The war between the smartphone giants is heating up. After two spectacular events by Samsung and Apple recently, it’s time to say hello to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL by Google. It yesterday pulled the curtain and showcased a whole new collection of smartphones, speakers and other gadgets. It again chose October to launch its devices ahead of the busy holiday season to cash on the big spending. But it was the second outing of Pixel phones who were the star attractions.
Google has unveiled the two phones hoping to get the major share of the market by introducing several new and exciting features. So it has decided to make an intersection between hardware, software and AI. Google believe that with AI features built into the phone, it can help you do more with these devices. But until the detailed reviews of the devices are out, we won’t be able to judge the phones on at least this aspect.
Google has positioned both the new phones as simply different sized versions of the same phone but upon a closer look, the reality is quite different. While the XL model has a curved screen with rounded corners and slim borders that make it feel like a flagship and justifies its heavy price tag of 850 dollars, Pixel 2 is flatter with a squarer body. Pixel 2 XL has been manufactured by LG while HTC is responsible for the smaller Pixel 2.
When it comes to hardware, both the Pixel phones boost of top of the line specs. With the use of latest Snapdragon 835 chipset; octa-core CPU (Kryo 280) and Adreno 540 GPU, it has flagship written all over it. And 4GB of RAM with 64GB or 128GB storage is another major plus-point. But the exclusion of a memory card slot will be missed by many.
In the second outing too, Google has not opted for a dual camera which is now becoming a feature for most of the flagship devices, it’s 12 megapixel sensor, OIS and aperture f/1.8 camera on the back and a 8 megapixel camera on the front. With a 98 score on DxO Mark rating, it can record video in stunning 4K resolution. An impressive camera technology in its phones has been incorporated by Google that’s not all about hardware. It’s the image processing after each image and stitching together multiple images to create a superb one that has made the difference.
The new Google lens lets you use it as an AR search tool. This works through automated object recognition using the AI technology that Google is touting as the next best thing. The camera has been optimized for AR use. The new portrait mode will be able to detect image layers, faces and figures.
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Google is touting the assistant as the big new feature that will make the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL a notch above the ordinary. While it was an important part of the original Pixel too, but now it’s more front and center here. Now it’s easier to access it with a feature called active Edge that lets you get to the Assistant with a squeeze of the phone’s sides. It is actually very responsive and the phone mic powerful enough to hear everything you say even in a whisper.
Google has ditched the 3.5 mm headphone jack just like Apple did it last year. And it received much flak for that. So it’s a strange decision to say the least. To compensate for this, Google pixel Buds are offered which are wireless headphones. The squeeze feature will also test the patience of users who will use it for the first time. No wireless charging is offered by Google this time too but it’s promising that a mere 15 minute charge will last for 7 hours.
Both the phones are water and dust resistant, another notable feature. OLED screens in the second outing now offer deeper blacks and a more dynamic picture.
Google has not just amp up the style factor but has made sure that it has more than lived up to the huge expectations of the fans of Pixel phones. A stellar camera, just like the original Pixel, a new design, state-of-the-art hardware and new additions like Google Assistant has really set the bar high for other companies.
I personally don’t feel that the new Pixel phones will be lapped up by everyone other than the die-hard fans. With lots of options available in the market, it is going to be a tough battle ahead for Google to persuade Samsung and Apple fans to try out Pixel phones which together command over 43% market share as of April, 2017. So effectively right now Google is in the “other” 57% of the devices which includes hundreds of brands. Their marketing and the quality of the devices will decide where Google will end up in the coming days.
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