The Google Pixel 2 has seemed liked the neglected child since launch. It did not get the fancy 18: 9 display as its bigger brother and is pretty much absent from most of Google’s offline marketing materials, which puts the Pixel 2 XL front and center. We get it, after all, the Pixel 2 XL is the prettier looking of the two and commands a higher premium, so we guess it makes sense for Google to give it maximum visibility. However, Google’s more expensive offering has been having its fair share of issues ever since launched, which has cast a lot of bad aura around it. That’s not to say the Pixel 2 is immune to these issues, but at least most of them seem to be fixable through software.
At the end of the Pixel 2 XL review, we said that the Pixel 2 might just be the better choice of the two. It still costs a good premium at Rs. 61,000, which puts it on with the Apple iPhone 8, but more than its Android counterparts like the Samsung Galaxy S8. With the Pixel 2, you get pretty much the same as the XL, but a smaller display and battery. However, with potentially less issues to deal with, let’s see if it’s still worth the premium.
Google Pixel 2 design and build
Design wise, the Pixel 2 is not much of a looker. The back still looks a bit boring like the XL and, sadly, the front is not any better. Built by HTC, the phone feels extremely sturdy when you hold it thanks to the aluminum body and the Just Black variant that Google sent us to the same grippy texture as the XL. The Pixel 2 also gets an exposed aluminum front edge around the display, which looks nice but the effect is marred a bit by the visible antenna bands. There are seven of them scattered around the corners of the phone, which ruins the aesthetics a bit.
The thick black borders around the top and bottom of the display do not exactly scream 2017, and remind us a lot of last year’s Pixel design. However, this time, Google has given the lower chin to reason to exist as the second speaker is fitted here. We absolutely loved the form factor of the original Pixel, which the Pixel 2 offers too, but it somehow does not feel as compact as the earlier one. Thankfully, the thickness of the Pixel 2 is even across the entire body and it does not taper towards the bottom like the first one.
The single SIM tray is on the left while the Type-C port is placed at the bottom. There’s no 3.5mm headphone socket here either. The power and volume buttons are placed on the right and are within easy reach of your thumb, however, the tactile feedback of the volume button is poor. There’s barely any play so it requires a bit more effort to use. The 5-inch display uses an AMOLED panel, with a full-HD resolution and a 16: 9 aspect ratio. The panel is rated to support 95 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut (compared to 100 percent on the Pixel 2 XL) but that, colors look a bit better right out of the box compared to its big brother. Google’s new patch also introduces a new Saturated color mode, which boosts the colors to Samsung’s Super AMOLED levels. You’ll be happy to know that the Pixel 2 does not have the blue tint that’s prevalent on the Pixel 2 XL, which was one of our biggest annoyances with the bigger phone.
The on-screen navigation buttons also auto-dim now, which was done to prevent the image retention issue on the Pixel 2 XL. Users have also been reporting to ‘black crush’ display issue, where the display is unable to decipher the darker shades of black. We did not see this on our unit although we noticed a bit of banding in the deeper black levels, which is visible when viewing a gradient chart. The fingerprint sensor works well and is easy to reach. In the box, the Pixel 2 ships with a Type-C to Type-C cable, power adapter, Quick Switch adapter, USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter, SIM eject tool, and instruction leaflets.