This week is truly an auspicious day for fans of smartphones. The Google Pixel 2 and the Google Pixel XL 2 were announced, to much fanfare.
Of course, recently, Apple opened pre-orders for their not-iPhone-X new phone, the iPhone 8. So which is going to be better?
Google Pixel 2 launch event
Google held the launch event for the Google Pixel 2 on 4 October at 9am PST (San Francisco), 12pm EST (New York), 5pm BST. In a rather fun and helpful way, this was a year to the day since Google announced their original Pixel smartphone.
While that made it a kick in the teeth for anyone hoping for a bit of longevity for their smartphones, at least we didn’t have to do Apple-style calculations to work out when the release date will be.
Last year, the Google Pixel was revealed on 4 October and went on sale on 20 October. Simple.
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This year, the launch event is also on 4 October and the release date is 19 October for the Pixel, the bigger Pixel XL will come later. Evidently people just can’t wait the extra day to get their hands on the new phone.
Interestingly, that is just a week before iPhone X pre-orders open, so it might work in Google’s favour to release the Pixel 2 a little earlier.
Answers are coming. October 4. pic.twitter.com/3CQrBcwi47
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) September 14, 2017
What features are available on the Google Pixel 2?
The Google Pixel might not have set the smartphone world ablaze in quite the same way as the iPhone or even the Samsung Galaxy, but it was still a great little phone. Reviewers loved the sleek design, the truly incredible cameras, and the smooth running of the device.
It looks like the Pixel 2 is going to continue that trend.
The Google Event on 4 October 2017 confirmed a lot of cool features that we’d heard about in rumours! You can find everything they confirmed below:
The phone will work towards being a cleverer, more thoughtful device. For example, your phone could show notifications for doctor’s appointments differently to notifications from friends. The aim is for the phone to anticipate your needs.
The phone’s camera will be able to detect separate objects within photographs. For example, your phone will know the difference between several objects in the foreground of an image, and an object in the background.
Google’s voice assistant has got even better. Around 100,000,000 new answers have been added to the assistant. Plus, there’s new family features which can give your kids science quizzes, play games, or even tell them stories.
Top quality camera
The camera will smooth out pictures and videos and brighten them up. It’ll use AI to work out the best way to optimise your pictures. The original Google Pixel featured 12.3MP rear cameras and an 8MP front-facing camera: a tough act to follow. Accordingly, Google haven’t attempted to better themselves. The cameras are the same but optimization has been vastly improved so the pictures will be even better. The camera has a 98 DxO score. That sounds like gibberish to non-techy people, but it’s basically a score of how good the camera is. When it came out, the original Google Pixel got an 89 DxO score, the best score of any camera phone. This means the Google Pixel 2 can now claim that title with a sizeable step up. If you buy the Pixel 2 you’ll also get unlimited photo and video cloud storage at full resolution until 2021.
A QHD screen
Unfortunately, the screen isn’t end-to-end like the iPhone X. Still, it’s a big screen similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8. The screen will have 1920×1080 resolution, coming in at around 441ppi. That’s about halfway between HD and 4K, so it’s nothing to be sniffed at. The screen is supposed to be pretty big too. The Pixel will come with a 4.97-inch screen, while the Pixel XL will have a 5.99-inch screen. The screen is always on too, providing a variety of helpful information such as the clock. If the phones hear’s music in your vicinity it’ll tell you what’s playing so you don’t have to look it up! Very handy.
Rear-facing finger print scanner
Finger print scanners are all well and good, but they’re a bit fiddly when you consider how most people actually pick up their phones. A rear-facing scanner on the back of the phone actually might make more sense. Google claims their scanner is the fastest finger print scanner ever seen.
Glass and metal design
It’s gonna look pretty similar to the last one. It’s also supposed to be very water and dust resistant, though not waterproof. It’ll come in three colours, Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue. The Pixel XL will come in just the former two shades.
No headphone port
Despite mocking them last year, Google has ‘done an Apple’ and ditched the headphone jack. However, like Apple you will still be able to connect headphones via a variety of other methods including the USB port. Google is also debuting wireless headphones but their interesting conceit is that Google Translate is built in and will translate people speaking a different language in real time!
A powerful battery
Google are marketing this as an ‘all day’ battery, that should last a full 24 hours off a full charge with normal usage. They also claim that a 15 minute charge will give you seven hours of battery life. Unfortunately, wireless charging is not supported.
HTC has been confirmed to be working with Google, particular building the Pixel 2. As a result, it includes one of the major features of the brand’s own new phone, the HTC U11 – squeezy sides. You could soon be able to squeeze the sides of the phone to launch Google Assistant and doing a few other neat tricks, without having to open the phone.
How much will Google Pixel 2 cost?
The original Google Pixel cost £599 for the 32GB model or £699 for the 128GB one. Alternatively, the Pixel XL cost £719 for the 32GB one and £819 for 128GB. Premium prices for premium products.
Still, compared to other phones, that is eye-wateringly expensive. Sure, the iPhone X is going to cost £999+ but Apple has been in this industry for ten years. They have a reputation. After two years, can Google really get away with charging that much, especially if they want people to ditch their Samsung Galaxys and iPhones and jump ship?
With that in mind, some hoped Google would debut the Pixel 2 for a slightly cheaper price. After all, if they released a fully-featured top-of-the-line smartphone at a budget price, why the heck wouldn’t people be lining up to get their hands on it?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The Pixel will cost £629/$649 for the 64GB model and £729/$749 for the 128GB. The Pixel XL will cost £799/$849 for 64GB and £899/$949 for 128GB. We’re not sure how Google worked out that exchange rate, but you can probably blame Brexit.
As with most upgrades, more expensive tech is at play, hence the premium price point. In addition, Google probably needed to charge a little more so that Pixel-owners didn’t feel cheated by the cheaper, better new version. Still, it’s a bit of an annoyance that they’re charging so much for a relatively untested product.
Google Pixel 2 vs iPhone X
So, the question that will be on everybody’s lips is this: can Google Pixel 2 stack up against the iPhone X? The answer is potentially.
The thing is, Apple’s iPhone X isn’t actually that cutting edge. Sure, facial recognition is cool but Samsung did it back in April. Again, Samsung beat Apple to the punch with the huge widescreen too. Animojis are awesome, but they look like a fun gimmick you’ll use for two weeks then never look at again.
As mentioned at the Google Event, most smartphones are reaching parity in terms of technology.
Neither the Google Pixel 2 or the iPhone X are offering anything spectacularly different in terms of hardware. The real battleground is for user-friendly features and AI features.
The iPhone X is a great phone, but in all the hype, it’s easy to miss the fact that it hasn’t really pushed the boundaries. The cameras aren’t much better than Google’s current Pixel, let alone the Pixel 2. The screen resolution is about the same as the rumours for the Pixel 2, Google’s assistant is just as good as, if not better than, Siri.
If you love everything Apple has to offer, it doesn’t look like Google Pixel 2 will do much to change your mind.
On the other hand, if you’re fine with saying farewell to Apple, Google Pixel 2 might offer basically the exact same experience in all the ways that count.
Plus, with Google Pixel 2, you’ve got Android and compatibility with all other Android devices. If you choose iPhone X, you’re stuck with Apple.
However, for all intents and purposes, the differences aren’t going to be that pronounced. Google hasn’t broken the wheel here. If you’re an Android fan, the Google Pixel 2 is the best phone for you. If you’re an Apple aficionado, there’s no real reason to make the switch.