The sequel to the first-ever Google-designed Android handset offers a refined design, improvements on an already fantastic camera, more powerful internals and some impressive AI features.
- Excellent camera
- Water-resistant body
- Sharp, vibrant display
- Dual front-facing speakers
- No headphone jack
- Screen is not edge-to-edge
- No wireless charging
The Google Pixel 2: in more detail
The Google Pixel was a brilliant smartphone, and the Pixel 2 builds on its success. The lack of a headphone jack may be an unwelcome update for some, but Google makes up for it in other areas.
The Pixel's standout feature was its camera, and the Pixel 2 features an even more impressive one. Unsurprisingly, Google has packed the Pixel 2 with some impressive software, including powerful artificial intelligence features.
Stuff thinks it's 'already shaping up to be a serious smartphone contender', whilst TechRadar said it 'looks set to be an excellent all-round smartphone'. Whilst it may not be game-changing, it's an excellent all-round device.
The Pixel 2 has kept some of the Pixel's key design features, but updated them to give a sleek, premium look.
Google has reprised the opinion-dividing glass and metal rear panel from last time, but this time the two materials have been blended more subtly. The glass panel has become smaller, meaning the fingerprint scanner now sits underneath it in the metal section, so you should get fewer smudges on the glass.
Google has opted not to copy its competitors with an edge-to-edge display, instead continuing with slightly chunky bezels, which disappointed some reviewers. On the flipside, the extra space means there's room for dual front-facing speakers, which should result in an excellent audio experience.
Like the Pixel, the Pixel 2 has a 5-inch OLED display. It's bright, colourful and sharp, with fantastic contrast and lots of detail. At 1920 x 1080 pixels, its resolution is lower than some of its flagship competitors, but it still looks gorgeous.
A notable new feature is its 'always-on' display, which means you can see handy bits of info like the time, date, reminders and text and email notifications even when the screen is technically 'off'.
One neat addition is that the phone automatically detects and identifies music playing around you, and displays the song details on the always-on screen.
The Pixel 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM - a step up from the Pixel, which was a very speedy performer. The upgraded innards should make for a slick user experience: Stuff noted that 'the whole thing feels super-quick, opening apps and games in a flash, and coping well when multitasking'.
Like the Pixel's, the Pixel 2's camera looks unremarkable on paper, featuring a single 12MP sensor. However, in practice it's excellent - The Verge found it had 'made a big leap over last year's Pixel camera', and TechRadar's reviewer was 'impressed with the quality of photos and effects the Pixel 2 managed'.
This time Google has added optical image stabilisation, which should mean clearer, less blurry photos and videos, and a dual-pixel sensor, which means that each individual pixel is made up of two smaller ones. This enables the new Portrait Mode, which is similar to Apple's, except Google has managed it with a single lens rather than a dual-lens setup. And, unlike Apple's offering, the Pixel 2's Portrait Mode also works on the front-facing 8MP camera.
As Google's flagship device, the Pixel 2 features Android in its purest form, which, according to Trusted Reviews, is 'still the best way to experience it'. It runs the latest version, Android 8 Oreo, and has changed things around a bit since last time.
For example, the Google search bar has been moved to sit at the bottom of the home screen, which may take a little getting used to.
The biggest change is that you can launch the Google Assistant by squeezing the sides of the phone. Once you're used to it, it looks set to be really useful. The Pixel 2 will also come with Google Lens, the company's new object-recognition technology. Google says it will initially be able to recognise books, movie posters, business cards and landmarks, which should be a nifty feature if it works.
The Google Pixel 2 will be available in the UK on 19 October 2017.