Google is almost ready to launch its new new Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 flagship devices, rocking full Android Oreo and some seriously premium specs, plus fully overhauled camera tech. We’ve seen almost every part of the new Pixel phones already thanks to various leaks, so here’s what you can expect.
Good news for fans of Google’s super-premium Pixel phone and its bigger brother, the Pixel XL. Google is just days away from officially revealing its new Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 devices, which will replace the original mobiles a year after their launch.
The Pixel and Pixel XL are serious iPhone rivals, offering top-end specs and some impressive features including one of the best mobile cameras around. All of that awesomeness is wrapped up in a gorgeous glass-and-metal frame and comes packing an eye-watering price tag. Like we said, these are basically the Android versions of an iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, in every respect.
Rick Osterloh, Google’s head of hardware development and one of the key creators of the Pixel phones, confirmed earlier this year that a Pixel 2 phone would be coming out later in 2017. We’ve already seen plenty of revealing leaks spreading across the web, while it’s easy enough to predict some of the Pixel 2’s key features that haven’t already been broadcast.
So here’s what we know – and what we think we know – about the second Pixel and the bigger Pixel XL 2, ahead of the exclusive unveiling.
Check out everything you need to know about the original Pixel and Pixel XL phones over in our Google Pixel hub.
What do we know about the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 so far?
Yes, there will once again be a ‘Plus’ model of Pixel 2, in the form of the Pixel XL 2, which unlike its smaller sibling and last year’s Pixels is expected to be manufactured by LG, rather than HTC. This will boast a bigger screen, as well as some bonus features to justify that increased price.
Sleek design and plenty of colour
You can bank on Google paying close attention to the new Pixel 2 phone’s design, as the unique and eye-catching good looks of the original Pixel was one of its strong points. We’re expecting more vibrant colours to emerge for the Pixel 2, along the lines of the ‘Really Blue‘ original Pixel. We’ve already seen one leaked image of a bright red model, as well as some formal names for other colours, such as ‘Just Black’, ‘Clearly White’ and ‘Kinda Blue’, which all sound fine with us.
All of the recently leaked photos of the Pixel 2 show that this sequel will once again rock that half-and-half glossy and matt finish of the original phone. That’s reassuring, as Google’s old Nexus phones were designed by different manufacturers and sported a very different look and feel from the previous generations. That meant the Nexus family lacked their own clear identity.
Web rumblings point to slender bezels, just like those on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. The Pixel 2 packing a more conventional Full HD display, whilst the XL 2 may well sport a curved Quad HD OLED with an 18:9 aspect ratio.
Google shuns the headphone jack
The first major leak concerning the Pixel 2 surrounds the headphone jack. This dinky round port has been a real cause of controversy of late after Apple decided to ditch support for its iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Google even made fun of its Cupertino rivals when marketing the first Pixel phones, pointing out the Pixel and Pixel XL’s headphone jack in adverts.
But it looks like the jack might be dropped for the second generation of Pixel mobiles after a leak from an unidentified source spread across the web. Personally, we wouldn’t be too surprised. This should help to make the Pixel phone a little more slender, and who knows – Google might even launch its own version of Apple’s AirPods soon.
One other thing we’ve heard is that Google will bundle a Type-C USB headphone adapter in the Pixel 2’s box. Therefore you can still rock your wired ‘phones on the go if you don’t want to swap to a Bluetooth pair.
Full water resistance for the new Pixels
With most rival flagships such as the iPhone 7, Sony Xperia XZ1 and Samsung Galaxy S8 all boasting a water-resistant design, it’s no shock to hear that the new Pixel phones will likely sport the same resistance. That means Twitter obsessives don’t need to dodge a shower each day, just because they can’t put down their smartphones.
Recent leaks seem to back this up and we really would be surprised if the new Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 are shy of liquids; especially as that headphone jack has been ditched, which is one barrier to a reliable water-resistant finish.
If the new XL is to go for OLED, this will make it a solid choice if you want to use Google’s own Daydream View headset for a bit of VR action on the go. More on this later.
As for the smaller, standard flavour of Pixel 2, if Google sticks with a Full HD resolution, this wouldn’t be a shock. After all, last year’s original Pixel still pumps out gorgeous visuals, even if it’s not as strong as its bigger sibling for VR.
