To the surprise of no one, today Google took the wraps off of the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL at their Google Event. The refreshed phones bring some new hardware, but most notably some updates to Google Assistant and the software side of things.
Starting with the smaller Pixel, you’re going to get a 5″ Full HD OLED display. The Pixel will be available in three colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White. Google apparently really loves coming up with the names for their phone colors.
The Pixel 2 XL sports a 6″ QHD+ POLED display with curved glass. The Pixel 2 XL comes in either Just Black, or Black & White (or Panda Pixel as I’ve seen it called, good job internet!).
Both phones include the “world’s highest-rated camera” as ranked by DxOMark. Don’t get us started on what we really think about DxOMark, but Google has done some work with the camera to hopefully add improvements from last year’s model. Both phones include a 12MP rear shooter with F 1.8 aperture and OIS/EIS. Google touted an increased dynamic range, as well as portrait mode on both the rear and front-facing cameras. Google has made improvements allowing portrait mode to work with only one camera, whereas other current implementations require two cameras. Google’s camera can create a complete depth map using only one lens, while dual-pixel sensor tech stores a right and left view in each pixel of an image. Motion photos capture three seconds of video behind each photo. Nothing really new there.
Both phones are IP67 rated, feature “all day” battery with quick charging, and both phones are naturally Daydream ready. The phones also feature “Active Edge,” or, the squeeze mechanism originally launched on the HTC U11. Give your phone a squeeze to launch Google Assistant, and then ask your Assistant for whatever you were going to ask, only without unlocking your phone and holding down the home button first. “Active Edge” is allegedly smart enough to be able to recognize accidental squeezes, so hopefully you won’t be invoking Assistant at inopportune times.
Google has also added an always-on display. You’ll be able to see the time and your notifications of course, but Google has also added an ambient music sensor of sorts to display the artist and song name for any music playing in your vicinity. Tapping on the song name will open up the song and artist results in Google Assistant, where you’ll be able to add the song to a playlist, get more information about the artist, and more Assistant-type things if you’re so inclined.
Probably less exciting than some of the other changes, but live wallpapers are back (woo?). The phones also feature differently colored power buttons (fun!), and a Google Home Mini will be included for anybody that pre-orders a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. Also, Google couldn’t help taking a shot at Apple here, saying that you’ll get the same great experience on both Pixel phones because “we don’t set aside better features for the larger device.” Although you are getting a QHD display on the XL, it’s still pretty cheeky.
Pre-orders have started now for both Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2 will set you back $649 USD for the 64GB device while the extra inch on the Pixel 2 XL will start at $849. In Canada, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are available for pre-order today, starting at $899CAD, on The Google Store, Bell, Best Buy Canada, Fido, Freedom Mobile, Koodo, Rogers, The Source, TELUS, Tbooth wireless, Walmart, WIRELESSWAVE, Videotron, and Virgin.