Oct 5, 2017

Exclusive First Look At The Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL

Exclusive First Look At The Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL (A Pragmatic Design and a Promising Camera)
Salam Friends! Today we talk about new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL "Exclusive First Look". For more such Tech News Follow Us. You can also get Us on Facebook & Google+.

For a majority of the 10 years, phone makers have been copying each other's designs. It is not easy to differentiate when all you really have is a slab of glass & a handful of variables like camera, materials, ports, and bezels to work with. It's only recently that we have been able to suss out some genuine schools of design thought, and genuinely competing philosophies of phone design are only beginning to emerge.

That is why the designs for the Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL are remarkable: 
In its second year of making phone hardware, Google is establishing an aesthetic that is not just consistent but is distinct from what both Apple and Samsung are doing. Google hardware is all about pragmatism and approachability.

Google also layers on a new iteration to the oldest of tech cliches:
The integration of hardware & software. For Google, the future is not in the merger of hardware and software; it's in the merger of hardware and machine learning.

The New Pixels also seem like Pretty Damn Good Smartphones. :)



Let's get the basics out of the way. The Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL are Google-made phones coming out on October 19th. The less-expensive model is the 5-Inch Google Pixel 2 with 64GB of storage, at $649. The Pixel 2 XL starts at $849. You can spend $100 more on either model to get 128GB of storage.

There's a lot about these phones that is not very surprising: 
The standard Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, OLED screens, 12-megapixel rear cameras and 8-megapixel selfie cameras. When people say phones are boring now, what they often mean is that you can't really differentiate them by looking at a specification sheet. That's mostly true of the Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL.

The phones are identical except for a few key things:
The size & type of screen, the size of the battery, and the basic hardware design. Otherwise, they have the same processors, same cameras, same dual-speakers - the works.

You may have heard that Google Pixel 2 is manufactured by HTC and the Pixel 2 XL is manufactured by LG. That is true, but Google is again insisting that it made these phones and that it is not just tweaking around the edges of existing phones like it did with the old Nexus line. Having used these phones a little bit over the course of a couple days, I saw a lot more Google here than I did LG or HTC.

Google is quite proud of the screens on these phones, both of which are OLED "though they are produced by different manufacturers". The company claims they have a contrast ratio of 100,000:1, which compares to 1,400:1 on the iPhone 8. When The Verge asked Google's hardware chief Rick Osterloh about them, he was confident. "Screens have so many dimensions: color gamut, brightness, quality, contrast ratio," he said. "We will be strong in every dimension - certainly competitive in every dimension - and leading in many." The screens can be set to always-on, showing time and notification icons on a black background. They look nice, but we need to do a lot more looking and testing before we can say anything definitive.

The speakers on both phones got plenty loud without too much distortion. I am sure it was a priority to get those speakers in there, but I'm also sure I would rather have smaller bezels. The overall audio story on Pixel 2 is a big deal: it does away with the headphone jack, but it also supports a bunch of new audio codecs over Bluetooth 5. I can also tell you that the Pixel 2 is a thousand percent better at recognizing when I say "OK Google" than last year's phone.



  • Processor:   Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Memory:     4GB RAM - LPDDR4x
  • Storage:       64GB or 128GB - No microSD slot
  • Rear Cam:  12.2MP, 1.4μm pixels, Autofocus with laser and dual-pixel phase detection,  Optical and electronic image stabilization, f/1.8 aperture lens, OIS, EIS
  • Front Cam: 8MP, 1.4μm pixels, f/2.4 aperture lens, fixed focus
  • Video:          1080p at 30, 60, or 120 fps on rear camera
  •                      "Active Edge" squeezable sides
  • IP rating:     IP67 water and dust resistance
  • USB Type:   USB-C, no wireless charging
  • Headphone: No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Bluetooth:    5.0 BLE
  • Software:     Android 8.0 Oreo
  • SIM:            E-SIM
  • In Box:        18W power adapter, and USB-C headphone, dongle.


  • Screen:       5-inch, 1920 x 1080 AMOLED, 95 percent DCI-P3 coverage, 100,000:1 contrast ratio
  • Size:           5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches
  • Weight:     143 grams
  • Battery:     2700mAh


  • Screen:     6-inch, 2880 x 1440 pOLED, 100 percent DCI-P3 coverage, 100,000:1 contrast ratio
  • Size:         6.2 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches
  • Weight:    175 grams
  • Battery:   3520mAh
Note: Maybe Not All The Info was Correct. Google it, for Proper Specifications of Google Pixel 2.


When you hold a Samsung Galaxy phone "or, for the very brief time I got to try it, the iPhone X", you are hit in the face with the flashiness: curved screens notches for face-detecting cameras, the chrome, and the glitz.

Google is not going for all that. These phones are not homely, but they are also not flashy. They have glass "shades" on the back for the antennas to work, and they have bezels to house the speakers. You might not get people at a bar oohing and aahing over the design, but you will get the practical benefits of a simpler design.

