Today’s New Toy: The Pixel 2

My Samsung Galaxy S7 has been getting the crashies for the last couple of months, so that (and the persistent “new tech” itch I have) was a signal for me to move on to a new phone. I considered one of the Galaxy 8s, or the Note 8, but I’m not sold on the 18:9 screen ratio — not the least because I’m annoyed they don’t just say 2:1 — and also they’re beginning to get goofy big. Both of these problems also plague the Google Pixel 2XL, which also has various screen issues. The Pixel 2, on the other hand, is nicely sized for someone of my particular hand width, and largely has the same innards as the Pixel 2XL, including what’s consistently now considered the best cell phone camera out there, with the ganky screen. So I’m giving it a shot.

The (very) early impression, a few hours in: It’s pretty and speedy and is I think probably the smallest phone I’ve had for a while. I didn’t think I’d get a smaller phone that the S7 Edge, but so far it’s not a problem, and is easier to palm and play with. The Pixels have this thing where you squeeze the sides and Google Assistant pops up; I’ve played with it a little and it seems more like a novelty than anything else, but we’ll see where that goes. It’s weird to squeeze a phone, though, and the haptic feedback makes it feel like it’s giving way and you’re breaking it a little (you’re not).

The Pixels also come with Android Oreo, which is a selling point but which is not (yet) hugely different than the Android Nougat experience. There’s no headphone jack but it comes with a dongle, which is fine. There are two reasonable nice front facing speakers on the thing, which are also nice. This occasions bezels on the top and bottom of the phone, which some reviewers found aesthetically displeasing, but which I don’t really care about. The screen is bright and more than pixel-dense enough. The camera, as advertised, is very good.

Overall I’m not displeased with my purchase. I’m about to go on a business trip so we’ll see how it performs then. If I have any major issues with it I’ll let you know.

19 Comments on “Today’s New Toy: The Pixel 2”

  1. The phone appears good, is it extremely expensive. Pixel 1 was, in India. Any idea about SAR values. I get headaches frequently so I keep to lower SAR but nowadays not many mention it on the description.
    I hope your phone performs well on your business trip.

  2. My wife has the Galaxy S7 Edge and I have the Galaxy S8, and they are very close to the same size. If I am reading your comment correctly (I think you have a typo, and meant to write “I didn’t think I’d get a smaller phone than the S7 Edge”), the Galaxy S8 would fit your hand just fine, although some people really don’t like the placement of the fingerprint reader. Since we keep nearly all of our CD collection ripped and stored on our phones, the ability to put a 100 GB SD card into the phone is practically a requirement for me.

    I haven’t activated Google Assistant, nor will I activate Bixby as long as they require accepting Uber’s terms of service before activating Bixby. I find it a bit annoying because I sometime accidentally hit the Bixby button and then the phone annoyingly tries to get me to complete the activation process.

  3. I got one too, for a lot of the same reasons. My old phone was a Galaxy 4, so I was due for a new one. I am somewhat immune to the shiny new tech, at least when I have to pay with my own money.

    I like the Pixel 2, though I’m not blown away by it. It’s better in most ways from the Galaxy 4, but it should given the price tag and the fact it’s 4 years newer.

  4. Aaaaagh! I was looking at phones literally the other day because my Moto X Style’s battery is fading fast. I love the Moto phones’ software. But the mods don’t impress me and the Z’s aren’t waterproof.

    The Pixel 2 is, but its lack of expandable storage and no headphone jack give me pause (alongside the price).

    The X4 just came out, is $250 cheaper, smaller, and has a crap camera. But it has everything else I want except dual front speakers.

    The phone gods are out to get me.

  5. As far as the camera, the Pixel2 might be better than what’s currently offered, but the camera on the 950XL is still considered by most to be the hands-down standard for picture quality. I like that it lets me shoot in RAW format, which many still do not. Sad that Windows Phone never took off, but mine’s still going strong after two-years, and doesn’t seem to be losing ground. I don’t care about apps, so I’m good until it dies.

  6. Dying battery isn’t a reason to replace a phone unless there are other things wrong with it. Replacing a battery is about $10 if you do it yourself, maybe $30 if you pay a guy at a kiosk to do it.

  7. I have a Nexus 6P that I bought on the eve of the first Pixels, after the price had dropped to <$400. It's a very nice phone with a good camera and battery life, no complaints. My wife recently got a Moto G5s Plus at the pre-release price of $229. It's equivalent to my Nexus in nearly every way and better in some (e.g. an SD card slot), an incredible value.

    I'm done with high-end phones. The second and third tiers have reached a level of performance that's fantastic and they haven't gone over the bleeding edge by removing the headphone jack or other questionable/bad design decisions.

  8. I have a Pixel XL (1 not 2) and I’m pretty happy with it. Nice pictures. After (too much) research, I finally learned that my primogadgetor of the Pixel 2 will indeed work with the upcoming earbuds that do real time translation. Purportedly.
    Looking forward to that.
    So, your business trip, if it includes countries where they speak asddsfderii, and other obscure tongues like Spanish and Chinese, might be better with a pair of those.
    Except they still aren’t available for sale. And cost $160.

  9. Are you still playing Midnight Star: Renegade? And if so, are you able to switch your game progress onto a different device?

  10. I bought the Pixel 2 for the camera and the camera is fine, although it insists on adding a title and description of each photo in the metadata. I had to send the Pixel back when I discovered that skipped a lot when playing back phone content over my vehicles sound system when paired via bluetooth. I’m glad that I kept ahold of the S8 instead of trading it in.

  11. Insert “(it) and the possessive (‘) in the appropriate spots in the above comment. Thank you.

  12. “what’s consistently now considered the best cell phone camera out there”

    My new iPhone X has an excellent pair of cameras. We’ll see how the reviews go. Pixel vs iPhone X will be a software vs hardware competition.

  13. Maybe it’s just me, but that looks like a cat who’s thinking, “Seriously? You’re taking my picture AGAIN? “

  14. 18:9 is obviously a wider format than 16:9. 2:1, not so much, especially to the fractionally challenged.

  15. I think you’ll like your new phone. I’ve had a Pixel 2 XL for a little more than a week, and I couldn’t be happier with it. The screen seems fine to me, but I’m in my fifties and don’t have the vision of an eagle any more, so your mileage may vary. Anyway, congratulations on the new phone!

  16. I think you’ll like your new phone. I’ve had a Pixel 2 XL for a little more than a week, and I couldn’t be happier with it. The screen seems fine to me, but I’m in my fifties and don’t have the vision of an eagle any more, so your mileage may vary. Anyway, congratulations on the new phone!

  17. 18:9 is actually a really good aspect ratio for phones. My LG G6 easier to hold and use one-handed than my previous, chunky Nexus 6 but offers very similar amounts of screen real estate. The deciding factor for me, however, was a wide angle lens as its second rear camera, which seems uncommon at the moment.

  18. I feel your pain, my Nexus 6 has gone all Replicant on me. Good think I already ordered the Pixel 2 XL, which hopefully should be in my hands next week…

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