In less than two weeks Google will unveil the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in a 4 October special event. We break down the key facts you want to know about the new Google phones, including new leaks that detail the final price and design.
• Pixel 2 release date: 4 October 2017
• Pixel 2 launch live stream: Embedded above, live from 9am PST/4pm BST 4 October 2017
• Pixel 2 key specifications: Made by HTC, 5.6in 16:9 full-HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, single-lens camera, squeezable frame, USB-C audio, Android Oreo, enhanced Google Assistant
• Pixel 2 XL key specifications: Made by LG, 5.99in 18:9 Quad-HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64/128GB storage, 13Mp camera, USB-C audio, Android Oreo, enhanced Google Assistant
• Pixel 2 expected price: From $649 or £649
• Pixel 2 XL expected price: From $849 or £848
On 21 September Google announced it has signed an agreement with HTC, which it says will mean “a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.”
In terms of what this means for the upcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, probably not a lot. Google was already partnering with HTC to build the smaller of the two smartphones – the Pixel 2 – and with that device set to be announced on 4 October we would assume it is all but signed off by the company. However, it will likely mean future Google Pixel devices are manufactured by HTC.
When is the Google Pixel 2 release date?
Following its Android Oreo announcement on 21 August, Google has confirmed it is holding a special launch event on 4 October 2017 at 9am PST which is 4pm here in the UK.
We expect it to unveil the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL alongside the Chromebook Pixelbook, Google Home Mini and a new Daydream View VR headset.
How can I watch the Pixel 2 launch live stream?
We’ve embedded the Google live stream at the top of this page. You’ll need to tune in on 4 October from 9am PST/4pm BST.
We’ll also aim to publish a live blog that includes real-time expert analysis and coverage from behind the scenes.
Who will make the Pixel 2?
It’s worth pointing out that Google phones are not actually made by Google but by its hardware partners, and as such having different companies onboard means one will not simply be a larger version of the other.
However, Google retains a lot of control over both the hardware and the software of its Pixel branded devices to ensure utmost quality. These will be among the first new phones to run Android Oreo – read our Oreo review to learn about the new features.
HTC is now widely tipped to be manufacturing the smaller Pixel 2, while LG is thought to be behind the Pixel 2 XL.
HTC is thought to be adding its influence to the Pixel 2 design with the addition of its squeezable frame and Edge Sense features, first seen in the HTC U11.
Meanwhile LG is very likely to add its virtually full-screen display with minimal bezels to the Pixel 2 XL. There’s a good chance that this will also feature an Always-on display, as seen in LG and Samsung flagships, since that code has been spotted in Android Oreo itself.
What does the Pixel 2 look like?
We’ve seen various renders of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but thanks to Droid-Life we now have what appear to be images of the real deal.
Here is the Pixel 2 in Kinda Blue, Clearly White and Just Black:
And the Pixel 2 XL in Black & White and Just Black:
An image of the smaller Pixel 2 was previously published by Venture Beat. It backs up the theory that the Pixel 2 will not feature either an 18:9 display or a dual-lens camera.
Case makers are notorious for revealing product designs, and accessory vendor MobileFun has already confirmed the 3.5mm headphone jack is definitely out. That’s not necessarily the end of the world, though: Android Oreo supports a bunch of high-quality audio codecs, including aptX, aptX HD and LDAC.
Google may choose to bundle some earphones in the box, and there is talk of it building a set that allow access to the Google Assistant without needing to interact directly with the phone. Now that sounds cool.
How much will the new Google phone cost in the UK?
Google’s Rick Osterloh has confirmed that Pixel will retain its premium pricing.
When it switched its phone line branding from Nexus to Pixel in 2016, Google moved away from high-value devices and toward more premium phones.
The cheapest Pixel today costs £599, while the cheapest Pixel XL costs £719.
9to5Google suggests we should expect at least a $50 increase on this due to improvements it is making to the camera and adding waterproofing.
Droid-Life claims to know the final pricing thanks to a tip-off, and claims the Pixel 2 will cost from $649 (or £649) and the Pixel 2 XL from $849 (or £849). That’s with 64GB storage, and you can add $100/£100 for 128GB.
That would make the Pixel 2 XL just £20 cheaper than the Galaxy Note 8, but both are still some way off the upcoming iPhone X’s £999 price tag.
What are the rumoured features and specifications in the Pixel 2?
|Specification||Pixel 2||Pixel XL2|
|Price||£649 (64GB), £749 (128GB)||£849 (64GB), £949 (128GB)|
|Operating system||Android Oreo, Google Assistant||Android Oreo, Google Assistant|
|Display||5.6in Full-HD (1920×1080), 16:9, always-on display||5.99in Quad-HD (2560×1312), 18:9, always-on display|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|GPU||Adreno 540||Adreno 540|
|Primary camera||Unknown single lens||12Mp Single lens, dual-LED flash|
|Audio||USB-C, Google Assistant earphones||USB-C, Google Assistant earphones|
|Fingerprint scanner||Yes, at the rear||Yes, at the rear|
Given the differing manufacturers onboard here, the key differences between Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are likely to be found in the screen, overall dimensions (and therefore battery capacity) and the smaller model’s possible support for edge gestures.
Something we’re not expecting to be wildly different is performance. Though the Pixel 2 XL was originally tipped to come with the Snapdragon 836, that chip is now said to not be ready in time for the launch, which suggests both devices will probably run the Snapdragon 835.
We’ve seen a device said to be the Pixel 2 XL pop up in both GFXBench and Geekbench, with reported specifications backing up those we report in our table above. In the latter benchmark the XL 2 scored 1804 points in the single-core test and 6248 multi-core, which is blisteringly fast.
There have been reports that the new phones will be waterproof (the current models are IP58 rated) and feature enhanced cameras. However, rather than adding a second lens, Google reportedly intends to improve the software working behind the scenes.
Another software improvement will likely come to Google Assistant. 9to5Google has found some code in the latest revision to the Google App that suggests you will be able to choose a different voice and use new wake commands for the Google Assistant.
It may also be updating its Shortcuts under the new name Routines, allowing Google Assistant to perform multiple tasks when triggered by a single user-defined phrase such as ‘Good night’.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017 & 2018.
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