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Google Pixel 2: Detailed Review

Pixel 2 is Google’s answer to iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8. At first, Pixel 2 might look simple, but Google is offering its best Android experience with this phone

Google is back with its second generation smartphone Pixel 2. The phone is exclusively available on Flipkart in India. It is priced at Rs 61,000 for 64 GB and Rs 70,000 for 128 GB variant.

Pixel 2 is Google’s answer to iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The phone might look simple at first glance, however, Google is offering its best Android experience with this phone.

Design 
Pixel 2 comes in three colours - just black, clearly white, and kinda blue.

The phone has aluminium unibody design, however, it doesn’t feel like one. Google has covered all hybrid coating which gives the rear of the phone a textured plastic like feel that makes it nice to hold. This aluminium body does not makes it prone to scratches, and the phone does not feel slippery.

In contrast to the metal body at the back, there is a ‘shade’ covering the camera and flash. The fingerprint sensor is placed at the perfect position and it’s easy to unlock the phone easily.

Below the ‘shade’ is very fast fingerprint sensor which is placed at the right spot. Whenever you will hold the phone, your index finger will automatically reach there.

On the left, you will find the power button and exactly below that, there are the volume rockers. By double clicking the power button, you can open the camera app. With the volume buttons you can also click pictures.

On the left is the SIM card tray which supports single (nano) SIM. At the bottom is the USB Type-C port with which you can charge the phone.  

The phone feels very light to hold as it weighs only 143 grams.

No Headphone Jack

Following the trend, Google has also ditched the 3.5mm audio-jack and the audio is routed through a headphone adaptor. Also, you won’t find earbuds in the box though it comes with a connector for your 3.5mm audio-jack but you will still question Google - why just why?

Better option is to buy a USB Type-C headphone or Bluetooth ones.

Unlike last year’s Pixel handset, the second gen Pixel is IP67 water and dust resistance, which means it can withstand 1.5 metres of water for up to 30 minutes.

Processor, Software, and Storage

The first thing we all do with a new phone is to transfer our data from the old phone, which is a hectic process. With Pixel 2, you will get a quick switch adaptor where you have to plug in the cable and connect your old phone with the Pixel 2 and Voila! Within 10-12 minutes your Pixel 2 will have all the data, apps, photos, music and videos.

The second-gen Pixel smartphone is powered by a 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-core processor coupled with 4GB RAM.

Last year, Google introduced the Pixel with latest Snapdragon chipset but with its successor- the Pixel 2, they have failed. The Snapdragon 835 chipset is already featured in smartphones like OnePlus 5, Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, Nokia 8 and many more.

Well these specs doesn’t look great on the sheets but once you use this little smartphone, you won’t find any flaws in its performance. Be it multitasking, switching between apps or playing games, this smartphone works smoothly. There’s no doubt that Pixel 2 is one of the fastest phone out there in the market.

Pixel 2 runs on latest Android 8.0 Oreo and will be getting OS, security updates from Google for next three years.

The Google search bar has moved at the bottom of the screen which makes it more convenient to use. You will also notice live wallpapers which is a part of Google’s ‘Living Universe’ wallpaper collection. The background automatically changes to dark and white shades depending on the wallpaper you chose. 

Connectivity options are- dual-band WI-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 + LE, GPS, USB Type-C, GLONASS, and NFC.

The calls made from this phone were good but there was a ticking sound coming out from the earpiece. Google has fixed the issue after an update and the disturbance has vanished.

Pixel 2 comes in two storage options of 64GB and 128GB; there is no MicroSD card slot so the storage is not expandable. If you think 64GB storage is not enough then you need not to worry, Google is offering unlimited storage for your photos and videos.

Display

Talking about the display, Pixel 2 features a 5-inch FHD (1920x1080) AMOLED display with 2.5D curved glass and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Unlike its big brother Pixel 2 XL, which features an edge-to-edge display with lesser bezels, this handset is bezel heavy. Google has included front-firing stereo speakers on the phone. The sound is very loud and the quality still very high so it’s a joy to watch videos and play games.

The display is vibrant and colourful but is not as great as other smartphones in this category. The bezels are noticeably big and 2017 is the year for smartphones with larger screen-to-body ratios. The only drawback with the display is its bezel and it doesn’t make Pixel 2 stand out from other devices in this category. The thing with larger bezels in the phone looks strange for an hour, after that you will love the phone.

There is an all new always-on display which shows date & time, notification icons, and you can also double tap on the screen to wake up the phone. Ambient display feature is very useful and you can just take a look at your phone and get to know about notifications and time without even touching it.

There is also facial recognition in the phone which lets you unlock the device though Google itself says that this feature is not so secure and users should rely on PIN or fingerprint sensor.

Camera

The main highlight of Pixel 2 is its camera; even DxOMark Mobile has given the highest rating to second-gen Pixel smartphone. According to DxO, Pixel 2’s camera is better than iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The camera of Pixel 2 excels in all conditions be it indoors, outdoors or low light, you won’t be disappointed.

