Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel 2 XL: Face off

Standing tall and proud and armed with the S-Pen, the Galaxy Note 8 phablet takes on the lean and cunning Google Pixel XL 2 in this battle of the big boys. I’ll be repping my favorite phablet in this face-off, while AndroidPIT Italy’s Luca Zaninello will be championing his beloved Pixel 2 XL.

Design: Large and in charge

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Both smartphones come wearing this season’s must-have outfits, namely glass and aluminium. The two devices can even look quite similar at a superficial glance, especially when in monochrome color. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 sleek curves and glass back do give it a more premium and stylish feel. The Pixel 2 XL does, however, sport an attractive black and white ‘Panda’ version that elevates it in terms of appearance.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 thickness Superficially similar at a glance. / © AndroidPIT

The Note 8’s size is part of its charm and basically eliminates the discomfort of squinting at small phone screens, but does make it somewhat unwieldy. More than any other phablet, it often demands two-handed use and shuffling it up and down my palm to adjust its position. This takes some getting used to, but that’s the price to pay for its best quality, the display.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

The Pixel 2 XL is more compact than the Note 8 but this doesn’t mean that it is less bulky. The Google Pixel 2 XL is still a phablet with generous dimensions and it’s very difficult to operate it with one hand. The construction is great but it doesn’t reach Samsung latest flagship’s glory. There’s one thing that i really like about the Pixel 2 XL: the 2.5D glass on the front is really curved on the edges even without a curved display. In the hand the smartphone feels good and doesn’t slip away that much, the metal body is solid but the plastic-like paint doesn’t give you the same premium feeling that the Note has.

Display: Size isn’t everything

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

While both phones feature an attractive display, it’s in this field that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 really shows its strength. The Note 8 has a display measuring a record-breaking 6.3 inches. The bezels have shrunk away to near non-existence accommodate the big screen. The Super AMOLED panel display in the new Galaxy Note has a 2,960 x 1,440-pixel resolution, and blew me away when it came to watching movies fullscreen, playing games or scrolling through websites. Even the default starry black ‘sky’ on the always-on display is a joy to behold. The only downside is that the curved edges, which make the overall shape of the phone more attractive and stylish, are actually not so practical for the display, which suffers from noticeable color distortion along the edges.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 front close Displays as different as night and day. / © AndroidPIT

In daily use, the Note 8 could well turn you into a screen addict. I found that I always preferred to watch media on the Note 8, sometimes even not bothering to fire up my PC in favor of Samsung’s phablet.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Can we just skip this part? Jokes aside, the Google Pixel 2 XL is not famous for having the best smartphone screen in the world. The problems with the LG-made OLED panel made their way into the headlines of all the major blogs and there’s nothing you can do to fix that. The 6-inch QuadHD+ panel is bright enough but not the brightest, the colors are well calibrated and natural looking but compared to the over saturated Samsung panels they just look washed out. If you have used a Samsung smartphone in the past few years, your eyes need to adapt to the changes.

Anyway the display is not that bad, and in everyday use, you’ll be satisfied with the HDR and DCI-P3 colorspace capabilities, it just doesn’t hold up to a direct comparison. Also, there’s the bezels: around the display there’s a lot of unused space because Google needed room for their “squeezable” frames and front facing speakers on the top and bottom.

Camera: The all-seeing eye of Google

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

The Note 8 has a seriously impressive dual OIS 12 MP camera setup on the back that is quiet, good in low light and benefits from fast autofocus. This makes it excellent for portraits, zooming, or shooting a moving subject. The front selfie camera is not quite as good at a resolution of 8 MP.  The Note 8 is also great for video, capable of recording 30 fps video at 4K resolution and 60 fps at full HD. It bears repeating about the screen, too. Once you’ve got the video, the Note 8’s gorgeous display is great for viewing it.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 cameras One camera can be better than two if you know how to use it. / © AndroidPIT

So, a really great camera from Samsung’s side, fine. Maybe one of the best, but I’ll admit compared to Google’s latest, it might not be the best. Google’s engineers are the masters of camera software optimization, and when it comes to smartphone photography, good hardware only takes you so far.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Here is where Google does what they do best. On paper, the single 12 MP camera of the Pixel 2 XL is nothing exceptional, but the software optimization of the Mountain View company shows how good software can do a lot. The new pixels have a camera that supports PDAF for quick focus and uses these dual-pixels to achieve one of the best bokeh effects ever made, all without a second camera. Photos are great in almost any light condition and the dynamic range in the photos thanks to HDR+ is amazing. There is also a hybrid stabilization for videos that uses OIS and EIS at the same time. And that’s not all: second-generation Pixels are equipped with a dedicated chip called Pixel Visual Core designed by Google that should further improve photographic quality with the help of AI.

