Google Pixel 2 Review


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After putting an end to the much celebrated Nexus brand, Google opened a fresh front in the smartphone market last year in form of ‘Pixel’. This game plan gave Google a full control over both software and hardware, elevating them to a next level when it comes to Android experience. With Pixel smartphones, Google directly started competing against Apple, be it pricing, quality or the experience. Soon after the launch of the first Pixel, the device met with a mixed response, particularly for its pricing.

After a year, Google came up with the second-generation Pixel smartphones in an attempt to counter Apple iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy S8 and others. Even though Google were optimistic about the future of Google’s hardware line, the launch of the Pixel 2 series of smartphones marred with several issues. Having said that, most of the issues are intended at the Pixel 2 XL. We got our hands on the Pixel 2  and here’s what we observed about the device.

Unboxing

We recently unboxed the phone, check out the video.

Box Contents

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  • Google Pixel 2 smartphone in Clearly White color
  • 2-pin 18W fast charger (5V-3A/9V-2A)
  • USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable (USB 2.0)
  • Quick-switch OTG adapter
  • USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Quick Start Guide and Warranty information

Display, Design, and hardware

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The Pixel 2 sports a 5-inch (1920x 1080 pixels) AMOLED display with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on top. Talking about the display, it is absolutely brilliant. It has rich color output, good contrast, bright enough, text looks sharp and has good viewing angles. Also, it is fairly readable under the outdoor conditions.

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Let’s talk about the best part first. Surrounded by smartphones with a bigger display, the Pixel 2 is a gem of a device with an enjoyable size that I felt comfortable with. The Pixel 2 is one of the very few options available right now if you are into single-handed usage. It measures 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8mm and weighs around 143 grams. Just like its predecessor, the Pixel 2 comes with a trademark two-toned glass and metal design, despite the fact that glass shade has been reduced to a smaller size. On the non-glass areas, Google chose to have metal with powder coating on the top to give users a smooth feel and good grip. The phone is also water and dust resistant with IP67 ratings.

Even though it comes with fast charging, it does not support wireless charging. Coming to the cons, the bigger bezels on the front looks bad, uninspiring and downright dumb. Having said that, the company has used the bezel in an optimistic way equipping the stereo speakers on the front. Even though the upgrade is sweet in some parts, it costs Pixel 2 the beloved 3.5mm audio jack. In fact, there are no headphones given inside the box. It also has an Active Edge feature, where you can fire Google Assistant by squeezing the device, thanks to HTC. Despite the fact that it is the faster way to activate it, this seems to be a gimmick, as it doesn’t make any difference to me.

Talking about the placements, the device has an 8MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture and earpiece on the top that also houses the speaker. It also has the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors along with a gyroscope and a magnetic sensor, otherwise known as a magnetometer for VR headset. At the bottom, we have just another speaker. The company has opted for on-screen navigation buttons, as there are no physical keys present.

The right side of the device houses the power button and volume rocker, whereas the left side has a SIM slot.

Moving down, we have USB Type-C port, Primary Microphone and up top, we have secondary Microphone. Flipping it back, we have a 12.2 MP  camera with a f/1.8 aperture, laser autofocus, LED flash. And just below it, we have fingerprint module to unlock the phone. The Pixel 2 lacks notification LED as well, but it gets compensated with an always-on display.

Performance

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Under the hood, the Pixel 2 is powered by Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset clocked at 2.4GHz with Adreno 540 taking care of graphics department. As you’d expect the performance here is top notch without any hang, lag or hiccup. The multi-tasking is now easier than ever, thanks to the 4GB RAM. It also handles graphics intensive gaming very smoothly without a single frame drop. Check out some Benchmark scores below.

Google Pixel 2 Geekbench 4 AnTuTu 6

Google Pixel 2 Geekbench 4 Single-Core

Google Pixel 2 Geekbench 4 Multi-Core

Google Pixel 2 Geekbench 4 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited

Camera

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The Google Pixel 2 comes with a 12.2-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) + Electronic Image Stabilization, laser + dual pixel phase detection, 1.4μm pixel size and f/1.8 aperture. It lets you take portrait shots with background blurs, from both the front and back camera and has new motion photos feature that captures a few seconds of video around the shot. The front side of the device is taken care of 8MP camera with f/2.4 aperture.

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The unique selling point of Pixel devices is, of course, its camera. Making no mistake this time, the Pixel 2 carries the legacy successfully with grace and class. When it comes to the performance, the output is top notch. Under daylight conditions, the Pixel 2 produces some amazing shots with excellent dynamic range and precise color saturation. The camera hardware combined with Google’s image process takes the photo quality to whole new level. Well, I won’t abstain from saying it is the best camera phone in Android right now.

