Pixel 2 XL first impressions. Blown out of proportion.
Since people have been able to get their hands on the Pixel 2 XL all we’ve heard is negative press, most if not all of that press being directed at one thing; its screen. Having picked up one of these devices on the 19th November and using it as my main device during that time, I can say that a lot of the issues being put forward aren’t really issues, but there are still a few drawbacks.
Firstly I think it’s worth going over why I decided on this over other devices. The phone I wanted to get upon going into Carphone Warehouse was the LG V30. This wasn’t in stock so I had a look at the standard Pixel 2 which I didn’t like so much, to then having a play with the XL variant. As soon as I picked it up it felt right. Very nicely balanced for a larger handset and the coating they use on the metal does give it a slight feel of being made of plastic which I don’t see as a negative. You can still tell that it is a metal bodied phone.
Then I looked at the screen and my reaction was exactly this: “What the f**k are people moaning about?!?”
I took the Pixel 2 XL in just black.
I honestly thought the screen looked great. Sure there’s a slight blue shift to the screen which is no different to previous devices I’ve used and the viewing angles are fantastic. The main issue I’ve found to have, which others have mentioned too is when turning down the screen brightness. It’s noticeable that when scrolling the black areas of an image smear until the screen stops moving, almost like the screen can’t change the colours quickly enough going from black while scrolling. It’s a little bit strange to see. I’m not entirely sure if it’s a fault or an inherent issue with the screen itself but I’ll have more on this at some point in the near future. If it isn’t a fault then it’s quite an annoying aspect that many people won’t put up with.
The rest of the phone is pretty standard for current flagships so not much point in going over the specs until the review. All you need to know is that this is the best overall experience you can have on Android. It is blazing fast in general use. It has a no nonsense single lens camera that can do portrait shots on both the front and rear cameras that go toe to toe with those produced by the more expensive iPhone X. It also has a fingerprint sensor in the correct place on the rear of the phone.
A few words about the camera. It’s pretty fantastic. There’s no manual mode here but the auto shots are usually exceptional. Video is also fantastic and so stable. Google seem to be able to take pretty standard camera hardware and turn it into something special. I can only hope that in the future they can utilise some seriously good camera hardware and then there will end up being no comparison. For now though the Pixel 2 and XL, which share the same camera set up are about as good as you’ll find on a phone in 2017. However if you want manual options you’re much better looking at the LG V30 or Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
It knocks all of the basics out of the park with a bunch of great higher end features thrown in too as you would expect of a phone in this price range. I haven’t really had much chance to try absolutely everything as yet and there’s a lot more Google have in-store for its flagship phones over the coming months so I’m going to wait to experience most of these things before doing a full review. It’s also worth noting that battery life has been fantastic. I still had 20% of the battery left after 8 hours screen on time using a mixture of apps including Spotify and YouTube. This was with screen brightness set to around 60%. So much better than any other phone I’ve owned.
All I can say right now is that I’m seriously impressed by it so far, other than the slight issue with the screen. Ultimately if you’re buying this phone you’re buying it for the software more than the hardware and it’s going to be interesting to see how that evolves over time.
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