Hands On: Google’s Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL & Pixelbook

When Google dropped its first pixel smartphone last year I was not impressed I dogged it for its lack of waterproofing its derivative design and for having a custom launcher when I expected pure stock Android but then an important thing happened I used the pixel and in short order it’s instantaneous responsiveness ruined me for every other Android phone out there well today in San Francisco Google announced a couple successors to those original pixels these correct some of their predecessors shortcomings and they introduced a couple more so why should you care about them because they’re probably about to make an even bigger splash than their forerunners did I’m Michael Fisher and I went hands-on with the pixel to pixel to excel and the new pixel book this is a mr.

Mobile first look on paper there are few surprises here these are sequels to top tier smartphones so they’ve got the requisite high-end specs from the snapdragon 835 on down the line Google took a swipe at Apple by claiming that both of these have basically the same feature set unlike the iPhone 8 and 8 plus but take that with a grain of salt the larger pixel to excel has a 30% bigger battery and a display that’s an inch larger on the diagonal the exhales display is also better quad HD instead of full HD it covers more of the DCI p3 color gamut and here’s the polarizing bit its aspect ratio is the stretched 18 by 9 instead of the smaller phone’s 16 by 9 personally I love a narrower phone and I also prefer the rounded corners and reduced bezels of the big guy but what I think really won me over was that panda paint job which is only available on the 2 XL sadly this is as special as the color gets if you want a paint job more striking than this you’re stuck with the aptly-named kind of blue which yeah pales in comparison to last year’s really blue but to Google’s credit almost everything else is common across the two sizes of device the camera is probably the most important point last year’s pixel had one of the very best phone cameras on the market and this year’s improves on it with optical image stabilization which Google says will work together with electronic stabilization to smooth out video I’m a little thrown by the decision to reduce pixel size on the sensor but the aperture is bigger this year and to be honest Google is relying so much on computational photography it’s impossible to tell how well this will perform until I take it out in the real world if no I don’t care about DxO mark scores I’m especially eager to see how well the pixel twos portrait mode works not because I take a lot of portraits but because it doesn’t require a second camera to do that crazy background defocusing thing this is claimed to work on the selfie shooter as well both of these phones are easy to hold on to with a hybrid coating on the aluminum bodies that almost makes them feel plastic II isn’t quite right because they don’t seem cheap but they do feel slightly more hollow than last year’s which is interesting because the pixel two is the same mass as the first one and the two XL is actually a little heavier than the XL but in any event these are now certified water and dust resistant ip67 standards which is great and they’ve also brought back dual front firing speakers yes let’s make this a standard across everything on the flip side each phone is also missing the three-and-a-half millimeter headphone jack I guess it’s a good thing Google didn’t make a big deal last year about how big a hero it was for keeping that around right if this bugs you and you wind up squeezing your pixel two in a rage you’ll end up discovering another new feature called active edge apply pressure to the sides of the phone and you summon Google Assistant if this seems familiar it is it’s the feature that you either loved hated or forgot about on the HTC u 11 released this summer but while this feature works on both the pixel two and the two XL it’s not as robust as it is on the U 11 you can’t reassign it to other functions or use it as a shortcut within apps at least not that I could see if you don’t care about squeezing your phone you’ll be happy to know the fundamentals are here near stock Android Oreo with a fingerprint sensor you can use as a trackpad to drop the notification shade nice and responsiveness is as excellent as you’d expect from a device bearing the pixel brand also boasting that brand the brand new pixel book and utterly ridiculous exercise of engineering access that I can’t help but appreciate this is not your average Chromebook which is to say it’s not a low-cost laptop indeed it’s quite expensive with a starting price of 999 dollars for that you get a beautifully engineered chassis with a glass window for better Wi-Fi reception a big bright twelve point three inch LCD comfy keyboard with nice key travel up to 10 hours of rated battery life four different positions to use it in because it’s got one of those crazy funky foldy hinges an optional $99 pen with its own set of impressive characteristics and a special Google now on tap port that lets you circle things and make chrome tell you about them a dedicated Google assistant button and Rome OS yep functionally speaking this is just like one of those low-cost machines you see in classrooms meant to be secure and simple and so the price tag is pretty hard to swallow but it’s great for enthusiasts and I don’t get the sense that Google builds these high-end models to sell in volume it seems more an aspirational exercise an indulgence in luxury hardware from a predominantly software focused company so I’m eager to give this the full review treatment when retail units start landing in early November speaking of let’s finish up with availability the pixel phones are available for pre-order today and at press time the Google store was so loaded down with orders that I had trouble pushing my own through with delivery estimates ranging from mid-october for the pixel to to mid-november for the two XL want to talk clams the smaller phone starts at six hundred forty nine dollars while the XL will run you an extra 200 to start Verizon is once again the exclusive carrier partner in the US but you can always buy unlocked as t-mobile who was all too happy to remind us this morning those prices are roughly in line with last year and Google has certainly patched a few missing bits with the sequel’s so on the whole I think the phones stand a good chance of outpacing the sales of their predecessors as for how well they perform once they go from the store shelf to your pocket though well only the full review can tell make sure you’re subscribed to the Mister mobile on YouTube so you don’t miss that and my pixel book review coming soon after and follow me on Facebook at the same name for more of closed looks at the new pixels until next time thanks for watching and stay mobile my friends

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