The chip is not yet active so we will see the world’s best camera for smartphones improve even more in the near future! It’s a pity that there is no manual/pro mode, but the point and shoot of Pixel 2 makes the best out of its sensor in every situation.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (US-version) vs. Google Pixel 2 XL technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (US-version) Google Pixel 2 XL
Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 195 g 175 g
Battery size: 3300 mAh 3520 mAh
Screen size: 6.3 in 6 in
Display technology: AMOLED POLED
Screen: 2960 x 1440 pixels (522 ppi) 2880 x 1440 pixels (537 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 12.3 megapixels
Flashlight: LED Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 – Nougat 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: TouchWiz Stock Android
RAM: 6 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD Sorry, not yet available!
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Features: Stab the Galaxy, squeeze the Pixel

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

The secret weapon of the Note 8 is the S-Pen. The Galaxy Note 8’s stylus functions are unique among current flagships and actually really fun and useful. You can write and pen notes directly on a powered-off display, create GIFs, draw, precisely select and copy text even in difficult-to-reach places. At first, the stylus seemed kind of gimmicky, but once I started using it, I realized it was indispensable for getting the most out of the Note 8. The stylus enables an extra level of precision that’s useful in a variety of situations, and makes two handed use feel much more natural and convenient.

It’s certainly more useful than the Pixel 2 XL’s party trick, the Active Edge.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 side by side Can’t leave out that trusty S-Pen. / © AndroidPIT

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Yeah, the Note has a stylus and so what? Not everyone might need that at all, even if it has to be said that its utility is indisputable. Personally, I have never had the need for a stylus and therefore it is certainly not its presence that will make me choose one smartphone compared to another. On the other hand, on Google Pixel 2 XL we find the Active Edge function, similar to the one found on the HTC U11. The squeeze is not programmable and is used to call up Google Assistant at any time even when the screen is off. It’s not a revolutionary feature, but you’ll find yourself using Google’s AI much more often than you would believe. At the beginning, I thought it was a useless function, but in the long run it has its merits.

Battery: Is wireless charging worth it?

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Samsung may have been overly cautious with the battery in the Note 8 after the tragedy of the exploding Note 7 that made them a laughingstock. The 3,300 mAh keeps it running all day and then some, depending on your use levels, but is still a disappointingly average power supply for a top-of-the-range smartphone. Thanks to Quick Charge and integrated Qi technology for wirelessly charging the battery, the Galaxy Note 8 can quickly and easily shoot back up to 100 percent while charging. The Note 8 is a device for power users, but the battery life doesn’t really reflect that.

Opinion by Nicholas Montegriffo

A lack of wireless charging leaves Google’s Pixel 2 XL embarrassingly behind the curve.

What do you think?

17 participants

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

The Pixel 2 XL has a 3,520 mAh battery. It is not the largest on the market, but it does its job well. Thanks to Google’s software optimization and thanks to Oreo’s new background process management the smartphone battery has never left me dry during my days, not even in the most demanding ones. There is a quick charge that (according to Google) guarantees 7 hours of use with only 15 minutes of charging time. The metal body prevents wireless charging unfortunately.

Verdict: The workhorse versus the adventurer?

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Both devices are strong contenders in the competition for the hearts (and wallets) of the premium smartphone buyer. Both sell for over $ 900. Which one you drop your hard-earned cash on may well depend on the kind of user you are.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 back side Pixel 2 XL has the best camera and stock Android, but lacks some of the premium features of the Galaxy Note 8. / © AndroidPIT

The Galaxy Note 8 stands out as the most powerful and versatile all-rounder. Thanks to the stylus, it’s perfect for note-taking (waiiit…I see what they did there!) and more heavy-duty work. You can even use the DeX to connect it to your PC peripherals and use it as your desktop workstation. Samsung’s flagship is more than just a big smartphone, its premium specs and adaptability give it the potential to become the focus of all your daily tech needs.

The Pixel 2 XL, on the other hand, might not be as good all-round but excels in its strong points. With its fantastic camera and seamless integration with Google’s ecosystem, it lends itself more to fun, social and casual use.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

If your main use is working with documents, maps, mail and an intensive use of a stylus, Note 8 is the only choice. Note 8 is also the master of multimedia content (speaker aside). If you are looking for a more concrete smartphone in everyday life, in the use of social networks, with a simple but unbeatable camera and that doesn’t leave you out to dry during your days, the Pixel 2 XL could be right for you. The Pixel 2 XL simply works. And it works very well. In addition, you have unlimited space for your photos on Google Photos and three years of updates directly from Google. It doesn’t shine with its appearance or the quality of the display, but the user experience Google has managed to guarantee with this smartphone is second only to what Apple guarantees with iPhone and not by much.

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Do you already own a Galaxy Note 8 or Pixel 2 XL? Let us know what you think!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

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Our best tips and tricks for the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL

Both smartphones are equipped with stock Android 8.0 Oreo, and have set aside bloatware and elaborate features, as is Google’s tradition. With the Pixel and Pixel 2, the Mountain View company has evolved and hidden a little surprise inside its smartphones.

