Google Pixel 2 XL Review: I’m Calling It

Posted on November 12, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 75 Comments

Google Pixel 2 XL Review: I'm Calling It

The Google Pixel 2 XL offers flagship-quality hardware, a superior camera, Google Fi compatibility, a clean Android experience. The oft-reported problems with the device, mostly related to the display, are vastly overblown, at least in my experience.

And yet. There is absolutely no way I can recommend the Google Pixel 2 XL to anyone. I won’t tell you not to buy it: As noted, there’s lots to like. But I cannot put that recommendation on my conscience.

The issue is simply stated, so let me get it out of the way up-front: The sheer number of problems reported about the Pixel 2 XL should alarm anyone. Period. Should be enough to prevent the credit card from exiting the wallet. Should be enough to force any potential customer to consider the alternatives.

These problems may not all be true. They may not all be true of all of the manufactured devices. But they are not all not true, if that makes sense. They can’t be.

I know what that sounds like.

As humans, we’re both blessed and cursed by intuition. It’s why we’re still here as a species. When our forefathers saw color shifts in the tall grass, they assumed a predator was lurking and fled. When we see smoke, we assume fire. It never mattered whether our fears were true in each instance, our experience taught us that we only needed to be wrong once to be dead. We survived as a species because enough of us never stuck around long enough to find out. Blind trust just isn’t in our DNA. (Well, except for Apple fans. Let’s just stick with the script here.)

So I’m using the Google Pixel 2 XL. And I’m not seeing any of the problems that others have reported, with the display or otherwise. Not a one. I’ve still not yet received the update that “fixes” the non-vibrant display, and I don’t even care. It looks fine to me.

The one minor display issue that I have experienced, and wrote about, is that it is comparatively washed out in direct sunlight. This morning, to test this again, I walked outside with the Pixel 2 XL, the original Pixel XL, the iPhone 7 Plus, and a Moto Z2 Force that I’ve not yet written about. And I observed how the display performed on each, on the home screen and in general usage, and in the camera app (which is where I had noted the issue previously.)

Here’s what I found: The Pixel 2 XL display is more washed out, in direct sunlight, than the display of the original Pixel XL. It is also more washed out than the display of the iPhone 7 Plus. It is as washed out as the display of the Moto Z2 Force, which features a 1440p Super AMOLED display.

One might say that the Pixel 2 XL and Moto Z2 Force displays perform nearly identically in direct sunlight. Likewise, the displays of the Pixel XL and the iPhone 7 Plus are likewise nearly identical.

But the Pixel 2 XL display is not “unusable” in this situation. It’s just not as good as the display of its predecessor (and it’s possible that the coming vibrant display mode will “fix”—e.g. “improve”—this. But it’s not broken, and it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s just … not as good.

There’s so much to like about the Pixel 2 XL, and I almost feel like I’m in mourning in writing this.

The onboarding experience, with both Android generally and with Project Fi in particular, was excellent. The Pixel 2 XL includes both an e-SIM and a nano SIM slot, so you can have two cellular connections if you want. I skipped the nano SIM and just used the internal e-SIM to set up with my existing Project Fi account and phone number. Unlike my earlier disastrous attempt, it went swimmingly.

The performance, so far, is excellent. That said, the performance of my original Pixel XL was also excellent in the early days, and it has always betrayed me in the end. By which I mean, no matter how many times I reset the device and start over, performance creep happens. Every single time. But with its Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage (in my case, a 64 GB is available too), the Pixel 2 XL is future-proof if you assume, as I do, that “future-proof” means “until Fall 2018, when I will be shopping for a new phone again.” And if you assume that performance creep won’t be a factor. I am not convinced of that at all.

But for me—and, again, in not being able to recommend this device to you, I can pretty much just focus on my own needs for a change—this device brings together the things that literally are important to me. I wrote about this stuff previously, but they weren’t just words: This really is where it’s at for me: A crazy-good camera. A modern, 18:9 aspect ratio and high DPI display. And Project Fi compatibility.

The Pixel 2 XL scores the highest-possible marks on the first and third of those two needs: This is the best smartphone camera I’ve ever used, period. And it rates an “acceptable” on the middle one: When you get past the reported issues with the quality of the display, which I never will, and think only about the form factor, it’s … acceptable. It’s a solid B- effort.

That is, the Pixel 2 XL in no way meets the lofty standard set by Samsung with its Galaxy S8/S8+ and Note8. Those devices have raised the bar on display quality and functionality to new heights that even Apple can’t meet. (Though, to be fair to them, the iPhone X display is a wonder, and it needs to be seen to be believed.)

