Google Pixel 2 Arrives with Top-Rated Camera, New Smart Features
Available now for pre-ordering and set to start shipping over the next few weeks, Google's new Pixel smartphones have already earned the top rating for camera phones from the DxOMark image quality rating site.
Unveiled yesterday along with a new family of Google hardware products, the Pixel 2 (pictured, left) and Pixel 2 XL (pictured, right) have received a DxOMark rating of 98 out of 100, compared to 90 for last year's Pixel phones. The new phones' scores puts them ahead of Apple's iPhone 8 Plus (94), the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (94), and the Apple iPhone 8 (92).
In addition to the front- and rear-facing cameras, the Pixel 2 features Google Lens, which uses computer vision to provide users with details about their photo images; squeeze-enabled access to an updated intelligent Google Assistant; and a long-lasting battery that can deliver up to seven hours of use after 15 minutes of charging.
During yesterday's launch event, Google also announced its new Home Mini and Home Max smart speakers, the Pixelbook Chromebook, the Pixel Buds wireless headphones, and the Google Clips free-standing wireless camera for capturing spontaneous photos and video snippets.
Like the iPhone, No More Headphone Jack
The five-inch Pixel 2 with AMOLED display, priced at $649 and up, and the six-inch Pixel 2 XL with pOLED screen, which starts at $849, are set to begin shipping on Oct. 19, although several reports indicate that early demand has already delayed the expected arrival of the larger device by nearly a month.
Both phones are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processors and run Oreo, the latest version of the Android operating system. And, like Apple's most recent iPhones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are ditching the standard headphone jack, although they will ship with a USB-C-to-3.5mm headphone adaptor.
The phones will also work with Google's new $159 wireless Pixel Buds. Also available for pre-ordering now and set to ship in November, the wireless headphones with Google Assistant can also be used to issue voice commands, make phone calls, ask for directions, or provide real-time translations in 40 languages.
"In the coming weeks, your Assistant on Pixel will also be able to help with your daily routines, just by using one simple phrase," Mario Queiroz, Google's vice president and general manager for phones, wrote yesterday in a blog post. "For example, when you go to bed at night, with a simple 'good night' your Assistant can silence your phone, turn off the lights, set your alarm and more. There are also routines coming to Pixel for the morning, your commute, when you get home, etc."
Goal: 'Radically Helpful' AI
All of the new devices unveiled by the company yesterday were designed with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities intended to make them "radically helpful," according to Google senior vice president Rick Osterloh.
"These days many devices -- especially smartphones -- look and act the same," Osterloh wrote yesterday on the Google blog. "That means in order to create a meaningful experience for users, we need a different approach... [F]or this wave of computing to reach new breakthroughs, we have to build software and hardware that can bring more of the potential of AI into reality -- which is what we've set out to do with this year's new family of products."
For example, the $249 Google Clips, set to arrive soon in the U.S., "is a totally new way to capture genuine, spontaneous moments -- all powered by machine learning and AI," Osterloh noted. "This tiny camera seamlessly sends clips to your phone, and even edits and curates them for you."
Over the next few months, Google plans to roll out additional AI capabilities for its products, including new voice options, game-playing and story features for families, Assistant-enabled purchases, and message broadcasting support for Google Home devices, added Google Assistant vice president Scott Huffman.
"With all of the improvements built up over the past year, the Assistant can help you get more done and give you more time to focus on what matters," Huffman wrote in a blog post. "Over time, we believe the Assistant has the potential to transform how we use technology -- not only by understanding you better but also by giving you one, easy-to-use and understandable way to interact with it."
Image credit: Product shots by Google.