Google has taken the cover off its next-generation Pixel handsets, which offer a evolution rather than revolution over their predecessors.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL make up the first smartphones to run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, and have their sights aimed on building upon the foundation set by the Pixel and impressive Pixel XL.
While the original pixel handsets were by no means ugly, they didn’t hit the high notes of mobile aesthetics, rather they looked like an odd cross between an iPhone 7 and a neapolitan ice cream, what with a third of the rear sporting a glass back and the other thirds in brushed aluminium.
Google has taken the old Pixel design and give it a good nip and tuck. The glass panel is still there for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL but has been reduced so that it only houses the rear camera but not the fingerprint scanner this time round, offering more of a glass strip than panel.
Other design tweaks include stereo speakers and the ditching of the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of piping audio through the USB Type-C port. Water proofing to the IP67 standard has also been added, something that the previous Pixels sadly missed.
The display on the phones are are also ‘always on’ essentially adapting to how the user is holding and interacting with the handset to both save battery and make its use more intuitive.
Other than a difference in display size, the variations between the models also extend to the battery life, with the latter weighing in at 2,700mAh for the Pixel 2 and 3,520mAh for the Pixel 2 XL.
Routines can also be added to the Assistant to activate certain functions, such as triggering multiple smart home gadgets.
Both of the previous Pixel phones had an impressive camera, one of the best out of all the smartphones. The 12MP f/1.8 aperture rear camera in the Pixel 2 handsets is set to build upon that success, with tweaks to take smartphone photography to an improved level, notably optical image stabilisation to prevent shaky hands from ruining photos.
The front facing camera has an 8MP sensor and should be more than up to the job of handling video calls and the odd selfie or portrait video.
Smarter image recognition features can serve up extra information for pictures snapped on the Pixel 2, thanks to a preview of the machine learning powered Google Lens making its debut on the new phones.
Machine learning is also put into action with the optical image stabilisation to make video capture when in motion much smoother than before.
Available from October 19 the Pixel 2 comes in three colors; Just Black, Clearly White, and Kinda Blue. The 64GB Pixel 2 will set buyers back by £629 while the 128GB model will cost £729.
The Pixel 2 XL will be released a little later on November 15 and will only come in Just Black and Kinda WHite. A steep £799 will get buyers the 64GB handset, while £899 will empty the wallets of people after the 128GB handset.
If you were expecting something radically different from the Pixel handsets, then the Pixel 2 will potentially disappoint as it is more of an iterative take on its predecessor; the Pixel 2 XL looks to be more of a step forward, with a near bezel-less display and refined features.
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