The Pixel 2 XL display is not technically edge-to-edge, but it’s close. There are bezels on all sides of the device, but they are very thin on the left and right. The corners of the display are artificially curved so that it looks like a rounded rectangle. But you just know there is screen under there. They’re just covering the corners. It’s … second rate, frankly.

But I can see past the display, if you will, because it so ably meets my other needs. And you can do some things to mitigate the effects I mentioned. A case really helps. And using a wallpaper with a black background, which I did coincidentally, helps the display blend seamlessly into the black of the device’s body. You lose a sense of where the display ends. It’s actually really nice.

Brad joked on Twitter this weekend that I “bought a $1000 phone that doesn’t work.” I took that as it was intended, but that critique is not really fair: My Pixel 2 XL, at least, works great. It really does. And since this came up back when I purchased the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and then later returned it, no, my intention all along was never to buy this, test and review it, and then return it to Google. In fact, I’m not returning it: Google can keep my $1000, and I will continue using this device for the next year. Assuming I don’t run into any display issues, that is. I’m keeping it.

Am I worried that I will run into issues? That maybe that screen burn-in issue will occur, or whatever? Sure. I can’t stop writing about it. But what I am far more concerned about is that it will happen to you. Whatever you think of me, please understand that I take this kind of thing very seriously. And I cannot—simply cannot—recommend the Pixel 2 XL to anyone I care for. It just wouldn’t be right.

And it’s too bad. Because the Pixel 2 XL is an excellent device, a worthy competitor that falls just short of the Apple and Samsung market leaders.

But you should not buy it. Sorry.

 

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Comments (76)

76 responses to “Google Pixel 2 XL Review: I’m Calling It”

  1. Avatar

    woodward5418

    Glad to see you have come to a conclusion and this article certainly helps provide some additional direction. As previously posted I have been going back and forth between jumping from the iPhone to Android as I was not sold on either direction. This past week however I finally concluded that because of the ecosystem I have already invested heavily in (iPhones and iPads, computers are now all over to windows) I want to stick with Apple. My biggest issue is the cost of the iPhone X. Already have the 6s Plus which does great so the 8 Plus is not a big enough jump for me to spend the money. As it turns out, I was at my local Best Buy who had just the iPhone X I wanted. The one piece I could not do though is pay the $100 premium Best Buy charges if there is not an activation to go along with it. I just have to wait until they are readily available at the Apple store. How does this relate to the Pixel 2 XL? It relates in that since the pricing of the devices have increased to where they are now, the decisions are not to be taken lightly. With any purchase you have to be completely convinced that the device will address your needs both now and down the road a couple of years. Definitely a real 1st world problem to VP deal with but something the we “handle” everyday.

  2. Avatar

    Aaron Arruda

    I own an iPhone X and a Note 8. I have never owned a Pixel or Nexus device, but have played with them, and still don’t feel that they have ever lived up to the iPhone or recent Samsung devices in terms of quality. Stock Android has its merits, totally get that, but I would not spend the money on the Pixel 2 XL with all the potential issues that have arisen. Hopefully google will get it right next time, because that camera does seem awesome.


    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to Aaron_Arruda:

      On the other hand, is the Note 8 running Oreo, or does it at least have the November Android security patches? (The Samsungs at work are still stuck at an August patch level.)

      I wouldn't spend the money on a phone that doesn't get timely security patches...

      I also wouldn't spend nearly a thousand Euros on a phone that is only going to last a couple of years. My Nexus 5P is still going strong and will last me another year, but once the security patches stop, I'll have to look around for something new.

  3. Avatar

    brettscoast

    Good post Paul

    your honesty is appreciated, it's a pity as this phone does look pretty good.

  4. Avatar

    Pbike908

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S8. It's an impressive phone. Not perfect, but I paid about $600 after rebate for it on Verizon and paying Pixel or IPhone prices is insane.

  5. Avatar

    ctonylee

    Paul I get it. There's something visceral, something so personal and beautiful with my 1st Android Phone (was a die hard windows phone user). This is with all their reported "problems". One word: "Essential"

  6. Avatar

    nbplopes

    $1000 device future proof for one year? I don’t get this kind of future proof.


    I understand it might fill your needs, considering the Project Fi lock-in, but cmon.

  7. Avatar

    polymath

    maybe.... the LOOK of windows on ANDROID ??


