Everything you need to know about the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL!
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are finally here, and there's a lot to unpack.
While these devices resemble the original Pixel and Pixel XL, there are many changes both internally and externally that make them worth talking about.
Let's dive in.
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL review!
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are incredible phones — probably the best Android phones out there right now. Despite their different sizes, they are nearly identical where it counts, in their cameras, their performance, their build quality, and their software experience. While the Pixel 2 XL has slimmer bezels and a slightly more washed-out pOLED display, the smaller Pixel 2 contends with a more dated-looking form factor and a smaller battery. Oh, and a smaller price tag to boot.
Which one should you buy? Read the full review below!
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL specs
For months, we've had an idea of what the Pixel 2 series would have inside, and most of those rumors have proven true: two phones of different screen sizes, screen-to-body ratios and aspect ratios, but otherwise nearly identical internal components.
Without knowing beforehand, you wouldn't be able to tell that the Pixel 2 was made by HTC and the Pixel 2 XL by LG — they're that similar. But when you dig a little deeper, the lineages are clear: the Pixel 2's AMOLED display isn't quite as vibrant (or tall) as that of the LG-made pOLED display on the Pixel 2 XL.
Both phones have Snapdragon 835s, 4GB of RAM and between 64GB and 128GB storage standard, along with single rear 12MP cameras — this year with OIS. They're waterproof (yay!) but don't have headphone jacks (boo!). There'so no wireless charging, but the sides can be squeezed to activate Google Assistant. And though it ships with Android 8.0, not 8.1, there's a lot new here — including an embedded eSIM to connect to Project Fi even without a SIM card.
How do they compare to other phones?
Of course, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL don't exist in a vacuum; they are in an industry overwhelmed by choice. It's pretty hard to buy a bad phone at this point in time, so how do the Pixel 2s stand out? We investigate in a number of comparisons with the top-of-the-line phones on the market right now.
Which color should you buy?
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be available in three color options and two color options, respectively.
The Kinda Blue model will only be on the smaller Pixel 2, but the Pixel 2 XL gets the "chocolate-dipped" Black and White, which we're excited about.
Oh, and about that orange power button...
Which storage size should you buy?
Last year, it was possible to buy the Pixel or Pixel XL in either 32GB or 128GB varieties; the former was too little for many people, the latter too much.
This year, the proposition seems a bit simpler because Google made it an easier choice: 64GB or 128GB.
Should you upgrade from the Pixel or Pixel XL?
The Pixels, when they launched in October 2016, were no slouches. Featuring specs that still hold up today, including some of the best cameras on the market, it's interesting to see how far Google came with the Pixel 2 series — especially on the larger Pixel 2 XL.
So the question is — should you upgrade from last year's models? That's a difficult question to answer, but it's one a lot of people will be considering.
Google is doubling down on the single camera
Something amazing happened this year: Google didn't add a second camera to either the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. The move says something in an industry where practically every other major manufacturer, from Samsung to Apple to Huawei, has taken steps to differentiate themselves with an additional camera sensor, and lots of added functionality as a result.
Google built its own custom imaging chip to make the Pixel 2's camera even better
Google may only be using one camera in the Pixel 2, but it's got a trick up its sleeve — in the form of a new custom chip designed in-house called the Pixel Visual Core. The chip itself isn't even enabled yet — that's coming in a future update — but it gives third-party developers a direct line to the immense amount of data captured by the Pixel 2's camera sensor.
At first, the Visual Core will allow developers to tap into Google's incredible HDR+ mode, which improves low-light performance while preserving detail in difficult lighting conditions. Then who knows — this is Google's first foray into custom silicon, and it has huge potential for the future of the Pixel lineup.
Pixel 2 is water resistant
This is the first Pixel that's water resistant, with an IP67 rating, so you'll be able to dunk your phone in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes at a time without a worry.
It also has no headphone jack
Yeah, these are the first phones from Google not to ship with a headphone jack, but the company is including a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box (and is selling a $20 dongle if you want an extra) should you want to pair with traditional wired headphones.
If you want to go wireless, the Pixel 2 supports Bluetooth 5.0, and Google is going to sell its own pair of wireless headphones, and is partnering with companies like Libratone and others to market Google-certified headphones.
It has an embedded eSIM
The Pixel 2 has this cool thing called an eSIM, or electronic SIM card, that allows you to connect to a network — in this case, Project Fi — with no physical SIM card.
Of course, the Pixel still supports that physical piece of plastic and bits, but you don't need it to connect to Project Fi, and that little detail heralds the future of mobile connectivity — whenever the carriers decide to catch up. In the meantime, if you're in the U.S., you can buy a Pixel 2 and activate Project Fi whenever you want, even if you didn't order it directly them from.
Should you use the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL on Project Fi?
So it has an embedded eSIM card in the phone, and you don't need to buy it from Project Fi to use it on the service. But should you use it with Google's MVNO, which cycles between T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular in the U.S.?
The Pixel 2 series will get Android R 😱
It's true — Google is giving the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL three years of guaranteed software updates, which means that when it launches with Android Oreo, it will get Android P in 2018, Android Q in 2019 and, miraculously, Android R in 2020.
Will people even use phones in 2020? We'll find out!
The launcher has some nice improvements
While the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL ships with Android 8.0 — the same version that's currently available on the Pixels and Nexus 5X/6P — there are some nice changes to the launcher, including a new "At a glance" widget and a new location for the popular Google search bar.
It's on sale as of October 19
The Pixel 2 and 2 XL are available in the U.S. and Canada now, and later in October in other countries, starting at $649 for the 64GB Pixel 2 model, rising to $949 for the 128GB Pixel 2 XL.
While the phones were quickly sold out in most stores when pre-orders opened on October 4, the Pixel 2 XL is much more difficult to come by, especially outside the U.S., with shipments pushed until late November or early December in some cases.
Where to buy the Pixel 2
The Pixel 2 is now available to order at the Google Store in most launch markets — that's Australia, Canada, Germany, India, UK, and the U.S. It's actually shipping in Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, United States right now, with Australia and India to come in the next few weeks.
For carrier availability and a country-wide breakdown on pricing, hit up the link below.
Which carriers can you buy it from in the U.S.?
Verizon. In addition to the Google Store and Project Fi, Verizon is once again the exclusive U.S. carrier for the 2017 Pixel lineup. While the Verizon model comes unlocked, and can be used on other carriers, it's updated through Verizon, not Google, and has carrier-specific optimizations.
T-Mobile wants you
T-Mobile isn't selling the Pixel 2 directly, but it's offering a pretty sweet deal if you decide to buy the phone unlocked and activate it on the network.
Pixel 2 ships with a free Google Home Mini
For the most part. Customers in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK, and U.S. will get a free Google Home Mini with every Pixel 2 purchase.
The new Daydream VR headset is fantastic
Just because Google (and everyone else) is excited about its new phones, that doesn't mean the company has forgotten about its plans for VR. Alongside the Pixel 2 and 2 XL comes a new Daydream VR headset with improved materials, better lenses, and more comfortable straps that make using it for longer periods considerably easier.
There were lots of other things announced at Google's hardware event on October 4. Take a look at the video above to take a look, and read our other coverage on the Home Mini, Home Max, new Daydream VR headset, Google Buds headphones, and more!
Update, October 19: The Pixel 2 is now available to purchase in Canada, Germany, the U.S., and the UK! Also shoutout MKBHD.
- Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
- Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
- Google Pixel 2 specs
- Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What's the difference?
- Join our Pixel 2 forums