Google Drops Pixel 2 XL Pricing by $200

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 34 Comments

Google Drops Pixel 2 XL Pricing by $200

To counter the lower cost of the superior Samsung Galaxy S9+, Google has dropped the price of its Pixel 2 XL by $200. The smaller Pixel 2 is also getting a price cut, of $100.

This is a big deal. And it could completely reset your decision-making process when it comes to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. It’s worth noting, too, that this and some unrelated development are making me reconsider my decision not to review the Pixel 2 XL.

That the Samsung flagships are superior to the Pixel 2s is almost beyond debate. With only one major exception—the camera, and that’s a close call—the Galaxy S9/S9+ outclasses Google’s offerings in every meaningful way. (The Pixels do win some points on a few minor concessions as well. For example, Google Assistant is much easier to use on non-Samsung devices.)

But whatever. The pricing speaks for itself.

Samsung offers only one 64 GB configuration for each of its flagships, so the only real decision you need to make is the color. The Galaxy S9 costs $720 and the bigger Galaxy S9+ costs $840.

But as I opined last September, Google’s Pixel 2 pricing is untenable. A base Pixel 2 with 32 GB cost $650, but the upgrade to 128 GB puts you back $750. A base Pixel 2 XL with 64 GB of storage, meanwhile, costs $850. The 128 GB version that I bought costs $950.

Those prices are too expensive. As I wrote last year, this pricing artificially limits the success of these handsets, because no one in their right mind would spend that much money on an unproven hardware maker when Samsung sells superior phones for hundreds less. Sure enough, Google only sells a tiny fraction of the phones sold by the industry leaders. They’re not even competing.

My advice to Google last year was simple: It needed to reduce the price of its Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL by hundreds of dollars. It cannot compete with Apple and Samsung at the same price. It needs to offer an incentive for customers to even consider its devices.

Well, now it is.

As was first noticed by Forbes, Google has quietly lowered the price of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL to roughly match Samsung’s prices. The 32 GB Pixel 2 now costs $550, and the 64 GB Pixel 2 XL now costs $650.

How this works varies by phone, I think. It looks like the Pixel 2, which now sold out, naturally, is just less expensive than it used to be. But if you configured a base Pixel 2 XL, you’ll see that the price is still $850: The $200 in savings comes via a cash-back offer when you use Google’s financing program. Which you should: It offers 0 percent interest and you can pay it off early with no penalty, which is what I did. (Or you can just take two years to pay it off normally at 0 percent interest.)

The $200 cash-back offer apparently ends next week, on March 31. This pricing, however, should be the norm. This is the right price point for each of these handsets.

On that note, I may formally reevaluate the Pixel 2 XL, which I’ve been using as my primary smartphone since it arrived late last fall. I’ve had my issues with it, including endemic audio problems related to the USB-C port and dongle and, of course, the terrible display, which is unviewable in the sun. But since I reset it for the Android P Developer Preview, the performance has improved dramatically, and of course, it does have the best camera of any handset. At these prices, the Pixel 2 XL could actually make some sense.

I’ll keep mulling this one over. But if you’re going to bite, move quickly and take advantage of that $200 cash-back offer and 0 percent interest. That’s a good deal.


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Comments (34)

34 responses to “Google Drops Pixel 2 XL Pricing by $200”

  1. X911ty12

    Not a peep on about this offer.

  2. Gavin Groom

    Yet here in Australia the Pixel 2 starts at $1079 AUD ($832 USD).

  3. Winner

    The Pixels do win some points on a few minor concessions as well.

    • Less fragile
    • Regular software updates
    • Front firing stereo speakers
    • AR stickers in camera
    • Longer battery life (XL)
  4. rob4jen

    The phone has been $300 off from Verizon for a while and is sometimes $400 off from Best Buy. At those discounts it represents an excellent value.

  5. hafenbrack

    This is news that has long been coming...the Pixel 2 devices were both always too expensive. However when visiting the google store I see no mention of this price drop for the Pixel 2, as others have mentioned. Neither do I see it reflected on the ProjectFi page (as a user of that service). However, the Pixel 2 XL has had a $200 "rebate" as a Statement Credit for about a week now (you also get an additional charger). This is not easy to find but on the Pixel 2 product page about 2/3 of the way down you can find the blurb indicating this. Does Paul have any information when the Pixel 2 discount will go live?

  6. Bdsrev

    The Pixel 2 is now VERY tempting at that price. The 2 XL not so much, LG's OLED's are years behind Samsung's (the smaller Pixel 2 has a Samsung OLED display!). The S9 is better hardware than both Pixels but the software ruins that phone, and Samsung phones have even worse performance degradation than 'stock' Android. Samsung needs to fix that ASAP

  7. yangstax

    Huawei will release their P20 Pro soon (3/27). It would be interesting to see how its 3-camera system with 40MP lens pan put comparing to Pixel 2 XL and S9+.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to yangstax:

      Don't get too excited. Huawei's cameras have never outperformed other flagships, regardless of the number of lenses. P9 and P10 had neat mono tricks and fake-bokeh mode before it was cool, but in terms of just shooting normal pictures in good light or in low light, most other flagships were better.

  8. Bats

    Well of course the S9 is superior, it's newer. When the Pixel 3XL comes out everyone will rave about that. It's always a cycle.

    Also, the Pixel 2xl could've been had much cheaper than that through wireless carrier promotions like VZW's BOGO a couple of months ago.

