Evan Blass has done it again. Following the weekend’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL specification motherlode and just 36 hours before the big launch, Blass has given us our best look yet at Google ’s new smartphones – and confirmed both are massive in very different ways…
Writing on VentureBeat Blass declared “These are the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL” and based on the high resolution images which match up exactly with previously leaks, I have no reason to doubt this. Blass also has a famously impressive track record behind him.
As for the images themselves, what is most striking is how massive the new Pixels are in entirely different ways. The Pixel 2 XL has a massive 6-inch display (up from 5.5-inches in the Pixel XL) while the Pixel 2 has disappointingly massive top and bottom bezels wrapping a 5-inch display just like its predecessor. Those bezels are sure to be the number one target for detractors everywhere.
Meanwhile Google also looks set to redesign the Android homescreen, putting the search bar at the bottom below the dock. I’d argue docked apps are used more often than Google searches and the bar is arguably unnecessary when the excellent Google Assistant can be called up from any location by holding the home button (or even squeezing the sides). So if this can’t be moved I suspect there could be another backlash.
But there is good news.
Firstly I think Google has nailed the size of the Pixel 2 XL. Made by LG, it mimics the superb 6-inch LG V30 and its new 18:9 aspect ratio means it will actually be shorter, narrower and therefore better for one handed use than the 5.5-inch Pixel XL. Secondly, Google has equipped both phones with dual front firing stereo speakers – a much loved feature that was controversially dropped after Google ended the Nexus range.
In addition to this the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will match the specs of most major 2017 Android flagships. Inside both new Pixels will be a Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 835 chip, 4GB of RAM, 64GB and 128GB storage options and 12 megapixel cameras. There is also talk of bigger batteries.
Interestingly Google hasn’t gone down the dual camera route of its rivals. But having raised the smartphone camera bar with the original Pixel and Pixel XL thanks to some truly remarkable image processing, hopes will be high Google can do it again with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
As for the bad news, Blass reveals Google had hoped to fit both new Pixels with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 836 chip (an iterative upgrade like the Snapdragon 821 chip in the 2016 Pixels). Meanwhile 6GB of RAM would’ve been nice in the Pixel 2 XL to compete with the OnePlus 5 and Galaxy Note 8, and Google has dropped the headphone jack just a year after its Pixel campaigns mocked Apple for doing the same thing.
Meanwhile Blass claims Google will stagger the release of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL with the former going on sale on October 19th but the latter delayed until November 15th. If true, this is a shame because the Pixel 2 XL will be the hot ticket item. Even if it won’t come cheap.
Then again the new Pixels could be well worth the wait because their promise of truly stock Android and instant updates makes them unique in the smartphone world. Last year this combination also delivered phones with a level of responsive real world performance no Android rival could match (and arguably still doesn’t).
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL won’t be the only new devices Google launches this week, but they are easily the most anticipated. That won’t change even if we now know almost everything…
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