    Launcher 8 WP style,, https:// play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lx.launcher8&hl=en


    Launcher 8: Walk through (Windows Phone 8.1 Launcher) https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ94DKka5Cs


  8. Avatar

    wosully

    I already bought it, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Just got back from a hiking vacation in Utah, where it was cloudy, and now it's raining in Illinois, so the display in the sun.....I will have to wait until May to try it out. Thus far, I love the XL2 on Project Fi.

  9. Avatar

    Tom O'Brien

    I've had the 2XL for a month now and have downloaded the recent update. Using the split screen to bring up different photos with different levels contrast and color schemes at the same time having the color options open and activating the different colors options. There is the noted minimal difference between natural and boosted. When switching to saturated there is a gross over saturation in the reds that gives all the images a horrible red hue. This was especially pronounced on pictures with my niece in her wedding dress. Skin tones and her white dress became red tinted. Not a very good job solving the"problem"... Which I think isn't really a problem. I have had no other issues except the blue hue when viewing at angles. The update did fix my Bluetooth connectivity issues.

  10. Avatar

    fraXis

    Great review Paul. This is why I have always admired you. You say it how it is. :-)


  11. Avatar

    Angusmatheson

    This is really about Paul being sad about the death of Windows Phone and having trouble moving on. You never really get over the loss of your true love!

  12. Avatar

    polymath

    ok this is an advert video, i find quite funny,, however,,, it shows that its possible to make high quality phones "..for the people , buy the people.." type of thing without this ridiculous $1,000 price tag.


    Moto E4 Review: The Best $70 Phone You Can Buy!,, https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gWP6jdGS2I


    ".... The iPhone X smartphone costs $357.50 to make and sells for $999, giving it a gross margin of 64 percent, according to TechInsights, a firm that tears down technology devices and analyzes the parts inside. The iPhone 8 sells for $699 and has a gross margin of 59 percent. http:// www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-iphone/apples-iphone-x-has-higher-margin-than-iphone-8-analysis-idUSKBN1D62RZ?il=0 ...."


    there should be an award ( paul ) for companies that make phones for THE PEOPLE, not the ELITE.


    remember, as Android is becoming HUGE,,, ALWAYS get a large micro sd card, a FAST as possible read and write,, then use FORMAT AS INTERNAL on the phone when you first turn it on, then with any luck you will not run out of space --- NEVER removed the SD card, as its now the phones memory!


    this is moto G, the e is the same, https:// motorola-global-en-uk.custhelp.com/app/home/device/motorola/moto-g4-g4-plus/topic/sd-card/using-external-sd-card-as-internal-storage/1


    maybe ( paul ) could do a pice on which is the fast'est micro SD in the 32, 64 and 128 GB ranges.


  13. Avatar

    TraderGary

    Paul, you've precisely written my feelings about my own Pixel 2 XL 128.

    It ticks all the important boxes for me too, in this order...

    1. Fast Pure Android with no bloat and immediate updates
    2. Camera
    3. Google Fi compatibility
    4. Size
    5. Display


    And in 2018 I too will be first in line for the Pixel 3 XL when having the best display will be a Google requirement!

  14. Avatar

    dhallman

    Can anyone tell me the difference between wifi calling and project fi?


    With IOS 9 and Android N+ my wife and kids are able to turn on wifi calling in the phone settings here in Canada on both Rogers and Telus. When activated the service asks you to verify your 911 address and then, whenever you lose cell connection, the phone tunnels to the provider through any active wifi connection. The best part? There is no additional fee for this service. Calls and texts are put against the service plan. Data bypasses and uses wifi directly.


    I have not tried this yet, but I would expect this to work on planes that offer wifi even with airplane mode on and wifi on.


    This seems to me to be what Google is charging a separate subscription for. Is it not available inclusively elsewhere? Or is Google fi already obsolete and not an advantage of Pixel?

  15. Avatar

    seapea

    I don't understand paying $1000 for a phone that you are already planning to replace in Fall 2018. You don't think your "future" can get to 2020?


    (posting replies not working, so sticking reply to a post by GT_Tecolotecreek here)

    There are now reports of 'dead edge pixels' with the phone. see https://www.androidheadlines.com/2017/11/some-pixel-2-xl-units-suffer-from-unresponsive-display-edges.html and https://mobilesyrup.com/2017/11/13/pixel-2-xl-unresponsive-edge-issue/ for some info about it.

    It is like the phones are beta's of production. I wonder is shipments went out that were not supposed to go to consumers.


    • Avatar

      GT Tecolotecreek

      In reply to seapea:

      From what I have read the PX2 series isn't using any brand new leading edge hardware, just pretty much off the shelf stuff from the two manufactures. That makes it surprising they are having so many issues and their QA procedures suspect. Or is the problem the pure version of Android?

