When the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL launched a few months ago, I had both devices for review. The Pixels are fantastic well-rounded devices, with arguably the best camera in the business.
I picked up the bigger sibling as my primary phone. The innards on both are same (except the bigger battery on the XL) but the big difference between the two is the display, and hence the design. The XL has a taller display with 18:9 aspect ratio, while the Pixel 2 has a traditional 16:9 display with a chunky forehead and chin, and designed like it’s 2016 again. The 6-inch (2880 x 1440) display with almost no bezels trumped the 5-inch Pixel 2 with the lower resolution (1920 x 1080). The Pixel 2 was a boring looking device, really.
Yet, after a couple of months, I picked up the Pixel 2 again. Yeah, it still looked drab, but it was the perfect fit in the hand. Also, it doesn’t have any of the display issues that Pixel 2 XL was marred with. And, of course, it’s cheaper too.
I’m sure I’m not alone in the thought that most flagship smartphones in the market aren’t quite comfortably-sized for one-handed usage – a problem amplified with the newer 18:9 displays. They’re big and clunky, even if some of them are gorgeous. Still, once you go big, you can’t get back. As one gets used to a larger display, everything from Web browsing to watching videos to gaming is a delight.
But maybe I’m old-school. I still think a smartphone with up to 5.5-inches is just the right size. Yes, the bezels can be done away with – but to reduce the size of the phone, not to increase the display size. I was quite happy when HMD Global announced that the upcoming Nokia 8 Sirocco sports a 5.5-inch display with 16:9 aspect ratio. It kind of validated that I wasn’t imprudent in giving up the Pixel 2 XL.
A few weeks with the Pixel 2, and I completely forgot about its pronounced bezels on top and bottom (and I keep telling people that they also house the stereo speakers!). The compact chassis is also much lighter. It fits well in the pocket, and one-handed usage is a breeze. The latter is very important for me. I had a baby a few months ago, and those father-son strolls mean that one of my hands is always busy supporting the toddler.
Pixel 2 sports a compact chassis... it is much lighter and fits well in the hand.
I watch several hours of Netflix on my phone every day, and an inch less on the display is significant, but honestly, I got used to it. While gaming, a larger display is desirable, but the big forehead and chin mean that I can grip the phone much better in the landscape mode.
I’m not a grumpy person who derides the latest trends and I quite like some of the smartphone with 18:9 display, but for me, a comfortable phone is much more important than a stunning one. Pixel 2 is just that.