Google Pixel 2 XL review
Highest rated camera again
Our Google Pixel 2 XL review introduces Google’s latest and best Pixel smartphone and DxOMark has given the camera its highest rating, beating all other smartphone cameras. Here we take a look at the whole Pixel 2 XL package, including that fantastic camera.
Full screen design
The Google Pixel 2 XL has that new and highly desirable full screen design. The Pixel 2 doesn’t feature this, so this is one of the main reasons that consumers will want the Pixel 2 XL over its smaller cousin.
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In the case of the Pixel 2 XL, the display is a 6” pOLED screen with QHD+ resolution. This gives 2880 x 1440 pixels, equating to 538 pixels per inch, in an elongated 18:9 aspect ratio.
The screen runs as an Always-on display and this means that notifications are always visible at a glance. The Always-on display can do other cool things too, like automatically showing the song title and artist of any music playing in the background.
Durability and performance
Durability is always a concern and the Google Pixel 2 XL tackles this by combining an aluminium unibody with 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and IP67 water resistance. The overall weight is 175g and this Google phone is 7.9mm thick.
Moving onto performance, the Pixel 2 XL has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 2.35GHz octa-core processor with 4GB RAM. This has been used by nearly all premium phones this year and ensures that there are no annoying lag times when opening apps or photos.
Music is projected outwards by high definition front-firing stereo speakers. When owners want to listen to music in private, they can connect earphones through the USB Type-C digital headphone jack. There is also a 3.5mm audio jack adapter for those who are using earphones with older tech.
Phone Set Up
Pixel Imprint and transferring content
The Pixel 2 XL has a Pixel Imprint back mounted fingerprint sensor and this authenticates and unlocks the phone faster than the system used on the original Pixel phone.
Content from an old smartphone can be transferred over in ten minutes or less and this includes iPhone content like iMessages. There are two colour versions and two memory options to choose from:
The Active Edge is introduced on the Google Pixel 2 XL and with a squeeze of the phone, the Google Assistant can be activated. After giving the Active Edge a squeeze, you can use your voice to turn on do not disturb, to dictate a text message, to take a selfie or to begin navigation.
Daily routines are coming in a software update in the coming weeks and this will allow the phone to carry out multiple actions from one voice command. An example would be to say goodnight, with which the phone will be silenced and your morning alarm will be turned on.
Google Lens allows the Pixel 2 XL user to search about what they can see. Using the camera, this makes it quick and easy to find out about landmarks, films, artwork, books and albums.
The Pixel 2 XL has Google’s new Android 8.0 Oreo operating system pre-loaded and this will receive software updates for a minimum of three years. The new features of Oreo includes:
- Twice the boot speed compared to the original Pixel
- Autofill logins
- Run two apps with picture-in-picture
- Notification Dots allow you to see what’s new in apps and swipe them away
- Built in security chip protects against hardware and malware attacks
- Google Play Protect keeps data and apps safe
Camera & Video
Highest rated smartphone camera
The Google Pixel 2 XL camera is the highest rated overall smartphone camera by DxOMark. The 12.2MP camera uses plenty of tech to capture great results, including HDR+, dual-pixel phase detection and laser autofocus.
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Camera features includes Motion Photos that capture a few seconds of video from around the shot, 4K video recording and optical and electrical image stabilisation. This stabilisation technology allows you to capture perfectly fluid and shake-free video, even when on the move.
As a bonus, there is free and unlimited storage (until 2021) of photos and videos at original quality in Google Photos, including 4K videos.
Even though there is no dual camera lens, the Pixel 2 XL camera will create DSLR quality portraits with blurred backgrounds, using either the front (8MP) or back camera.
The results are pretty impressive but they are not quite as accurate as bokeh photos taken on dual lens cameras like those on the iPhone 8 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The zoom feature also looses a little quality in comparison to camera phones that have a telephoto lens.
Even after these points are factored in, the overall DxOMark score is still the highest. So, if photography is your thing, then choosing the Pixel 2 XL is a no-brainer.