At a live conference in San Francisco, Google announced the Google Home Mini, a high-end Chromebook called the Pixelbook, and a new Daydream View virtual reality headset. But the undisputed highlights were the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, two high-end smartphones designed with enthusiasts in mind.
They’re a step above your average phones. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL mark the launch of Android 8.0 Oreo, the newest version of Google’s Android operating system. And they carry the torch for Google’s premium Pixel program. In many ways, they’re the search giant’s vision of ideal smartphones.
From a distance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the Pixel 2 and its predecessor, the 2016 Pixel, apart. The two handsets have the same rounded corners in common, and the same thick bezels above and below the 5-inch, 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) wide-color gamut, 24-bit P-OLED screen that can display 16.7 million colors. The front camera hasn’t budged from the top-left corner of the front panel, and the Pixel 2’s rear features the same two-toned, minimalist design as last year’s Pixel. With the exception of an etched “G” logo toward the bottom, a camera in the left-hand corner, and a Google-branded fingerprint sensor that unlocks “faster than any smartphone,” the Pixel 2’s unibody is a familiar sea of glass, soft-touch plastic, and “hybrid” aluminum.
Pixel 2 XL
While the Pixel 2 looks more or less like last year’s model, the Pixel 2 XL is a different story.
The 6-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) P-OLED display stretches from the far-left side to the far right, stopping just short of the Pixel 2 XL’s rounded edges. The screen’s corners are curved on all four sides, and it’s much taller than the Pixel 2’s. There’s barely enough room for the stereo speakers and front camera.
The rest of the Pixel 2 XL is less trailblazing. It’s got the same two-tone design as the Pixel 2, down to the rear camera placement, fingerprint sensor, and Google logo. And just like the Pixel 2, it eschews a 3.5mm headphone jack connector for a single USB-C port.
Google has yet to announce pricing, but the Pixel 2 (in “just black,” “clearly white,” and “kinda blue” colors) is expected to be available in 64GB and 128GB storage configurations for $649 and $749 unlocked, respectively. Alternatively, you can opt for Google’s monthly financing, which is $27.04 per month for the 64GB model and $31.21 per month for the 128GB model.
The Pixel 2 XL (in black and white) is expected to come in the same sizes as the Pixel 2 — 64GB or 128GB — for $849 and $949, respectively. A 24-month installment plan for the 64GB starts at $35.38 per month and $39.54 per month for the 128GB. They begin shipping in late October.
They’re exclusive to Verizon Wireless in the U.S. Carrier pricing wasn’t immediately available.