The mobile tech world has been abuzz with the latest from Apple and Samsung as both have issued releases on their flagship phones. Namely, iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy8. Both phones offer some new tech, though not as much as one would think given the media hype. Google, not to be outdone, has also issued information on its flagship phone Pixel 2 and 2 XL.
Google’s phone does not offer a different operating system then iOS or Android, as Google is the creator of Android. What the Pixel offers, though, is hardware designed to run seamlessly with the Android operating system.
If you are firmly in the Apple camp, Pixel 2 has nothing to offer you. If you like Android or are thinking of jumping to an Android phone, Pixel 2 is one to keep an eye on.
To be fair, a phone is a phone. There is little to be offered by the giants of mobile phone manufacturing that isn’t available by the others. And unfortunately, Pixel 2 and 2 XL does little to compete in this field.
To this point, Pixel has made improvements on its exterior appearance. The Pixel 2 XL offers an 18:9 ratio screen with beautiful display, and the Pixel 2 offers a more traditional 16:9 ratio screen. Unfortunately, the Pixel does not offer edge to edge on the screen, leaving some bezel in the pricier Pixel 2XL. For individuals who are infatuated with edge to edge, Pixel will offer you nothing new.
Making a move like Apple, Google has done away with the 3.5mm headphone jack. If you are loyal to having a wired headphone system, Samsung remains the only option. Similarly, Pixel 2 and 2 XL do not offer wireless charging, being left behind by both Apple and Samsung.
Pixel has chosen to stay with a single camera, a single camera that can compete with iPhone 8’s lauded camera. But hardware is not where Pixel distinguishes itself among smart phones, rather software is Google’s forte.
With a squeeze of your hand, you can activate Google Assistant. No longer will you have to search for a home button or unlock your screen. Google has worked on their AI, and Google Assistant now surpasses Siri in user efficiency.
Also, Google has implemented an always on element showing time and notifications without having to touch the screen. Although the jury is still out regarding battery usage for this feature, a bonus is Google Assistant is always listening. For music aficionados, Pixel can hear a song and have the artist, title, and add it to your play list without much fumbling on your part.
Google has taken safe driving to another level with a Do Not Disturb software that will turn off notifications when the phone senses you are driving high speed. Of course, this can be turned off for passengers or those who insist on being distracted by their phones, but the benefit to businesses cannot be missed.
Pixel is competing with iPhone X and ARKit with their own ARCore, developed to bring more realistic AR to your phone. Also, the camera has better abilities to read posters, signs, and other materials to provide reviews and additional information via Google’s web browser.
Although the above software upgrades are nice, the main reason one would want to get a Pixel 2 is the seamless, hiccup free, no bloat access to Android Oreo. Oreo is the newest OS for Android, and Pixel 2 includes it updated automatically for three years. Without bloat and duplication that can be found in Samsung and other Android phones.
With the removal of the headphone jack, Apple introduced consumers to purchases they used to receive for free. Namely headphones. Google has joined that band wagon, though they are offering a bit more of a step up.
The Google Pixel Buds are wireless headphones sold separately. Like other headphones, Pixel Buds can play music. Unlike other headphones, they respond to spoken command such as music choices and bringing up Google Assistant.
The thing that is getting techies most excited is the Babel fish ability of Pixel Buds to translate. Just a quick point, the software is nothing new. The buds use Google Translate, which is already available in Google Play stores for all Android phones.
However, like the seamless nature of Oreo in Google’s new phone, Pixel Buds can translate without the awkwardness of speaking into a phone and then holding the phone up to the other person. The command is given regarding which language the individual wants to speak. The native language is spoken, the buds translate, and when answered the return translation is projected directly into the wearer’s ears.
While translation software is nothing new, Pixel Buds offer a more efficient, user friendly option for translation. Google has stepped away from competitors in both price and language options (40 total). Of course, Pixel Buds only work with the Pixel 2 or 2 XL handset.
Pixel 2 over Samsung or iPhone?
As we’ve said in previous articles, phone choices ultimately come down to user preference. Pixel 2 does not offer glamour hardware seen in the other two phones, the color choices are dismal, and edge to edge was not a priority for Google.
However, if Android is your preferred operating system Pixel 2 and 2 XL are the best options. Pixel 2 and 2 XL are designed to run Android systems seamlessly, and the speed and response proves Google knows how to build a phone for their operating system. Pixel Buds will be like Apple’s ARKit or Samsung’s facial recognition, only time will tell how much user experience will be affected.