By George Rosenthal
Google has raised the curtain on the newest edition of its Pixel phone line and Android fans will not be disappointed.
A worthy successor to the original Pixel, The Pixel 2 combines an outstanding camera with reliable software and an attractive design, all in an aluminum waterproof package.
The phone is available in two sizes the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Unlike Apple and other manufacturers the large and small versions both are identical in guts and performance.
Look under the hat and you’ll find the same Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 gigs of RAM, and the same 64 or 128 gigs of storage. The camera is the same as well. Both run Android Oreo with no bloating or customizing to the operating system. Battery life is around 7 hours with only 15 minutes of charging. Since it is “pure Android” users will get security updates and more features faster than other phones.
Screen size is the big difference between the phones. The smaller version has a five inch 1920 x 1080 OLED screen. The larger version has a higher-res 6 inch screen with a 2880 x 1440 display. The larger phone also has a rounded bezel and bigger battery.
Google has added a few design elements to the Pixel for a better experience. The search bar has been moved down to the bottom of the home screen, so it can be reached more easily. A new widget will show you useful information like the weather or your next appointment. An always-on display lets you know the time and any new notifications.
Throw around some more magical dust and you get an app called “Now Playing”. It automatically identifies whatever is playing nearby whether you are in a bar, restaurant or other place. It downloads a list of similar songs to your phone. You can then select if you wish to listen to them.
For most, the camera is king when it comes to cell phones and Pixel 2 continues the excellent reputation of its predecessor. The photos are sharp with soft background portrait shots. The 12.2 rear megapixel camera, and 8 MP up front, are fast and extremely impressive in low light.
The Pixel’s video capabilities will also turn heads. It can shoot slow-motion video at up to 240 frames per second. 4K shooting can be done at 30 frames per second. Google also touts the phone’s ability to combine optical and electrical image stabilization so your video is smooth even in the roughest conditions.
Worried about storage? Google says no need. Pixel provides unlimited and free photo and video storage, even in 4k.
You can also search “what you see” with Google Lens. Do more searching by voice or with a squeeze of the device.
Since it is a Google phone it comes with all company accoutrements working in tandem between the phone’s Google Assistant with Google Home and Chromecast. Like most phones there is no headphone jack but Pixel Bud wireless headphones are reportedly on the way soon.
Colors include “Just Black”, “Clearly White”, and “Kinda Blue” for the Pixel 2 with the “Just Black” and “Black and White” available in the XL model.
Pricing starts at $649 for the Pixel 2 and $849 for the XL.
Though perhaps lacking behind the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in performance options, and in price, Google has waived its wand and created a worthy competitor in the cellphone marketplace. The Pixel 2 should certainly generate many “oohs and ahhs” among Android fans.