Google’s own standard bearers have been unveiled. Now a Pixel and previously a Nexus, the smartphone series is the ideal smartphone conceived by Google in a utopia unblemished by OEMs’ feeble attempts at enhancing the Android experience. Powered by Snapdragon 835 and paired with a 4GB RAM, both phones differ in size. The Google Pixel 2 packs a 5-inch FHD AMOLED panel in 16:9 ratio and is available in either 64GB or 128GB non-expendable storage. On the other hand, the Google Pixel 2 XL houses a larger 6-inch 1,440 x 2,880-pixel POLED display in 18:9 ratio, meaning the screen is wider or taller, depending on the orientation. Its storage capacity is the same as its smaller sibling’s.

Let’s take a look at what other exciting new features Google has in store.

ESIM

Also known as no SIM card needed. However, before we delve deeper into the subject, it is important for you to note that both variants of the Pixel 2 do contain Nano-SIM trays. 

Nonetheless, unlike other smartphones out there, both variants of the Pixel 2 don’t necessary require a physical SIM card. You don’t need to insert it into a tray before you turn on the phone. How do you set up the smartphone for running then? Well, the process is still in its infancy, but Google is trying to simplify the process and make it as effortless and seamless as possible for end users. By that, Google is adopting eSIM for its Project Fi carrier service—that’s the only network that you’d be able to connect to via eSIM. Think of it as connecting to a WiFi network—as easy as that and that’s the future it seems.

Portrait mode

Portrait mode is the new rage. While other handset makers utilise a dual-lens setup to gauge both the subject and the background to sense depth, Google makes use of a single lens with 12.2MP sensor and a deft algorithm to provide the same effect. The software first seeks to identify the face of the subject, followed by the body and then it will decide which part of the frame will be blurred. On top of that, there is the Dual Pixel. So called because every pixel on the sensor is split into two—left and right—to capture a left and right photo, as well as at the same time, capturing two photos at a lower exposure to map the depth, hence distinguishing the foreground from the background. All these combined to great effect. Even better is that the portrait mode extends to selfies.

Dual image stabilisation

If the above isn’t impressive enough, Google managed to fit both hardware-based optical image stabilisation and software-driven electronic image stabilisation systems into its camera. Other smartphones use one or the other. By fusing both, videos will appear smoother.

Unlimited storage…

…with a catch. Although the lifetime Google Drive storage offer is unlimited, photo quality will take a hit after 2020 as to reduce the size of stored images.

No 3.5mm headphone jack

Apple killed it and others followed. The choice now is to play it loudly through a couple of front-facing stereo speakers, akin to the HTC One, to annoy other commuters on the train, fork out for a wired pair that connects via USB-C, or the wireless Pixel Buds. The latter is equipped with Google Assistant. But no, it isn’t free. In fact, both Google’s latest smartphones won’t come with a free pair of earbuds. Bad luck.

Water resistance

Since they are IP67 certified, they can be submerged in 3ft of water for 30 minutes without damage. No information is available on whether the warranty covers the damage in the event you do put it into a test.

Squeeze when you are happy

Google’s recent acquisition of HTC also leads to transfer of technology. HTC debuted a “squeezable” function on its HTC 11 and users can pre-set what functions to be associated with the gesture. Furthermore, with both Pixel smartphones, users can set the force of each squeeze to determine which function to be brought up. Squeeze for a selfie.

Fast charging

After saving the cost by omitting a pair of earbuds from the packaging, Google redeems itself by throwing a fast charger into the box for free. You don’t get such generosity from Apple.

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