Yeah
– Superb Camera
– Great Design
– Google Assistant is eerily great

Nay
– Expensive
– No 3.5mm jack

We recently got our hands on the Google Pixel 2 XL for a couple of weeks, and amidst all the hype, we were excited to find out if it was up to scratch. We’re glad to report that it truly does surpass our expectations, making one of, if not the best smartphone on the market right now. Google’s tagline for the Pixel 2 is “Ask more of your phone”, and we can’t think of a better way to describe the phone’s capability. Rather than discuss the battle between the big players in the smartphone game, we’re going to dive right into the review and let the Pixel 2 XL speak for itself.

Design

Right off the bat, you can tell that the Pixel 2 XL is a gorgeous phone. It may not be a luxe as the iPhone X, but it does not feel cheap at all. At 6-inches, the Pixel 2 XL’s screen is the biggest out of all the phones produced by Google so far. They’ve opted to go with a pOLED screen instead of a Super AMOLED screen, so it won’t be as punchy as the Samsung phones, but it’s decent nonetheless. At the bottom and top of the screen you’ll notice front-firing speakers, which is a big win in our books because that means not needing to cup the bottom of the phone to hear audio. You know what we mean.

The thing we do not like about the phone’s design however, is the lack of a 3.5mm jack. I traveled overseas with this phone and realised I’d forgotten to bring the converter, so I was stuck on a lengthy road trip listening to my driver’s playlist.

Camera

I’m going to go right ahead and admit that the camera on the Pixel 2 XL is one of the best I’ve ever tinkered with. I dare say it even outperforms the Huawei Mate 10 Pro in low light conditions. Below is a comparison between the 2.

Taken with Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Taken with Google Pixel 2 XL

It’s pretty obvious that the camera on the Pixel 2 XL is able to take in more light, and therefore and thus provide more detail than what the Mate 10 Pro is able to do. Below are a few more examples of the Pixel 2 XL’s capability in low light conditions.

 

For those interested in the specs, the Pixel 2 XL features a 12-megapixel camera that is optically stabilised, shoots with f/1.8 aperture that helps with the low-light shots that I mentioned earlier, and also has the portrait mode that has become the benchmark for a smartphone camera right now.

I apologise for this mug of me. I did not have a model. As you can see, there are some niggling issues (the cords on my hat a blurred out), but overall, the camera does a really great job at selfies.

Software

The software bit is my favourite aspect of the Pixel 2 XL. When I tried out the new and improved Google Assistant at the Google offices earlier this year, I was blown away by its capability. The AI is become dependable, and it is only going to get better. After being impressed with the responses I got from Google’s response to Siri, I asked it why it was so smart, and it proceeded to lecture me on the wonders of Machine Learning.

For those of you who are unsure about every day applications of the Google Assistant, one of it’s great functions is to analyse pictures for data that you can manipulate. For example, if you take a picture of a movie poster, when you hit the analyse button, Google Assistant will automatically bring up reviews for you. Take a picture of a name card, and it will analyse the data, allowing you to take actions like saving the contact with a click of a button (seen in the picture above). Google Assistant is becoming smarter everyday, and it’s potential is limitless. While it is a tad eery, it is also exciting. One last thing to mention here is Google Assistant is easily activated by squeezing the phone. Yes, you read that right.

Verdict

To be frank, apart from the less-than-spectacular display and the lack of a 3.5mm jack, the Google Pixel 2 XL is a fantastic smartphone. I would even go so far as to say it is the best android phone on the market right now. If you’re looking for a new smartphone, and an Android one in particular, the Pixel 2 XL is your best bet. The only catch is you gotta get it through Singtel, or a third party dealer at the moment.

The Google Pixel 2 is available for $498 on Combo 3 through Singtel.

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