The handset sports a 12.2-megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus + dual pixel phase detection, OIS, EIS, and f/1.8 aperture. It records 4K videos @ 30fps, 1080p @ 30fps, 60fps, and 120fps. On the front is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter with fixed focus and f/2.4 aperture, it is capable of shooting 1080p videos @ 30fps.

The camera app comes with Portrait mode which works with both front and rear camera. Thanks to the phone’s software prowess, Portrait mode works like magic.

The camera on this phone uses dual pixel technology which is based on machine learning; I won’t go in details, but will definitely tell you that this camera is just amazing.

Well you might be wondering that all flagship devices have dual cameras at the back- be it iPhone 8 Plus or Samsung Galaxy Note 8 then why Google has only one? Well Google didn’t follow the trend of having dual cameras and showed that its single camera can perform much better than the others. 

Google has designed the new Pixel Visual Core co-processor which enables Pixel 2 to take amazing photos. HDR+ is the technology which makes the camera to take excellent pictures from dimly lit sky to bright sunny day.

The HDR+ is always on but you can disable/enable it from the camera settings. There’s also HDR+ enhanced mode which is useful in difficult lighting conditions. When using the camera of this phone, I would prefer you not to change anything and let it work on HDR+ mode. 

There’s also motion photos which means you’ll get movable photos just like Apple’s Live photos.

I used Pixel 2 and is it the best camera phone around? Yes it is the best camera smartphone.




Google Lens

There is the Google Lens feature which was announced earlier this year. When you click a picture, Google Lens identifies and gives information about the object in the picture like- telephone number, address, e-mail address, websites, monuments and much more. This feature is available in the Photos app which means it works only with clicked pictures. To use this feature, click a picture, open it and you’ll find a lens like icon. After clicking it Google will identify the object in the image.

Google lens is pretty good while identifying the numbers, addresses or websites and even identifies items like bags or food but many times it gave no descriptions at all. It would be great when Google lens will be featured in the camera app.

Squeeze Feature

The new Pixel smartphone comes with ‘Active Edge’ feature which allows users to launch Google Assistant by squeezing the device which is a pretty similar feature with that of HTC’s Edge Sense. You can also adjust the intensity of squeeze - how hardly or softly you want to squeeze. The only limitation is we can’t use the ‘Active Edge’ feature for other purposes which HTC U11 with its ‘Edge Sense’ can.

Along with this feature, you can also open Google Assistant by long pressing the home button or by saying ‘OK Google’.

Battery

Pixel 2 is backed by a 2700mAh battery which delivers up to 7 hours of power after 15 minutes of charge. The phone reaches from 0 to 100 per cent in less than one and a half hour. The phone supports Rapid Charging.

The battery backup- how is it? You will need to charge the phone once in a day if you are a normal user who surfs on web, watches some videos or plays game including some calling or texting. If you use more than that, I’ll recommend you to carry your charger along.

‘Now Playing’ Feature

Google has introduced music detection feature which constantly runs on background. Whenever there’s a song playing in background (for example car or room), its name appears on the display automatically and this feature also works offline.

To enable this feature you have to go to Sound Settings and enable Now Playing feature. You can also ask Google Assistant- ‘Which song is this?’ and it will tell you which song is playing.

The feature also identifies most of the Bollywood songs too. However if you will try it with Punjabi songs, you will be disappointed.

Price and Availability In India

Pixel 2 is exclusively available on Flipkart in India. It is priced at Rs 61,000 for 64GB and Rs 70,000 for 128GB variant.

Conclusion

Unlike its bigger sibling the Pixel 2 XL, this phone did not indulge any sort of controversies and apart from that ticking sound through earpiece which is now resolved, this phone is flawless.

 If you want to experience Google’s handset you should probably go with the regular Pixel 2, why?

I know Google is working on the issues that occurred in Pixel 2 XL but why buy that when you can go with the better one. Anyway the only difference between the two is the display and that’s the department where Pixel 2 XL lacked due to screen burning and unsaturated colours issues.

Is it a good buy in this price range? Yes it definitely is. On taking the first look at Pixel 2, you’ll think there’s nothing revolutionary with this phone but trust me the more you’ll use it the more you’ll love it. 

Pixel 2 is more of a genuine phone rather than having unnecessary features, it excels in every department which a smartphone user demands. Google doesn’t believe in making revolutionary hardware instead they focus on software which makes Pixel 2 an amazing phone.

Which variant is suitable? I think 64GB variant will be sufficient for most of us given the fact that Google is offering unlimited storage for original quality photos and videos.

Both smartphones feature same camera setup and are same on performance. The major difference is among their display size which is easily noticeable. Display is the only major difference which might compel buyers to look towards Pixel 2 XL instead of regular Pixel 2. You will have to spend more than 11 grands to for the better display. The price difference in both 64GB and 128GB variant is more than 12 grands; this is the amount if you want the larger pixel with better display and everything else is pretty same. 




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