      At this point it has definitely tarnished the brand as not so premium.

  16. Avatar

    Ugur

    If it was way cheaper, i'd still consider buying it to have a nice vanilla Android device again with great camera (for a phone).

    Google Fi is appealing to me but sadly not available here so that's not an argument for me (sadly).

    I'd love it if Google would roll out Fi in Germany and other European countries.

    And for a few hundred less, a blue tint when holding it angled wouldn't be the end of the world for me.


    But at this price point, overall, i'm quite disappointed by the Pixel 2, i still think it's a quite ok device with the best phone camera, and i think many of the issues are blown way out of proportion, but what one can tell pretty surely is that no, this was not a phone designed in any depth on hardware level by Google, quite the opposite, it was a device made largely if not completely by the hardware partner with very low if any say by Google and on top very little if any hardware quality control by Google.

    And sorry, but that's not gonna fly when you change the device from Nexus line to Pixel line, increase the price massively and argue it's now because there's such a quality increase because the device hardware is designed by Google.

    So yeah, that part is disappointing to me, both because it's obvious it was a fake argument and one gets cheated there in price, but also because, well, it is sad that such a Google/Android phone with the highest level of quality (control) does not exist right now.

    Yes, the Galaxy devices are nice, i use an S8+ right now, and there are some other nice ones among the competition, too, but no matter how much i moan about Apple where they deserve it, there is none on the quality level which Apple had a few device generations ago (which they don't have anymore in both software and hardware either). Not cool by itself and extra not cool when one considers how they across the board try to charge way more for these devices now.

    I get it, the biggest smartphone hype is over, these are stock traded companies, so they try to ride out max profits as long as possible, and as people by phones in less growing numbers than a few years ago, well, they try to make up for that by increasing the profit as much as possible on all ends, starting with the price of the device.

    But yeah, when you do that and charge the highest premiums, the quality has to match that.

  17. Avatar

    JBerls

    I came to roughly the same conclusions a week ago. I've been a week to 10 days ahead of you with most of the experience, having gotten the phone that many days ahead of you. I'm very happy with my Pixel 2 XL, which displays none of the documented screen problems to my eye. I got the November security patch this morning. I like the "boosted" color palette better than the "saturated." The phone is fast, the camera is exquisite, and I enjoy using this version of Android. I much prefer it to the iPhone 7 I threw in a drawer, again. I find Android much more satisfying to use. But I can't recommend it because I don't know what someone else's experience will be.


    On the other hand, I have responded to friends' queries about the iPhone with a shrug of my shoulders. I don't ever feel GOOD about the recommendation. There isn't a phone on the market that I would recommend unequivocally, and never has been. I recognize that I am an outlier in this: I enjoy using a Mac about as much as I enjoy Windows laptops; there are things I like and dislike about both platforms; I enjoy using an iPad for some things and have wished there was a Surface device as thin and light as an iPad Pro 10". But I simply cannot stand iPhones. I dislike almost everything about using one.


    So I'm really happy with the Pixel 2 XL. But it's very disappointing that I cannot recommend it without anxiety about what I'm telling someone else to do with their money, because it's a very enjoyable phone and I'd love to tell people they don't have to be Apple lemmings anymore.

  18. Avatar

    Guy Shrimpton

    So it's a no to the iPhones (the most expensive non-upgrade you can do), no to Pixel and no a device that could set on fire without the company having any idea why? Doesn't leave us many choices. I'm looking forward to a phone with a decent camera and fast charging, greater security than using a third party. If the screen isn't quite as sharp or bright as it might be, that's a cost I can bear. Better than a device that dies the moment the temp drops beneath 5 Celsius, or gives me no significant improvements since 2012.

  19. Avatar

    Jeffrey Tschiltsch

    Like Paul I haven't had any issues with my Pixel 2 XL and I've had it about a week longer than him. I heard all the issues before it arrived but didn't cancel my order, just figured I'd check it out and "it will be what it will be" - I'd either like it and keep it, or return it. After a week I was confident enough in the device that I send my OG Pixel XL to Google for my credit, and have already received my redemption code for my free Home Mini which will be arriving this week.

  20. Avatar

    glenn8878

    So you did not recommend the newest iPhones especially the previous iPhone 7, but now you decided the Pixel 2 XL is not so good and probably bad. Perhaps iPhones is much better than we take for granted.


    You should return it and get the iPhone X just to review it. That $1000 can be put to better use than be a sacrificial lamb to a bad decision.