Jump to tips:

Song information always at your fingertips

The Google Pixel 2 has an interesting feature that can replace Shazam and other music recognition apps. Thanks to exclusive Google technology, your new Pixel can now recognize up to 10,000 songs, displaying the artist’s name and song title directly on the Always On screen.

Capture There’s something almost magical about music recognition. / © AndroidPIT

The recognition technology operates from an offline folder stored on the smartphone, so you don’t need an internet connection to recognize a song. This folder is automatically updated when the user connects to Wi-Fi, and varies according to the country. The most useful feature allows you to touch the name of the song displayed on the Always On screen and immediately open Google Assistant, which provides information about the song and allows you to play it on Google Play Music.

Here’s how to enable (or disable) the function:

  • Open the Settings
  • Enter the Sound section
  • Tap on Advanced to display hidden menus
  • Tap on Now Playing at the bottom of the list
  • You can enable (or disable) the feature here

This function has no impact on the battery, and it only listens to the ambient noise every 60 seconds (not permanently). I was quite impressed by this musical recognition, particularly in environments where background noise was very present.

Squeeze the side of your smartphone to launch your favorite app

As with the HTC U11, the new smartphones from Google are equipped with squeezable sides. But unlike the HTC smartphone, the Google Pixel limits this function to the activation of Google Assistant, just as Samsung did for Bixby. Although it’s not as bad as Bixby, this feature is rather useless for the time being.

If you want to use this feature to launch another app, it’s possible! That’s what the developer flar2 thought, and he added the compatibility to his Button Mapper app with Active Edge on XDA Developers.

However, the feature that enables the launch of Google Assistant is deeply linked to the phone system, making it difficult to make any changes. The developer therefore uses a trick to know when the voice assistant is active, in order to stop it from being executed, and replaces it with the app or the feature of your choice. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s better than nothing if you’re without root. Obviously, this feature will disable Google Assistant. Take your time to think about it before you decide to follow the developer’s dedicated tutorial on the site.

Prevent photos from automatically disappearing from your smartphone

Google smartphones are designed to deliver high quality photos, with their incredible specs and unlimited storage space for photos and videos on Google Photos.

Pixels also have a feature called Smart Storage, which deletes photos from your smartphone’s internal memory after 90 days if they are stored on Google’s cloud. It’s not to every user’s taste, as some would like to keep their photos to view them offline. Here is a guide on how to disable this feature:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select the Storage menu
  • Disable the Smart Storage function

smartstorage It’s highly important to have the choice of enabling and disabling this feature, in order to avoid pictures from disappearing after 90 days without asking for them to be deleted! / © AndroidPIT

There you have it. You can still set up the feature manually from Google Photos, and manage your free space from the app’s side menu.

Save battery life in dark mode

The two new Google Pixel 2 smartphones are equipped with an OLED display, which means that each black pixel on the screen is a pixel that’s turned off. This saves energy, especially when there are many black pixels (although the difference isn’t that impressive either).

dark mode Will you be attracted to the dark side of the force? / © AndroidPIT

By activating the dark theme, you’ll be able to enjoy the Quick Toggles in black, a selection of apps in dark and translucent hues, and a dark background screen. Unfortunately, the theme is not active in other apps, not even by going into the settings. To activate dark mode, you just need to set a background with many shades of black. It also works with Live Wallpaper.

Activate night mode (blue light filter)

The blue light filter helps protect our eyes when we’re using smartphones in the dark. This is why it’s interesting to automate the feature so that it activates from sunset to dawn, allowing our eyes to relax and facilitate sleep (obviously, at the cost of a losing a little color accuracy).

  • As usual, go to Settings
  • Tap on Display
  • The option for Night Light is located here
  • In the Schedule menu, you can choose to activate the option from sunset to sunrise, or at a custom time.

nightmode Although the display looks very yellow on the picture, the effect is actually lighter and your eyes will thank you for it.  / © AndroidPIT

Automatically connect and disconnect from Wi-Fi

With your new smartphone, you don’t have to worry about disconnecting from Wi-Fi when you leave home, or reactivating it when you arrive at work or at your university library. The Google Pixel 2 is able to recognize the proximity of a known and used Wi-Fi network (like at home or at work) in order to connect or disconnect from it automatically.

You’ll no longer have to remember switch your Wi-Fi on or off each time: the Pixel does it all by itself. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s definitely helpful. To activate the feature, follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap Network & Internet
  • Tap on Wi-Fi
  • Find the Wi-Fi Preferences menu at the bottom
  • The first option is the one we need to Turn on Wi-Fi automatically

The option is enabled by default, but if you want to make sure, you can follow the steps described above.

