Google Pixel 2 XL review

GSMArena team, 30 October 2017.

Introducing Google's finest

Google has come a long way since the days of Nexus smartphones. This is only the second iteration of the Google Pixel and it shows how much Google's software and hardware have evolved in the past year. Both Pixel smartphones got a refined, yet simpler appearance. This review is specifically for the larger Pixel 2 XL. We'll be reviewing the smaller Pixel 2 separately.

This model has a couple of differences over the smaller Pixel 2. For starters, the Pixel 2 XL has a larger 6-inch display with the 18:9 aspect ratio of display that has taken 2017 by storm. This, and the Pixel 2 XL gets a 21% larger battery than the 5-inch Pixel 2.

Google offers the latest Qualcomm processor on both Pixels, along with its powerful HDR+ algorithm for taking photos. Combine these with Google's unparalleled Android experience, not to mention Google's unlimited photo storage with its official Photos app, and software updates directly from Google.

Is this, however, enough to get Android purists on-board with the Google's best vanilla Android Experience? That'll all depend on how much purists are willing to pay for such an experience, which starts at $850 in the US, and might soar even higher in other markets.

Google Pixel 2 XL key Features

  • Body: Metal body with matte Premium Hybrid Coating; "3D" Gorilla Glass 5 on front; IP67 water resistance
  • Display: 6.0" POLED, 1,440 x 2880px resolution, 538ppi
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP, 1/2.6" sensor size with 1.4µm pixel size, f/1.8, OIS, dual LED flash and Google's HDR+ algorithm
  • Front camera: 8MP, 1/3.2" sensor size, f/2.4, 1.4µm pixel size
  • Video: 2160p @ 30fps, 1080p @30/60/120fps, 720@240fps; front camera:1080p @ 30fps
  • OS/Software: Android 8.0 Oreo with updates directly from Google
  • Chipset: 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU - Octa-core (4x2.35 GHz Kryo & 4x1.9 GHz Kryo); Adreno 540 GPU; dedicated image processing chip to be enabled via OTA Android 8.1
  • Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64/128GB of internal storage (non-expandable)
  • Battery: 3,520 mAh Li-ion (sealed); USB-C Power Delivery 2.0 (5V @ 3A or 9V @ 2A with included 18W adapter)
  • Connectivity: nanoSIM; eSIM for Project Fi (US); Cat 15 LTE 800/75 Mbps; Bluetooth 5.0 LE, A2DP, aptx HD; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi-Direct, DLNA; NFC; USB-C 3.1
  • Misc: Fingerprint scanner, dual stereo speakers, Always-on/Ambient display, Active Edge squeeze detection.

Main shortcomings

  • No 3.5mm headphone jack (ships with an adapter)
  • No microSD card slot
  • Video camera records mono audio only
  • You can't assign the Active Edge squeeze detection any other feature but Google Assistant

The Pixel 2 XL's camera did get a bump in specs. The camera now has OIS and the aperture has been bumped to f/1.8 from last year's f/2.0. The real magic happens, though, thanks to Google's HDR+ algorithm, which gathered high praise with the first-gen Pixels. We are definitely excited to see what kind of images the new Pixels can capture. Google poked fun at Apple during the launch event saying it didn't reserve the better camera for the more expensive model. Both Pixels get identical cameras. And perhaps that must not have been easy as the two phones are manufactured by different companies.

Pixel 2 XL: Front - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Pixel 2 XL: Black & White back - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Pixel 2 XL: Just Black back - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Pixel 2 XL: Front • Black & White back • Just Black back

The Google Pixel 2 XL is actually manufactured by LG. The last time Google had such a partnership was with the LG Nexus 5X - before that, it was the LG Nexus 5. Speaking of which, the Pixel 2 XL's protruding camera ring reminds us of the LG Nexus 5. Let's see how LG and Google's partnership paid off this time around.

Reader comments

  • Reid
  • 06 Mar 2023
  • xGY

Not looking at what you type, before pressing the submit button, is really embarrassing.

  • Self
  • 20 Oct 2022
  • fmg

Gotten it yet? I'm still using 1st gen. Recently got audio problems and want to switch to this.

  • Anonymous
  • 23 Sep 2022
  • 4XH

I got brand new on eBay unlocked for about 180 dollars last year. I unlocked the boot loader and installed Lineage custom ROM. Everything works great and i have the latest Android security patches. Nice phone still today. Very nice photos also.