The very best of Android
Google has just announced its 2017 smartphones, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. This year’s generation comes with a variety of improved specs, the latest Android operating system, and an even better camera than the last, which won awards across the board. This is what you need to know…
Design and display
The main difference between the two smartphones is size, with a lot of the other features on the inside being the same. Pixel 2’s screen has remained the same as it was last year at 5-inches, while the Pixel 2 XL’s now measures in at 6-inches - with the same, super tall 18:9 ratio as the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Note8, or LG’s V30.
In terms of design both phones now have a large speaker grill at the bottom and a bigger lens on the back. The power button is a pleasing blue, green, or pink (depending on which colour the phone is). And there’s a new ‘squeezable’ design, built primarily with Google Assistant in mind.
By applying pressure to the sides of the handset, you can quickly launch the virtual agent, always on-hand to set alarms, answer questions, or play a game with you. Google is calling this feature Active Edge, and when we tested it, it was very reactive and easy to use.
Both Pixel 2 smartphones are without a headphone port, with Google instead opting for wireless listening. With the new Google Pixel Buds, you’ll be able to enjoy all your favourite tunes without being tethered to the phone, and they work with Google Assistant. One of the best features sounds like it’ll be a big hit when you’re on holiday, letting you get live translations in your ear, using Google Translate’s conversation tool.
The main camera on both handsets is 12.2MP, and it has a handy tool called Portrait Mode. This adds a professional-looking blur to the background of your snaps, making them look like they were taken on a DSLR camera.
Last year’s cameras were noted as being perfect in low-light environments, but Google has told us this year that the smartphones are “great in any light”. So whether you’re recording a brilliant lightshow at a gig, or capturing that dramatic sunset, your photos will all look incredible. And when it comes to video, the company has improved the phone’s optical image stabilisation (OIS), so you’ll always come home with a smooth recording.
Around the front there’s an 8MP selfie lens, which is an improvement on the 5MP we had in 2016. And just like the main camera, the lens lets in loads of light for bright and vibrant photos.
Under the hood
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor is running the show on the inside, backed up by 4GB RAM – plenty of power to keep everything running smoothly. And, of course, Google has introduced the latest version of its home-grown operating system, Android Oreo, on the new smartphones.
On the battery-front, both smartphones are using USB Type-C, equipped with fast-charging capabilities. You can expect seven hours of power from a mere 15 minutes plugged into the wall – perfect if you realise your phone’s running low on juice, shortly before you’re due to leave the house.
Do you like the sound of Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL? Which one are you going to make your next smartphone? Leave us your thoughts below, and to find out more about the new smartphones, head over to Carphone Warehouse’s website.