Automatic Do not Disturb mode during driving

I’ve already mentioned how smartphones are becoming an increasing distraction during travel, so I won’t lecture our poor readers again. However, there are times when being disturbed by a smartphone can be particularly dangerous, like when driving. That’s why Google offers the possibility of configuring the smartphone so that it automatically enters “do not disturb” mode when driving a vehicle. To activate this feature, follow this process:

  • Go to Settings
  • Enter the Sound menu
  • Select Do Not Disturb preferences
  • You will find a list of presets for the feature, but the one we are interested in is Driving (the last one)
  • After tapping on this option, you can activate it using the usual switch

dnd pixel drive It’s possible to set the Do Not Disturb mode for other occasions. / © AndroidPIT

Now, every time you’re behind the wheel, you won’t be tempted by constant notifications from your work, email apps and incoming calls. But remember that not using your phone while driving is mostly dependent on your will to do so.

Activate the camera in one step (and more gesture tricks)

Not everyone knows that Google Pixel 2 offers practical gestures for the camera. The first, and most well-known among them is the one that allows you to press the phone’s on/off button twice in order to quickly launch the camera app, and potentially not miss the best shot of your career.

camera gestures These features are enabled by default. / © AndroidPIT

What if you wanted to take a little selfie? Once the camera app is opened, simply twist your wrist twice quickly to switch between the rear and front camera. You look a little silly, but once you get used to it, it’s hard to stop!

Disable HDR+ mode

Google’s HDR+ mode allows Pixel 2 to achieve unparalleled results in terms of brightness dynamics, taking multiple shots and choosing the best out of each of your photos, without you even knowing it. The pictures taken in this mode are remarkable, but you don’t always want to see everything in a picture. Sometimes you just want to take a picture with backlighting, showing black silhouettes… In these cases, the HDR+ may well spoil the desired effect, which is why it’s possible to disable this function.

  • Go to the Camera app
  • Open the menu on the top left (with the three lines icon)
  • Tap on Settings
  • In the Photo category, tap on Advanced
  • Here you can activate HDR+ control, which will place a button on the main screen of your camera app.

Screenshot 20171020 150814 Take full control over what’s happening in your camera. / © AndroidPIT

With the switch, you can force HDR+ on, turn it off or leave it on auto, which is the default.

Do you know any other tips and tricks for the new Google smartphones? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Google Pixel 2 review: Function over form

At the beginning of October, Google presented its two new high-end smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. We’ve had the chance to do an in-depth review of each, and now we present you with our final verdict of the Pixel 2. Is this device as interesting as it seems? Read on to find out.

Good

  • Waterproof
  • Latest version of Android
  • Fast updates
  • Excellent camera
  • Original features (Google Lens, etc)

Bad

  • Dated design
  • Some bugs present at launch

Lowest price: Google Pixel 2

Best price

Google Pixel 2 release date and price

The latest smartphones from Google were made available on October 20, and are being sold exclusively (for now) in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, India and Germany. The Pixel 2 is priced at $ 649 for the 64 GB version and $ 749 for the 128 GB version. In the US, the Pixel 2 can be bought from the Google Store, Best Buy and Verizon. In addition, it is compatible with other major carriers like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, which is offering a 50 percent off BYOD (bring your own device) rebate.

google pixel 2 front Here is the Google Pixel 2. / © AndroidPIT

Google Pixel 2 design and build quality

The original Pixel smartphones generated some surprise with their unique mix of glass and metal on the rear. The Pixel 2 continues with this design choice, but it gives the impression that you’re holding a cell phone made of plastic since it’s so light. It’s a blast from the past, as it’s been a long while since I’ve held a high-end smartphone that weighs so little.

google pixel 2 side1 The Google Pixel 2 feels good to hold. / © AndroidPIT

The trend of the moment is to offer 18:9 display ratios (or 2:1 as the manufacturers say). The Pixel 2 XL follows this trend, but the smaller Pixel 2 lags behind with a 16:9 ratio and big bezels at the top and bottom of the display like its predecessor. Whatever the reason for this design compromise may be, the result feels a bit disappointing.

On the back of the device, there is still a separation between the body and top area around the camera which is easy to both see and feel. The white model has a grey top section, the black model has a deep black top, and the blue model has a darker top as well.

google pixel 2 camera The ring around the camera glass protrudes slightly. / © AndroidPIT

Following in the footsteps of Apple, Huawei and several others, Google has decided to do away with the standard headphone jack. If you don’t want to buy new headphones or just don’t like wireless ones, you can use the adapter that Google provides in the box.

The volume button position may take a little getting used to, as it’s placed a bit lower than usual toward the middle of the side of the phone.

The materials on back of the device feel pleasant and are resistant to fingerprints. The small Pixel 2 is very nice to hold thanks to its thinness (7.8 mm) and its weight (143 g). However, the light weight can make it seem fragile.