    Google dropping the price is not a big deal.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to Bats:

      Newer doesn't always mean better. The Galaxy S8 is six months older than the Pixel 2, and yet it's better in virtually every way except for camera performance. I guarantee that when the Pixel 3 comes out, nobody will be saying that it's better than the S9. They will certainly complement the camera, but it will still not be competitive with what Samsung has done with the S9, despite having 6 extra months to work on the design. (And Samsung has a headphone jack!)

      • rickcosby

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        I think that most Pixel buyers aren't buying Google vs Samsung because of the slight differences in hardware but because of the Google Android experience and immediate upgrades to the next version of Android. Both are solid phones and I do miss the headphone jack.

  9. GT Tecolotecreek

    Still can't make a silk purse out of a Pigel's ear.

    It's a sales failure.

  10. marbo100

    I already got $200 off my GS9 by trading in an old GS4 I had sitting in a box. Then I moved over my 200GB microsd card from my old phone and I have everything I need, including a headphone jack. There's always a deal at one or more times in the product cycle of a phone that makes it more attractive to buy but when that promotion is over, then it's the same overpriced lump it was before the discount.

  11. JacobTheDev

    Interesting to see, I hope they keep this pricing, especially for the Pixel 3.

    Quick question: besides the display, how is the Galaxy S9 superior to the Pixel 2? Genuinely didn't realize it was that much better.

  12. toph36

    I bought my Pixel 2 XL in December. While the list price was $899, I got $300 off from Verizon, and a $250 gift card from Target for buying it there. Even including tax and fees, I got the phone for over 50% off. Been generally happy with the phone. Not a Google fan at all, so the price was the deciding factor for me over Samsung.

  13. dcdevito

    " one in their right mind would spend that much money on an unproven hardware maker when Samsung sells superior phones for hundreds less"

    I respectfully disagree with you, Paul. While I'll admit my Pixel 2 XL isn't without shortcomings, and despite them, I still prefer it over any Samsung because of what they do to the software of those phones. Slow updates, lack of support for 3 years, multiple versions of apps, performance issues, and most of all Bixby! No way. I'll go back to an iPhone before using anything other than a Pixel.

    So if you want to compare hardware alone, absolutely I agree the S9 is vastly superior, but I'd argue what Samsung does to its phones subjectively makes them worse. Software is half the experience.

    • valisystem

      In reply to dcdevito: This is exactly right. There are some real problems with the Samsung user experience for non-technical people. It's unacceptable and confusing to ship multiple, duplicative apps, especially when Samsung's apps are frequently worse than the native Android apps. There's little reason to think that Bixby will become a compelling feature - but I believe strongly that Google Assistant could become a natural part of many people's day-to-day use of their phones. Samsung's wraparound display is striking but too many other parts of the Samsung experience are worse than what Google provides on the Pixel 2.

      • gartenspartan

        In reply to valisystem:

        I think the only people that WILL care about the duplicated app issue is a technical person. I know plenty non technical samsung phone users, who use their apps just because they are displayed prominently during phone setup, and I can't recall many complaints. My subjective opinion is that their apps, while duplicating in functionality to google's native offerings, are mostly high quality and fine alternatives. Maybe they're not necessary, but I doubt non technical people give it much thought.

        • bassoprofundo

          In reply to gartenspartan:

          The more I deal with the "normals", the more I'm convinced this is right. They don't dig into this stuff like we do and more often than not don't even notice that there are duplicate apps. Whatever is thrust in front of them in the initial setup process is what they stay with, and Samsung's apps are visually appealing and functional enough that most wouldn't have any reason to look for alternatives.

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to dcdevito:

      I agree. Software is more important than hardware alone. I could have any phone. I'll keep my pixel 2 xl.

  14. Allen

    Better is always just around the corner, as in Android P will fix all ailments. Yet we make our purchases based on today. Despite their shortcomings, the reduced Pixel price may make a difference with those who don't mind paying less for a less than superior phone - after all that's what keeps the technologically inferior manufactures in business. The real question at what price is inferior acceptable - $200 may be enough or maybe $200 more is low enough ignore inferior.

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to [email protected]:

      My phone is great now. Not having usb c issues with earphones. I listen to 15 to 20 hrs of podcasts a week. In a pace van pool and go 1hr to work and 1hr back. I can't say much about using the phone in the sun because I really don't do that. As far as performance I've been very happy.Nice and speedy. No lag.

      Also I waited for the panda version of pixel 2 xl which was delayed about 2 months so I got a better quality checked product than the one Paul probably got. I'm sure the current phones are quite a bit better than the first released.

  15. sfagundes76

    Not showing up for me either

  16. wolters

    It is interesting that you are considering a reevaluation the Pixel 2 XL. I'm looking forward to your thoughts now that you've been trying a Samsung Galaxy S9+.

    I agree, without hesitation, that Samsung's hardware is superior in every way to the current line of Pixel phones. No way around that, the hardware is amazing.

    Even if Samsung's "Experience" (TouchWiz) is full of amazing features, I just can't let go of the Pixel's pure Android Experience and the proven camera. I was tempted by the S9+ but I think I'll hold out for the Pixel 3 line as they really need to hit a grand slam with hardware this time.

  17. gartenspartan

    Paul, there appears to be misinformation in this article. The Pixel 2 is still advertised as starting at $649. I think you are confusing it with the original Pixel, which is still listed for sale, albeit sold out, for $549 at 32 GB. At times in the article your'e refering to a 32 GB pixel 2 and it being sold out and I think you're just confusing them.

  18. seapea

    no price decrease for regular pixel?

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