-axis color shifting or grain on white backgrounds. those are elements of the panel itself.
  • New standard? Not quite. Look at the Note 8 or even V30. The Pixel doesn't even have several features that are basically standard on other phones. If the Pixel 2 was around $450 I would say it is the new standard for higher midrange lineup. The XL 2 is like some weird beta experiment that people are going to pay $1000 to participate in.
  • This.
  • My sentiments exactly. Nice phone, but not at the asking price. It's a better value than last year's, but not compared to the competition.
  • Agree. The Pixel 2 XL makes the iPhone X looks like "a value price." It's almost infuriating, since I think a $1,149 phone (for 256GB SKU) is ridiculous. But, I want something that looks different, and Android OEMs aren't really giving me any options: 1. Pixel 2 XL: Awful Screen, Below Average Specs for Premium Price. Too big. Basically tied to Google's anemic camera software, as using anything else results in absolutely MASSIVE image quality drops (reliance on HDR+ for good photos). It's "basically LG."
    2. Galaxy S8/Plus, Note 8: The worst ergonomics I've ever experienced on this form factor (Hershey Bar). Bloatware (2+ of everything - even App Stores!). HUGE! (Note 8).
    3. LG V30: Awful Screen, Lag, Bloatware... It's "LG."
    4. HTC, Moto: These literally don't exist to me anymore. I don't even visit their devices when I go in to look. (I don't even care what anyone's opinions of them are, I wouldn't consider these brands at all... they're even lower on the totem pole than LG).
  • Lol TW is a lagfest. The Pixels will run smooth for a long time just like the first day you bought it. You can't say the same for Samsung and their trashy software.
  • I wouldn't buy Samsung. Even if I liked the software, the form factor is awful and designed to be looked at, not operated by a human being. Do you know how to read.
  • "designed to be looked at, not operated" is the perfect way to describe Samsung's 2017 phones. They're the best-looking devices on the market, and I don't think that's even a discussion. But every time I pick one up, I just think to myself how much I want this 18:9 bezelless trend to go away.
  • Not me, I love the bezzelless design. Ergonomically (other than the fingerprint sensor) it is perfectly designed. When you pick it up your finger or thumb (depending on what hand you use) is right on the power button to turn on the display while the other side is set up to operate the volume or Bixby button. And LOL Orion hasn't used TW for a while and especially not on the 8 series of Samsung phones. TW is lag free and flows beautifully.
  • Preordered the xl. And am still excited. I can already see the blue hue in the review video on the Pixel 2 XL, has me a bit worried.
  • That is the beauty of a trial period. Google is no fuss about returns within the period allowed and even longer in some cases!
  • Never understand why some folks worry about how another would like to spend his or her money. Let each individual live and enjoy what they like to do with their hard earned money. Do you.
  • Indeed!
  • That's the beauty of it.
    Or supposed to be.
    Everyone thinks their phone manufacturer is the best. Maybe the best for them.
  • I've gone to the Verizon store three times this week and the display looks fine to me. This coming from my current S8+ which has an awesome screen. It's obviously not better than Samsung's screens but it still looks great in my opinion. It'll be nice not being stuck on year old software too!
  • I'm not sure how anyone can look at an S8+ and then the Pixel XL, and say the display looks fine. If that screen were on an iPhone, you people would be making memes about how washed out and dull it is - saying that a phone that cost this much shouldn't have a screen this bad. LG's P-OLED screens are notoriously bad. Google upped the minimum brightness to mitigate the banding and blotchiness issue. The display is tuned to deliver images that look like pictures with translucent plastic laid on top of them. Not exactly the best option for viewing those "awesome photos" on. The display also crushes dark areas in films, and it isn't a brightness champion by any stretch... It's a mediocre display on a Premium-Priced Phone. Google Wants you to pay Galaxy S8+ prices for a phone with mediocre hardware simply for the benefit of reliable updates and long term support... The fact that this can be a selling point in the Android ecosystem just goes to show how utterly ridiculous things otherwise are (with other OEMs). The screen looks decidedly mid-range on this phone. It looks like something I'd expect OnePlus to put on a $400 phone, not Google on a $900-1,000 (after taxes) phone. I was stoked for this phone. I thought (especially with Google's support commitment) it would finally be the device to pull me back off the iPhone... But this screen looks worse than any iPhone Plus model screen I've owned. It's very sub-par, especially given the cost.
