Even though more Android OEMs than ever before are using stock Android or near-stock Android software, the ecosystem remains highly fragmented. Every year Google releases its own Pixel phones to deliver premium and uncompromised experience to Android loyalists with a promise of up to 3 years of prompt software updates. This year, the Pixel 2 XL is the bigger of the two pixel phones and the only one with an 18:9 display. Is it the best Android phone that you can buy this year? Let’s try and answer that with our Pixel 2 XL full review.
Key Specifications of Pixel 2 XL:
|Model||Google Pixel 2 XL|
|Display||6 inch Quad HD+ pOLED display with 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|Processor||Octa Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor|
|Camera||12.2 MP rear and 8 MP front camera|
|ROM||64GB / 128GB|
|Software||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Dimensions and Weight||157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm and 175 grams|
|Price||73,000 INR/82,000 INR|
Design and Build
Front facing speakers are quite rare in this design and we are glad that Google for one has opted for front facing speakers to give you an immersive audio experience while watching videos or playing games. The bezels around the display are still narrow, and the 18:9 panel looks quite appealing.
On the rear, Google is holding to the two-tone pairing that tastefully combines metal and glass. This is something that makes the Pixel phones unique. It looks a lot better in person than it does in pictures. The metal back of the phone has a plastic finish that makes the phone comfortable to grip. The metal side frame further lends it a solid feel.
These sides can also detect your squeezes (Active Edge) and can be used to trigger Google Assistant, and that feels more natural that voice prompt or long-press of the home button. Also, the phone is IP67 water and dust resistant.
The Pixel 2 XL is fairly ergonomic and feels like a refreshing change of pace. We can see that many would consider Samsung’s design language as more premium, but overall we totally agree with all Google design-related decisions, except for the missing audio jack, as the Pixel phones are quite comfortable to handle.
The Pixel 2 XL has been mired in controversy ever since it was launched, all because of its display. Apart from screen burn-in, there is a color shift and a few other display issues that you need to be wary of.
The LG sourced 6-inch AMOLED display has 2K resolution. We don’t mind the natural (or muted) color tone of the display panel, but the color fading is quite unpalatable. There is no excuse for the problematic display at these prices and the display shall remain the major peeve point of the Pixel 2 XL.
Having said that, the Pixel 2’s 5-inch screen, which has no such issues, is just too small for our taste and if we had to go with one of the two, we’d be more inclined to opt for the XL variant in spite of the display flaws. After few days of usage, you will barely notice or feel any issue with the display.
Performance and Software
The Pixel 2 XL is powered by Snapdragon 835 processor paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB/128GB storage. The handset is remarkably fast and smooth. The well-optimized software ensures that you get the best possible Android experience.
The phone is running latest Android Oreo and will get the next two Android version upgrades as well. Google also offers 2 years of global warranty with Pixel phones and thus you will be well covered for the next two years.
The software running on the phone is mostly stock Android with a few enhancements. Pixel phones bring forth a new Android launcher and also have Google Lens support. These aren’t big changes but it’s nice to have a few extra perks nonetheless.
You will regularly get security updates and at least 1 major Android version upgrade on the device.
We have often maintained that the flagship phones are defined by their cameras. By that yardstick, the Pixel 2 XL is the veritable king of the hill. The camera on the phone is just flawless and the best one that we have used on any phone so far.
Images clicked in low light or outdoors have stunning details and accurate colors. Google has also managed to deliver the best portrait mode on any phone just by using one camera sensor. Even the selfie camera can shoot amazing portraits. To get the best results, all you have to do is effortlessly point and shoot. And you get to keep unlimited images shot by Pixel 2 XL on your Google Drive for free!
This is certainly the best available camera out there and one of the primary reasons why people will be buying Pixel phones this year.
Battery, Price, and Verdict
The 3520mAh battery on the Pixel 2 XL can easily last for a day of heavy usage. Fast charging is also supported. The 64GB storage variant costs Rs. 73,000 and the 128GB storage variant has been priced at 82,000. That pretty much makes Pixel 2XL one of the most expensive Android phone you can buy.
Yes, the experience is indeed premium and Yes, the handset does feel overpriced. At the same time, Google is offering features that you won’t get on any smartphone out there (including the best camera experience) and it’s for you to decide if you are willing to pay the price. According to us, if you are looking for a flagship smartphone with the best camera in the market, go for Pixel 2 XL.