Google is all set to unveil its second-generation Pixel handsets at its Made By Google event on October 4. The first generation Pixel handsets might not have exactly set the sales chart on fire but they did set a new benchmark with their excellent camera and real-life performance.
It was no secret that Google was hard pressed for time with the Pixel and Pixel XL and so the company had to make quite a few compromises with the handsets. This time around though, Google has had plenty of time to work on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL so expectations from the handsets are pretty high as well.
As it usually happens in the tech world, plenty of information about Google’s upcoming Pixel handsets has already leaked. So, before Google’s Pixel event tomorrow, let’s have a look at what the rumours say about these two handsets.
Bezel and Almost Bezel-less
If you thought that Google was going to adopt the bezel-less trend seen on many flagship Android devices this year, prepare to be disappointed. The smaller 5-inch Pixel is going to feature a design similar to its predecessor. This means we are still looking at huge top and bottom bezels. As a consolation, Google is making better use of the bezels this time around by including front-facing stereo speakers on the handset.
Like last year, HTC will be making the smaller Pixel for Google, though the bigger Pixel 2 XL is being manufactured by LG this time around.
The larger Pixel 2 XL will somewhat feature a bezel-less design with its 6-inch display featuring an 18:9 aspect ratio. If the latest leaked pictures of the handset from @evleaks are anything to go by, the top and bottom bezel on the Pixel 2 XL will be significantly smaller than its predecessor. It won’t be as small as seen on the Galaxy S8 or Note 8, though like the Pixel 2, Google is making better use of the bezels this time around by including front-facing stereo speakers.
The second-generation Pixels are going to follow a design language that is largely similar to their predecessors. Google is only tweaking things around to ensure the phones don’t look outdated when launched with a slimmer and svelte profile. For this, the company is giving the rear of the devices a two-tone ‘Panda’ finish. The glass back at the top of the device will be black in colour, while the bottom will feature a white finish. Google will also be offering the handsets in two other colors including Just Black and Kinda Blue. If Google’s previous track record is anything to go by, the Kinda Blue Pixel 2 is going to be exclusive to Verizon and certain other carriers in the world.
Purely based on their design, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are not going to impress a lot of users, though again, the inclusion of stereo speakers will make a lot of people happy.
Google might skimp on the design of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL but the company is surely going to go all out for its internals. Leaks point to the handsets coming with a Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB RAM, 64/128GB of storage, and a Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor at the rear. The smaller Pixel will feature a 5-inch 16:9 Full HD display while the larger Pixel 2 XL will feature a 6-inch OLED QHD+ 18:9 display.
As seen on many other flagship handsets this year, Google will also be offering an Always-On mode for the display of both handsets.
As for the camera, the second-generation Pixel handsets are expected to come with a 12MP rear shooter with f/1.8 aperture, OIS, and 1.4-micron large pixels. While the individual pixel size is going to go down with the new Pixels, the introduction of OIS and a wider aperture should more than make up for it. The front camera on both devices will be an 8MP shooter with an f/2.4 aperture.
Unlike the iPhone 8 Plus and the Galaxy Note 8, the Pixel 2 XL will not feature a dual-camera setup at its rear. However, thanks to its software prowess, Google will offer a Portrait mode. Both devices are also going to offer Motion Photo similar to Live Photos on the iPhone and Face Retouching, a beauty mode for the front camera to make your selfies look more attractive.
A leak also points to Google using its own image processing chip on the new Pixels for improved imaging performance. The use of faster internals and Google’s own chip should lead to the new Pixels being considerably faster in processing HDR images in the background while also being more power efficient.
Squeeze-able frame, No Headphone Jack
Similar to HTC’s U11, the Pixel 2 XL will feature squeezable side frames. Google will presumably allow users to launch Google Assistant by simply squeezing the frame of the device, though the action can likely be customised to open the camera app or any other app of your choice. It remains to be seen if Google will open up this squeezable frame to other third-party apps as well or not.
…and without a case pic.twitter.com/4QrvyM9Hro
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) October 2, 2017
After mocking the iPhone 7 last year for the lack of a headphone jack, Google is now ditching it with its second-generation Pixel handsets as well. Both, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will lack a 3.5mm headphone jack, with Google bundling a USB-C to headphone jack adapter to make the transition easier for Pixel owners.
Android 8.1, Redesigned Home Screen
Last year when Google debuted the Pixel and Pixel XL, it launched them with Android 7.1 Nougat. The company is going to follow a similar approach this year as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is going to launch with Android 8.1 Oreo onboard. While the new features and improvements in Android 8.1 are unknown at this point, the leaked press renders do point to Google once again redesigning the home screen on its Pixel devices. The redesign will see the Google Search widget moving to the bottom of the screen where it would be more easily accessible. The OS will also come with a new calendar widget that will show your upcoming events along with the weather and date. The new search bar will also be customisable to a certain extent which includes changing the shape of the search bar, logo, color, and more.
Google will also be announcing some enhancements to Google Assistant which will likely be exclusive to the new Pixels for at least the first few months of their availability. One such exclusive feature will likely be Google Lens which was first demoed by Google at I/O earlier this year.
Price and Availability
Like last year, Google is going to charge a premium for the second-generation Pixel devices as well. The 64GB Pixel 2 is rumored to start at $649, while the 128GB variant will carry a price tag of $749. The larger Pixel 2 XL will be even more expensive with the 64GB and 128GB variants coming in at $849 and $949, respectively.
Google will start accepting pre-orders for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL soon after its October 4 event and then launch the devices in a staggered fashion. The Pixel 2 will first go on sale from October 19, while the larger Pixel 2 XL will go on sale from November 15.
Google is also going to launch a cheaper and smaller Google Home, a new DayDream VR headset, and possibly wireless earbuds with Google Assistant integration at its Made by Google event on October 4 as well. However, its the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL which are likely going to steal all the limelight. Are you looking forward to Google unveiling the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL despite their high price tag and staggered availability?Like this post? Share it!