The screen doesn't curve around the sides like the Samsung Galaxy S8, but you don't have to worry about rogue touches. There's no notch on the screen enabling truly edge-to-edge design, but there's also. no notch on the screen. There is no shiny glass, but the finish on the aluminum makes it easier to grip. Every tym it faced a design trade-off, Google chose the more pragmatic option.

Google-Pixel-2-Androidiapa-1 Google-Pixel-2-Androidiapa-2
Google-Pixel-2-Androidiapa-3 Google-Pixel-2-Androidiapa-4

That is not to say there aren't impressive design elements to point out. There are no visible antenna lines anywhere on the Pixel 2 XL’s aluminum unibody. Even though the 6-inch screen on the XL might not technically count as edge-to-edge, it still fits a much larger screen in a body that's just a little bigger than last year's Google Pixel XL, which had a 5.5-inch screen. On both, you will see that there is no camera bump beyond a slightly raised ridge around the lens.

One of the most telling things about holding the phones is the finish on the aluminum. They almost feel more like plastic than metal, I literally had to double-check by holding the phone to my wrist like a baby bottle to see if it was cool like metal should be. That finish plus the bezels make the phone more grippable; on the XL, it hides the antenna lines. The aluminum does mean that there's no wireless charging, however.

They are also kind of fun. Many of the color choices "three on the Pixel 2, two on the Pixel 2 XL" have a power button that stands out. The white Pixel 2 XL, in particular, has a black glass shade on the back, a white body, and a neon power button. It's like a Stormtrooper who secretly wears crazy underpants. :D

I like practicality, but I still think the bezels on the smaller Pixel 2 are too big, and I wish the XL was a little smaller.



Let's talk about cameras. It will be nerdy.

If there is any single thing that makes a great phone great, it's the camera. Last year's Pixel was the best camera you could get on a phone for nearly a year, so the Pixel 2 has a lot to live up to. And if there's any place where Google is going out on a limb with the Pixel 2, it's with the choices it made on the camera.

Rather than go with dual lenses & a camera bump like Apple phones, Google is sticking to a single lens on the back & pairing it to a pile of innovations that - like the phones themselves - seem iterative when taken individually. But taken together & put through the filter of Google's machine learning, I think they have a chance to be something really special.

Here are some of the hardware changes Google is cramming into its camera stack:
  • It's adding optical image stabilization for photos and videos, in addition to electronic image stabilization.
  • It's switching to a dual-pixel sensor on the back, which means that every single pixel is made of two smaller ones.
  • The dual-pixel setup means that the pixels in the sensor are slightly smaller than last year's Pixel: 1.4μm vs. 1.55μm.
  • Although it gets more advanced phase detection for focus with the dual pixels, it's keeping laser autofocus, too.
  • It's individually calibrating each phone in the factory to account for the tiny distortions that are inevitable on every camera lens.
  • To compensate for the smaller pixels, the aperture on the lens is opening up to let in more light: f/1.8 compared to last year's f/2.0.

To be very, very clear: I have only taken a few dozen photos with these phones, and I was using pre-production software, so it is way too early for me to render any kind of judgment. That said, I am impressed with the results I've seen so far.
It's dangerous to judge based on so few shots, but: 
If Google can consistently produce similar results to what I have already seen, it has made a big leap over last year's Google Pixel camera & stands a strong chance of contending with the dual-lens / camera bump system on the iPhone 8 and presumably the iPhone X
Note: The images you're seeing in this article are Google's own sample images, so of course you should take them with a grain of salt.


Now that you have a list of specs for the camera, here are a bunch of things Google has done to make each of those iterative hardware changes multiply each other rather than just add up:

Portrait Mode: Like Apple and darn near everybody else, Google is adding a portrait mode to the Pixel 2. Seang Chau, VP of engineering at Google, says they trained an algorithm on "millions" of faces to account for properly blurring around the hair.

That is pretty standard stuff, to be blunt. What's less standard is that Google is enabling that background blur effect on the 8-megapixel front-facing camera as well. It's also able to create the bokeh effect on the rear-back camera for any object. Doing that requires creating a depth map, and the usual way to create that depth map is to use two separate camera sensors.

Clicked by Camera Man

Clicked By Google Pixel 2
The Google Pixel 2 just has the one, but it also has that dual-pixel camera sensor. Instead of creating a depth map from images that are spaced a half-inch or so apart, it's using images that are spaced less than a micron apart. "They are really close to each other and it's really, really noisy," Chau says. "But guess what: we have algorithms for that… we can increase the signal-to-noise ratio using our same HDR algorithm by overlapping multiple shots and get a much better depth map."

Low light:
Taking multiple shots in auto HDR mode is still the key to how Google approaches low-light photography. Even though the Pixel 2 has OIS, Chau tells me that it won't leave the shutter open for a longer time when it's dark. The OIS helps, but Google's primary strategy is still to take a bunch of shots and let its algorithm jam on all that data to combine them into a single image.

Pixel stabilization, sample from Google.

Video Stabilization: Flashy demos of video stabilization on phones have been around for a long time, and Google, of course, has its own. The company contends that it's different on the Pixel 2, though. Google says that usually video stabilization on phones is handled by software only, cropping into the image to remove jitters. The OIS module is often locked in place for video, so it doesn't float around and make life harder for the algorithm.

