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Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL review roundup: Better than iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8?

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Review

Google unveiled the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL a few days ago, and they’ll ship to your door on October 19th, assuming you preordered one.

But if you’re the kind of person who purchases a new phone only after reading early reviews, you should know they’re already out. Unsurprisingly, the Pixel 2 models are going to be some of the best Android phones in stores this year. But they’re hardly perfect.

The New York Times

The person who reviewed the Pixel 2 phones for the The New York Times thinks the new Pixel 2, with a starting price of $649, is an extravagance, just like the last phone he reviewed… the original iPhone launched back in 2007. But that doesn’t mean the Pixel 2 and 2 XL aren’t worthy phones:

Compared with other Android devices, the Pixel 2 XL, the model I tested and the larger of the two versions of the device, was also a big improvement. I own a Samsung Galaxy S7, widely considered the best Android phone on the market a year ago when it went on sale.


The Pixel 2 phones are solid upgrades over last year’s models, the equivalent of Apple’s iPhone “S,” TechCrunch believes:

The Pixel 2 doesn’t make a particularly compelling upgrade case for users of last year’s model. The hardware isn’t a radical departure, and many of the new software features will be coming to the first-generation model — after all, Android support for older devices is one of the key tenants of Google’s first-party software approach. The device also doesn’t push the boundaries of what a mobile device is as much as other recent flagships.

The Verge

The Pixel 2 isn’t quite a “home run,” The Verge says, as it’s not flawless.

The Pixel 2 has many, many things going for it. Were it not for a few problems — the screen, the slightly inelegant design, and (yes) the lack of a headphone jack — it might have received the highest score we’ve ever given a phone. As it is, it’s a great phone, but not quite a home run.

But while The Verge criticized Apple’s decision to stick with the same iPhone design for the iPhone 8, it found plenty of excuses for Google to have sacrificed the Pixel 2’s design in favor of usability:

At nearly every turn, with both the hardware and the software, Google made that design decision again and again [choosing function over form]. There have been a few times when I wish the company had risked a little more razzamatazz, but mostly I’ve been appreciating the focus on improving the basics.

Image source: Google


The Pixel 2 phones are the best Android phones of the year, Engadget believes:

I find it difficult to make sweeping statements like “This is the best phone out there, period,” because such generalizations are prone to be wrong for a lot of people. That said, I can safely say the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the best Android phones I’ve used all year (and I’ve used a lot of them). While I don’t agree with all of Google’s choices, something special is bound to happen when a company as smart as Google takes such strict control over how its vision of smartphones should be realized.


The Pixel 2 is “all about two things: taking fantastic photos and Google’s software,” CNET says.

Buy the Pixel 2 for the best camera on any Android phone and fast Google updates, but skip it if you can’t live without a headphone jack or a standout design.


It’s Mashable that calls the Pixel 2 phones “boring.” But it also thinks they’re the best boring phones, which isn’t so bad:

They may not be the prettiest or most feature-packed phones, but damn it if they’re not just the kind of competitive flagship phones the world needs now that companies are charging $1,000 (or more) for the latest and greatest glass slabs.

USA Today

Just like other reviews, USA Today thinks the new Pixel phones are worthy iPhone and Galaxy rivals, but they do have some shortcomings like the designs:

The 6-inch display on Pixel XL is beautiful, though lovely displays have become the norm, at least for phones in this price range. I’m less wild about the physical design generally. The Pixels are not quite edge-to-edge as is the case on the all-screen Galaxy Note 8 or upcoming iPhone X. The bezels on the smaller Pixel are even wider, making the 5-inch display seem somehow smaller than it is.

Image source: Google


Google’s new Pixel phones are “Android phones done right,” Yahoo says:

I was a big fan of the original Pixel and the addition of waterproofing and improved cameras have me sold on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. I’m particularly fond of the Pixel 2 XL thanks to its gorgeous design. I do wish the Now Playing option was more consistent and am disappointed that Google is making consumers switch to USB C headphones without including them in the box like Apple.
Still, if you want to avoid the iPhone and you’re sick of Samsung, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the ones to get.


The person reviewing Pixel 2 phones for Wired spreads a lie Google told on stage, one that can be debunked easily:

In virtually every meaningful way, the two Pixel 2 models are identical. Apple forces you to get the big phone to get the best phone; Google doesn’t. The two Pixels have the same Snapdragon 835 processor, same 4 gigs of RAM, same 64 or 128 gigs of storage. Same waterproof body, which can handle a shower or pool. Same camera.

But overall, the Pixel 2 might be the best phone on the planet right now (though Apple’s iPhone X launches soon):

Last year, I called the original Pixel the best phone on the planet. I’m hesitant to do so again, only because the iPhone X comes out in two weeks. (I’ll update this review when that happens.) Here’s what I can say for sure, right here and right now: There’s no better Android phone, anywhere, than the Pixel 2. Especially that black and white Pixel 2 XL. I mean, have you seen that thing? Come on.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.