Buy Pixel 2 Phone
Welcome to year two of Google Hardware. In 2016, Google jumped into the Android hardware space with its first self-branded device, the Google Pixel. Google's software prowess shined on the Pixel 1, offering up exclusive features like the Google Assistant, the best Android camera thanks to advanced software processing, fast day-one OS updates and betas, and the smoothest, best-performing overall build of Android. The killer software package made it the best Android phone of the previous generation.
buy pixel 2 phone
The Pixel still represented Google's first foray into smartphone hardware, though, and it didn't offer anything special in the hardware department. It was a bland-looking iPhone clone. It had the same specs and basic design as everything else. The Pixel even skipped water resistance, which had become an expected feature at that price point. Google said it wanted to make its own hardware, but it didn't actually build special hardware.
The software package is pretty much the same story as last year: Google is still blowing away its competition with a killer software package that no other Android OEM can touch. Of course the company that makes Android also knows how best to make an Android phone, so with the Pixel 2 you're getting all the "best practices" for Android. Google gives you three years of day-one OS updates, an incredible camera, the best UI performance, a cohesive software package, and (if you buy the XL at least) hardware that's "good enough" to stand up to the rest of the high-end smartphone crowd.
All these changes make the Pixel 2 hardware situation more complicated than it was in the first year. Like Apple, Google does not own any smartphone manufacturing facilities, but it does all the engineering work itself and outsources the manufacturing to a company like Foxconn. Google's Pixel strategy has been to partner with an Android OEM and build a phone together. Last year the Pixel and Pixel XL were built with the help of HTC. This year the duties are split between LG and HTC. LG is building the Pixel 2 XL, while HTC is building the smaller Pixel 2. (Next year, Google will probably have a much bigger hand in the hardware design, since it acquired the Pixel team from HTC. In September, Google paid $1.1 billion for about 2,000 HTC engineers and a patent-sharing deal.)
Taking great photos and videos is one of the things you do most with your phone, so we set out to deliver the best photography experience. You get stunningly crisp, clear, and detailed photos in any light. You can also take high-quality portrait shots with the perfect background blurs, from both the front and back camera. New motion photos capture a few seconds of video around the shot so you can relive the moment around the picture. The Pixel 2 camera is powered by our computational photography and machine learning (ML) capabilities which make all these great features easy, fun and fast for you to use.
Instead, Google focused on making these the smartest smartphones ever. And based on my testing, the new Pixels aptly fit that description, with a versatile Google Assistant you can now summon with a squeeze and a new object-recognition feature in the camera app that's truly impressive.
It's not all bad news, though, as the two front-firing stereo speakers get nice and loud, offering richer audio than the speaker on the bottom edge of the Galaxy S8. Plus, if you're adamant that a phone be easy to use with one hand, you'll prefer the Pixel 2's more-compact dimensions of 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches, versus 6.2 x 3 x 0.3 inches for the Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2 weighs a fairly light 5 ounces, compared to 6.2 ounces for the Pixel 2 XL.
The Pixel 2 XL also has a much more modern vibe, as its 6-inch display covers much more of the phone's face. The top and bottom bezels measure a more eye-pleasing 0.4 inches and 0.35 inches thick, respectively. This handset also sports stereo speakers above and below the screen.
When I first heard about Active Edge on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, I thought it was a gimmick. But after using it just for a few minutes, I changed my mind. With a firm, quick squeeze toward the bottom of the phone, you can activate Google Assistant, which is faster and more accurate and versatile than Siri.
The Pixel 2's 5-inch screen isn't the sharpest, at 1920 x 1080 pixels, and it's much smaller than the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8, but it produced an excellent 148 percent of the sRGB color gamut. When I watched the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer on the Pixel 2's display, the golden orange around the insanely cute porg's eyes popped against its white fur, and the reflection of two clashing weapons in Captain Phasma's gleaming, silver helmet looked gorgeous.
The Pixel 2 XL's 6-inch screen sports a sharper, 2880 x 1440-pixel resolution. This panel registered a slightly lower 130 percent of the color gamut, but its colors are just about as accurate on paper. The Pixel 2 XL's display scored 0.26 on the Delta-E error test (0 is perfect), and the Pixel 2 hit 0.29.