The USB Type-C port and fingerprint scanner remain in the same place as on the original Pixel. The NanoSIM card tray is located on the left, but don’t expect to find a MicroSD or Dual SIM card slot. The Pixel 2 is IP67 certified against water and dust.

Google Pixel 2 display

The display of the Pixel 2 isn’t hugely revolutionary, either. The display is Full HD (1,080 x 1,920), rather than the Quad HD we’d prefer to see in a 16:9 flagship. The screen to body ratio is 67.9%, and considering the fact that the navigation buttons are on-screen, that doesn’t sound particularly enticing.

In practice, though, the display leaves a good impression. It’s a Samsung OLED, unlike the larger Pixel 2 XL which comes from LG, and there’s a notable difference between the two in terms of color representation. On the larger model, colors are more bland. This will definitely be noticeable to the trained eye, but others might not catch the difference at first glance.

As is often the case with OLEDs, the display appears a bit bluish when held at certain angles. On the whole, the Pixel 2’s screen is satisfactory. The jury is still out on the Pixel 2 XL’s display, and my colleague Luca elucidates this aspect in his review of that device.

androidpit features screen pixel 2 The Pixel 2 features an Always On Display feature, which can be turned off if desired. / © AndroidPIT

Google Pixel 2 special features

Active Edge

If you’ve been keeping track of the flagships released this year, you might have heard about HTC’s Edge Sense feature already. Google is offering a similar feature with its new Pixel smartphones called Active Edge. This feature allows you to launch Google Assistant just by squeezing the sides of the phone. You can set a custom pressure level to avoid accidentally triggering it, too.

Make sure Google Assistant is set up, or the feature won’t work. You can do this by long pressing the home button. If that launches Google On Tap rather than Assistant, the Active Edge feature won’t work until configured.

eSIM

Google offers two types of SIM cards: nanoSIM, which should be familiar already, and eSIM.

Is Google heralding the disappearance of normal SIM cards? Perhaps these will go the way of the headphone jack, as eSIM cards aren’t just on the Pixel 2. The iPad Pro and several smartwatches already make use of them. Regardless, it’s still possible to use the Pixel 2 with a standard nanoSIM.

Google Pixel 2 software

Both of the new Pixels ship running Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest version of Android. Anything less would have been a huge surprise since these smartphones are coming from Google itself and, like the Nexus devices which came before, are expected to get updates before any other devices. Nevertheless, we’ve noticed that some other phones (the Sony Xperia X1, Xperia X1 Compact, Samsung Galaxy A5, etc) have gotten the October 2017 security patch before the Pixel 2, which is still on September’s patch at the time of writing.

google pixel 2 hero New Google Pixel 2 home screen / © AndroidPIT

Several new features have been added since the last Pixel. The search bar is now on the bottom of the screen, making it easier to access and allowing for a widget at the top to display the date, temperature and the weather. The Google App on the left, formerly called Google Now, can be disabled easily via the home screen settings. The pretty Live Earth wallpapers already known from the first Pixels also make an appearance here.

As explained above, the famous Google Assistant is also on the new Pixels. It can be launched several ways: by squeezing the Active Edge, saying “Ok Google”, pressing the home button or by tapping the microphone button next to the search bar. Interestingly, Google Assistant can do some tasks, which don’t require internet access, offline. For example, it can launch applications without being connected to the internet.

androidpit home pixel 2 Disable the Google app to the left of the home screen (left). Live Earth wallpapers (right).  / © AndroidPIT

The new Pixel devices are also able to detect music played in the background while offline, and they are constantly listening. The list of detectable songs currently numbers 17,000, but there will be more in the future. I’ve yet to use the feature, and it wasn’t automatically triggered by ambient music in the time I was using it.

Google Pixel 2 performance

Like most of the high-end flagships of the moment, the Pixel 2 has a Snapdragon 835 processor with an Adreno 540 GPU. The octacore Qualcomm processor has four Kryo cores clocked at 2.35 GHz, and another four clocked at 1.9 GHz. The software and hardware of the Pixel 2 work excellently together, as evidenced by the performance.

The Pixel 2 has ‘just’ 4 GB of RAM, which is plenty for particularly smooth multitasking. For internal memory, you have the choice between 64 and 128 GB.

Though software updates from Google will likely work out these kinks soon, during my review, there were several instances of apps crashing. Though it wasn’t frequent enough to cause any real issues, it shows that at the time of writing the device isn’t quite there yet.

Though not relevant to evaluating the experience of using the device everyday, we tested the Pixel 2 using various benchmarking apps to help us compare it to the competition. You can check out the results below.

Google Pixel 2 : benchmark results

 
  Samsung Galaxy S8 Google Pixel 2
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.1 3174 3681
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.0 3217 4922
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 27330 38271
Geekbench Single Core 1983 1916
Geekbench Multi Core 6402 6372
PCMark Work Performance 6135 7385
PCMark Storage 4644 4535

Google Pixel 2 audio

The Pixel 2 has stereo sound, with speakers located on the front of the device, in the bezels above and below the display. The audio quality is good, even at maximum volume.

