The day that many Google fans had been waiting for is finally here. The company today unveiled its Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets. It’s actually the latter that has received the bulk of the design changes. The Pixel 2 looks more or less the same like its predecessor, the original Google Pixel. It even has the same 5 inch display.
On the other hand, the Google Pixel 2 XL is jumping up from a 5.5 inch display to a 6 inch display. It’s not entirely bezel-less like what you’d expect but the bezels have been slimmed down quite a bit at the top and bottom.
One design tweak that’s present on both new handsets is the glass accent at the top. It has been slimmed down compared to the predecessors so it’s not encasing the fingerprint sensor anymore. A feature that we saw earlier this year with the HTC U11 is present on the new Google Pixel handsets as well.
Google calls it Active Edge, it enables users to squeeze the handset’s sides to trigger some functions. By default, Active Edge will launch the Google Assistant and turn off the volume for phone calls.
Google is touting the Pixel 2’s “dual-pixel sensor” which it claims to enable the handset’s camera to reimagine smartphone photography. Google handed over the Pixel 2 to DxOMark for early testing and it received an overall score of 98. The best smartphone on DxOMark’s right now is the iPhone 8 Plus with an overall score of 94.
The new sensor also enables Google to provide a “portrait mode” on the new Pixel handsets that offers blur effects like you get on the iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8. However, it does that without requiring a second camera.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 handsets ship with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. Google has made changes to the launcher as well. You’ll now find a search box at the bottom of the display. There’s a new widget at the top that displays upcoming meetings and other relevant information. The handsets also support always-on display this year which will show the time and notifications.
Customers can pre-order the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in the United States starting today. The Pixel 2 costs $649 with 64GB storage and the Pixel 2 XL costs $849. It will be exclusive to Verizon in the U.S.