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Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL: which one should you buy?

Google released two different sizes of Pixel phones this year. Which should you buy— the Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL?

Published onDecember 14, 2017

google pixel 2 vs pixel 2 xl

Google’s latest flagship Android smartphones, in case you have been living under a rock for the past couple of months, are the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. While they do have their similarities, they are quite different in terms of size, what types of displays they use, and more.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the differences and similarities between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Hopefully, this will help you decide which one is right for you!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: the differences

The most obvious difference between Google’s two flagship phones is their overall footprint (one is called “XL” after all). The smaller Pixel 2 measures in at 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm and weighs 143 grams, while the Pixel 2 XL measures 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm and weighs 175 grams. If you like compact phones, the Pixel 2 is perfect for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these phones have different displays. The Pixel 2’s display, made by Samsung, is a 5.0-inch AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, resulting in a pixel density of 441 ppi. The Pixel 2 XL sports a 6.0-inch LG-made pOLED display with a 1,440 x 2,880 resolution and a pixel density of 538 ppi. The big difference here is that the Pixel 2 has a more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, while the 2 XL has an 18:9 aspect ratio, making it easier to hold.

The Pixel 2 has quite a bit more bezel on the top and bottom of the screen, and the 2 XL’s are much less noticeable.

Pixel 2 XL second opinion: worth another look

We also have to note that after both phones were released in late October, there have been reports from many owners about display issues with the Pixel 2 XL. There’s a noticeable blue tint on the 2 XL’s display when the phone is tilted. That’s due to the quality of LG’s pOLED panel, so that can’t be fixed with a software update. There are two other “issues” that Google has fixed already. Out of the box, the Pixel 2 XL’s screen isn’t tuned to be as vibrant as other screens, but you can now adjust that in the display settings. Early adopters have also been reporting burn-in issues as well, but Google is working to fix that with software updates. The November 2017 security patch addressed this problem, as it now features navigation buttons that fade out when you’re not using them.

The company has also extended the warranty for the phone to two years in case something goes wrong.

Now that Google has resolved most of the Pixel 2 XL’s display issues, Android Authority has no problem recommending the bigger Google phone.

The other major hardware difference between Google’s new phones are their battery sizes. The Pixel 2 has a non-removable 2,700 mAh battery, and it’s not surprising that the bigger Pixel 2 XL also has a larger 3,520 mAh battery. Some superficial differences include the rear camera being higher on the top of the Pixel 2 compared to the Pixel 2 XL. Also, the LED flash for the camera is on the left side of the Pixel 2, and on the right for the Pixel 2 XL. Finally, the color choices for each phone differ, with the Pixel 2 available in Just Black, Clearly White, and Kinda Blue, while the Pixel 2 XL coming in Just Black and Black & White.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: the similarities

google pixel 2 vs pixel 2 xl
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The truth is that both of Google’s new phones have more in common than you think, considering they were manufactured by two different companies. Both come with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, and both will get OS updates for the next three years. Both also have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor inside, backed by the Adreno 540 GPU and 4 GB of LPDDR4x RAM. You can select both phones with storage amounts of 64 GB or 128 GB. Neither phone has a microSD card slot.

Both devices also have the exact same camera setups. They feature a single 12.2 MP rear sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a 1.4 μm pixel size, along with a front-facing 8 MP sensor with a smaller f/2.4 aperture.

They also share Google’s first SoC, the Pixel Visual Core. This octa-core chipset is designed to help with photo processing and is said to run HDR+ “5x faster” and use “less than 1/10th the energy” compared to typical application processors. The Pixel Visual Core has been switched on with the launch of Android 8.1 Oreo. By the way, you can upload an unlimited amount of high end “original quality” photos and videos from both phones to your Google Photos cloud account until the year 2020.

Both phones lack the placement of the traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack. There is a headphone jack adapter included in the box for those who want to connect their wired headphones to the USB Type-C port, but no wireless earbuds are included. The good news on the audio front is that both phones also have dual front-facing speakers for a solid audio experience without headphones.

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One other piece of forward-thinking technology that both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have is support for eSIM. This means both devices actually have embedded SIMs that never need to physically be removed. In theory, this means that if you wanted to switch from one carrier to another, you can do it with just a few taps on a screen. In practice, the eSIM support is only available, at least for now, for Project Fi users, but more carriers will likely support the technology in the future.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL also have squeezable sides, which Google calls Active Edge. Squeezing on those sides allows you quickly launch Google Assistant without the need to touch the screen.

Speaking of software, both phones now have a new version of the Pixel Launcher, which now sees the Google Search bar move to the bottom of the screen. There’s also a Now Playing feature that will listen to music playing around you and display the artist and song info on your lock screen.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: the price

google pixel 2 vs pixel 2 xl

The Pixel 2 is the cheaper of the two new Google phones. You can get it unlocked from the Google Store or Verizon for $649 for the 64 GB model, while the 128 GB model is priced at $749. The Pixel 2 XL is more expensive, priced at $849 for the 64 GB model, and $949 for the 128 GB variant.

Which one should you buy?

It goes without saying that if you like smaller phones, the Pixel 2 is for you. It’s compact enough to use with one hand, and it fits in your pocket much easier. And if the Pixel 2 XL’s display has you turned off, you’ll be happy to hear that the Pixel 2’s screen doesn’t have any issues.

If you like larger phones, you should go with the Pixel 2 XL. You get more screen real estate, and the 18:9 aspect ratio makes that big 6-inch display much easier to use. We don’t really think the display issues are anything to be worried about, so don’t let that steer you away from the bigger Google phone.

Whichever phone you decide to buy, we think you’ll be happy. These are two of the best Android phones on the market right now.

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