The standard headphone jack is nowhere to be found, so you’ll have to make use of an adapter (not included), use a Bluetooth headset or buy USB Type-C headphones. High quality audio codecs like LDAC, AptX HD, etc are present.

As mentioned above, the Pixel 2 is always listening in the background, in order to provide contextual information on any music that might be playing. This feature isn’t active by default, and the songs it can detect are limited for now. If it does recognize music, it displays information about the song on the lock screen.

Call quality is consistently good, and I had no issues hearing or being heard with the Pixel 2.

Google Pixel 2 camera

We’ve been anxiously anticipating the Pixel 2’s camera, and we’re happy to say that our expectations have been met. My colleague Stefan, our resident photography expert, says that the test photos we took with the Pixel 2 looks like they were taken a small camera rather than a smartphone.

Configuration and results

The hardware specs of the camera aren’t extraordinary on paper. The same IMX362 sensor from the HTC U11 is used here. With 12.2 MP, a pixel size of 1.4 microns and a sensor size of 1/2.55 inches, this is standard hardware for a high-end device. That being said, here we have optical image stabilization, unlike with the original Pixel.

So, if the specs aren’t extraordinary, how does the Pixel 2 achieve such great results? The explanation is in the software. When you press the shutter button, the camera shoots more than one photo and combines them into a final image. Out of these, 10 are underexposed and one is normal. This allows for a wider dynamic range with the small sensor, making details visible in dark and bright areas when the patterns are high contrast.

androidpit google pixel 2 photo sample The Pixel 2’s camera works well even in low light. / © ANDROIDPIT

Aside from the dynamic range, the camera has a lot to offer. Despite a few exceptions, the white balance is accurate in most cases and the colors are very true to life. When the brightness is accurate, the result is even better than the first Pixel which washes out the blacks a bit.

In the coming weeks, once Android Oreo arrives, Google will activate the Visual Core chip. With the Preview version of Android 8.1 this isn’t yet possible, but afterward, the camera performance should improve even further.

Even more interesting is the low light potential of the device. The Pixel 2 captures excellent shots in less than ideal lighting scenarios. The accurate brightness, rich details and lack of noise result from several factors: the combination of multiple photos, short opening times, low ISO sensitivity, and software magic. Even photos taken at night look excellent, with true to life colors, unlike the competition. Of course, in a future article, we will do a direct comparison of the Pixel 2 with other flagships of the moment.

Portrait mode

Portrait mode with the Pixel 2 is when you take a picture of a person, and artificial intelligence then blurs the background. You can see an example in the photos below, where our model Pierre appears on a normal and a blurred background. Portrait mode is also available with the front camera. The technology behind this is quite complex.

Using HDR+ technology, the camera snaps a quality photo that is rich in detail. After that, AI steps in: the neural network analyses the image to understand where the background to be blurred is based on its prior learning, which is naturally Machine Learning. Though the tech is complex, this is as simple as turning on Portrait mode for the user. The end result is two photos, like what you see below: the original detailed shot, and the blurred Portrait shot.

androidpit google pixel 2 portrait mode Portrait mode before and after. / © ANDROIDPIT

Motion Photos

A new software feature called Motion Photos has been added. Instead of capturing a single photo, a mini video of up to 4 seconds is captured. This might not be the most useful function, and it can be disabled in any case.

Google Lens

When taking a photo with your Pixel 2, you can use Google Lens to identify what you see. The idea is to be able to ID what you’re photographing with as much detail as possible. For example, if you take a photo of Berlin’s famous TV Tower, Google Lens will tell you the exact name of the building. This isn’t anything Earth shattering, but over time, Machine Learning will advance and it will be more useful and impressive. For example, Google Lens in the future might be able to not just identify a monkey in a photo, but also tell you whether it’s a chimpanzee or a marmoset.

androidpit google pixel 2 google lens Google Lens recognizes what’s in the photo. / © ANDROIDPIT

Google Pixel 2 battery

The Google Pixel 2 has a 2,700 mAh battery, and you might wonder whether that’s enough capacity to keep up with the demands of a powerful processor. It manages to hold its own without difficulties for a full day of heavy use, including WhatsApp, YouTube, Spotify, calls, messages and more. With lighter use, it can last up to a day and a half, which is proof that Google has optimized both the software and hardware. With regard to the charging speed, the Pixel 2 reached 100 percent from 39 percent in just an hour and 15 minutes. You can count on a full charge after around an hour and a half.

On the software side, there were some changes in the menu courtesy of Android Oreo, including the addition of a counter that tells you how much on-screen time has been spent since the last full charge.

