REVIEW: The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the best Android phones you can buy

Google’s Pixel 2 is the second generation of the company’s flagship phone. Starting at $US649, the phone is very similar to its predecessor, the original Pixel. The two phones have similar designs and specs.

Our own Avery Hartmans and Antonio Villas-Boas, have spent about a week with the phones already. Here’s everything you need to know about them, especially if you’re trying to decide between a Pixel 2 or an iPhone.

Avery Hartmans: We’ve been testing the new Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL phones for a little less than a week, and so far both of us have been really, really impressed by the phones. What do you think?

Antonio Villas-Boas: I’ve been really impressed with the battery life. Over the weekend I was like, just trying to drain its battery and it was just draining super slowly like …

Avery Hartmans: I think they say you can get about 7 hours off of a 15 minute charge, and I found the same. And so having this extensive battery life is really huge. And it is kind of life changing.

Antonio Villas-Boas: Both Pixel 2 phones have OLED displays. What’s been the major difference for you?

Avery Hartmans: Besides the fact that it just looks amazing, everything looks better, it’s sharper, it’s clearer, it’s a little bit brighter, it’s more immersive, the one thing that I really like about the OLED screens is the ability to have this always-on display. Which means that, even when your screen isn’t lit up, you can always see the time.

So, one major difference between the Pixel 2 and the original Pixel, is that the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL do not have headphone jacks.

Antonio Villas-Boas: That said, it was pretty funny that Google did remove the headphone jack, because last year they made fun of Apple for removing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7.

Avery Hartmans: One thing that I think is a little funny about Pixel phones is that they don’t come with earbuds. But especially now with removing the headphone jack, it really limits your options. If you buy the Pixel, you have to have Bluetooth headphones.

Antonio Villas-Boas: It might not come with headphones, but it does come with a special dongle that has one special feature that you liked very much.

Avery Hartmans: Yeah. It’s intended to help you transfer from an iPhone to a Google phone. And this is something that Google is really pushing, is like, “Abandon your iPhone.” So they have this adaptor you can connect your iPhone charging cable to it, connect the two phones, and your data will sync over. In my opinion, Google makes it as easy as humanly possible. But you know, for people who are really, really immersed in that Apple world I guess and who keep a ton of stuff in the cloud — I don’t know that it’s gonna be easy to transfer.

So, one thing that people really, really like about the Pixel and that we’ve been hearing since last year, is that it has a great camera. If that’s important to you, then the Pixel is kind of the phone for you, because you have a lot of controls at your finger tips and that’s not the case with every smartphone camera. So, that was kind of exciting for me. And I think a lot of people have been really impressed by what this can do.

Antonio Villas-Boas: And so, Google introduced a relatively new feature, squeezable edges where you could bring up Google Assistant. It’s pretty interesting. I don’t know. What do you think about it so far?

Avery Hartmans: On the one hand, I think it’s really cool that there’s kind of dedicated way to bring up the assistant; but, I found that I’m accidentally enabling it all the time.

Antonio Villas-Boas: It’s hard, you know, ’cause the voice is the easiest. By far. You know? You just say, “OK Google.” I think the best way is to just use your voice.

Avery Hartmans: So, Tony, after using the Pixel 2 XL for a handful of days, a little less than a week now, what do you think of the phone? How do you feel about it?

Antonio Villas-Boas: I really like the Pixel phone. I really like the camera. I really like the screen. I mean I would, I would buy this. This would be my next phone. That said, I’ve got to wait for my iPhone 6s to die.

Avery Hartmans: I’m in a similar boat where I have a very capable iPhone 6s. It’s doing fine. I don’t need to upgrade. So, you know, I’m probably not gonna upgrade to the Pixel 2 at this moment; but, I would. If I was looking for a new phone, I would strongly consider this over the iPhone 8. And I do want to say if you have the original Pixel, I don’t think the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL are that big of an upgrade.

Antonio Villas-Boas: Especially now that it costs more.

Avery Hartmans: It’s expensive. And like a lot of phones, there is a monthly payment plan. You can get it at reasonable costs; but it’s still, I mean, you’re still schilling out a lot of money for a phone. And for a phone like this that’s, you know, a similar design, similar features, similar specs, it may not be worth the upgrade.

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