  • Not good about the XL's display. I was in the Verizon Store last week and played with both Pixels along with the V30. To be honest, I thought the V30's sceen looked the best. Now I'm really debating which to get.
  • Liked the review Andrew, gracias. I have always had a nexus or pixel since the Nexus 4. I like the performance and updates. I usually had another android to go with it with the bells and whistles but since the Pixel Xl just go with Pixel. It is nuts how the galaxy S8 still lags because of the skin and who knows why else. Pure android performance and fast updates are most important to me. My Pixel 2 XL get delivered next week!
  • And if it turns out I do not think it is worth the $1000+ I shelled out, Google has a super simple return procedure.
  • I remember talking to you back in the day in the AC forums when you had a Galaxy S2 Skyrocket. :-) Like you, been on the Nexus train after my Skyrocket period (Nexus One, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 5 - 6P), and leaning towards the 2 XL in Black & White. Did you end up getting yours from the Google Store, or Verizon?
  • yes! I recognize the profile name and pic! I ordered the 2XL from google on launch day, 128 GB in black. Did not want to wait longer for the panda. It is supposed to ship next Tuesday. trying to get a case and screen protector. My Pixel XL is still an awesome device as well! The good ole skyrocket! It was one of att's first LTE phones!
  • My wanting the panda 128 GB is part of the reason why I'm waiting. I'm soooo tempted to just get it from Verizon and sticking my ATT SIM to it, but the locked bootloader (no workaround that I'm aware of) and different warranty support than from Google directly are what's holding me back. Getting it from Huawei directly instead of Google for my 6P has left me with a poor experience when dealing with warranty later in a phone's life. Incidentally, my old Skyrocket had a second life when one of my friends wanted an inexpensive phone to use on a pre-paid plan, so it went to him. Oddly, I tinkered with that phone far more than most of the Nexus devices I've owned.
  • You are patient! I agree with getting it from Google. I had a return once and it was so smooth, they were so easy to deal with unlike Samsung. I get the google protect as well and just transfer it to the new owner once I sell my phones.
    Yes, I used to love to root and ROM all the time on my older android devices, but have not in such a long time. I have come to like vanilla android the best and the updates from google. I usually keep an iPhone and a Google phone for fast timely updates. Hopefully your patience is rewarded and you get the panda model you want. When I jumped on to order, I was in shock that the order when through! I actually ordered from my iPhone! So hopefully Google has improved their supply chains this year!
  • I tried ordering it during the keynote, but it had sold out already. Yeah, patience. I keep tossing around the idea of getting the Verizon version anyway, but outside of the warranty differences, I keep thinking one day I'm going to want to unlock the bootloader, then I'm going to kick myself for getting the Verizon version. :p So, I'm going to wait for the Google Store/Fi versions to open up, but it's painful!
  • Glad you liked it!
  • This just seems like Android's version of iPhone. The Pixels are seriously lacking in hardware. I don't care about software because that can be tweaked and fixed, but you cannot add hardware features.
  • Exactly. Only, this year, the iPhone caught Google by surprise and included wireless charging.
  • Such as?
  • No wireless charging, no second camera, no headphone jack, no added RAM, no extra security features (like IR sensor/facial recognition), no microSD slot...
  • So far no major oem has fixed it's major software deficiencies, not sure why we think they can or will. Most of them can't even get security updates out in a timely fashion. Many people seem to think it's ok to get the August security patch in late September. That ignores the fact that the oem has had it since early July.
  • How are the speakers on the Pixel 2? People over at Phone Arena are claiming they are sub-par for front facing speakers and they really aren't "surround" sound speakers. I see in the review the speakers are mentioned as good, but how do they compare to the Nexus 6P? I really liked those speakers.
