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Google’s Pixel 2 is official: 2016 design, 2017 specs, October release

Google Pixel 2 Release Date

Android fans were shocked on Wednesday when Google took the stage in San Francisco and unveiled its brand new Pixel 2 smartphone. OK, so pretty much no one was surprised at all, but hardcore Android fans are certainly relieved now that all the leaks and rumors have come to an end.

The smaller of Google’s two 2017 Pixel phones is exactly what we were expecting it to be. Built in partnership with HTC just before Google acqui-hired a big portion of HTC’s smartphone engineering team, the Pixel 2 is an iterative update compared to last year’s model. That said, it’s still a pretty big update, and now that it’s official we know everything there is to know about the sleek new phone.

Google’s new Pixel 2 features a design that looks just like last year’s Pixel phone. In fact, it would be easy to mistake the Pixel 2 for Google’s smaller smartphone from 2016. Of course, Apple is using the same smartphone design for a fourth consecutive year in 2017, so this is apparently something we should get used to.

The HTC-built Pixel 2 features a 5-inch Full HD LCD display with great big bezels all around it. Android fans had hoped early on that both new Pixel models for this year would sport all-screen designs in line with what we’ve seen from Samsung and from Apple’s upcoming iPhone X, but sadly it wasn’t in the cards.

Despite early rumors that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL would be powered by a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 836 chipset, the Snapdragon 835 is running the show instead. It’s supported by 4GB of RAM, and the Pixel 2 will come with either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.

Google also improved the camera on the Pixel 2, improving upon the best-in-class camera it introduced last year on the original Pixel. The new camera got a 98 from DxOMark, though we all know those numbers mean nothing. That said, we’re definitely looking forward to testing out the improvements on Google’s updated camera.

And no, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.

Beyond the phone’s specs, Google also introduced a number of nifty new features coming to the Pixel 2 handset. The most notable among them are likely the “Active Edge” squeeze-sensing frame a la HTC’s U11 that launches Google Assistant, and a new “Now Playing” feature that always listens for music in the background and displays artist and song info on the phone’s lock screen whenever it identifies a track. Think of it as Shazaam, but better — and don’t worry if you have privacy concerns, because the always-listening feature can be disabled just like Google Assistant hotword monitoring.

Google’s new Pixel 2 smartphone will be released on October 17th, and it’ll come in three different colors including Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White. The 64GB model will cost $649, while the larger 128GB version will cost $749. Pre-orders are available on Google’s website beginning today. The phone will be offered on Verizon, Google Fi, or unlocked.

For a limited time, every Pixel 2 purchase comes with a free Google Home Mini speaker, which costs $49.99 on its own.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.