Google Pixel 2 XL review: No Android phone camera comes close
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The Pixel 2 XL’s design is an evolution rather than a revolution. It has an aluminum unibody with an additional layer of coating that adds texture and improves grip too. But the flipside is that it somewhat takes away from the pure metal feel and the design isn’t exactly pretty. It tips the scales at 175g, yet feels quite light to hold and use.
The highlight of the phone is the 6-inch pOLED display (2,880x1,440 resolution). It has rounded screen corners, something rare in Android phones at this time. The display looks muted in terms of colour vibrancy in “natural” mode, but is quite accurate. There is the “saturated” mode option, if you prefer rich colours. However, the colours slightly change when you look at the screen from an acute angle (known as Display Shift), a glaring limitation of this display technology. Overall, the Pixel 2 XL’s screen is comfortable to use. Our test device did not suffer from any image burn-in issues, something this phone has been criticized for on social media by early adopters.
Google hasn’t taken any short-cuts with what’s under-the-hood. The Pixel 2 XL runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 4 GB RAM. It feels faster to use than many Android phones that have 6 GB RAM, and the key is the clean Android 8.0 (Oreo) software. The Pixel 2 XL is fast while running apps in split-screen mode, and scrolling through the interface is a delight. Battery life is quite robust too, and the 3,520mAh lasts a day and a half.
Photographers would appreciate the Pixel 2 XL’s brilliant camera. What you get is a 12.2-megapixel sensor, with the f/1.8 aperture and optical as well as electronic image stabilization. No Android phone camera comes close in terms of the dynamic range and colour accuracy. It uses a technology called Dual Pixel phase detection, which uses software image processing to judge the depth data, particularly useful for portrait photos—though we noticed that the background blurring in portrait photos was a bit inconsistent. The Pixel 2 XL has the Pixel Visual Core chip, which will make HDR photo processing significantly faster—it is currently deactivated, and will be enabled with the Android 8.1 update.
The Pixel 2 XL isn’t without shortcomings. It has no wireless charging, no expandable storage, and the Gboard keyboard app tends to freeze sometimes while using social media apps, but you will learn to live with these foibles. That is because what you get the rest of the time is a pristine mix of reliable performance, as well as an excellent camera.
Google Pixel 2 XL specifications:
Processor/RAM: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835; 4GB RAM
Display: 6-inch, pOLED display (2,880x1,440 resolution)
Camera: 12.2 MP
Battery: 3,520 mAh
Price: Rs73,000 (64 GB); Rs82,000 (128 GB)