Google Pixel 2 is all about the camera

Today's Google event is now over, and there's a ton of hardware to be looked at. Besides the Pixelbook and the Home Mini and Max speakers, we're now going to discuss what was probably the most-anticipated bit of kit from the show, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones.

The freshly-released handset appears to be more of an iteration on the existing Pixel rather than a full-on reimagining. The 5" AMOLED display with 1920x1080 resolution (441 PPI) can display 95% of the DCI-P3 color space and extends all the way to the phone's sides. Google claims the fingerprint sensor in the new model has an improved placement and faster reading speed. The Pixel team chose to remove the headphone jack in a moment of courage, but there's an included adapter and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity to make up for the omission somewhat.

The camera on the first Pixel phone was lauded as one of the best in a smartphone, and Google has seen fit to double down on it. The snapper on the Pixel 2 has an f/1.8 aperture and a 12.2 MP sensor behind it. The camera supports both Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS). During its presentation, Google showed a rather impressive video of the technologies in action in a bumpy motorcicle ride, and the results were rather impressive.

There's also a now-common portrait mode that applies a bokeh effect to backgrounds, except the Pixel 2 manages to pull this off with its single camera thanks to the integrated depth-sensing technology. You can use portrait mode for your selfies using the front-facing camera, too. Those with a love for looping GIFs will appreciate the "motion photo" functionality that automatically creates a short loop from a single shot while removing extraneous motion. Once again, Pixel 2 owners get free unlimited online storage for photos and videos at their original resolution.

The Android 8.0 OS onboard the Pixel 2 also has a few unique touches. Squeezing the phone brings up the Google Assistant, which also now has its always-present box under the home screen icons. The Pixel 2 is the first handset with Google Lens integration, too. Thanks to the underlying OLED technology, the screen can stay on all the time and display notifications and other useful information without sucking the battery dry. A novel but interesting feature is that the Pixel 2 will listen to whatever music's playing and tell you the artist and song without reaching out to the internet to do so. Google says that all operating system and security updates will be handled automatically.

The Pixel 2 has other hardware niceties. The handsets are IP67-rated for water and dust ingress, and the 2700 mAh fast-charging battery can get you 7 hours' worth of usage out of just a 15-minute charge. There's a Snapdragon 835 SoC inside with all its eight cores, accompanied by 4 GB of RAM and served by 64 GB or 128 GB of flash storage. A single USB Type-C port handles charging and data transfer duties.

The Pixel 2 XL is mostly similar to its smaller brother other than in dimensions, display, and naturally battery. The bigger handset has a 6" OLED display with a resolution of 2880x1440 (538 PPI) and an impressive 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. The battery in this model has a capacity of 3520 mAh.

Google says the Pixel 2 will arrive in stores in October 17 for $649 with 64 GB of storage, or $749 with 128 GB. The XL variant will arrive in two to three weeks and goes for $200 more, with a price tag of $849 with a 64 GB chunk o' flash and $949 for 128 GB. There's also a phone trade-in program available, and as an added bonus, all Pixel 2 purchases includes a promotional code for a Google Home Mini while supplies last.

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