Google unveils Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL with better cameras, water-resistance, and no headphone jack

05 October 2017

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google overnight took the wraps off the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, its "in house" flagship smartphones for 2017.

While the smaller Pixel 2 looks almost identical to its predecessor, the Pixel 2 XL feels like a newer beast; Google's squeezed a 6-inch extra-tall display into a body that's just a touch bigger than last year's 5.5-inch Pixel XL thanks to heavily trimmed bezels.

Pixel 2 XL

Google has given the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL's rear-facing camera a lot of love, with the phones achieving the highest DxOMark score of any smartphone. Sensor quality tester DxOMark gave the Pixel 2 a score of 98, which beats out the 94 earned by both the iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

It is however worth noting that DxOMark's tests specifically look at sensor quality, rather than real world usage Based on our time with the original Pixel, the high score certainly is promising.

Key camera improvements include optical image stabilisation, a wider aperture of f1/8, and a move to what Google calls a dual-pixel sensor. The most practical benefit of this is faster autofocus, but it also means the Pixel 2 phones are able to pull off a "portrait mode" and simulate DSLR-like bokeh with only one camera. Other phones with this feature all rely on a secondary rear-facing camera.

Both phones are now rated IP67 for water-resistance. This means they can be submerged as deep as one meter for as long as 30 minutes.

The Pixel 2 XL's back

One disappointing change is that Google has followed Apple's lead and axed the headphone jack on both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. You will however find a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box.

Shared specifications between the phones include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, either 64GB or 128GB of storage, IP67 water-resistance, squeezable edges (that are used to summon Google Assistant by default), a rear-facing fingerprint reader and a 12.2MP rear-facing camera. While neither device's storage is expandable, Google is once again throwing unlimited online storage for photos and video taken with your Pixel until 2021.

The Pixel 2 has a 5-inch 1080p display, while the Pixel 2 XL has a 6-inch QHD+ display with an extra tall 18:9 aspect ratio. Battery capacity measures in at 2,700mAh and 3,520mAh respectively.

Both phones run Android Oreo, and Google is now promising a minimum of three years of software and security updates, up from two last year.

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL pre-orders start on October 20, but Google hasn't set a concrete local release date. Telstra is once again your only choice if you want a Pixel on a plan, but you'll be able to get both phones outright through JB Hi-Fi and Google's online store. Pricing as follows:

  • 64GB Google Pixel 2: $1,079
  • 128GB Google Pixel 2: $1,229
  • 64GB Google Pixel 2 XL: $1,399
  • 128GB Google Pixel 2 XL: $1,549

We don't know what Telstra's on contract pricing will look like yet, but we've taken an educated guess.

The Pixel 2 will be available in a choice of "just black", "clearly white", or "kinda blue", while the Pixel 2 XL will come in "just black" and "black & white". Anyone who buy a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL before the end of the year will nab themselves a free Google Home Mini - a shrunk down version of Google Home - valued at $79.

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