Google opts for subtle refresh in Pixel 2 and 2 XLBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 5 October 2017 | Categories: news
Last night's MadeByGoogle event featured a mix of expected devices, as well as a few surprises. For the former was the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, both of which had been detailed in greater and lesser degrees in the weeks and months leading up to yesterday evening's showcase.
This pair of smartphones are the second iteration of mobile device built by Google, but instead of improving the hardware in every regard, the company instead decided to focus on the software powering these devices.
To that end, machine learning and AI will play a significant part of the Pixel 2 experience, with Google detailing an enhanced Google Assistant, clean Android Oreo interface and improved camera features. It's the latter which Google emphasised the most, with a preview version of Google Lens set to arrive on the Pixel 2, that features a greater level of object detection. Added to this will be nifty tools like AR stickers, but the big selling point will be the AI-assisted functionality of the Pixel 2's 12 MP f/1.8 camera.
Google has specifically touted its ability in portrait mode, which leverages the company's own machine learning tech to deliver the same DSLR-esque effects on some flagship phones that boast a dual camera setup.
Shifting to the hardware elements. The Pixel 2 has a 5" Full HD (1920x1080) OLED display up front, with the larger Pixel 2 XL fitted with a better 6" QHD+ (2880x1440) P-OLED screen. Apart from the screen differences, the rest of the devices are pretty much the same. Internally, an octa-core Snapdragon 835 chipset is present, with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB or 128 GB onboard storage options. Google is also continuing its offer of free unlimited cloud storage for videos and photos for the Pixel 2 phones.
Other noteworthy elements include an IP67-rated waterproofness and dust resistance, as well as a USB Type-C port Active Edge squeezing function lifted from the HTC U11. On the power side, the Pixel 2 has a 2700 mAh battery and Pixel 2 XL a 3520 mAh battery, with both offering fast charging that yields seven hours battery life from 15 minutes of charge.
The phones are currently available for pre-order in the States, and will be arriving in six other countries in coming weeks. Once again, South Africa is not on the list, which will make it difficult to get one that isn't a grey product. If, however, you're willing to take the hit, the Pixel 2 will cost $649 (64 GB) and Pixel 2 XL retails for $849 (64 GB). While $200 more expensive, it is the larger device that we believe is more worthwhile at this stage.
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