The main draw for Google's Pixel series is the software. It rocks a clean version of stock Android instead of a heavy OEM skin like TouchWiz, it gets frequent prompt OS updates, the camera software is downright amazing, and it has perhaps the most fluid UI of any phone. But an understated advantage of the software is how dead-simple it is to modify with root-level tweaks.
The Pixel 3 has an indisputably great camera, but a software update coming soon is going to make it even better. Google will be adding a "Night Sight" shooting mode that's so good with low-light situations that you'll have to see it to believe it.
The Pixel 2 XL had what Google called a circular polarizer to ensure the screen would be visible from any orientation while wearing polarized sunglasses. They made a pretty big deal out of it at their 2017 event, but in 2018, there was no mention of whether or not this feature would return in the Pixel 3. It did.
With all the controversy around the Pixel 3 XL, the regular-sized Pixel 3 might be the phone of choice for most users. Thanks to the huge boost in screen size, the little brother is now an easier pickup for those who like a bigger screen. And once more, the internals are the same, giving you the same experience as the 3 XL without the display notch.
The "controversial" Pixel. No phone in the history of Google's Pixel lineup deserves this title more than the Pixel 3 XL. For some (including myself), the design is a welcome change that embodies the modern design of 2018 flagship phones. For others, it has an ugly huge display notch that destroys symmetry.
The Pixel 2 has a number of new unique features. One of the most interesting is the Now Playing option to identify songs you hear on a daily basis. Now Playing displays the artist and title of songs playing in the background of your day and shows this information on the lock screen. While this functionality is incredibly useful, the song history is not saved anywhere on your phone.
Unlike traditional backlit LCD technology, OLED screens don't use any power to display black pixels. Many manufacturers have taken advantage of this by implementing an always-on display, which only lights up a few pixels here and there to show relevant info when your phone is locked. But this leads to extra battery drain, albeit small, and it increases the risk of screen burn-in.
Update 10/22: We were curious to see if the transparency was available when you activate the Pixel 2's automatic dark theme by setting a dark wallpaper, and we're happy to report that it is!
The Pixel 3 runs stock Android, so you might think that since you've used an Android device before, you should know your way around the new phone by default. But Google has actually added several great Pixel-exclusive software features to its flagships, and not all of them are easily discoverable.
Haptic feedback and vibration of our smartphones have come a long way in recent years. These features are much more premium now than they once were, but most users are still unable to adjust the intensity for notifications or phone calls. Most higher-end devices make less noise on surfaces than in the past, but adjusting these values can still come in handy even today.
No matter how good a display is, the idea of perfect color calibration is subjective — some prefer warmer more saturated colors, while others prefer the calmer cooler side of the color spectrum. It is almost impossible to create a single color calibration that everyone can agree on out of the box. The display on the Pixel 2 XL was specifically calibrated with a more realistic color profile in mind.
You just brought a brand new Pixel 3 from the Google Store, and you insert your SIM card only to find the phone won't recognize it at all. No matter what you do, the SIM card won't register and your Pixel won't connect to your carrier network. That's what happened to me and several other Pixel 3 owners. The good news is a fix is coming, the bad news is Google doesn't have a date for that fix.
Rooting usually means sacrifice. With most root methods, you lose access to apps like Netflix and Android Pay when SafetyNet gets tripped. More importantly, you lose the ability to accept OTA updates, forcing you to manually flash new Android versions. But there's a way around all of this if you root the right way.
The Pixel 2 has a really cool feature that identifies any songs playing nearby and automatically displays the track's name on your lock screen. It's honestly one of the most inventive smartphone features we've seen in a while, especially considering how Google did it — but strangely, it's not enabled by default.
The Pixel 2 is a solid upgrade when compared to the 2016 model, but we've reached a point where the latest generation of a smartphone is never leaps and bounds better than the last. It's hard to justify dropping nearly a grand on a phone when it doesn't improve your situation much — especially when a few software tweaks will give you most of the upgrade for free.
Update 10/14: Developer paphonb has added rootless Google Now integration to the leaked Pixel 2 launcher, so now, anyone running Android Nougat or Oreo can get the full Pixel 2 home screen experience. For those running Lollipop or Marshmallow, we've left the unaltered leaked version linked out below, but we've added a new link for the tweaked version with Google Now integration.
When it comes to technology, there are no bigger names than Google and Apple. They're the two most valuable companies in the world, and they've swapped places a few times over the last year, so they're truly neck-and-neck. But let's put business aside for a moment — which of these companies makes the better flagship phone?
Have you ever been listening to the radio and a song comes on that you can't identify? But you're driving, so you can't open your phone and use your favorite app to find the song's name. Well, with a feature called "Now Playing" in the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google has solved this problem.
Not to be outdone by Apple and it's new line of flagship phones, Google has followed suit and finally announced the followup to their highly regarded Pixel line of handsets — the aptly named Pixel 2. Thankfully, the tech giant has also joined in on the trend towards more durable devices, and has engineered both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL to have a rating of IP67 under the IEC standard 60529.
If you looked away for a split-second during Google's Pixel 2 hardware event earlier today, you probably missed a nifty little finishing touch. While demonstrating the new "Active Edge" squeezable frame that launches the Google Assistant, a subtle animation was briefly shown on stage.