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Google Pixel 2 review: Hands-on with Google’s flagship

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The Google Pixel 2 is one of two phones Google announced today at its 4 October “Made by Google” event.

During the launch event, Google’s Sundar Pichai pushed the form of AI as an important part of Google’s ecosystem, and so the Pixel 2 is one way to tap directly into that from your pocket. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean there’s an AI sat in your pocket or crawling through your phone, it’s all about getting you to access Google’s apps.

Following the Made by Google event, we went hands-on with the Google Pixel 2. You can read our hands-on review of the Pixel 2 XL here.

Google Pixel 2 review: At a glance

Screen: 5in Full HD

CPU: Octa-core 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

RAM: 4GB

Storage: 64GB and 128GB

Camera: 12-megapixel f/2.0 OIS / 8-megapixel f/1.8

UK price: £629 and £729

UK release date: 19 October 2017

Google Pixel 2 review: Price

Google has announced that the Pixel 2 will set you back a pretty £629 for its 64GB model. The 128GB model will cost you £729.

For clarity, you can pick up the Pixel XL for £400 from Carphone Warehouse, but they do also have a “register your interest” page for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

It’s also worth noting that the US price for the Pixel 2 is $649 and $749, meaning we’re shafted by a pretty terrible conversion rate that’s basically $1 = £1.

Google Pixel 2 review: Release date

The Google Pixel 2 is set to be released in October with pre-orders going live from today.

If you don’t fancy buying directly from Google, you can currently register your interest in contract deals via Carphone Warehouse.

Google Pixel 2 review: Design

For the most part, the Google Pixel 2 is identical to last year’s Pixel. Not only is it made by HTC once again, but it seems that they’ve only slightly tweaked the design. The power button also has colour to it this year, meaning it’s a little easier to spot.

It still has the glass panel on its rear, but this time it’s thinner, freeing the rear-mounted fingerprint reader from its glassy prison. The camera module also appears to be larger than last year, but it’s generally a very similar-looking device. It also comes in three separate colours: “Kinda Blue”, “Just Black” and “Clearly White”.

One key difference is the appearance of dual, front-facing speakers and the lack of a headphone jack. You can use USB Type-C headphones if you want, or you can use analog headphones with the included adapter.

Google Pixel 2 review: Specifications

Inside the Pixel 2, you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL come with either 64 or 128GB of storage, have no microSD slot and use the same single-camera Google Imaging Sensor. It’s unclear if this is an upgrade on last year’s model, or if it’s the same fantastic camera.

The Pixel 2 also has an “all-day battery”, but its exact size is unknown.

Google Pixel 2 review: Camera

Google has equipped its front-facing “selfie” camera with an 8-megapixel sensor and f/2.4 aperture.

On the back, you’ll find a 12-megapixel f/1.8 camera powered by Google’s Imaging Sensor. It’s managed to increase dynamic range and has implemented optical image stabilisation to up the quality of its HDR+ photos. It’s so good that it’s now scored an unprecedented 98 on the DxOMark tests. Last year, the Pixel achieved an 86.

Google is also bringing its AR prowess to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL – making use of its Magic Leap and Tango development knowledge to AR applications.

Google Pixel 2 review: Features

On the features front, it’s hard to know what really sets the Pixel 2 apart from the Pixel 2 XL. Aside from the better screen on the Pixel 2 XL, most of the features Google is enabling with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are software-based.

Both phones have always-on displays. It brings up notifications like you’d expect, but it can also use a “Now Playing” feature that lets you see what’s playing in the background. It does this with a database of music saved to your phone, meaning it isn’t using your data to discover what you’re listening to. Interestingly, this does mean your Pixel 2 XL has its microphone on all the time.

Google’s “Active Edge” activates Google Assistant and you can just ask it a question without pressing a button. Think of it as the same as the HTC U11 feature, but now with machine learning to know when it’s an actual squeeze instead of an accidental one.

Google Lens is built into Google Assistant and allows you to look across the web and your photo library to search photos. The camera can also extract information from images, pulling phone numbers, emails and addresses from out of a single image.

Google Pixel 2: Early Verdict

At first pass, the Google Pixel 2 isn’t that different from its predecessor. It may have a handful of notable features, but we need to go hands-on with it in a full review situation.

We’ll update our hands-on review when Google send them out for us to review.



Quite a few of what we can convey in this article, Google Pixel 2 review: Hands-on with Google’s flagship, hopefully this article useful.

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