Google Pixel 2 review

Still has one of the top smartphone cameras

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Interface and reliability

  • New Android Oreo software enhancements
  • To get Android P and Android Q first

Google Pixel 2 is how many people will experience Android Oreo for the first time, and it’s a great way to get to know all about Google’s latest software update. You'll also be able to experience the Android P beta first on this Google-branded device. 

Android Oreo is pre-installed with Google’s apps, and the user interface is exactly how the company wants everything to be laid out. We will go on the record to say that Samsung’s software has gotten better over the years, but stock Android is still extremely clean, yet thoroughly customizable.

Here’s what’s different if you’re upgrading: swiping down on the rear fingerprint sensor now pulls down the notification shade (and it goes back up with a swipe up). That makes one-handed operation of this phone even simpler.

View our review of the user interface below. 

Picture-in-picture is seemingly everywhere, and the little floating box works with more than just YouTube videos that keep running as you navigate throughout the rest of your phone. We also found Google Maps kept us on the right path in a small window as we opened up our email to find the exact name of our destination. How brilliant is that?

The best part is that the Pixel 2 is due for Android P (first developer preview available now) and Android Q updates and will be among the first devices to get them thanks to everything being owned and operated by Google. That’s a big deal for anyone who is months away from being able to update to Oreo. We feel your pain.

Specs and performance

  • Fast Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, but no microSD card slot
  • Boot times filed down to just 10 seconds

The Pixel 2 fails to introduce the world to a brand new Snapdragon chipset like its predecessor did – it’s the same chip that’s in the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, Moto Z 2 Force and so on.

That’s okay, because the eight-month-old chipset and 4GB of RAM run smoothly on the Pixel 2 and it more than meets the benchmarks of its closest competition. Why do some phones have 6GB of RAM then? They're gearing up for apps two years from now and desktop virtualization. For now, we found 4GB of RAM enough to handle today’s multitasking needs.

How good is the battery and gaming on the Pixel 2? View our review video below.

Our Geekbench benchmark scoring put the Google Pixel 2 at a 6,260 multi-score, and it never sank below 6,000, even when trying to pressure it with multiple app downloads and multitasking. That’s a good sign for the future, at least.

You’ll get more storage from the Google Pixel 2, which starts at 64GB of internal space, instead of last year’s 32GB of starter size, and it maxes out at the new 128GB of storage option. There’s still no microSD card slot on the Pixel phones, which is a shame when so many other Android phones carry this expandable storage option.

Pixel 2 boot times are about ten seconds long, meaning we’ve come a long way from the unforgivable minute-and-a-half boot times we experienced on Google’s Nexus 6 phone four years ago. Back then, the phone’s camera was poor too. Times have really changed for Google phones.

Matt Swider