Receive up-to-the-minute news updates on the hottest topics with NewsHub. Install now.

The best Android handset out there: Google Pixel 2 review

October 17, 2017 11:05 PM
155 0
The best Android handset out there: Google Pixel 2 review

While the last generation Pixel was a great phone, you'd never choose it over a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone in terms of design.

However, with the Pixel 2, or rather the Pixel 2 XL, that has changed - and Google has shown just how far it has come, creating a handset that is not only the best Android device out there, but arguably matches the iPhone 8 in terms of design and feel.

A woman holds up the Google Pixel 2 phone, left, next to the Pixel 2 XL phone at a Google event at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. The phones set themselves apart with promises to bake in Google's powerful artificial-intelligence technology for quick and easy access to useful, even essential information. You get some of that right away, but more will come later through free software updates and a wireless accessory.

The larger Pixel 2 XL is gorgeous, but starts at $850, more than the iPhone 8 Plus and the S8 Plus.

But the Pixel 2 comes with a USB-C adapter so you can plug in ordinary headphones; like the latest iPhones, the Pixel 2 has eliminated the standard headphone jack.

Verizon is again the only U.S. carrier to offer the latest Pixel, although you can buy models that will work with other carriers - and Google's own Project Fi service - at Google's online store.

The phone is also coming to the U.K., Canada, India, Australia, Germany, Italy and Spain.

However, it is the Pixel XL that excels - the bog standard Pixel is fine, but honestly, nothing to write home about.

The 6-inch display is high-res (2880 x 1440), and curves into the edges of the phone, making it appear the front of the phone is all screen.

While admittedly not as slick as Apple's iPhone X, its a revelation for a Google phone - and stunning to look at and pick up.

Another great feature is the always on display, which shows you the time and notifications, which I found to be really useful for just glancing at (and crucially, works really well at night, not being too bright and not too dim).

You can also set it up to listen to music and display the playing track - perfect for becoming a music bore in any pub.

However, one annoyance is the curved edges many apps now have - they seem to ignore part of the screen and are slightly jarring.

The XL feels rather like plastic, however, unlike the glass of the iPhone, and while this may, in some user's eyes make it a little less 'luxury', it does lessen the feeling you're going to drop it.

It's also worth mentioning Google's fabric case for the XL, which is superb, and really give the handset a nice feel.

Google is sticking with the fingerprint sensor on the back, in an easy-to-reach spot, and it's fast and accurate.

Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL come loaded with octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors, 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 128GB of storage.

Both handsets have more than enough battery life to last you through the day - although disappointingly, no wireless charging.

The Pixel 2 is a solid phone, and what you're getting is a strong tie-in to Google's services, including those intended to fetch what you need without requiring much effort.

It's also worth mentioning Google's fabric case for the XL, which is superb, and really give the handset a nice feel.

An included dongle lets one easily move a range of data from the iPhone, including iMessages, and Google will automatically match as many of your apps as it can and install those.

Personally, this is the first Android phone that has made me think seriously about switching - although ultimately I, like I suspect many other users, decided I'm simply too tied into the Apple ecosystem, in particular iMessages and the Apple Watch, to move full time to the Pixel.

However, there is a neat fast charge, which gives up to 7 hours of battery from 15 minutes of charge.

Google has also joined the growing number of smartphone manufacturers that have done away with headphone jacks.

Instead, you’ll have to use either the USB C to 3.5mm adapter included in the box or buy a USB C-compatible headset.

Last year's Pixel had a great camera, but it fell short in some shots because software processing made colors look too strong and clean at times.

Google has also for the first time including its own chip, Pixel Visual Core, which is Google's first custom system-on-a-chip (SOC) for consumer products - but somewhat oddly hasn't yet turned it on.

The Pixel 2 also introduces a 'portrait' mode, which blurs out backgrounds to focus attention on the subjects.

Apple's iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus and Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 manage this effect via a second camera lens to sense depth.

Google does it all with software, so the regular-size model gets the capability as well, not just the larger XL.

Unsurprisingly, the other thing the Pixel is great at is bringing together Google's services, including those intended to fetch what you need automatically.

Overall, the smaller Pixel a pretty underwhelming - but the larger XL really is a sign to other smartphone makers that Google is now a force in phone design - and Apple and Samsung really need to watch their backs.


Share in social networks:

Comments - 0