  21. Avatar

    ekimvf

    Thanks for this, Paul. Your opinion is greatly appreciated. Can I ask you a question though:

    Would your non-recommendation change if the price of the unit was lower? I mean, isn't the price tag the real culprit here?

    If the Pixel 2 XL was priced between $700 and $800, would you instead recommend it regardless of the other "issues"?

  22. Avatar

    GT Tecolotecreek

    I'm not surprised by this outcome after reading the previous three articles. With the number of problems growing almost daily it was clear the author was trying to decide if he should just settle with the P2XL, warts and all. Paul's requirement for Project FI support may have pushed him to his decision to keep it, but not recommend. That said, now reports are surfacing of Project FI poor call quality with the P2XL.


    To paraphrase Paul, "I’m sure the Pixel 3 XL (“excess”) will get it right in late 2018."


  23. Avatar

    nordyj

    "Well, except for Apple fans. Let’s just stick with the script here." ROTF!!!

  24. Avatar

    drews.tony

    Regarding the edge to edge display - I've not used the Pixel, but just migrated from a Samsung note 5 to a Samsung S8+. I find that the edge to edge display on the Samsung makes the phone unusable unless you put it in a case which gives it artificial edges. With the slick glass back you need to grasp the phone by the edges - but then your fingers wrap slightly onto the display so it registers your touch there. When you try to actually USE the phone you can't because you're already touching it. You need to just let it lay on your (non touching) hand where the glass back actively encourages you to drop it on the floor and break it. Adding a case totally solves the problem and seems to be the only way to make the phone usable. It's conceivable that the small left / right bezel on the Pixel is the fix for this and allows the use of the phone WITHOUT a case. It's funny, I never see this mentioned in reviews of the Samsung phones (or other edge to edge phones).

  25. Avatar

    Stokkolm

    It's interesting to me that you haven't received the update for the display issues. I was never notified specifically about it, but when I forced mine to check it was there on the day that the update was released. Does Google have a history of staggering releases like that?

  26. Avatar

    polymath

    ( paul ) should not have to wait for his windows "communications device", it will be using skype / TEAM i imagine rather than windows phone as was.. and OneNote, with optional office 365 and windows 10 s, progressive web apps in the Microsoft store, probably a pen/stylus maybe a folding eink display or twin oled.


    i keep suggesting that people watch this video, as it dose tell you whats coming up, pause it to read the wall behind him "the all ways connected pc" that's 4G due to the "system on a chip SOC design" and so on and so forth, ( ignore the journalist he dose't seem to understand what he is being told.)

    Full Windows 10 on ARM 64bit 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 835,, https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSXUDKpkbx4


    This could easily be a new concept product,, Tower > Laptop > tablet > 2-in-1 / 360 >>> ( ???? )


    Microsoft could easily do this "Knowledge Navigator" (1987) Apple Computer" https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb4AzF6wEoc which would leapfrog all existing technologies and concepts, though that might get sued by the big A.

    ( part 2, of the video https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWlA_cDE5RU its a pity steve jobs is dead, the computing world needs dreamers not just ENGINEERS)



  27. Avatar

    pesos

    Funny, that's my take on the iphone X. I'll be keeping it but I'm not pushing it on others.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to pesos:

      Interesting. I feel like most people would be blown away by the iPhone X.

      • Avatar

        pesos

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        If they give it a chance yes. The new gestures are fine with the exception of the press-and-hold to get to the app closure UI. The notch is a non-issue (except it's annoying to not have a battery percentage). Otherwise the screen is amazing and I only miss touch id when my phone is flat on my desk a few feet away. But for the price I think most can wait a year and hopefully this form factor will slot down a notch with the new bigger X taking the $999 spot.

      • Avatar

        shameermulji

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Most people are. But let's face it, it isn't cheap. Can't exactly push others into spending $1000+ on a smartphone. And that's US currency. Here in Canada, an iPhone X 64GB + Apple Care+ + taxes is around $1,700.

  28. Avatar

    Nicholas Kathrein

    I think it's way too early to be able to recommend the phone or not recommend it on the display. I think every other review including this one sees the display as the only issue. Yes it could be sexier but that isn't a problem. I'd say it is to early to call it. Give time for the software updates to get to everyone to see whatever happens. People already have it compared it to the s8+ and said it was comparable and that the blue shift is less. If this fixes the issues then the burn in / image retention is the same that Apple is warning about on the iPhone x.

