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Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2

The Pixel 2 is a quintessential upgrade. Instead of trying to create something new from scratch, Google took everything they got "right" in the previous iteration and refined it further. Externally, a redistribution of the iconic, dual-material back has shrunk the amount of glass, embedding the fingerprint sensor in a matte-finished aluminum instead.

Bluetooth on the original Pixel was a perforated mess. Bluetooth headset on, phone in your right pocket. Your head turns to the left. The audio cuts out. Whatever Google did here, it solved the problem. Now, it's only by completely covering the glass window with the palm of your hand (a grip you don't just stumble upon) that you can cause bluetooth devices to disconnect.

 Photo by Paul Bokserman

Photo by Paul Bokserman

And it's a good thing too, as the tech giant follows the world's lead by axing the 3.5mm headphone jack. There's not much else to say here. The headphone audio on the Pixel was awful - no exception. The Pixel 2 includes a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle in the box, but it's just as bad. It seems that Apple was right in claiming that bluetooth is the way of the future, and I can't fault Google for omitting an inferior feature in an otherwise remarkable device.

Conversely, Google flies in the face of the market's collective bezel-less obsession by keeping a now-outdated chin and forehead, dedicating the extra real estate to a pair of front-facing speakers. A feature that, I at least, appreciate, as manufacturers have largely ignored the audio department, prioritizing form minimization over added functionality (*cough* no headphone jack).

 Photo by Paul Bokserman

Photo by Paul Bokserman

The industrial housing looks out through a 5-inch AMOLED display. And as with all OLED screens (glass or plastic), there's a blue-shift when viewed from an off-center angle. But it's so subtle you only notice it when you look for it from viewing angles wider than 45 degrees - something you probably don't do in day-to-day use. When looking straight at the screen, all colours appear as they should. And after roughly 5 months of use, I've all but forgotten about this quirk.

Within the IP67 water resistant housing (about damn time, Google) lies 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage, 4GB of RAM, the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 processor, a 2700mAh battery, and a single - not a double; not a triple - rear-facing camera, clocking in at 12.2 megapixels.

 Photo by Paul Bokserman

Photo by Paul Bokserman

Introducing, the Pixel Visual Core: the first mobile chip produced by Google, which quintuples the speed of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography, while using less than 1/10th the energy. This magical little chip makes Google the developer of one of the best HDR-capable device, all without having to cram another (sometimes 2 other) lenses onto the camera module.

All-in-all, it's a good day for the Pixel 2, and a great day for our Google overlords.