Google Pixel 2 XL review

GSMArena team, 30 October 2017.

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.

Video playback - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Video playback - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Video playback

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.

Music menu - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Recent - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Unlimited Music service - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Music menu Recent Unlimited Music service

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.

New releases - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Music Library - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Podcasts - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Location-based music - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
New releases Music Library Podcasts Location-based music

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.

Finding a station - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Settings - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Finding a station Settings

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.

Unlimited backup for Pixel - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Camera Roll - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Search - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Search - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Unlimited backup for Pixel Camera Roll Search

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.

Menu - Google Pixel 2 Xl review PhotoBook - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Photos on-device - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Menu PhotoBook Photos on-device

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.

Tab: Assistant - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Tab: Photos - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Tab: Albums - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Tab: Sharing - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Tab: Assistant Photos Albums Sharing

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.

Image view - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Filters - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Levels - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Crop and rotate - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Image view Filters Levels Crop and rotate

Loudspeaker

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 testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 62.9 65.2 71.6 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy Note8 67.8 69.5 71.5 Good
Samsung Galaxy S8 66.2 70.5 72.5 Good
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 68.5 69.4 71.6 Good
LG G6 66.8 68.8 74.5 Good
Google Pixel 2 XL 66.2 70.4 78.2 Good
OnePlus 5 69.2 72.9 77.5 Very Good
HTC U11 (Theater) 69.2 72.7 78.4 Very Good
HTC U11 (Music) 68.7 73.0 79.1 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 67.6 71.0 82.7 Very Good
LG V30 66.9 72.3 84.5 Very Good
Lenovo Moto Z2 Force 68.2 70.2 86.1 Very Good
Google Pixel XL 73.4 72.1 84.1 Excellent
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 76.0 74.6 79.0 Excellent
Apple iPhone 8 71.7 77.8 80.3 Excellent
Huawei Mate 10 90.6 73.7 84.0 Excellent

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.

Sound settings - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Sound settings - Google Pixel 2 Xl review Sound settings - Google Pixel 2 Xl review
Sound settings

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.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Google Pixel 2 XL+0.04, -0.01-93.792.60.00290.021-79.7
Google Pixel 2 XL (headphones)+0.02, -0.01-93.592.60.0510.079-73.2
Huawei Mate 10+0.02, -0.03-93.493.50.00270.0071-94.3
Huawei Mate 10 (headphones)+0.05, -0.04-93.193.10.00360.063-71.6
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2+0.02, -0.02-94.394.30.00380.0072-93.5
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 (headphones)+0.31, -0.01-93.393.30.0160.243-63.8
Samsung Galaxy S8++0.01, -0.03-92.192.10.00200.0086-92.5
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (headphones)+0.03, -0.03-92.592.50.00240.046-77.3
LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2
LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1
OnePlus 5+0.03, -0.01-94.194.10.00100.0070-94.2
OnePlus 5 (headphones)+0.15, -0.08-94.094.00.00330.139-59.9
HTC U11+0.05, -0.11-94.194.10.00170.0067-94.5
HTC U11 (headphones)+0.05, -0.02-93.793.80.00180.105-53.7
Sony Xperia XZ Premium+0.01, -0.03-90.690.40.0180.027-92.6
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (headphones)+0.30, -0.20-90.590.00.00180.145-65.7

Google Pixel 2 XL frequency response
Google Pixel 2 XL0 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • Santhosh

I am currently using a physical sim in my phone and is there an option where I can get a secondary sim thru e-sim? Appreciate if anyone can clear my doubt. Thanks..

  • bob

that's a shame

  • Anonymous

No it doesn't