I have been using the Google Pixel 2 now for 3 weeks now and it’s safe to say that this is my favorite Android phone, ever.
I say the Pixel 2 is my favorite because it is the best for me currently and after years of using Android this one ticks all of the “must have” boxes while delivering performance and amazing battery life. Let’s break it down
FYI I used this phone as my daily driver for the full 3 weeks. Mixed use on AT&T and WiFi while always connected to an Android Wear watch. It is the 64GB model.
Pixel 2 Hardware & Design
Now I am talking about the smaller Pixel 2 here and not the Pixel 2 XL which is a different beast made by a different company. On the outside seems more like a 2016 flagship. rather than Most of the other 2017 flagships have a tall aspect ratio including the XL. It has a HUGE forehead and chin, even compared to last years Pixels. There are also stereo front-facing speakers flanking the 5″ 16:9 display.
Going around back, we see a slight departure from last years Pixel. The aluminum body is covered with a matte black coating that is very resistant to fingerprints and feels great in hand. It inspires more confidence than more aluminum or glass devices and I quite like it. The fingerprint sensor is in the perfect location right where my finger normally rests. The new glass panel stars above the fingerprint sensor this year and rounds around the corners of the top of the phone. The camera has a slight bump this year which I don’t mind terribly and I like that it is not part of the back glass so if it cracks it will not mess with picture quality. Overall it feels more grown up and finished.
Let’s not forget that the Pixel 2 now has IP67 water and dust resistance! It was missing from last years Pixel but happy to see it here.
Even though Google lambasted Apple for losing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, Google got rid of it on this year’s Pixel. That’s right… I’m all about that dongle life now, for better or worst. For the most part, I don’t care. I mostly use Bluetooth headphones and speakers anyway but the option was nice. My favorite pair of headphone right now are the Sony MDR1000X noise-canceling headphones. If you must use wired there is the included USB-C to 3.5 dongle that now costs $9 to replace instead of $20. If you want to charge at the same time Google also offers the Moshi USB-C to 3.5mm adapter/charger for $45… ouch.
Lucky for us Google did something with that space savings. They gave us some excellent and loud stereo front facing speakers! I really love these and are great when consuming content. You can legit listen to music out of them when leaving it on a table and it does not sound that bad.
While the display on the Pixel 2 XL has been getting alot of negative attention for color shift, burn-in, and flat colors, the Pixel 2 has seen none of these issues. From day one I ran it on the “vivid” display mode and while maybe not as saturated as a Galaxy phone, it looks just fine. With a recent update, Goole has changed the color settings, now adding 3 modes, normal, boosted, and saturated. Boosted replaces vivid but looks just a bit more saturated but on the Pixel 2 saturated is a bit much for my eyes. On the Pixel 2 XL, it may be different. The Samsung made 1080p panel on this phone is better than last years. Gets plenty bright for me but I usually leave mine at 50% brightness 24/7.
Googles phones going back to the days of Nexus, have always been tops when coming to performance. With mostly stock Android, they have always been snappy. The Pixel 2 is the best yet. With the Snapdragon 835 and google slight tweaks, this phone absolutely screams! Never a slowdown and apps open in an instant. With 4gb of ram the apps I use most stay in memory without issue. Gaming is great because of the 1080p screen, the Adreno 540 has no problem pushing those pixels. I see this phone having no problem lasting 3 years. Speaking of which, Google guarantees 3 years of system updates. Thanks, G.
After seeing how well this phone performed, I was even more interested in battery life. With only a 2700mAh cell, you would think it may not be a battery superstar. You would be wrong because it has the best battery life of any phone of recent times. Google must be working some magic under the hood because I have never seen numbers like this. I regularly get 6.5 hours of screen-on time. I know this is now a scientific measurement but compare that to 4.5 on last years Pixel with the same use. This is with 5 google accounts and all of my social media accounts syncing. It’s actually amazing and I never have to worry about my phone dieing before the end of the day.
That Camera Though!
In the last couple generations, Google has upped its camera game 10 fold. Compared to what came before, The Nexus 6P and more so the 2016 Pixel had some amazing shooters. I would say that Pixel 2 has the best camera on any phone right now, including the iPhone X. HDR in photos and video is amazing. The selfie portrait mode blows the iPhone X out of the water. Combining EIS and OIS makes taking pictures in low light and shooting stable 4K a breeze. Check out the Pixel vs Pixel 2 video comparison as well as sample shots below.
I can absolutely recommend this phone to anyone. From an Android user to an iPhone user, Pixel makes it super easy to switch. Do I wish it had an 18:9 5.7″ screen in this form factor, yes but this phone has so much to like that I forget about it. I’m sure we will get it in the Pixel 3 anyway so, I can deal. I would say stick to the $649 64GB model as the jump to 128GB is $100 more. With free full-size photos and 4k video storage in Google Photos, you don’t need it unless you need all your music with you. To each their own. With a 2 year warranty and 3 years of guaranteed version updates that carry you to Android R (calling Reeses now), its a no-brainer.