    • Avatar

      rameshthanikodi

      In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

      Nope. If Samsung had display issues on day one everyone would have written it off. Why make excuses for Google? They're charging the same amount of money. And the phone has been out for a while. It's not "too early", it's "too late". Software updates rarely ever fully fix screen issues.

      • Avatar

        Nicholas Kathrein

        In reply to FalseAgent:

        OK so the difference here is Samsung adds crap software to their phones that slows them down. So if the screen is bad then they lost one of their few positives they offer. See if you care most about the software experience the screen will matter less than your software experience. When you have neither then the good camera and sexy looks don't matter.

        • Avatar

          rameshthanikodi

          In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

          that is some serious backwards logic. How do you experience software that is good without a good screen? Come on. This is what I mean by making excuses for Google. A good software experience is not a trump card. The only way for the Pixel to be considered better than the competition is to have both good hardware and software.


          And Samsung has also cleaned up their act, very few people complain of slowdowns on their Galaxy devices. I'd argue that Samsung has good software too. Stock Android - or whatever the hell is on the Pixel (Google Android?) - is not the only good software experience.

          • Avatar

            Nicholas Kathrein

            In reply to FalseAgent:

            Let me explain it this way. Many will say the new Macbook pro's are getting less than their usual rave reviews mostly by their die hard users. They just don't like the hardware. They don't like the keyboards or the strip at the top that replaces the function keys with the OLED strip. They can't get the amount of memory they want. All of these issues are hardware based.


            Even with that these die hard users won't switch to the vast amount of options on the Windows side which have everything they want as hardware goes for one reason. They want MacOS. They care about the software more than the hardware. I'd rather run Google's Android on the Pixel with it's round the clock updates than run Samsung's Android which is slow on security patches and in updates to the main OS. The skin that Samsung uses isn't as fast and smooth as Google's. There is a limit to this. If I had to get a very bad camera to get Googles version of Android then I'd consider changing. The screen I have on my Pixel 2XL would never have raised a doubt in my mind that this screen is worse than my Nexus 6P. I can see the blue color shift at weird angles but I don't notice it any normal use. I would have thought nothing of it and still don't. I don't see burn in and if I have it I can't see it so maybe those that can got a bad panel. There could be burn in happening that I can't see without search it out. I don't know. If you never notice it then is it a problem? Maybe in 2 years it will be different but after a few months the screen is great. Truly.

  29. Avatar

    vidmard

    Glad to read this, as I'm choosing the next phone. But what are the alternatives, Paul? iPhone has it's own bag of problems, iOS is getting worse instead of better. Samsung's OS strategy sux. And I'm out of premium options. :(

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to vidmard:

      There are actually lots of great choices out there, including the iPhones. The OnePlus 5T is of interest, the Moto Z2 Force, all of the Samsung flagships too.

      • Avatar

        HellcatM

        In reply to paul-thurrott: I wouldn't touch an iphone. The other phones won't get updates quick if at all. The Pixel is the only phone out that can get updates reliably. Now if Google somehow got the major manufacturers to make "signature" phones without the crapware, stock Andriod and let Google update them, this would be a true plus. Microsoft did it with PC's why can't Google do it with phones and tablets?


      • Avatar

        RobertJasiek

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        As always, it depends on one's aims. There is still no phone for my mandatory criteria: security, reliability, longeivity, working file management, maximum price €300. iOS and Android fail on at least two criteria. Phones with Linux hardly exist. Microsoft makes only one mistake but this kills: Windows 10 Pro 64b does not have phone functionality. Lots of great choices would only come into existence if I forgot my criteria. Not to mention technical preferences, such as a matte 4:3 display.

    • Avatar

      lilmoe

      In reply to vidmard:


      Don't let the internet fool you. Samsung, imho, has the best mobile UX for most users, ranging from beginner to advanced. Their devices are the most functional and offer the best value for most consumers. Their software and security updates are adequate and good enough (no one cares for the latest version of Android when it's still buggy for the first 6 months).


      If you're not into galaxies for whatever reason, then the only premium option you have left is the iPhone. I personally recommend the 8 if you want the latest, or the 6s if you want a better, more functional, deal.


      I would NEVER recommend any other premium option, never. Google, HTC, LG etc, have no clue what should be done to sell a premium device. If you want to sell shiny moderately specced devices (with the essentials done right) as premium, like Apple, you need to have impeccable customer service and a flawless ecosystem and software (regardless of limitations). Otherwise, you need the absolute best in everything hardware, functionality, availability and value like Samsung. No one else knows it like these two.