The Pixel 2 XL is the phone you want to have outdoors, as it registered a higher 438 nits on our light meter, compared to just 346 nits on the Pixel 2. The Galaxy S8 notched 437 nits. The smartphone category average is 433.
Google Lens worked pretty well on a business card; the phone easily picked up the email address of the contact and his phone number. Last but not least, I tried photographing a Spider-Man Homecoming movie poster, and the phone returned a synopsis and rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
Considering the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL sport single rear 12-megapixel cameras, you might think that they're snapping pics with one arm tied around their backs compared to dual-lens camera phones. Nope. They aren't, and that's because these phones are smart enough to offer a Portrait mode (bokeh effect) through software that works even on the phones' front 8-MP camera.
Indoors, at the Lego store, it was a toss-up between the Pixel 2 and iPhone 8 Plus. The image of a Lego man in a top hat captured by Google's phone delivered more-realistic hues, while Apple's camera delivered a brighter image.
On our video-editing test, in which we transcode a 2-minute 4K video clip to 1080p in the Adobe Clips app, the Pixel 2 took 2 minutes and 55 seconds, compared to 4:07 for the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy Note 8 took 3:03, and that phone packs 6GB of RAM. The Pixel 2 still wasn't nearly as fast as the iPhone 8 and its A11 Bionic chip, which needed 42 seconds.
The Pixel 2 XL easily makes our list of the longest-lasting phones. Plus, you can expect even longer battery life should you choose T-Mobile for your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, as we've found that phones tend to last longer on that network.
It's no surprise that Google's own phones are the first to ship with the new Android Oreo software installed. The updated OS doesn't offer dramatic improvements, but there are some worthwhile new features.
With Google's new ARCore initiative, compelling augmented reality apps will be making their way to certain Android Oreo phones, such as the Galaxy S8. The apps will be hitting the Google Play store this winter.
With a lot of phones, the accessories are an afterthought, but not with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The new Pixel Buds ($159) are wireless headphones that let you carry on a conversation with someone else in their native language. Leveraging Google Translate and Google Assistant, these headphones help you say phrases in any one of 40 languages, and your Pixel 2 will utter that phrase aloud so that the person you're speaking with can understand you.
With the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, it's clear that Google has chosen AI as its weapon of choice to fight the smartphone war. And given the company's prowess in machine learning, this is a smart move that has paid off. I found myself using Google Assistant a lot more in just a few days than I do Siri in a whole month with the iPhone, and not just because I was testing the new Pixels. Google Assistant understood me even when I didn't utter the exact right words, and I loved being able to summon it with just a squeeze.
If you own other Google gear, such as the Google Home Mini (which you can get for free right now when you order the Pixel 2) or Chromecast, the Assistant's powers multiply. In a way, Google is starting to pull away from other Android phone makers, because the company is creating its own Apple-like walled garden. It's a more purposeful fragmentation.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL also benefit from faster performance than the Galaxy S8, stellar front and back cameras and long battery life. Overall, I prefer the sleeker designs and curved edge-to-edge displays on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, and the iPhone 8 Plus remains the king of camera phones. But if you want a pure Android experience, you'll love the $849 Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2's bezels are just way too big and it's screen too small for me to take this phone seriously, even for its relatively low $649.
Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer."}; var triggerHydrate = function() window.sliceComponents.authorBio.hydrate(data, componentContainer); var triggerScriptLoadThenHydrate = function() if (window.sliceComponents.authorBio === undefined) var script = document.createElement('script'); script.src = ' -9-5/authorBio.js'; script.async = true; script.id = 'vanilla-slice-authorBio-component-script'; script.onload = () => window.sliceComponents.authorBio = authorBio; triggerHydrate(); ; document.head.append(script); else triggerHydrate(); if (window.lazyObserveElement) window.lazyObserveElement(componentContainer, triggerScriptLoadThenHydrate, 1500); else console.log('Could not lazy load slice JS for authorBio') } }).catch(err => console.log('Hydration Script has failed for authorBio Slice', err)); }).catch(err => console.log('Externals script failed to load', err));Mark SpoonauerSocial Links NavigationMark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer. 041b061a72