Different screens and manufacturers: Google announces Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Different screens and manufacturers: Google announces Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL [Image: shironosov via iStock]

Google has officially announced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, along with a number of other products and devices.

The new smartphones – updates to Google’s 2016 Pixel and Pixel XL respectively – have seen several changes and new additions. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the new phones is that the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL were made by different manufacturers, with HTC behind the former and LG taking care of the latter.

The smaller Pixel 2 does not show much of an outward update, still featuring the larger bezels that seem to have fallen out of fashion in this year’s crop of new smartphones. However, where it is different is the lack of a headphone jack. This was surprising to many fans, who have long been in favour of the feature. Google will supply a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter with the phones but if you lose it, it’ll cost you around $20 (£15.22) to replace.

One big update that users have expressed their excitement over is the newly added water resistance. Both Pixel devices are now IP67 rated, meaning they’re protected from most typical water-related accidents – dropping it in a sink or puddle, for example – as well as dust.

The screens are perhaps the biggest difference between the two devices, with the LG-manufactured plastic OLED (pOLED) screen both larger and, according to AndroidCentral.com, better. The site said “the Pixel 2's AMOLED display isn't quite as vibrant (or tall) as that of the LG-made pOLED display on the Pixel 2 XL”.

Screen size is the clearest difference between the two devices, with the Pixel 2 featuring a five-inch 16:9 display and a 1920 x 1080 resolution. The Pixel 2 XL, meanwhile, boasts a huge six-inch 18.9 screen, with a 2880 x 1440 resolution.

The devices’ cameras are getting a huge amount of attention. This is perhaps unsurprising, with the original Pixel’s camera being considered the best on a smartphone by DxOMark, which provides independent image quality measurements and ratings for cameras, until the HTC U11 was released.

With so much to live up to, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL cameras had to be something special – and it seems as if they’ve surpassed their predecessors. DxOMark has rated the Pixel 2 camera as “the top-performing mobile device camera we’ve tested, with a record-setting overall score of 98”.

It’s quite an achievement, considering the fact Google elected not to go down the route of a dual camera, unlike so many of its rivals. The camera features a 1/2.6-inch 12MP sensor, as well as f/1.8 aperture, dual-pixel autofocus and optical image stabilisation.

The Pixel 2 comes in three colours, including Kinda Blue – a somewhat toned down version of last year’s Very Blue. It also comes in black and white. Meanwhile, the Pixel 2 XL comes in black as well as black and white, giving users some variety.

In terms of specs, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have had an upgrade from their original versions. Last year’s devices came with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processors, while this year they feature the newer 835 version. Storage has also been boosted, with the base model Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL giving users 64GB instead of 32GB.

The Pixel 2 starts at £629 and pre-orders can be made now. Whether the new devices achieve the success needed to push Google into the realms of Apple and Samsung remains to be seen but there are certainly some things for consumers to think about.