On Wednesday morning, we got our first look at the Google Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL — Google’s latest and greatest flagship Android phones, designed in-house by the search giant’s growing hardware team.
I’ve been rocking an iPhone regularly since 2011, so I jumped at the chance to try the Google Pixel 2 in person.
Google bills the Pixel as the top-of-the-line phone that shows the true potential of Android. And I was eager to see for myself how it stacked up.
And try it I did. I got the chance to go briefly hands-on with the Google Pixel 2 after the big reveal. And while it’s hard to tell in a quick demo, I came away impressed.
Here’s the deal with the Google Pixel 2.
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Here's the flagship Google Pixel 2, which will start at $649. It has a really, really, really nice 5-inch Amoled screen that puts my iPhone 6S to shame. And while I didn't get the chance to really test it, Google says the Pixel 2 camera is better than the iPhone's or any other smartphone's camera.
Right off the bat, you should know that no version of the Pixel 2 has a headphone jack. In that way, at least, it's exactly like Apple's newest iPhones.
This is the larger Google Pixel 2 XL, with a 6-inch display. This one will go for $849. You can preorder both phones right now, for later shipping.
Both phones sport the same two-tone design on the back, with a fingerprint sensor. It certainly gives the device a little extra visual flair.
And speaking of visual flair, some colours of Pixel 2 have a different-coloured power button. Nobody is going to mistake this for anything other than a Pixel phone.
One fun thing you can do with the Pixel 2 is squeeze it. No, wait, come back! Squeezing the phone brings up the Google Assistant, the search giant's Siri rival. If Assistant is already on the screen, squeezing the phone again activates the microphone so you can talk to it.
The part that really gave me Android envy, though, was the smarts. With a new Pixel-exclusive feature called Google Lens -- currently in beta -- the Assistant can scan your photos and give you relevant information. Scanning this album art, for instance, brought up an option to listen to the full record on YouTube.
Or if you scan a poster, it will pull out the email address or phone number so you can get in touch right away. It's super neat, and Google says that, at least for now, it's only on the Pixel.
I'll probably still go with an iPhone after this, based on my short experience with the Pixel 2. But more than anything else, the killer screen, the camera, and especially the artificial-intelligence-powered smarts made me think seriously for a few minutes about going Android. And as I'm a longtime Apple user, that's a huge victory in itself for Google.
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