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Hands On Review: Google Pixel 2 XL

It comes time once again, New Year new phone. That is if it’s your time to upgrade to something new. Today I will give you my opinions of the new Google Pixel 2 XL. In the past I was strictly an Android phone user. Recently, I have made the dreaded switch to Apple, but my heart still truly lies with Android OS. Let’s dive right in with out of the box views.

 

First Impressions

Right out of the box it was clear that this phone was taking the best of multiple others and combining it into its own new thing. The screen appeared to have a minimal bezel, a unique charging port, a fingerprint scanner placed on the back side, all the buttons on one side and the removal of the headphone jack just like Apple. 

The textured backing provided a sleek look with a hint of a nice grip. The sides are curved and give you a nice ability to hold it without the fear of it slipping out. The front has the minimal bezel which houses 2 front facing speakers, one in the top and one in the bottom. This has always been one of my favorite features when it comes to audio. 

Enough with the looks, lets turn this bad boy on!

Screen

Google didn’t follow suit with other companies in their decision of displays. Most other phones are going with the Super AMOLED to really broadcast their colors and images. Google chose to feature their device with a P-OLED display which is somewhat noticeable with certain angles and webpages that are mainly white.

Always On Display

It by no means ruins the phone or makes it any less amazing. No phone is ever perfect and this is their small mistake. For the every day user the difference will not be noticed nor effect you in any way. Movies are beautiful, pictures come out clearer than ever before and games are stunning. Plus being able to view a movie on a flight with a magnificent 6.0 inch screen is something to boast about on its own. 

Home Screen

Another amazing idea is the always on display. The phone keeps the time displayed and a notification bar at all times. This is probably one of the simplest yet most incredible features. I’m personally not a fan of having to lift my phone or turn it on to see the time or notifications that I have. The time is displayed very lightly to not drain the battery or light up a room when you’re trying to sleep. There is also a music feature available. The always on display is always listening for music, so when a song is playing it will display the song title on screen without even having to prompt it. 

Internals

Obviously with such a large device and a vivid display Google would choose nothing but the best. Currently we are running Android 8.0 Oreo, packed with 4 GB of RAM (more ram than in my desktop, sad face), a 3520 mAh battery and a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 83 2.35Ghz + 1.9Ghz, 64Bit Octa-Core. The charger is also designed to give you a quick charge of 7 hours in 15 minutes. 

I’ve read a lot of reviews and written quite a few in my life. For those of you who aren’t obsessed with phones and computers but want to know what this all means. Basically, this phone is built for speed and processing. It is designed with insides that will make your apps load quickly, allow your phone to maintain its original speed even after months of use and adding apps to it. A lot of phones will be super quick when you first get them but will “bog” down after months of use. The Pixel 2 XL is built to last and designed to keep the original speed. The added benefit of this phone is it will be the first of the phones to receive Androids next 3 big updates. 

The battery life on this is also great. I was able to go all day without having to touch a charger. One day when I was putting the phone through heavy uses I did have to plug it in around 6:30pm because I was at the 5% mark. Normal days however I can end the day at about 10-15%. 

Camera

Below you will find pictures that I took in different situations with my review unit. The Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 2 have the same camera built into both phones. This is a stellar choice to offer the same hardware for both sizes. Rear camera boasts a 12.2 MP while the front is 8 MP. 

Emperor Zurg

Rear camera is capable of shooting 4k at 30 fps, however, I would recommend using the 1080p at 60 fps if you are shooting video with more movement going on. They also feature an autofocus with laser + dual pixel phase detection and Optical + electronic image stabilization. Fancy mumbo jumbo that tells you your pictures will be clear even if you’re shaking from the latest snow storm. The photos will allow you to blur the background if you are focusing on a close target and allows distant targets to come in beautifully clear as well. 

Baby Christmas Trees

To top it off their Auto-HDR+ function is what packs all the details inside. This tool they included is what gives you all the different levels for your pictures. It allows the phone to determine the best exposure, lighting settings and take multiples with one click. The Auto HDR+ is truly the cameras brainchild.

Happy Couple Shot In Dark Setting

Additional Features

Alright, now that we’ve covered the main points I want to discuss the added features that really give you the benefits. A neat little feature that I never expected to love is the Google Assistant. With the Pixel 2 if you squeeze the sides of the phone in your hand it will automatically bring up Google Assistant for all of your needs. Once again, the scanner being on the rear is an excellent change of pace from the over used home button. Google took away the physical home button and put it on screen. They did this without it taking up too much of the screen and allowing you to still swipe up to access your app drawer with no issues. 

Backside and Fingerprint Scanner

I briefly discussed the quick charge feature earlier. You can go from 0%-50% in about 30 minutes, and from 0%-100% in a little over an hour. I had to charge the phone once during the day while I was testing with heavy use. Just like Apple, they did remove the headphone jack and gave you an adapter if you still use the 3.5mm headphones. This isn’t an issue for me because I have bluetooth headphones and bluetooth speakers in the house which I would highly recommend because more people will be removing those jacks. 

Side View Of Buttons

The screen is Gorilla Glass which as you know is the strongest you get. Pixel is designed to be IP67 water and dust resistant. Basically what this means is your phone is protected in water up to 1m(3ft) deep for up to 30 minutes. If you happen to jump in the pool, drop it in the bathtub or spill a tall boy on it you will be okay. Finally the colors! You can pick this phone up in Just Black, Clearly White, or Kinda Blue. Yes these are the actual color names Google chose. 

Verdict

Overall, I feel that Google knocked this one out of the park. Out of all the phones that I have seen released and set to be released(hint hint), the Google Pixel 2 XL is the best choice available. The phone is built to maintain its original quality months after use, Google created a smooth look and feel while still offering a protected casing, the camera has superior features that allow you to take absolutely stunning photos in multiple different settings, the battery will last even a heavy user, the display even though not Super AMOLED is still an excellent choice and honestly their only downfall which I use the word lightly. Coming in three different color schemes, with a 64GB or 128GB option and a backside fingerprint scanner, this phone is built for love. 

If I were in the market for a new phone that I wanted to last the test of time, this is the phone I would be buying in a heart beat. Retail pricing is $849.99 with monthly payment plans as low as $22.91 per month on the nations best network Verizon Wireless

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Ty Pier

I am the Co Owner/Podcast Producer here at Cerebral Overload. I have been involved in the online media since 2011 and happily get to work with two of my best friends every day. I currently reside in Findlay OH, I have a dog (Emperor Zurg) and a cat (Anastasia Beaverhausen). I am always up to speak to our readers or get down on some Xbox Live (Black Person686). Feel free to give us a shout and check out our podcast!

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