Google Pixel 2 technical specifications

Dimensions: 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 143 g
Battery size: 2700 mAh
Screen size: 5 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 1920 x 1080 pixels (441 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12.3 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: Stock Android
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Final verdict

When you first pick up the Pixel 2, you may not feel overwhelmed with excitement, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Google has optimized both the software and hardware of its latest flagship. The software interface offers a pleasant experience, in spite of a few temporary bugs, the performance is as good as you’d expect and the camera results are excellent.


Comments below may refer to a previous version of this article.

Where to buy Google Pixel 2

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To device database

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Google addresses unresponsive edges on Pixel 2 XL screen

The ongoing saga of Google Pixel 2 XL display problems continues with reports of the screen not responding to touch near the edges. But Google is already working on a fix to address this issue.

Oh, Pixel 2 XL. We really, really want to love you. Seriously, it has a lot of great qualities, which you can check out in our full review.  But since its release, the larger Pixel 2 has been dogged by various issues, mainly related to its display, with reports of screen burn-in and washed out colors that might even see a class action suit brought against Google. 

Now a new issue with the Pixel 2 XL screen has surfaced, and it’s one we can personally corroborate, as it’s affecting the our own unit right here in the AndroidPIT office. The Pixel 2 XL appears to have trouble registering touches near the edges of the screen (in our case, particularly when it comes to taps around the bottom right corner). This can lead to a frustrating experience when you want to, say, close an ad that’s appeared in that part of the screen, and it’s also where certain controls, such as microphone use on WhatsApp, might appear.

Opinion by Nicholas Montegriffo

It really looks like Google should have performed more extensive testing on the Pixel 2 XL before release.

What do you think?

11 participants

On affected devices it usually takes several taps to get the display to acknowledge what you’re doing, or necessitates turning the phone on its side to switch to landscape view. 

It seems that Google’s software designed to prevent the phone activating from accidental touches is being a little too over-protective in these cases, and fortunately, Google has already confirmed that they are working on an update to solve this. So far, Google’s support updates for the Pixel 2 phones have been fast and effective, such as when they moved to fix the clicking issue last week. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for this problem to go away either.

Have these issues put you off buying the Pixel 2 XL? Or are you reassured by Google’s support?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

How to give your smartphone a Pixel 2 makeover

Do you own a flagship Android smartphone like the Galaxy S8 Plus or the LG G6, and want the cool interface look of a Pixel 2? If you want to replicate the style of Google’s newest smartphones on your own device but don’t know how, then this guide is for you. Alternatively, you can download the original APK file directly from the Pixel 2 with its Live Universe screen background, or use the new Nova Launcher update.

Highlight recent changes

Prerequisites

Before starting, you’ll need:

Action Launcher 3 Install on Google Play Zooper Widget Pro Install on Google Play

Procedure

After downloading Action Launcher and accessing the Pro version, you’ll first have to configure it:

  1. Open the Action Launcher Settings.
  2. Tap on Quicktheme:
  3. Choose the Clean Material theme.
  4. Tap on Quickbar:
  5. Choose your Search Box style (dock).
  6. Choose the Color option and modify the transparency to 15%.
  7. Move the cursor over the Corner Size option and change to 100%.
  8. Tap on Logo search, select Change icon and then choose the Google G (color) option.
  9. Tap on Icon pack and choose the Pixel Launcher theme (or whatever theme you like)

By adding the Oreo’s Adaptive Icons plugin, you can make the most of the Adaptive Icons feature that Android Oreo introduced on the Pixel devices that changes the format of all icons.

Choose Icon Appearance and Application shortcuts:

  1. Set Icon Indicators to None.
  2. Set Unread Badges to Mark.
  3. Make sure that Smart Icon Resizing is activated.
  4. Tap on Application Shortcut Style and choose Android O.

Now, go to Application List:

  1. Select Pixel Style.
  2. Set the grid’s value to 5×6.

In Settings, deactivate the Quickpage option.

  1. In Dock, choose Pixel Style.
  2. In Files & Shutters, choose the Pixel Style again.

Finally, now go to Shortcuts:

  1. In the Gesture section, open the Sliding to top option.
  2. Activate the one finger option for the Contacts application.

Action Launcher has many options for personalizing your Android. © AndroidPIT

Finally, the last stage of the installation setup: widgets. After downloading and opening Zooper Widget Pro for the first time, you can copy the Google Pixel 2 widget to your phone’s internal memory.

Place the. zw file in the “ZooperWidget/Templates/” folder.

Place the .zw file in the “ZooperWidget/Templates/” folder. Afterwards, you can place the widget on the main screen. Then follow these steps:

Hold your finger on a blank space on the home screen:

  1. Tap on Widget.
  2. Scroll through the list until you find Zooper Widget Pro and place one of the widgets on the home screen by holding a finger on it (I recommend sizes 4×1 or 4×2 but don’t worry about that right now, you can always change the size later).
  3. You’ll notice that the widget is dark in color and that it asks you to click on it to start. Do that.
  4. Then choose the SD card option.
  5. Finally, choose Pixel 2 Calendar Widget.

pixel 2 xl vs s8 plus The resemblance is truly impressive when you follow the guide on a S8 Plus. / © AndroidPIT

The first official APK files originating from the Pixels will of course be available and I’ll inform you when that is the case. For now, it’s still the only way to replicate the appearance of the new Google Pixel 2 on your smartphone, even before its arrival to the market.