      • Avatar

        James Wilson

        In reply to lilmoe:


        Android phone continue to fail with regards to security i.e. lack of timely updates. Only Google branded phones seem to take this seriously. Even the Blackberry, which I was hoping would be timely with regard to security, doesn't appear to release timely updates and locks down it's phones rather than delivers Android patches. Krack is still a problem on the majority of Android phones.


        The iPhone is the only mainstream phone that seems to do this properly.


        The best appears to be Windows 10 mobile but we all know where that is now.


        Are there really any options for a secure phone, with apps, that is value for money? Both the iPhone and Google's Pixel seem to fit the bill but too expensive. Let's see what the next year brings.

      • Avatar

        seapea

        In reply to lilmoe:

        I can't speak for the phones, but for the tablets the Samsung UX is pretty darn good and useful to me.

      • Avatar

        Nicholas Kathrein

        In reply to lilmoe:

        Totally disagree. Saying never shows you have limited your thinking. I've had the Nexus 6p, Nexus 6 and soon the panda 2xl. I always give my old phone to my sister who isn't techie and she has always been happy with them and hasn't complained or asked for help. I just don't agree with you.

    • Avatar

      Bats

      In reply to vidmard:

      I just have to ask, what do you care about Samsung OS strategy? Why is their OS strategy important to you? Also are you talking about Tizen?

      • Avatar

        vidmard

        In reply to Bats:


        I have Nexus 5X now, I had iPhone and number of WIndows Phone all the way back to Windows 7. I believe that latest Android OS is a state of the art software, very well thought of and I would miss constant updates that I would not get if I owned a Samsung device.


        As much as iPhone is a great device, it's getting relly obvious that Apple knows how to make fantastic hardware, but their capability of creating software is getting from bad to worse.


        I would consider Pixel 2, but 1000 EUR price is just crazy, also not available in my country at all. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for OnePlus 5T. Great hardware, good software, modest price.

      • Avatar

        Paul Thurrott

        In reply to Bats:

        Samsung is of interest if only because of its size/influence.

      • Avatar

        Winner

        In reply to Bats:

        Downsides of Samsung:

        Lots of additional Samsung cruft (but better than in the past)

        Security updates lag Google phones' security updates

        OS major updates are slow with Samsung, and you will probably only see one major Android version upgrade ever, unlike Google phones

        Bixby button too easy to hit, Bixby is not as functional as other assistants

        Volume buttons on top left of phone, hard to reach (compared to Google phones)

        Fingerprint sensor in lousy non-ergonomic location, easy to smudge camera

        Samsung launcher has a lot of blank space between tray and first user-assignable row above it, wastes space on your home screen

        Samsung camera, especially in low light, poorer than Google phones due to advanced multi-shot processing in low light on Google phones

  30. Avatar

    MikeGalos

    Since you're into reviewing phones with a high weighting for their cameras, Paul, are you going to review both with and without the optional Hasselblad True Zoom Mod on the Moto Z2 Force?

    With its 10x actual optical zoom (unlike Apple's phony "optical zoom" with only two optical focal lengths), xenon flash and ability to output in Adobe's DNG RAW format, it seems silly to review the Z2 Force without reviewing it as well.

  31. Avatar

    Dennis Helmar

    NO Fear

    Happy to hear that your keeping the Pixel 2 XL! I too am expecting delivery of a 128 Panda this week. I would like to say I have no fear at all about this purchase because not only is it a great phone but I have no doubt Google will stand behind it. I currently have a pixel XL 2016 that I received from Google as a replacement for my 6p that had a battery problem. Google replace the phone with a brand new 128 gig pixel XL for no charge. I love so many things about the new pixel 2 XL that I am going to get Wednesday. I realize there are problems, but I see that most of them already have been fixed by Google. My family currently uses project Fi where I purchase the new phone with the monthly protection contract. For the last couple of weeks I have been looking at Pixel's phones at Verizon outlets around here I have figured out that there are some phones that are more blue than others I will make a judgement on the phone when it arrives. If it's one of the excessive blue ones I will return it. Features that I'm excited about are the Camera, the squeeze to activate assistant, translation in real time with pixel buds, front facing speakers, updates to camera via the not yet activated multi core processor, Project Fi and the unlimited storage of hi-res files. Google has warrantied the screen for 2 years which is more than enough and because I get 3 years of security and operating system updates........ it's a no-brainier for me to buy this phone. If anything goes wrong I just call Project Fi and in a few days a new phone will show up. Hopefully LG will perfect it's display manufacturing process and all will be well.

