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Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: Everything the pros need to know

Our comprehensive guide covers the launch of the Google Pixel 2 phones, their specs and features, and why they matter for the mobile industry, business users, and IT pros.

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The unveiling of the first Pixel phone showed that Google was serious about mobile hardware, serious about maintaining a pure Android experience, and serious about binding the whole thing together with artificial intelligence (AI). On October 4, 2017, Google announced the second generation of the line with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, continuing what Google CEO Sundar Pichai called the company's shift "from mobile-first to AI-first" in computing.

To help Android fans, business users, and mobile enthusiasts more clearly understand the impact of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, we have put together a guide with all the information needed to understand their features and why they matter. This is a "living" article that will be updated and refreshed as new, relevant information becomes public.

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Executive summary (TL;DR)

  • What are the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL? Google's second-generation Pixel phones are premium pure Android smartphones that feature the AI-powered Google Assistant, a high-quality camera, and other top-shelf components. They come in two versions: the 5-inch Pixel 2 and the 6-inch Pixel 2 XL.
  • Why does the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL matter? The continuation of the Pixel line with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL prove Google's dedication to building out its hardware offerings and creating high-end devices that can compete with other flagship phones.
  • Who does the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL affect? Google fans, Android users, and consumers who are invested in the Google ecosystem of products may consider purchasing a Pixel 2 phone. Business users could leverage its productivity features, and IT pros will need to know how to support it in the enterprise.
  • When will the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL be released? The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were officially announced on October 4, 2017. Pre-orders are available now, and the Pixel 2 will begin shipping on October 19, 2017, while the Pixel 2 XL will begin shipping November 15, 2017. The devices will initially be available in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, and India.
  • How can I take advantage of the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL? The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be available for pre-order and purchase on Google's online store, but certain models may be difficult to find.

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What are the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL?

The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the second generation of Google's Pixel line of smartphones. The original Pixel phone replaced the previous Nexus line of phones that Google co-produced with hardware partners.

The Pixel phone line was developed in Google's hardware group, led by Rick Osterloh. The phones are known for their tight integration with the AI-powered Google Assistant, and the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL continue this tradition. The phones offer a pure Android experience, devoid of any OEM bloatware, and will be the first to receive OTA Android OS updates when they are available from Google.

The phone is available in two versions: the 5-inch Pixel 2, and the 6-inch Pixel 2 XL. Here are the features and specifications for both models.

Pixel 2 (5")

  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels AMOLED
  • Pixel density: 441 ppi
  • Dimensions (inches): 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3
  • Weight: 5.01 oz
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Rear camera: 12.2 MP
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Video: 4K capture available (rear camera only)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Battery: 2700 mAh battery
  • Fingerprint sensor: Back cover
  • Connector: USB-C (no 3.5mm headphone jack)
  • Price: $649 (64GB); $749 (128GB)
  • Colors: Just Black, Clearly White, Kinda Blue

Pixel 2 XL (6")

  • Resolution: 2880 x 1440 pixels pOLED
  • Pixel density: 538 ppi
  • Dimensions (inches): 56.2 x 3.0 x 0.3
  • Weight: 6.2 oz
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Rear camera: 12.2 MP
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Video: 4K capture available (rear camera only)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Battery: 3520 mAh battery
  • Fingerprint sensor: Back cover
  • Connector: USB-C (no 3.5mm headphone jack)
  • Price: $849 (64GB); $949 (128GB)
  • Colors: Just Black, Black and White

Both phones are available unlocked, or as part of a service plan with Verizon. Both phones also feature fast charging, obtaining up to seven hours of battery life with 15 minutes of charge.

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Why does the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL matter?

The continuation of the Pixel line of phones signifies Google's further commitment to pushing forward in the mobile space without the influence of another party, like it did with the Nexus line of devices. The original Pixel line received positive reviews, overall, and was popular enough that some versions actually became difficult to find.

Much like the original Pixel phone, the centerpiece of the second-generation phones is Google Assistant. And now that hardware features have become so commoditized, Google will have to continue to advance its AI and machine learning capabilities through features like Assistant to compete in an already crowded market. With the announcement of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google leaders pointed to some Google Assistant updates, which could mean that they are already heading in that direction.

The Pixel moniker is also Google's real chance to make a big play in hardware. The Nexus line met mixed reviews, but the Pixel phones were pretty successful, which may have had something to do with the amount of control Google had over the device. Now, Google is extending the Pixel name to its Pixelbook premium Chromebook, and could leverage it for other high-end devices in the future.

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Image: James Martin/CNET

Who does the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL affect?

Android users and Google fans will likely be first in line for the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones. However, it is also an attractive option for users looking to make the switch from an iPhone or other smartphone, as it comes with a Quick switch adapter and can transfer all of your data in just a few minutes.

Smartphone photographers and social media users will be drawn to the phone's camera, which received an unprecedented DxOMark score of 98. The phone camera is also built for augmented reality (AR) use as well, which could be a draw for some techies.

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Business professionals and security-conscious users may also find the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL alluring. The phones will receive security updates for up to three years, and they both have a built-in security chip module that will "reinforce your lock screen against malware and hardware attacks," the device website said.

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When will the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL be released?

Google unveiled the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL at the Made by Google event in San Francisco on October 4, 2017. At that time, the phones were made available for pre-order. The Pixel 2 will not be available in stores until October 19, 2017, while the Pixel 2 XL will hit stores November 15, 2017.

The devices will initially be available in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, and India.

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How can I take advantage of the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL?

Until the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are available for sale on October 19, 2017 and November 15, 2017, respectively, both devices will only be available for pre-order. There are two ways to purchase the phones: With a contract through Verizon, or unlocked through the Google Play store.

The Pixel 2 can be pre-ordered from Verizon here, while the Pixel 2 XL can be found on Verizon's website here. If an unlocked version is preferred, customers can head to the Google Play store to pre-order their chosen phone.

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