  • I want to know about the speakers too. Especially compared with Xperia XZ1/Compact.
  • Hmm really? I don't have any issues with the speakers on the 2 or 2 XL. Both get more than loud enough for what I need from a phone. I can listen to music or a podcast while I shower or walk around the house cleaning, or watch a short YouTube video on the couch — I don't expect the speakers to blow me away even on the same level as a $15 Bluetooth speaker on Amazon. Physics is a limiting factor here. It's true you don't get much stereo separation between them considering just how close together the speakers are. But sound coming right at you rather than shooting off to the side from a downfiring speaker is already a big improvement.
  • At £800, there's no way you should have to "live with" the less than perfect screen. I think Huawei may have made a better phone this time around. But, that stock Android... It's disappointing that the P2XL isn't just top notch out of the box... The screen is what you look at all the time.
  • Is there any reason to be worried that the XL is made by LG? I.e the boot loop issues that plague some of their phones, and the Nexus 5x?
  • Knock on wood, but I haven't had that issue with my N5x yet.
  • I'm really considering ditching my everything manual camera philosophy for what Google is doing but I have to research how good the audio capture is compared to V series phones which I've found to be at the top. Also for those times when I want to scratch my manual setting itch, I want to know how well third part apps play with the Pixel phones.
  • "For the VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE out there, the best Android experience comes directly from Google on a Pixel phone." Then how do you explain the fact that Google phones represent a microscopic portion of the market share? "For the VAST MAJORITY OF GOOGLE FANBOYS out there, the best Android experience comes directly from Google on a Pixel phone." FIFY And if no microSD, no wireless charging, etc., is the new standard for Android, I'm glad I've got a phone that violates the standard.
  • Don't bother. Made-up facts are obviously better than real ones, and they also help push ones agenda.
  • I understand (but don't approve of) "don't bite the hand that feeds you", which leads to omission of criticism where the product deserves criticism. But this is pure BS. Like you said, it's a made-up fact.
  • Correction: "the vast majority of people who don't think lag is normal."
  • Emmanuel has two accounts eh?
  • lol!
  • You support trolls, no suprises there. You can always check my IP address. Am I also Phillyhtc?
  • You are a moron.
  • Hahaha
  • Easy other phones have had years of marketing and branding put behind them we are only on the pixel two. I also keep hearing people complain about the hardware...no two cameras no additional ram blah blah blah... I think the pixel has shown that software optimization can in most cases help surpass the lack of RAM or dual cameras. Also on the hardware debate no one mentions the fact the pixel is one of few phones to have dual front facing speakers, active edge ect
  • Opinions are cheaper than phones? The phones aren't available in most markets? Both of those would explain the difference between what was actually said and what you are implying was said.
  • Andrew is it too early to comment on reliability of Bluetooth connectivity? Similarly, what about phone call quality? Overall quality of the various other radios - LTE, wifi, etc? That's an a function that must be rock solid or it ruins the overall experience. Bluetooth reliability was often mentioned as a problem with the OG Pixel and is the reason I didn't buy it. The same issue drove me to get rid of a Nexus 6P (which was otherwise a great phone). The other features on the 6P were great, but disconnecting or hiccuping randomly over Bluetooth happened far too often. I'm feeling torn between a Pixel 2 XL and LG V30. Like the slightly smaller size, wide angle camera, and (presumed) unlocked price of the V30, which in reviews so far has good radio reliability. However, I like the performance over time, metal body, and camera speed and quality of the Pixel 2. (As a side note neither screen seems outstanding but IMHO most screens are good enough these days.)
  • There are SO MANY factors that go into testing radio performance that it's really hard to put your foot down on things and say "this works great for me so it'll work great for you!" I'll say that Bluetooth connection to headphones, which I use for hours a day, seems solid — but it's not perfect, it still has occasional cutouts when you get too far away or walk into another room. I also have had zero issues with Wi-Fi or mobile networks (Verizon or Fi) in the last week.