What the early reviews tell you about Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
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The second generation Pixel phones are here. Google at its Keynote event on October 4, 2017, unveiled to the world the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. The smaller Pixel 2 was announced amid much fanfare at a price of Rs 61,000 for the base 64GB variant and Rs 70,000 for the 128GB variant, while the Pixel 2 XL will retail at Rs 73,000 for 64GB and Rs 82,000 for the 128GB variant.
In India, pre-orders for both the devices will commence later this month – on October 26 – but the phones will go on sale starting November 1 (Pixel 2) and November 15 (Pixel 2 XL). Besides being sold at brick-and-mortar stores, the phones will also be available on e-commerce platform, Flipkart.
Running Qualcomm's top-of-the-line 835 SoC and paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB or 128GB storage, both the devices share a lot in common. However, there are also enough differences – both in terms of specs and design – to make your Pixel 2 purchase a conundrum.
So, ahead of its date for pre-order, let's help you with what experts say:
"Tale of two phones"
That's how India Today Tech describes the two phones in a quick review. This is explained further as the review elaborates on the difference in phones' design. "Overall, the Pixel 2 seems like a nice enough phone. But it lacks, to borrow a word from Google's launch event, jazz... It is an understated with the regular design, fairly thick bezels and a 2.5D glass on top of the screen... The Pixel 2 XL, meanwhile, has a design that goes well with the trends this year."
About the overall package the phones offer, the author explains: "With the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL Google is starting to give a shape to its ambitions in the smartphone market. It has also started to give its phones an identity. They stand for a funky design, which is utilitarian and yet stylish enough to make a statement. They stand for a great camera. They stand for clean Android. They stand for smarter features, like the ever-improving Google Assistant."
"Refines a winning formula"
In its hands-on review of the Google Pixel 2, TechRadar describes the smartphone as a device that "refines a winning formula". In its early verdict, it says: " The Pixel 2 doesn't bring anything game-changing to the table, but refines an already winning formula to give you a great-looking, feeling and working smartphone – although there is no headphone jack."
As far as the Pixel 2 XL goes, it takes a more favourable view of the phone. According to TechRadar, "The company clearly put some effort into making something more than just a larger version of the Pixel 2, as it did last year... Despite losing the cherished 3.5mm headphone jack, the Pixel 2 XL seems to have gained more than enough to make up for it thanks to a mix of unique and sought-after features like waterproofing, Active Edge, and a truly impressive camera".
"Pixel 2 more practical, XL if you want to show off"
NDTV Gadgets 360, in its first impressions of the two devices, breaks it down a simple binary: "We think its safe to conclude that the Pixel 2 is designed for more practical, everyday use while the XL version is for those who want to show off."
The article also elaborates the picture taking prowess of the two devices: "The Google Pixel and Pixel XL had one of last year's best smartphone cameras, and that continues with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. In fact, these new phones have achieved a DxOMark score of 98, which beats the previously reigning iPhone 8 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which was tied at 94 points. That's a big jump, even compared to the original Pixels."
"Pragmatic design and a promising camera"
That's The Verge describing the Pixel 2 devices in about five words. Elaborating on the design, it says, "The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are remarkable: in its second year of making phone hardware, Google is establishing an aesthetic that isn't just consistent but is distinct from what both Apple and Samsung are doing. Google hardware is all about pragmatism and approachability."
The review goes on to compare the overall experience of using the new Pixel smartphones with the vibe you get while driving a Volvo car.
"There's something almost Scandinavian about the ethos of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. It's most obvious in the pragmatic hardware design, which at every turn is designed for simplicity and usability over beauty. They’re nice to look at, but they’re a little unassuming. The vibe is like a Volvo car, or an Ikea coffee table, or even Lego. There's a little fun to be had, but mostly they're meant to be comfortable and reliable."
What do we have to say?
As explained in an earlier piece published on our website, the 2017 Google Pixel devices, with their classy designs and clean stock Android UI, are built for business. In line with Google's vision for the Pixel devices, everything about the phones spells practicality and pragmatism.
Unlike the iPhone X or the HTC U11, the design here is simple and sleek and may not turn heads, but it will work for everyone. However, it's the internals – hardware and the UI – where the new Pixel steals a march. Great camera, clean stock UI and the promise of a Google-branded phone with a deep level of OS integration with the hardware make this a device not just for the enthusiast, but also for the end user looking for a premium no-frills Android phone.