The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are Google’s two newest smartphones, announced and launched just a few weeks ago. The “Pixel” moniker is Google’s high-end, brand for its flagship devices built and designed from the ground-up by Google itself.
The original Pixel and Pixel XL were just what the Android market needed back at the tail-end of 2016. In a market of hit-or-miss phones from Asian manufacturers and a host of inexpensive alternatives, a true premium Android phone was a welcome addition to the fold.
With the sequel phones, they really do feel like a a direct answer to Apple’s big iPhone 8 and iPhone X announcements in September. One is larger, more advanced, and completely redesigned—the other is smaller, more affordable, and based on previous year’s designs. With the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, it’s pretty clear which phone most people are going to want to choose thanks to the unique new design of the iPhone X. With the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, the differences are a little bit more subtle.
If you’re looking at purchasing either the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, here’s everything you need to be aware of.
Because Google only offers two models, it’s able to make a very clear value proposition with its two devices: one is bigger, one is smaller. It might seem obvious, but that’s something Apple can no longer do thanks to the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X options. With Google’s phones, you’ve got the 5.0-inch Pixel 2 and the 6.0-inch Pixel 2 XL. Google has a great option for both people who prefer phones that fit in pockets better and people who want a big, immersive display.
The size of the display doesn’t tell the whole story in the sizing department though. Because the Pixel 2 XL has much smaller bezels and a 76 percent screen-to-body ratio, the difference in sizes isn’t quite as dramatic as you might think.
Unlike the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are identical in design, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look quite different from the front. We’ll get back to the design later, but it’s important to note that the difference in size isn’t quite as noticeable as between the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, or even between the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+. The same goes for the difference in weight, which is only 0.07 pounds.
With all that being said, your preference in size is the first thing to consider when picking between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
Here’s where things get tricky. When Google revealed the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, it wanted us to think that the displays on both devices were relatively similar in terms of quality. The XL has the larger, QuadHD display, as well as the taller 18:9 size ratio, while the Pixel 2 has the HD, 16:9 display. The important thing was that both were OLED—the Pixel 2 uses Samsung’s AMOLED screens and the Pixel 2 XL uses LG’s P-OLED screens. In this case, the difference between the two isn’t what matters—the quality of the product is the problem here.
As reports and reviews have come out, that’s unfortunately been far from the truth. As more and more people have gotten their hands on Pixel 2 XL, it’s been one disaster after another—all related to that display. The latest reports have been that Pixel 2 XLs have already been getting burn-in.
The display also has a terrible blue tint problem. Just the slightest tint casts a blue hue across the screen. When you first see the display you’ll be impressed by the huge size and vibrant colors. But if the quality of your display is something that matters to you, you’ll want to wait until Google figures out its deal with these display problems.
Getting back to the design, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look identical on the back. They’ve got the same two-tone color designs, same single rear camera, and circular fingerprint scanner. On the front, however, they look quite different—particularly in terms of bezels. It’s hard to talk about phones in 2017 without talking about bezels. Bezels are undoubtedly a thing of the past and just about every phone manufacturer is trying to find ways to cut every millimeter from the front of devices.
For the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL it’s very easy to explain: the Pixel 2 looks just like the original Pixel, while the Pixel 2 looks just like the LG G6. The reason for the difference is because the Pixel 2 was manufactured by HTC, which just happens to be the company that manufactured the original Pixel and that Google acquired recently. The top and bottom bezels on this thing look undeniably 2016. If you’re coming from last year’s Pixel or some older smartphone, it probably won’t bother you too much though—that is, until you pick up the Galaxy Note 8 or iPhone X.
The last big thing to consider with these two phones is the price. The Pixel 2 starts at $649 and the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849. The two phones are both a bit cheaper than their Apple or Samsung competitors, which sits them at a pretty nice price point.
The thing to consider is that the Pixel 2 XL costs two hundred more dollars and doesn’t add any significant feature or piece of technology. If the difference in size and design don’t mean much to you, the Pixel 2 is probably the one you want to pick up.