Now that the Pixel 2 announcement is behind us, we can take a moment to take a closer look at it and see how it compares to the original Pixel. The question probably going through your mind at the moment is “Is it worth to upgrade?”
Despite not giving us much more to look at compared to last year’s model, the Pixel 2 does come equipped with a better camera, more powerful chipset, squeezable frame, and other improvements. What else has changed? Keep reading below to find out how the new Pixel 2 (not the Pixel 2 XL) compares against last year’s Pixel.
On the outside
The new Pixel borrows more than a few design cues from the old Pixel, but upon closer inspection, you will quickly notice the differences.
Yes, the Pixel 2 features the same glass-aluminum design with prominent top and bottom bezels, rounded corners and curved edges. Yet the Pixel 2 looks a lot more square-ish than its predecessor and a bit more compact. On the back, the glass inlay is smaller and now the fingerprint scanner has been moved to live on the aluminum body.
Nothing has changed when it comes to the Pixel 2 arrangement of the power button (which on the Kinda Blue version comes in a very cool shade of blue), power button, and USB-C port. Unfortunately, the 3.5mm headphone jack is missing this year. On the bright side of things, the Pixel 2 houses two front-facing speakers in stereo configuration, embedded in the phone’s bezels.
When it comes to displays the two phones are very similar. Both the Pixel and Pixel 2 boast 5-inch P-OLED panels with fullHD resolution, but the newer model gets Gorilla Glass 5 protection instead of Gorilla Glass 4.
The Pixel 2 is also IP67 certified, which means it can survive being submerged in up to 3.5 ft of water for up to 30 minutes. The previous model boasted only a modest IP53 rating, which didn’t guarantee much.
Despite retaining the same weight (143 g), the Pixel 2 is a bit thicker than its predecessor measuring 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8mm. In contrast, the Pixel measures 143.84 x 69.54 x 7.31mm.
What’s more, the Pixel 2 relies on a slightly smaller battery of 2,700 mAh capacity, compared to its predecessor which housed a 2,770 mAh powerhouse under the hood. Google says the Pixel 2 will last a day on a charge, but we’ll just have to wait and see how things in real life turn out to be.
The Pixel 2 ships with an 18W USB-C PD charger in the box (just like the original Pixel), but if you want your new phone to charge even faster, you should know that according to Googler and USB-C fan, Benson Leung, the new phone supports up to 27W charging with compliant USB-C PD chargers.
On the inside
The new Pixel swaps out last year’s Snapdragon 821 and replaces it with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 835, a processor clocked up to 2.35GHz. This year, Google is offering slightly healthier storage options. So even if both phones rely on 4GB of RAM, the Pixel 2 will be offered with either 64GB or 128GB storage on board, while the original Pixel is/was available in 32GB/128 GB variants. Neither phones are equipped with a microSD card slot.
Last year’s the Pixel camera received a lot of praise, so in 2017 Google improved upon it by adding opting for a 12-megapixel sensor, 1.4 μm pixel size, f/1.8, laser + dual pixel phase detection autofocus, electronic and optical image stabilization.
In contrast, the original Pixel includes a primary 12.3-megapixel sensor, 1.55 μm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture, laser + phase detection autofocus. Both flagships also feature a secondary 8-megapixel, 1.4 μm pixel size and f/2.4 aperture
This year, Google widened the camera aperture from f/2.0 to f/1.8 to which allows more light to be let in. It also stuck to a single-lens camera, despite the industry fully embracing the dual camera trend. According to Google, single-lens is still the way to go. To prove it, the company has added a new Portrait Mode feature (renamed after last year’s Lens Blur) which works just as well with one lens as other phones that use two. What’s more, you can take bokeh images with the front-facing camera too.
A new feature called Motion Photos has been added which lets users record a video for 1.5 seconds before and after a single shot, which will be included when you share the photo.
Oh yeah and here we should also mention the Pixel 2 is the first phone to take advantage of Google Lens – an AI photo analyzer that can tell you what you are looking at. Just point your phone to a landmark and Google Lens will immediately tell you the name of the building or statue. Pretty neat, huh?
Software and other features
The Pixel 2 comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, which is also available for the first-gen Pixel. However, there are some software tweaks which aren’t available for the original Pixel (not for the time being, anyway).
For example, the Pixel 2 boasts an upgraded Pixel Launcher which features the Google search bar at the bottom for easier reach. What’s more, Google added a widget on top of the screen which shows quick info like current weather, temperature, and upcoming events.
The Pixel 2 takes advantage of other neat features: the low-power Always on Display shows a monochrome clock and notifications every time you take a glance at the phone, even if it’s off. While the Now Playing feature uses the phone’s three-microphone array to identify the songs playing nearby.
Last but not least, the Pixel 2 comes with a pressure-sensitive frame just like the HTC U11, which means users will be able to squeeze the phone to trigger an action like conjuring up the Google Assistant or launching an app.
Google pleasantly surprises its fan-base this years by keeping Pixel 2 prices the same as with last year’s model.
The Pixel 2 is available in Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue and can be yours for $649 (64GB version) or $749 (128GB version). The original Pixel launched with the same pricing options.
Also FYI, the original Pixel is currently available with $100 off in the Google Store.