With Google putting so much marketing effort into their latest Pixel 2 phones, coupled with dozens of positive reviews, I assumed this may finally be moment where Samsung would be unseated as Android's King. Google, via their latest smartphone hardware and owning Android software design, would be the new Android task master taking on Apple's dominate iPhone lineup. Would this mark the moment iPhone is dethroned? The moment so many in the paid-off tech media have been waiting for?
No. Not even close. In fact, Google's newest Pixel 2 phones may be the laziest products Google has developed in quite some time... I question even using the word "developed."
Design aesthetic of any phone is purely subjective, so whether you love or hate the latest look, the Pixel 2 phones are reminicent of Apple's original iPhone. A minor diffence being that the Pixel 2's back cases have flipped the black plastic antenna cap to the top. But design aesthetic has nothing to do with what a phone does, or does not contain, so let's get into it.
In order to deliver a more bezel-less display for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, as has been done with many Android phones, the fingerprint sensor is now located on the back of the phone, just north of center. If ever there was a settle-for-less solution this is it. Should Apple have done this, I shutter to think how the hypocritical tech media would have blasted Apple at building in such a lame work around for Touch ID. Apple should have figured out how to build Touch ID into the front glass or create a Face ID detection system... Oh wait, Apple did that. Google didn't. Evidently, if the phone runs Android and comes from Google, suddenly a non-inventive, lame fingerprint button workaround on the back of the phone is just fine. It isn't. It's nothing new, and Google didn't do a thing to push ID sensing forward one bit.
One would have thought by removing the fingerprint sensor off the font of the phone, at least one bezel, perhaps the top or bottom, would be near edgeless like the latest Samsung Galazy offerings, or the iPhone X. Nope. Google has a chin and forehead on their latest Pixel phones, firmly putting their latest and greatest phones in last place within the high-end bezel-less smartphone race.
Speaking of high-end, the price of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones are ridiculous. Pixel 2 starts at $649, and the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849. I said ridiculous, but make that utterly ridiculous. Why? Let's go beyond nothing new to see here, to omissions and lack of features and see why these phones are so overpriced for what they are.
A year ago Google bemoaned the fact iPhone 7's removed the essential mini headphone jack, but suddenly that no longer matters to the Alphabet company. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have not only removed the mini headphone jack from their phones, but they don't even ship with headphones! You read that correctly. No headphones ship with either Pixel 2 offering. The Pixel 2 XL is $50 more than an iPhone 8 Plus, and it doesn't even ship with headphones! But, hey, Google did throw in a USB-C to mini jack adaptor so...
Google is also no longer bellyaching about how people have to carry around that dumb iPhone 7 Lightening to mini jack adaptor, because hey, they have one now too! All-in-all, petty and pathetic moves by Google.
Want even less value? You got it! Surely the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL contain some high-end, yet easy to include technologies, such as wireless charging? No. They do not. $649 or $849 for a Pixel 2 phone that has bezels top and bottom, fingerprint ID on the back, no wireless charging and no headphones. Wow, the lack of value is really adding up!
Continuing on with a complete lack of Google innovation for a high price, the company also loved to bash Apple's iPhone rear camera protrusion or "bump" as it was called. Evidently bumps are cool again, because both Pixel 2 phones now have them. That's value and innovation in the Google economy.
Want even fewer features for more money? For $849 the Pixel 2 XL does not include a dual-camera. Rather, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL only have a single 12.2 megapixel outward facing camera, with only a two-element flash on the XL model. iPhone 8 Plus not only has a dual camera system, it has a 4 element flash, which allows for flash photography to look absolutely brilliant, with accurate lighting and depth for the background. Pixel cameras are only playing with foreground and background elements via edge detection software. iPhone 8 Plus is using software coupled with their dual cameras capturing different viewing angles to make truly stunning imagery. iPhone 8 Plus also delivers 2x optical zoom, capable of doing so due to the fact it as 2 cameras, whereas Pixel 2 XL has no optical zoom capabilities. In case you missed it, let me mention again that the Pixel 2 XL has only one camera!...
As for other details, Google had almost no option but to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and for Android users that's pretty good. However, the Snapdragon 835 processor vs Apple's A11 Bionic means the Pixel 2 series of phones are roughly twice as slow as iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and soon to launch iPhone X. Speed for the Pixel 2 phones is often further reduced due to Android's horrible memory management.
Throw in the fact that the Pixel 2 XL display has far too many pixels to be useful to the human eye, coupled with a far less than A11 Bionic processor, and the combo delivers phones that lack high-end fps (frames per second) 4k video recording capabilities. Slow motion recording is also half of what iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus can manage.
As for Augmented Reality capabilities? I won't even go there, because evidently Google isn't either. At least not when compared to Apple.
Overall, how would I describe the latest Google Pixel 2 phones? They stink. It's as if Google left their flagship Pixel phone lineup to be designed by the 5 interns they hired last spring. If you buy one, Google not only gets all of your personal data - and sells it - but you've chosen to pay them far too much money for lame hardware and poorly written software to do it.
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