On the Pixel 2, the OIS module is free to float around, because Google worked with the parts manufacturer to pull the location data out of the module in real time. So it can detect your hand shake through gyros, detect where the OIS module is at the same time, and then combine those two jittery graphs into a giant pile of messy data that Google machine learning algorithms parse into stable video.
Motion Photos: Like Apple's Live Photos, the Pixel 2's camera can be set to automatically record a short clip with every photo. Google's file format for these photos is going to take a while to be supported by the social networks you will want to share them on. Google's implementation is based on appending the moving image to a standard JPEG file, so maybe it will happen quickly. You'll be able to export into standard formats like MOV and GIF files from the Google Photos app (and, one assumes, Google's own Motion Stills app).
There is machine learning here, too, of course. The phone detects stuff you'd want to cut out, like the blurry motion of putting your phone back into your pocket. It also does an analysis of the beginning and end of each three-second motion photo and attempts to trim the clip to make better-looking loops.

Augmented Reality stickers: Google's ARCore framework is fully active on the Pixel 2, so Google is building little moving "stickers" that you can stick into your scene in real time. It is also taking advantage of some partnerships to get custom stickers, starting with some pretty twee little avatars from Stranger Things. Google says that the individual calibration of each phone's lens is important to AR performance.

That is a lot of stuff to pile into a camera update, but the thing to remember is that Google is sticking to the strategy it formed last year: leaning heavily into HDR and machine learning. By default, the Pixel 2 takes a ton of shots whenever you hit the shutter button, and then does a ton of computer work on those shots to create a single image.

I do have concerns that all that could result in artificial-looking images - overly aggressive HDR can do that - but based on what I have seen and the results from the original Pixel, I’d say Google deserves the benefit of the doubt on this stuff "though probably not the benefit of the hype, so to speak". We will obviously have much more to say in the full review. ;)



As it does every year, Google is playing around with how you Google on the Google phone.

The biggest change - and the biggest gimmick - is that you can squeeze the sides of the Google Pixel 2 to launch the Google Assistant. Mario Queiroz, VP of product management for Google's consumer hardware division, says, "What we tried to do with Active Edge was not making it a gimmick, (but instead ask) how could it perform a useful function." One of those functions is also silencing the phone when it's ringing.

The squeeze works, but you have to get used to it a little. It took me a minute to figure out that a quick squeeze works better than a death grip.

Google Pixel 2 home screen is new, too: Google put a huge Google search button at the bottom, integrated into the dock. It also integrated the search box you see with the app drawer with that button. So there's one less way to Google now. It'll also pay attention to your wallpaper: if it's dark, the app launcher & notification shade will automatically switch to a dark mode to match.

Google Pixel 2 will also be the first phone to fully support Google Lens, the company's new system for recognizing objects in photos. To start, it will only work on a few categories like posters, movie, business cards, books, and landmarks. The lens isn't built directly into the camera, though: it's a button on either the Google Photos app or inside the Google Assistant.

We tried a demo, and it worked fine identifying a book. I also pointed it at my watch, and it knew it was a watch, but it was too much to ask that it identify the precise model. Google says more categories will get added over time.

Identifying Book
Google is also giving the Pixel 2 one more trick:
Ambiently identifying music. Just like the microphones are always on and listening for you to say "OK Google" they will now also listen to music. The always-on lock screen will silently show what music is playing. Google says the new "Now Playing" feature happens locally, with a small database that is stored on the phone itself and updated periodically. No data is sent to the cloud. Best feature ever. :)

There is something almost Scandinavian about the ethos of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. It's most obvious in the pragmatic hardware design, which at every turn is designed for simplicity & usability over beauty. They're nice to look at, but they are a little unassuming. The vibe is like a Volvo car, or an Ikea coffee table, or even Lego. There's a little fun to be had, but mostly they're meant to be comfortable and reliable.

The big question, I think, is whether Google has constructed phones that can become more than the sum of their parts. There's no question that Apple & Samsung have advantages that Google doesn't: more advanced silicon, better access to high-end components, and economies of scale.

The other big question is whether Google can keep these phones in stock, a very common problem with last year's Pixel. Nobody at the company will guarantee that, but I get the sense that they're confident it will be better than last year. "This is not a high bar." At the very least, the Google Store is getting revamped so that you will be able to preorder and hold your place in line whether or not the phone is currently in stock.

What Google has is that it's Google, so it can find clever ways to apply machine learning and AI to problems that other companies can just force with nicer hardware. The main battlefield there will be the camera, but it will play out in all the other usual arenas, too: battery life, performance, and, of course, in personal assistants.

This is not going to be the year when the Pixel takes on the iPhone and the Galaxy in terms of sales numbers, but Google is very serious about taking them on in terms of quality and functionality.

In addition, I also do not mind if you decide to Share this post into Social Networks. It will help me get more readers and make me more motivated!

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Source: TheVerge.Com 

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