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Everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL


At a jam-packed October 4 conference in San Francisco, Google announced the Google Home Mini, a high-end Chromebook called the Pixelbook, and a new Daydream View virtual reality headset. But the undisputed highlights were the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, two high-end smartphones designed with enthusiasts in mind.

They’re a step above your average phones. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, the newest version of Google’s Android operating system, and they carry the torch for Google’s premium program. In many ways, they’re the search giant’s vision of ideal smartphones. In an earnings call, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said the Pixel 2 and 2 XL’s pre-orders on day one “were more than double what they were last year.”

Software

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, the latest version of Google’s operating system, and have features you won’t find in other Oreo-touting devices. On top of that, both phones have just been treated to an update that could fix some issues users have been complaining about.

In January 2018, Google started pushing an update to Pixel and Pixel 2 phones. While the update was pretty basic, providing minor security and setting updates, Phone Area reported that the update contained “anti-aging update improvements” to possibly address screen burn-in. A spokesperson from Google denied the claim stating, “Phone Arena understands that there are no new burn-in fixes in the January update; there is a minor update to an existing setting.”

In the update, perhaps the biggest change is the addition of three display options — Boosted, Natural, and Saturated. If you feel like the colors on your Pixel or Pixel XL are a little washed out or boring, you probably want the Saturated option. The update also lowers the maximum screen brightness and fades away the navigation controls if you’re not using them, in an attempt to fix the burn-in issues some have been complaining about. Last but not least, is the faint clicking noise some Pixel users have noted. It seems as though that noise was a software issue rather than a hardware one — and as such has been fixed in the update.

One of the most dramatic features you will only find on Pixel devices is an upgraded Pixel Launcher, the app that powers the phones’ home screens. Google search bar has moved from the top of the screen to the bottom, where’s it’s easier to reach with your thumbs. There’s a new “daily briefing” widget that shows the current weather, temperature, and upcoming calendar entries, and a completely transparent notification and navigation bar.