The Google Pixel 2 XL is the most un-Android Android phone I have ever used, but that isn’t inherently a bad thing. The best camera ever seen on a phone combined with a pure Android operating system make the Pixel 2 XL a device that needs to be experienced by smart phone enthusiasts.
Android users, including me, have long touted features like removable batteries, expandable storage, aux ports and universal accessories that other platforms tend to lack. The Pixel 2 XL doesn’t have any of these things. Sure, USB C — a charging cable unlike those on other Android or Apple products — is slowly becoming the norm, but right now it still feels proprietary, considering a lot of the tech world hasn’t caught up.
Not having a removable battery isn’t an issue. The battery has gotten me through almost a full day, and even when I did need to charge the phone, it charges blazingly fast. I can get a full charge for the Pixel 2 in about an hour.
No expandable storage isn’t a downfall for the Pixel 2 like it might be for other Android phones because all Pixel 2 users get free unlimited cloud storage with Google Photos, and the photos and videos can be uploaded in their original resolution, all the way up to 4K.
However, there isn’t any way to justify not having an aux port. There are situations that I really missed having one. Thankfully, the Bluetooth is really fast and sounds great, and I haven’t noticed any audio stutters or random disconnections — which was a problem with my LG V10. It does come with a adapter in the box, but it is just as annoying and silly as when Apple did it last year with the iPhone 7. Just put an aux port on the phone, Google.
There have been reports of some users experiencing burn in, which is to be expected with OLED displays … over time. This is not to be expected this early in a phone’s life cycle. According to Android Authority, there is some debate as to whether this is burn in, which is permanent, or image persistence, which is temporary. I have experienced neither so far.
Some outlets also pointed out around launch that the colors on the screen seemed muted for an OLED screen. OLED screens tend to be a little on the over-saturated side. Google claims the muted colors were intentional, as they were going for a more true-to-life calibration. Either way, they responded with an update that adds more color modes, including one that will make colors pop more like other OLED screens, and will make the screen more comparable with the likes of a flagship Samsung phone. I’ve yet to receive this update, but I doubt I will take advantage of it, as I prefer a more optimized and true-to-life look.
The design of the phone is one of my favorites I’ve seen with a smartphone. However, it isn’t as flashy as some of the bezel-less phones that are sweeping the market. This is rectified, however, because these bezels allow the the Pixel 2 XL to house dual front-facing speakers, and they sound lovely.
I’ve always prefered the Android operating system over others, and have enjoyed it for the past four years using LG phones. I don’t see myself ever using anything but pure Android ever again. I think a lot of people miss out on how elegant the software really is because of all the unnecessary skins that manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and LG put on their devices. Pure android is blazingly fast and smooth. This is the way the OS was meant to be experienced.
The camera is undoubtedly the best part of the Google Pixel 2 XL. Pictures look like those of a professional photographer, and videos look like those of a movie studio. I was able to zoom in on photos further than I have on any other phone without losing any fidelity. Google has also added a portrait mode, which we are starting to see on more and more phones, and it works exceptionally well. This is the best camera to ever grace a smart phone.
The Google Pixel 2 XL is for the Android enthusiast who wants a pure Android experience. For someone who wants an Android phone with more Android features, they might want to look elsewhere, like the feature-packed LG V30. However, a person can’t go wrong with the Pixel 2 XL.