The Pixel 2 is Google’s latest flagship smartphone. More specifically, it is the company’s second effort to be the best smartphone manufacturer on the market. Being equipped with outstanding cameras and powered by the latest Android operating system, the device has been able to draw a massive attention worldwide. However, it doesn’t come with several key trending features of today’s smartphones, including stylish design and a minimal amount of bezel. Despite having an uninspiring look, can the device compete against the major flagship phones, including the mighty Galaxy S8? Read this Google Pixel 2 review to find all the details.
Google Pixel 2 Review: Design
The Google Pixel 2 doesn’t have the attractive design that we wanted it to have. Unlike the counterpart, the Google Pixel 2 XL, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 smartphone, it has a huge chin and forehead on both sides of the display. It also has more bezels around the screen than the iPhone 8. As a result, despite being a 5-inch device, it doesn’t look small when compared to Apple’s 5.8-inch smartphone. So, the design looks very odd. Almost all the major smartphone manufacturers are using as less bezel as possible. It’s hard to believe that Google has made a completely different move while planning to conquer the smartphone market.
On the back, the story is completely different. The rear of the Pixel 2 is designed beautifully. The textured, stony black finish might look a bit strange at the first sight. But ultimately, you will fall in love with it. It looks absolutely fantastic. Unlike the other smartphones, the back is not a magnet for fingerprints. It is also far grippier than the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8. So, there are plenty of things to admire.
Like the other flagship phones, the Google Pixel 2 doesn’t come with any headphone jack. While the removal is trending, it is continuing to frustrate a huge number of users. Google might have decided not to incorporate it to make the device waterproof. But still, it is very disappointing. The Pixel 2 comes with IP67 certification, which means that it will survive under a meter of water for 30 minutes. However, there are devices on the market with better waterproofing capabilities, including Galaxy S8. Being IP68 certified, Samsung’s smartphone can be submerged under 1.5 meters of water for half an hour.
Google Pixel 2 Review: Display
There is nothing exciting in the 5-inch AMOLED display, which supports a resolution of 1080p. It results in a decent pixel density of 441 ppi, which is much higher than 326 ppi of the iPhone 8 display. However, it is too low in comparison with the 570 ppi of the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8.
The decent pixel density and AMOLED panel have enabled the 5-inch display to deliver a decent performance. It makes the color look more saturated and produces better contrast levels. The blacks look good. But still, the display is too far from being stunning.
You will find two display profiles in the phone’s settings. They are “standard” and “vibrant.” The former profile enhances the color accuracy. The latter mode tries to make everything look vibrant. However, sometimes, it makes the color oversaturated.
One of the biggest issues of the screen is the lack of support for HDR. So, you will never be able to see the HDR videos on Google Play Movies and YouTube. You will also miss HDR10 and Dolby Vision content from Amazon and Netflix. It is really disappointing. The big names in the smartphone industry, including Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30, come with displays supporting HDR. In this sense, Google has made an odd move with the exclusion.
The display has a maximum brightness of 410cd/m2, which is nowhere near to 569/m2 of the Galaxy S8 display. So, in the bright sunlight, you will definitely notice some screen shading. However, the display is still reasonably readable in the specific condition.
Google Pixel 2 Review: Camera
Similar to the predecessor, the Google Pixel 2 comes with the 12-MP rear camera. However, it has a wider lens aperture of f/1.8, which enables it to show a dazzling performance in the darker environment. It is able to capture images with an outstanding color accuracy. You will never notice the yellowish tint of the last year’s Pixel shooter, which frustrated a lot of users.
The 12-MP primary camera also shows a stunning performance in the good lighting condition. It can take outstanding shots with an amazing dynamic range and color saturation. The white balance looks more accurate than ever before. The inclusion of both the electronic and optical image stabilization ensures an incredible stability while taking shots.
Similar to the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8, the camera can take shots with the bokeh, a blurred background effect. You just need to activate the portrait mode. There is also an amazing option, called “motion photo.” It allows you to record a short video while taking still shots.
The 12-MP primary camera is better than the shooters of both the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8. It tops DXOMark’s chart of the best smartphone shooter on the market with 98 points. The phones of the two rival tech giants lag behind with 94 and 92 points respectively.
