Google Pixel 2: First impressions

Google just announced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL at $649 and $749 (India pricing starts at ₹61,000) and judging by the flurry of professional video footage already out, it seems that Google handed out these devices to The Verge a week beforehand. More details and specs can be found at Google’s official product page.

Some initial thoughts:

1) Last year Google touted the Pixel’s lack of camera bump and inclusion of headphone jack. With both these ‘features’ going away this year, it makes them look pretty stupid.

2) Physical looks-wise, these phones are barely a marginal improvement over their not-so-noteworthy predecessors. The only impressive aspect seems to be the removal of antenna bands not only from the bottom-half but even at the sides between the glass front and back. I haven’t seen that in any smartphone, even the iPhone 8 with its glass back.

3) Not digging the quirky coloured side button.

4) IP 67 water resistance – much awaited. No wireless charging – hardly matters.

5) Google touts both phones having the same specs but that is not entirely true; the bigger phone has a much better screen ratio than the smaller one. Speaking of which, I think the smaller phone’s squarer corners look awful from the front.

6) At 6 inches, this is an even bigger phone than last year’s Pixel XL. Just goes to show how hard it is to optimise screen size with battery life. And also shows how impressive a feat of engineering the iPhone X (as well as the S8) is, with dual OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) front cameras, a similar sized screen, and a much smaller body.

7) A DxO ratings of 98 shouldn’t be paid much attention to, but I do still think the Pixel has extended its lead in the smartphone camera segment. OIS is going to be a noticeable improvement and along with an AI-powered Portrait mode (also available in selfies), I’m quite excited to see the results.

8) As usual I’m pretty sure this will perform (and feel) better than any other Android phone with similar or better specs, and should prove to be the best Android phone to buy this year as well.

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