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Google Pixel 2 XL review: Hands on with Google’s bezel-less supersized flagship

Google’s fresh wave of Pixel smartphones are finally official. Following an unveiling event on 4 October 2017, the Californian tech giant spilled the beans on its latest pair of handsets, and the Pixel 2 XL is here – this is what’s new.

Both smartphones are the successors to last year’s Pixel and Pixel XL, and there are a handful of important upgrades. They may have similar features, but there are a couple of crucial differences that set the two apart – just like last year.

Now that both phones have been unleashed, we elbowed our way to one of the handful of Pixel 2 XL’s at the event, to offer our initial hands on impressions of Google’s latest supersized flagship.

Preorder the Pixel 2 from Carphone Warehouse now

Google Pixel 2 review: UK price, release date and specifications

Screen: 6in QHD bezel-less display
CPU: Octa-core 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB and 128GB
Camera: 12-megapixel f/1.8 OIS
UK price: £799 and £899
UK release date: 19 October 2017

Google Pixel 2 review: Design, key features and first impressions

The Pixel 2 XL’s raison d’être is in the name. Yep, you guessed it: the Pixel 2 XL is bigger than its regular-sized alternative, with a 6in display on the front. It’s bezel-less too: just like with Apple’s iPhone X and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Plus.

Other than that, If you’re already familiar with last year’s effort, 2017’s design won’t really surprise you. The Pixel 2XL and its regular-sized alternative retain the Marmite-like two-tone design of their predecessors.

From the front, both phones look near-indistinguishable from 2017’s other flagships, but turn them over and we’re treated to the same mash-up of glossy glass and matte aluminium. Google’s mishmash design is an acquired taste, and it still riles up debates in the Expert Reviews offices from time to time.

You’ll still find the small, circular fingerprint reader on the back, along with the volume rocker and power button on the left edge, with the solitary USB-C charging port on the bottom.

 

 

Like the regular-sized Pixel, the XL variant doesn’t come equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack, despite the grilling the firm gave Apple last year. I suggest investing in a good pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Likewise, the Pixel 2 is powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor – the same chipset found in Samsung’s excellent Galaxy Note 8 and the OnePlus 5. Elsewhere, you’ll find 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. Neither models are expandable via microSD.

A busy show floor isn’t the best time to put any camera through its paces, but the Pixel 2’s rear camera is dressed to impress. The specs haven’t changed much: we’re treated to a similar 12-megapixel f/1.8 lens, but the addition of optical image stabilisation (OIS) is a welcome one. If last year’s Pixel is any indication, the Pixel 2 XL’s rear snapper won’t disappoint.

Google Pixel 2 XL review: Early verdict

Once again, the Pixel 2 XL aims to prove that bigger is indeed better. From the offset, the Pixel 2 XL ticks all the right boxes: its QHD, bezel-less display is a marvel, its internals are bang up to date and the XL’s image stabilisation seals the deal. The only issue, as ever, is the price.

You see, the Pixel 2 XL doesn’t come cheap, and it’s much harder to recommend than its regular-sized alternative. Case in point: the Pixel 2 XL starts at £799, that’s a good £180 more expensive than last year’s supersized handset. This, like the pricey iPhone X, will be a very hard sell.

Stay tuned for my full Google Pixel 2 XL review in the near future.

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