The video recording quality is not outstanding, but average. Despite covering a plenty of details while recording 4K videos, the 12-MP rear camera fails to maintain the optimal color level. We find the color being hyper-saturated.
Google Pixel 2 Review: Hardware and Performance
Similar to the other flagship Android phones on the market, the Google Pixel 2 has been packed with the powerful Snapdragon 835 processor and the advanced Adreno 540 GPU. As a result, it is able to run all the demanding apps and games flawlessly. The capacity of RAM (4GB) is less than the recently launched Galaxy Note 8 (6 GB). But you will find absolutely no issue with it. In fact, the performance of both the devices is pretty identical.
In the Geekbench 4 (multi-core) test, Google Pixel sets a great score of 6326 points, which is on par with 6411 points of the Galaxy Note 8. However, both of them lags far behind from the iPhone 8, which sets a record breaking score of 10,214 points.
Same thing happens in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark test. The Pixel 2 sets a great score of 39,267 points. The Galaxy Note 8 scores a slightly higher point of 40,543. On the other hand, iPhone 8 reigns supreme with a huge lead over its competitors. It scores 62,532 points.
The Google Pixel 2 is available in two internal storage options, including 64 GB and 128 GB. But it once again comes with no microSD card slot. So, you will definitely run out of space if you love to keep plenty of apps, games, photos and videos in your smartphone.
Google Pixel 2 Review: Battery and Charging
The Pixel 2 sports a 2,700 mAh battery. While the size is smaller than what it should be, the battery still manages to last a full-day with a heavy usage. And there are a number of tricks behind it.
The 1080p display is built in such a way that prevents it from burning a large amount of pixels, even though the brightness reaches its peak. It ensures that the charge is being consumed economically. The Snapdragon 835 chip is also very power-efficient. All these things help the battery to reserve the extra juices, which it can use to make a full-day with ease. And if it’s not enough, you can activate the battery saving option of Android Oreo, Google’s latest mobile operating system. However, Google still fails to beat the 3000 mAh battery of the Galaxy S8, which can survive about 2 days comfortably with a moderate usage.
The Google Pixel 2 can be charged very quickly. You can get the battery fully charged in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Thanks to the fast charging technology. However, it doesn’t support the wireless charging technology, which is really a shame.
Google Pixel 2 Review: Software
It’s quite impossible not to be impressed by the clean software experience that Pixel 2 offers. The introduction of Android 8.0 has taken the user experience to a whole new level. We had never experienced such an incredible smoothness in any mobile operating system. The Android 8.0 has been used in stock form in the device. So, you will not find any bloatware. And very soon, you will forgive Google for not using HDR display and microSD card slot in the smartphone.
The new operating system has brought several changes. The Google search box has been relocated below the icons. A new dynamic weather and calendar widget has been included, which changes with respect to your next appointments. A set of wonderful wallpapers automatically shuffles in the screen throughout the whole day.
An amazing option the software of Pixel 2 offers is the ability to squeeze the device to interact with the apps, similar to HTC U11. For instance, you can squeeze the bottom third of the sides to launch Google Assistant. You can modify the amount of pressure required to trigger it. However, the specific option is not available for any other app.
The most significant feature is the Google Lens. It is able to scan your photos and show you the most relevant information. For instance, if you take and scan a picture of a company’s billboard, the Lens will grab all the relevant information, including phone number and website. While the technology is really cool, there are some issues. For example, if there is a beard in the image, it will continue to frustrate you by showing “beards” as a search result. Moreover, the Lens is integrated with the Photos app, not with the camera. So, there is a plenty of room for improvement. However, the technology is new. It will be definitely evolve in a brilliant way in the near future.
Google Pixel 2 Review: The Verdict
The Google Pixel 2 is not an eye catching device. The uninspiring design prevents it from drawing your attention at the very first sight. But after using it for a few minutes, you will begin to fall in love with it. The phone performs brilliantly in running everything with an incredible smoothness. You will never experience any lagging. The 12-MP shooter is the best one in the market. It is able to outperform all of its rivals. The device doesn’t have some key features, including the microSD card slot and HDR display. However, that doesn’t prevent it from being highly admired.