Google Pixel 2 XL review
Google Photos for video playback
Google Photos is the default application for video playback. It doesn't offer extra features like subtitles or a pop-out player. There's only a single option to loop the video that's currently playing. The Google Photos video player is quite basic, but you can find a variety of other video apps in the Play Store.
Google Music for audio
Google's in-house Music service has its own app. This app is the default Music player for Android and even lets you organize and store MP3s on the phone's internal storage. From the Play Music app, you can sort, search, and listen to your offline MP3s.
If you're not the MP3 kind of person, Google's Premium Music service offers plenty of ways to listen to music including radio stations by mood, activity, genre, artist, or by decade.
If you already use Google Location History, let Google Music track where you listen to what kind of music, for example, if you listen to a specific playlist at the gym, Google will show it to you before hitting the weights, along with suggestions to other music you might like at the gym.
Free users can listen to ad-supported radio stations and store up to 50,000 of their own MP3s onto Google's cloud service for free so there's no need to take up space to move around with your music.
Google Music also comes with YouTube Music, and YouTube Red (no ads on YouTube), all bundled into one service, this is what makes Google's Music service one of the most valuable. YouTube Red's availability is per-region.
Google Photos for images
Google Photos offers plenty of photo features and a free photo and video backup service. While you can upload as many videos or pictures as you'd like, they'll be limited to 16MP or 1080p resolution for photos and videos, respectively. You can search for photos or videos by person, keyword, date, or location.
You can order a "Photo book" of your pictures, which is delivered directly to you in physical form. There's also a Trash bin, where photos and videos will be held for 60 days. The "free up space" button, will check your camera roll against the photos and videos already backed up to Google. Those already backed up will be purged to clear space out of the phone.
The Assistant tab is where you can look through "rediscoveries" - flashbacks through photos taken on the current day in a past year. The "Photos" tab shows a chronological timeline of photos taken on the current device and content already backed up on Google Photos from other devices.
Access your on-board folders with the "Albums" tab, where you can also create new Photo Albums and share them. You can manage all your shared pictures and videos in the "Sharing" tab.
The built-in editor won't offer much more than filters, sliders, and tweaking of levels for photos before putting them online. It's simple enough to use and there are advanced sliders for more advanced photographers.
The Google Pixel 2 XL is not what we would consider exceptionally loud. It only scored a "Good" mark in our tests. However, for some of us having a proper stereo setup on board the phone is always a huge bonus for multimedia consumption (unlike what our colleague Paul thinks) so we rather enjoyed our time watching YouTube videos on the Pixel 2 XL.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
The pair of the Pixel 2 XL produces very clear sound, with almost no distortion to note, even at full blast. It is a shame that vanilla Android does not offer better equalizer options so that we can tune the output to our preference.
Audio settings consist of various volumes, vibrating for calls, ringtone settings, and control for various System UI sounds. The "Now Playing" feature is also here and can display what song is playing in your environment either in the notification shade or on Ambient Display. We wrote about how this works in the UI section on the fourth page of this review.
Amazing audio output
The Google Pixel 2 XL is easily among the loudest devices we have tested - in fact we had to record it at a step below its maximum volume as it exceeded the range of our equipment. That was true for both the headphones and the active external amplifier scenario, using the supplied USB-C to 3.5mm adapter.
And the loudness didn't come at the expense of quality - the accuracy of the audio reproduction impressed in both cases. Sure stereo with an active external amplifier wasn't the best around, but then the degradation with headphones was so minimal that, overall, we're looking at some of the best audio outputs we've ever seen.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
Google Pixel 2 XL0 frequency response
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.