Nova Launcher is also updated and crushes the competition

Even the most popular Android launcher has been updated with the exclusive features from Google’s Pixel phones and has placed itself in top spot of the competition by introducing these new features:

  • Google search bar in the dock: Nova Settings – Dock – Search bar in the dock – Above or below the icons.
  • Android 8.1 style shortcut menu: Nova Settings – Appearance – Shortcut Menu – Blocks (even though we need to point it out to the Nova Launcher creator, Android 8.1 still doesn’t exist).
  • Adaptive animated icon during the drag and drop on the home screen.
  • Much faster after the theme change or the modification of adaptive icons.
  • Many improvements under the hood.

How to download the APK file for the Pixel Launcher and Live Wallpaper Living Universe.

In the meantime, the folks over at XDA Developers have already found a way of sharing the APK file to install Pixel Launcher, extracted from the new Pixels. It includes the At a Glance widget which contains information on traffic and the calendar, and you’ll also gain access to the Google Now screen on the left hand-side without rooting.

The XDA Developers community have also found a way of bringing the Google Pixel 2’s animated wallpapers to other devices thanks to the APK file.

http 2F 2Fi65.tinypic.com 2F2k1taq The stunning animated backgrounds from the Google Pixel 2 devices can be used on other smartphones and launchers. / © Xda Developers

What do you think? Do you like the new look of the Pixel 2 home screen with the search bar at the bottom?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

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Best Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL cases and accessories

Google’s second attempt at rolling out a premium smartphone that appeals to a wide range of consumers arrives in the guise of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. This dynamic duo has received much more praise than criticism, and one of them could be the perfect phone for you. We take a closer look at just which Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL accessories we think you shouldn’t live without if you buy one.

With Google’s ‘Made for Google’ certification partnership introduced, expect a slew of accessories to be released for owners of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. This follows in the footsteps of Apple’s MFi Program. The accessories arms race is on, and with competition heating up among the manufacturers, it looks like consumers will end up as the winner.

Protective Case

No doubt the two essential accessories that any new smartphone owner should purchase would be a protective case and a screen protector, with the former ranking slightly higher on our list. You can never tell just when a single moment of carelessness is going to cause that expensive device to slip right out of your hand and end up on the floor. Google’s Pixel 2 Fabric Case ($ 50) boasts a premium microfiber liner that is simply great to touch and feel, while delivering that great sense of aesthetics. It works well enough to provide the careful balance of style and practicality, although we believe that over the course of time, it is going to get dirty.

Screen protector

No smartphone should go without a screen protector, no matter how careful you are. The $ 39.95 Power Support screen protector is well worth the investment since it helps to reduce fingerprint smudges on the display, not to mention providing a layer of much needed protection against scratches and possible cracks in the event of a knock or drop. Better one line of defense against cracks than none, since replacing broken screens is an expensive and tedious affair. Since the Power Support screen protector fits perfectly right out of the box, it should be right there next to your freshly unboxed Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.

USB Type-C Digital to 3.5 mm headphone adapter

The missing 3.5 mm headphone jack in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL proves one thing: the industry is trying to force a change forward, making this $ 10 accessory a must-have purchase. To invest ten bucks so that you will be able to continue to use your favorite pair of headphones for the foreseeable future makes plenty of sense. We can expect this accessory to last for at least a couple of smartphone generations as this trend continues. It’s not yet the time to throw out your headphones with 3.5 mm connectors yet.

AndroidPIT pixel 2 xl display 1463 Don’t let that lovely screen get scratched by protecting it with a screen protector. / © AndroidPIT

Google Pixel Buds

The Pixel Buds can be said to be a great idea for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, where it does far more than just transmit music and sounds to your ears. These USB Type-C type headphones will do far more in terms of functionality than an ordinary headset, like real-time translation, and you can expect a long lifespan with the 3.5 mm audio port making way for USB Type-C ports in future smartphone models.

USB Type-C Car Charger 

USB car chargers are deemed to be an indispensable part of some people’s daily commute, and Belkin is famous for delivering quality peripherals at a decent price point. The Belkin USB-C Car Charger offers an avenue to juice up your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL as you travel, offering a snug plug into the vehicle’s 12V port while sporting a couple of charging ports (one USB-C port and one USB-A port). With an asking price of less than $ 20, what is there not to love about it?

As a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL owner, what are some of the other accessories that you think are essential before stepping out of the house or office? 

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

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