If you think Pixel 2 is missing trending features like Portrait mode just because of single-camera setup, then you are wrong. The Pixel 2 uses a dual-pixel technology, that splits every pixel into two to create a depth map of the particular scene and allows separation of an object from the background. Given the wide aperture, the output under low-light is pleasing as well.

Surprisingly, the front camera also takes Portrait photos, but not as good as the rear. The selfie camera shoots some worthy pictures which can be shared on your social media account without any editing or second thought.

Overall, if you are looking for the best camera smartphone in Android, well, you got your answer here. The Pixel 2 is reliable and excellent for mobile photography that surely will put a smile on your face.

Take a look some sample pictures below (Click the image to view full resolution samples).

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Pixel-2-Outdoor-3

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Selfie Portrait

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HDR OFF

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HDR ON
Pixel-2-Indoor-1-1-1

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Pixel-2-Indoor-2-1  Pixel-2-Low-Light-1-1

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Pixel-2-Macro-1-1-1

Pixel-2-Outdoor-1-1-1

Software

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The Google Pixel 2 is shipped with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. Also, the Pixel 2 will be among the first devices to get Android P and Android Q. In this case, the software and hardware are optimized perfectly for a fluid user experience.

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From the lock screen, you can access the Google Assistant and the camera app. In this smartphone, you have more than one way to access the Google Assistant —swipe from the lock screen, long press the home button and a light squeeze, which the company called as Active Edge. Unlike HTC, the squeeze in Pixel 2 just opens Google Assistant and does nothing other than that. You cannot reprogram it too.

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Another noteworthy feature of this device is “Now Playing”. The ‘Now playing’ recognize the songs playing nearby and shows you the name and artist of the songs on the lock screen. It also gives you the link to buy or listen to that song. Having said that, you need to turn on the feature under Sound settings. Most of the time it worked well for me in identifying the songs.

With Pixel 2 smartphone, Google has implemented Google Lens, which is an evolution of Google Goggles. With Google Lens, you can tap on the Google Lens icon once you click the picture, be it a flower, fruit, or everyday object and it will detect what it’s looking at and offers you suggestions based on it. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

Even though it identifies things, the accuracy is not up to the mark. Moreover, it gives the generic information and not the exact one. You can access notification panel by swiping down from the top and app drawer by swiping up from the bottom.

With redesigned Pixel launcher, the Google search bar has been moved to the bottom. Also, Google made a lot of tweaks to the software that makes the user experience fluid, smooth and stands out from all other Android devices.

When it comes to the music player, notification panel for that apps the changes color according to the album. If the wallpaper is dark, the notification panel and app drawer change to a dark theme and vice versa. Moreover, the notification dot on the apps is very helpful, where you can close or read the notification without opening the app.

Fingerprint

When it comes to Pixel 2, the fingerprint scanner is on the back side on the metal part. Just like its predecessor the fingerprint is fast here and unlocks in a fraction of a second. It is active all the time and is able to unlock your phone almost instantaneously when it is sleeping. The process of adding fingerprint is fast with just 6 tapping and a total of 5 fingerprints can be saved.

Talking about the storage, the Pixel 2 comes in two variants with 64GB and 128GB onboard storage. We got hold of the 64GB variant, out of which, the user will get around 54GB free on board.

Connectivity, Calling and Messaging

The Pixel 2 comes with single SIM slot and supports an array of connectivity options including 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11ac 2x2MIMO (2.4/5 GHz), Bluetooth 5 LE, and NFC as well. The call quality is good, so is the loudspeaker and earpiece. In our usage, we didn’t face any call drops.

Battery

Google Pixel 2 FoneArena One Charge Rating

The Google Pixel 2 is powered by a 2700mAh battery with fast charging. Initially, we were a bit skeptical about the battery life taking the number into consideration. But, with casual usage, the Pixel 2 lasts for a day easily on a single charge. If you are a heavy user, the scenario is totally different here. So, we suggest you carry a power bank if in case.

Google Pixel 2 FoneArena One Charge Rating Pie Chart

In our One Charge rating, the Pixel 2 achieved  15 hours 26 minutes, which is decent for a phone with a 2700mAh battery, mainly due to good talk time. Thanks to the fast charging technology, it takes around 1 and half hours to charge the phone fully. We will bring you the complete set of battery life test results soon.

Conclusion

The Google Pixel 2 is packed with some amazing internals in a humdrum design. Comparing to its predecessor, it has a speedy processor, improved camera modules, and offers outstanding Android experience. If you don’t mind the big bezels, the Pixel 2 can easily satiate your hunger for power. If you need smaller bezels and can spend more, go for the Pixel 2 XL, which is not much different except for the display and the battery, but it all boils down to the display size and your convenience. Even though it starts at Rs. 61,000, Flipkart is coming up with several offers, which brings down the price of the phone to Rs. 39,999.

Pros

  • Smooth Android experience
  • Brilliant camera
  • Excellent performance
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Same old design
  • Huge bezels
  • No headphone jack
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