Google recently announced their new Google Pixel Smartphones. With a more modern design, a larger screen, and battery and an exclusive paint job. What could go wrong, right? Well, we will find that out soon.
This is about Google Pixel 2, an amazing smartphone by Google, tainted reputation by a second rate screen. Let’s see if it is still worth your time.
Last year’s Google Pixel phones are pretty easy to sum up. They were Google’s first house labelled smartphones made for the mainstream and they made up for a dull, derivative design with great camera and the very best Android experience period.
The 2016 Google Pixels were outstanding smartphones and I recommended them to everyone. Flash forward to October 2017. At first glance, the Google Pixel 2 XL, corrects almost all of the failings of the previous models.
I mean, the headphone jack may be gone, but so is the puny, bottom firing speaker. Thrown out in favour of two front facing speakers that sound great.
Google Pixel 2 is IP67 dust and water resistance. Which means it can stay upto 30min under 1m of water.Which is slightly lower than Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8.
But it is good enough to save you from trouble of getting phone wet during a rain. Also good enough to save you a heart attack if you drop it in the toilet.
The specs are solid, as befitting a proper flagship smartphone in 2017 and the design, while not stunningly beautiful, at least no longer looks like an iPhone clone.
Let’s cut to the chase and get into it. The trouble started with the first wave of reviews. People called out the display for looking washed out lacking in saturation.
Google’s position on the matter was that this was intentional. The display is tuned for accuracy, not for vibrance but a really, in depth post from Fran Francois Simon explains that, no, the screen is just tuned very poorly.
Okay so, bad tuning is not a big deal, it is fixable in software update and some people have already started using an app to correct the colours.
But then YouTubers like Danny Winget called out the display for a significant blue shift when viewing the screen at angles even slightly off center and then, most daring, Android Central’\s Alex Dobie tweeted a picture of his phone exhibiting a ghostly effect.
Sometimes called burn-in an after Image of the Android soft keys was sticking around even when the keys were not displayed. Others joined in with their own images of the problem.
There is a lot of technical debates about whether this is truly burn-in, which is permanent, or merely image persistence, which is temporary.
It should be noted that the Pixel 2 XL, is hardly the first phone to exhibit this problem, but the fact that it manifested itself in less than a week on the Google Pixel 2 XL is troubling.
Now, don’t get sassy in the comments if you bought one of these and you are itching to defend it. I am not one of those folks who holds the screen an inch from my eye looking for problems to complain about, I am really not.
But it does seem to me that when you combine the ghosting with the low saturation and the blue shift issues, you would have to tie yourself into a Windsor knot to argue that this display is a good one, it is just not.
Fortunately, if you decide the display is something you can live with, the phone behind it it is outstanding. That starts with the same well-oiled Android experience that made last year’s Pixel so intoxicating.
That excellent software is backed up by pretty decent battery life, too. In a week of testing I think I have seen the low power warning once. More often, I am ending the day with around 30% left in the tank.
With average screen on time trending toward four hours. That is on a typical day in which I play lot of games and watch videos.
The best endurance I got came on a lighter day consisting mainly of surfing Reddit for hours with the display at low brightness. That kind of usage got me to eight hours of screen on time.
Side not folks, that inconsistency is the reason I seldom give screen on time figures. It’s just as deceptive a metric as any other. It depends entirely on usage. So let’s stop treating it like some objective bench mark.
Anyway, the bottom line is that the bigger battery delivers. If you want endurance and you want a Pixel too, I would recommend at least considering the Google Pixel 2 XL.
Whichever one you buy, the camera is the same and, yep, it’s excellent. Side by side with a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the Pixel’s computational edge pulls more light from the shadows and preserves more dynamic range and highlights with less noise to boot.
Also, the camera can extrapolate depth information from the censor and blur the background for portrait shots. I am not a big fan of these and the result is hit and miss about on par with the iPhone and Note 8.
But remember, that’s using one camera instead of two which is pretty impressive just from a nerdy standpoint. During my time with the phone, I ended up checking many more portraits with the selfie camera.
This relies exclusively on computational tricks but I was surprised how often it worked and worked well. In video, the phone features excellent stability.
Thanks to a combination of EIS and the new optical stabilization system. Colours tend to be over saturated though with the tendency to favour the blue green side of the spectrum in at least a few examples.
Other times, of course, that punchines works to the scenes benefit. There are no built in manual controls and only a sprinkling of features over all. Google seems to want users to trust the camera in an automatic mode and in theory, it should get even better over time.
There’s a whole chunk of silicone called the Pixel visual core sitting inert inside these phones. Waiting to be activated with the feature software update. That should provide faster and better HDR+ performance.
Before we bring it home, let’s round up the details. Squeezing the phone for Google assistant is pretty cool but squeezing it when you don’t mean to is really annoying. I love that the phone will automatically ID music it
hears playing in the background.
But don’t expect it to work in loud environments. Like a busy bar where you hear a lot of music you probably want identified. And noise cancellation on phone calls, on the other hand, is very good.
I love the feeling of the new hybrid coating on the chassis which is at once smooth and gripy but the aluminium underneath means wireless charging is out. That’s a shame.
|Network Support||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE|
|SIM Type||Dual Nano SIM Cards (Dual Stand-by)|
– AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
– 5.0 inches, 68.9 cm2 (~67.9% screen-to-body ratio)
– 1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~441 ppi density)
Pixel 2 XL
– P-OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
– 6.0 inches, 92.6 cm2 (~76.4% screen-to-body ratio)
– 1440 x 2880 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~538 ppi density)
– Funtouch OS 3.2Corning Gorilla Glass 5
– Always-on display
– 100% DCI-P3 coverage
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835|
|Processor||Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)|
|RAM||4 GB RAM|
|Memory||64/128 GB Internal
microSD Slot Not available
|Camera||Primary: 12.2 MP, f/1.8, OIS, phase detection & laser autofocus, dual-LED flash
Features: 1/2.6″ sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
Secondary: 8 MP, f/2.4, 1/3.2″ sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size, 1080p
Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720p@240fps
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 2700 mAh battery (Pixel 2)
Non-removable Li-Ion 3520 mAh battery (Pixel 2 XL)
|Sensors||Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Operating System||Android 8.0 (Oreo)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth v5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
GPS with with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector (PowerDelivery 2.0)
No FM Radio
|Special Features||– MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.265 player
– MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+/FLAC player
– Photo/video editor
– Document editor
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– Type-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter
The Google Pixel 2 XL costs between 55,000 to 60,000 inr. and I’m divided about whether it’s worth it. On the one hand, Google does not deserve a pass for shipping displays with these issues on a product this expensive.
Particularly considering for the same money, you could get a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with basically the best display that’s ever been put on a phone. But people buy the Google Pixel for an excellent software experience.
More so than for perfect hardware so if you’re one of those folks, consider that the smaller Google Pixel 2 has a display that’s free of many of the defects of the Google Pixel 2 XL and it starts at a much more reasonable 42,000 inr.
As for my opinion, well I like keeping the Google 2 XL because the display issues don’t really bother me. unless I will go looking for them and they don’t bug me enough in any case to sacrifice the bigger battery, slicker looks, and that panda paint job.
Not the best reasons, I admit, and I will probably feel differently after a year of burn-in. In the mean time, if you’re on the fence and you wanna hold off a bit, no one could blame you for biding your time.
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