Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 are here at last. The search giant’s latest smartphones offer a series of updates compared with last year’s models, aiming to peg back Apple’s iPhone as well as show the way for rival Android manufacturers.
So, what’s new? And when can you lay your hands on one of these headline–grabbing handsets?
Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2.
Headphone slot begone
Perhaps the biggest change with the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 is Google’s decision to ditch the standard headphone slot. It means the Big G has followed Apple in trying to force users to switch to wireless headphones.
While there’s a dongle bundled with both phones allowing for the use of older earbuds, Google’s move is likely to herald a wider shift among smartphone makers.
Like Apple, Google has launched a pair of its own wireless headphones. Dubbed Pixel Buds, they work with Google Assistant and can translate 40 languages, costing £159.
Squeeze for assistance
Long rumoured, this core feature allows Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 to squeeze the side of their phone to bring up Google Assistant without using the ‘OK Google’ command.
Squeezable handsets are nothing new. HTC, which has made the Pixel 2 for Google, included the tech in its U11 smartphone earlier this year.
The question remains as to whether this will become standardised across the industry, or remain a gimmick that doesn’t make it into 2018’s models.
Google has made a big deal of the fact that, screen resolution and size aside, both the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 have the same features. This is designed to show up Apple, which offers premium specs with its larger iPhone 8 Plus that aren’t included in the iPhone 8.
It means that both Google phones have the same top–end Qualcomm chipset, 64GB or 128GB storage, a Shazam–like music tracking feature and always–on display for time and notifications.
Both devices also feature the same camera...
No dual lens, no problem
The 12.2-megapixel camera on the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 is only single lens. But with optical image stabilisation and a wide f/1.8 aperture, plus Google’s software nous, its skills are likely to be every bit as good as the dual lens effort found on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
Portrait Mode works on both the front and rear cameras, meaning selfies will look ultra-sharp too.
Pre–orders good to go, including a freebie
Google has already opened pre–orders for both the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2. The former starts at £629 SIM–free for a 64GB model, rising to £729 for a 128GB edition, with a shipping date of 17th October.
The Pixel XL 2 costs £799 for 64GB and £899 for 128GB, although the larger phone is not due to be available for around six weeks.
Those who pre–order will get a free Google Home Mini smart speaker.