THE iPhone X hits stores this Friday, but long waits are expected for those not lucky enough to secure one of the first released.

While diehard Apple fans will have no problem waiting, others might explore what other options exist - not the worst idea when Google's sophomore device is one of those options.

Last year the tech giant launched its first foray into hardware and now the company is back with two new models: The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

While the Pixel 2 is great for those who prefer smaller devices, I was instantly drawn toward the design and feel of the Pixel 2 XL. So just how does it measure up?

There is no denying Google's Pixel 2 XL has a sexy design, with the six-inch OLED display softly curving into the edges of the phone, leaving minimum bezel on the sides.

The horizontal bezels hiding the dual, front facing are thicker than what is seen on industry-leading devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, iPhone X or LG V30.

If you're someone who prefer audio over design, the bezel should be of little concern with the XL offering very loud sound that has no distortion even when turned to full blast.

And even though there is more bezel than other devices at the top, it's nice to see Google stretched it across the entire device as to not leave distracting parts of the screen either side of the top bar like Apple's iPhone X.

As usual, the right side of the smartphone is host to the volume rocker and power button.

The XL has also continued with the two-toned pairing of glass and aluminium, with the later now taking up a larger majority of the back.

Inside the top glass section is the large rear-facing camera, flash and accompanying sensors - a tiny metal ring slightly protrudes the lens.

The fingerprint scanner remains on the rear of the device, with Google ensuring its texture matches the matt finish on the rear of the device.

On the bottom of the XL is a single USB-C charger, but you will not find a 3.5mm headphone jack as it has been completely removed.

Having embraced wireless speakers for quite some time, the lack of headphone jack doesn't bother me.

But if you have attachment to your wired headphones, Google does include a USB-C dongle in the box, although it doesn't give any headphones which is a little sad to see.

One of the most impressive features of the XL is the "active edge" - a feature which allows you to squeeze the side of the phone to summon Google Assistant.

Thankfully, the XL does allow you to alter how hard you have to squeeze to use the feature, which is helpful to ensure you don't bring up Google Assistant every time you pick up the phone.

As it currently stands, Google doesn't offer any other customisation for the feature, but it is still a nice addition nonetheless.


The XL has a 12.2MP shooter on the back and 8MP the front, which both offer quality shots.

While not having the dual camera seen with the iPhone or Galaxy Note 8, Google has managed to create the same bokeh effect using an algorithm - now that's clever.

Working on both the front and rear cameras, the Pixel 2 XL offers detailed, sharp and bright pictures, although there is some blurring around the edges of the subject on some images.

During my use, I found the Pixel capable of matching the quality of other leading smartphones in both full and low light conditions.

In terms of video, the XL can shoot slow-mo at up to 240 frames per second and can shoot 4K at 30fps. Google's optical and electrical image stabilisation ensures also smooth video when shooting rough conditions, although it's still no match for something like a GoPro.

Since launch there been reports of audio recording distortion when recording 4K video and while I didn't experience this, Google said it is working on a fix that will be delivered with the next software update.

While on par with other smartphones in terms of picture quality, Google's Pixel does offer an exciting and unique feature known as 'Pixel Lens'.

The feature allows you to scan an item, then using Google's image database, it will attempt to identify the object and show relevant search results and information.

While the Shazam-esque technology still has a ways to go, it's very impressive and a huge leap forward in technology.

The Pixel XL 2 is one of a refreshed line of devices which are part of the tech giant's efforts to boost its presence against hardware rivals.
The Pixel XL 2 is one of a refreshed line of devices which are part of the tech giant's efforts to boost its presence against hardware rivals.


The Pixel XL 2 has an IP67 rating, which means it is fully protected from dust and capable of being submerged under one metre of water for up to half an hour.

Because of the aluminium unibody design, the device isn't capable of the wireless charging both Apple and Samsung support, although I tend to find that feature slow and opt for the alternative in most cases anyway.

The device has an Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors, 4GB of RAM and offers either 64GB or 128GB of storage - sadly there is no option to expand via microSD like with other Androids.

Google has opted for Android Oreo 8.0, without adding any skins or alterations like seen on competing devices.

The XL includes always-on display, which shows the time, date and app icons for those with pending notifications.
While these are pretty standard, Google allows you to switch on the "Now Playing" feature, which will listen to music playing and display the song title on the bottom of the lock-screen, also saving it a database you can access at a later date.

It might sound like a creepy feature, but Google has tried to alleviate some of the obvious privacy concerns by saying the music recognition only occurs locally on the phone.

Google's smarts also can be seen with the "Photos" feature, which silently edits and creates custom albums from your pictures to make you life easier.

For example, Google Photos will allow you to search for "dog" and see every picture you have containing a K9 in a matter of seconds in instead of having to search through the entire gallery.

Since launch, the Pixel 2 XL has been plagued with a number of display problems including dull colours, a blue tint when the display is viewed at an angle and screen burn.

Similar to the audio issue with 4K video, Google has said it will fix these minor issues ahead of the next software update.

The company also recently began offering a two-year warranty on Pixel 2 devices.

All in all, the Pixel 2 XL is sensational phone that looks sexy and performs even better.

Minor issues aside, I would have no issues recommending the device to someone looking for an upgrade.

Samsung's S8 and Note 8 are still the best phones on the market in my eyes, but the Pixel XL comes in a very close second.

The Google Pixel 2 retails for $A1399 for the 64GB model or $A1549 for the 128GB.

What phone do you think is the best? Continue the conversation in the comments below or with Matthew Dunn on Facebook and Twitter.


The Pixel XL 2 is one of a refreshed line of devices which are part of the tech giant's efforts to boost its presence against hardware rivals.
The Pixel XL 2 is one of a refreshed line of devices which are part of the tech giant's efforts to boost its presence against hardware rivals.

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