Google’s ambient ‘always on’ display feature will offer up notifications and essential info at all times, even when the phone is hibernating. That’s something we’ve seen on a few phones lately, including Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and the new LG V30.
Snapdragon 835 and, naturally, Daydream VR support
The original Pixel phones boasted the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, the most powerful (at the time) Android processor around. This still offers up smooth performance, as you’ll see in our long-term Google Pixel review.
Of course, the new handsets will come packing the very best processing tech just like their predecessors. And right now, that would be Qualcomm’s brilliant Snapdragon 835 chipset, which is even beefier and more energy efficient than the 821. Not to mention capable of up to 1Gbps download speeds.
If the latest benchmarking leaks are to be believed, the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will both come packing the 835, backed by 4GB of RAM. That’s the same as Sony’s Xperia XZ1, although the likes of the OnePlus 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 come stuffed with more memory.
Some rumours, including those spread by top leaker Evan Blass, suggest that Qualcomm has actually produced an updated 836 platform for the all-new Pixel phones. However, there’s been no word on this 836 thus far, so we’re doubtful. Besides, the 835 is so good that it’ll serve the Pixel 2 well.
The Snapdragon 835 takes mobile VR to the next level, allowing for complex virtual scenes to be rendered in real time. You should also have more complex environment interaction, allowing you to grasp and poke objects to your heart’s delight. Which means an even better Google Daydream VR experience than we’re currently accustomed to, and a true tetherless rival to the HTC Vive.
A longer-lasting Pixel?
Signs point to a 2700mAh cell keeping the Pixel 2 going whilst the Pixel 2 XL’s battery life will be governed by a larger 3,520mAh battery. With the Snapdragon 835 on board, you will also hopefully get Quick Charge 4.0 support for ultra-fast charging at the plug. Of course, this feature has been mysteriously omitted from the Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1 and other Snapdragon 835-toting phones, so we might have to make do with QC 3.0 instead.
You can expect well over a day of life from a single charge, something we loved about the original handsets. Especially as the 835 is so energy efficient.
Pixel 2 camera tech
This is one area where Google has managed to keep the info under tight wraps. We think that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL may sport a camera with laser detection autofocus thanks to the leaked photos so far, although we know nothing about the sensor that Google has used. You can be sure that the new phones can shoot up to 4K video however, while the interface should be stripped-back and easy to use.
Based on the leaked imagery that’s already out there, it looks as though both phones pack single-sensor main snappers, rather than opting for a dual-lens arrangement like phones from the likes of Huawei, LG, Apple and now, with the Note 8, Samsung.
One of the differentiators from HTC’s 2017 flagship, the U11, was its Edge Sense technology, which let you pull off actions within the phone software simply by squeezing it on either side. There’s apparently a chance that both new Pixel phones will sport a similar feature, despite only the smaller Pixel 2 being made by HTC.
No more SIM cards
Since the introduction of the eSIM, we’ve been wondering how long it was going to take manufacturers to do away with the conventional removable SIM card and simply have users register the one built into their phone instead. Signs point to this potentially becoming a reality with Google’s newest blowers, and whilst we’ve already seen the technology in play on smartwatches like Samsung’s Gear S2 and the new Apple Watch Series 3, we’re yet to meet a smartphone with this setup.
Will the Pixel 2 support microSD?
So far, the leaks suggest that Google’s new smartphones won’t offer up microSD memory card support. Thankfully the base Pixel 2 comes packing 64GB of storage space, so you’ll have plenty of room for your apps and media. You can also pay a bit extra to get 128GB instead.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL UK price and release date
Google is in the habit of launching new mobiles just after Apple’s latest iPhone launch, as such you can expect the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 to be revealed at a special event on October 4th, 2017.
In fact, we’ve just heard that some phone accessory manufacturers have been given embargoed details about the Pixel phones, so they can get some cases and other gadgets ready for the Pixel 2’s launch. This embargo lifts on October 10th, so you can expect Google to release the new flagship handsets into stores on that date.
As for the UK pricing, the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will once again be premium devices. Expect to pay at least £649 for the base handset.