The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are here with a faster Snapdragon 835 CPU built on a more efficient 10nm process. While RAM stays the same, storage now starts at 64GB for both models, which pairs very nicely with Google's unlimited photo and video storage via Google Photos.
We enjoy the new exterior as well. More simplistic and streamlined than last year's Pixel XL it's certainly more pleasing to look at. There are no more unsightly antenna lines around the back of the phone, although there are still traces of antenna "chips" around the display bezel of the Pixel 2.
The back reminds us of the LG-made Nexus 5 crossed with the Google Pixel's rear glass window. Actually, now that we mention it, the rough matte finish reminds us of the matte black finish of the Black Nexus 5. Alright, that's enough reminiscing.
Active Edge may feel gimmicky, but we feel it was designed to get more people to use Google Assistant. It works just as well as the HTC U11's Edge Sense feature, except without the extensive customizability - it may only be used to summon Google Assistant. Many have compared it to the Bixby button when Samsung first launched the S8 due to the lack of customizability, but the key difference here is Google offers the option to disable the feature out of the box.
We are content with the images the camera was able to capture. Even so, we're confident that if we took the same photos with last year's Google Pixel, they would have looked almost as good. We'll definitely get a hold of a first-gen Pixel XL for the full review to see how much of an improvement can be seen with the Pixel 2 XL's camera over the Pixel XL.
Android Oreo is very nice too. Version 8.0 doesn't feel as barebones as it did with the first iteration of the Pixel, which goes to show that Google's OS and the Pixel hardware line are maturing well on their own.
That maturity really matters, especially when the asking price is as steep as the Google Pixel 2 XL's is. Without a doubt, there is no shortage of smartphones that you can get for much less than $850. But we still have to put the Pixel 2 XL (and the Pixel 2) through our thorough review process before we can decide if you are getting your money's worth or if this it yet another device squarely aimed at die-hard fans and with limited appeal elsewhere.