    • Avatar

      Dennis Helmar

      I was totally wrong about Google project Fi , I got my new phone and the screen was awful. It turned bright blue at the slightest turn. It was made on October 31 so LG hasn't improved anything. Also Project Fi doesn't have any phones to send out for defective units so googles supply issues are just as bad as last year. Maybe Google should get out of the phone business and just supply Samsung phones. Very depressing, I should have listened to Paul......


    • Avatar

      Piras

      In my experience, Google has NEVER stood behind their hardware i.e. Nexus 6p, Nexus 9 etc. Can confirm that I have gotten the runaround from Google.
      In reply to Zmeg22:


  32. Avatar

    JerryH

    Mine came yesterday. I don't see any display issues either. It did ship with Vivid enabled. The phone seems great. Went for a walk today and took some pictures - they are really good. I am probably not going to be able to tell the difference between my Pixel XL (which now gets handed down to my son) and the new Pixel XL 2 as far as camera as they are both so good that I would have to take both devices out with me and take identical pictures to see any difference - but the XL 2 is certainly extremely good. So far very happy. Have not cared about the missing headphone jack. Funny story about that too. My car was 12 years old and I did use the headphone jack previously in it. Had been considering a new car for a long time - even my wife was bugging me about getting myself a new one. Did not want to put a new stereo in the old car. The straw that broke the camel's back was that I was getting a new phone with no headphone jack. Finally pushed me into a new car (which I really like - it has all the modern stuff). Funny how things work. Anyway, the Pixel XL 2 seems very good so far.

  33. Avatar

    Halfwitty

    I bought the Pixel 2 when it was announced. I couldn't be more pleased with the phone. My Pixel 2 replaced a Nexus 5X. I looked at the differences between the two (this was before the issues w/ XL were reported) and couldn't see the XL being worth $200 more dollars. I have used a giant screen phone (Lumia 1520) and found the physical size undesirable and switched (at the time) to the Lumia 930 which was effectively the 1520 in a smaller screen, much like the relationship between Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 2. The higher resolution of the XL is lost on me, 1080P in a 5 in screen is all my eyes can discern anyway. I don't understand why te plain Pixel 2 isn't held p as the equal flagship.

  34. Avatar

    shameermulji

    "That is, the Pixel 2 XL in no way meets the lofty standard set by Samsung with its Galaxy S8/S8+ and Note8. Those devices have raised the bar on display quality and functionality to new heights that even Apple can’t meet. "


    Not according to DisplayMate:


    https://www.macrumors.com/2017/11/06/displaymate-iphone-x-display/


    http://www.displaymate.com/iPhoneX_ShootOut_1a.htm

  35. Avatar

    Bats

    But the problem i have always had with Paul's recommendation is that he always gets it wrong. How many recommendations has Paul made and the product just ended being totally bad (ie Windows Phone, Xbox One, Band, etc...). With all due respect, that's a problem.


    In regards to this phone, Google made the decision to buying the Pixel 2 rather easy and worry-free. They increased the 1 year warranty to 2 years. Definitely by that time, something newer, shinier, and more googlier will come out. Plus the Google Support for the Pixel phone is excellent. I know this because I was in contact with them just recently for my Pixel XL (1st version). Basically what happened was that my 3.5 mm headphone jack was not allowing any of my headsets to plug in. I admit, it was most likely something I did to it during the past 355 days that I have had and used the phone. Luckily I caught this before the 365 day warranty was to expire and Google shipped me a fresh refurbished phone in 2 days. As of now, I am experiencing NO PROBLEMS with my Pixel 2 XL. If I did, I know I can easily swap it for a brand new, because that's how Google works.


    For those people who still own the universally critically acclaimed Pixel and Pixel XL (1st version), IMO an upgrade is not necessary, unless you want the big screen or the sound. I find the improvements with the camera to be very slight that one won't be able to notice the difference at all between the two versions.


    The phone overall is absolutely excellent. It's everything. The improvements I find on the phone is the "calling" for the Google Assistant and it's response time. The other improvement I found is the use of Android Pay. I don't know if it's a software thing, but it just seems faster to pay stuff with the phone than it was with my Pixel XL (1st version). The battery is amazing. I literally went 2.25 days with no battery re-charge.


  36. Avatar

    aengineer

    I just returned my Pixel 2 XL for a refund. Google could not fix a bug that caused the phone output sound (project Fi) to work only with the speakerphone - the ear speaker did not work on two separate phones directly from Google. Their only solution was to return it and try a third phone. That was too much. I was impressed with the VR capabilities and the battery and will miss both, but an unreliable phone is unacceptable.

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