Tag Archive | "Pixel"

Google Pixel 2 XL vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8: The flagship battle

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Google just unwrapped its latest flagship and it’s only natural to wonder how it compares to the other big phones of the year. At $ 849 for the Pixel 2 XL, it’s definitely on the pricey side of the smartphone market and for less than $ 100 more, you can nab yourself Samsung’s latest flagship, the Galaxy Note 8.

Both devices have a lot to offer and appeal largely to different types of customers, but how do they stack up? Which device is the best and most worthy of your money? Let’s find out!

The Pixel 2 XL follows the trend of other ultra-premium flagships in 2017, sporting a taller aspect ratio display with smaller bezels. It’s bezels aren’t nearly as small as those on the Note 8, though. The Pixel 2 XL features a 6-inch pOLED QHD display with a 2880×1440 pixel resolution. It has front facing speakers at the top and bottom, and slight bezels on either side of the screen.

The Galaxy Note 8 brings a 6.3-inch QHD Super AMOLED display. It’s got a slightly lower pixel density, but the curved screen means it has a similarly-sized overall footprint. The Galaxy Note 8 only has a single speaker at the bottom, but also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, which Google left out of the Pixel 2 XL. Google includes a 3.5mm headphone jack to USB-C adapter in the box, so people with older headphones won’t have to spring for a new pair. The big question here is whether you’d rather have native support for a headphone jack, or dual front facing stereo speakers.

Both devices also support Always-On Display technology. The Galaxy Note 8 Always-On Display features shortcuts to apps, icons for your latest notifications, music controls and the ability to pin a screen off memo from the S-Pen. Meanwhile, the Pixel 2 Always-On Display is a little more understated with a fairly standard experience accompanied by the Now playing feature, which allows you to see what song is playing at any given time at a glance.

Editor’s Pick

As with any flagship smartphone in 2017, the Pixel 2 XL comes with a flagship specs list. This includes being powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with an Adreno 530 GPU, 4 GB of RAM and either 64 GB or 128 GB of storage. The Galaxy Note 8 has the same processing package but increases the RAM to 6 GB and offers 256 GB of storage instead of 128 GB. Both devices also have IP67 dust and water resistance, but the Galaxy Note 8 also comes with other useful extra likes wireless charging and a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

On the back is where you’ll find one of the biggest differences between the two. The Galaxy Note 8 is Samsung’s first attempt at the dual camera. It incorporates two 12MP sensors with an f/1.7 aperture on the wide-angle lens, and an f/2.4 aperture on the telephoto lens. There’s also OIS in both lenses, which is a first for smartphone cameras. You can use the dual cameras to add bokeh to your shots.

The Pixel 2 XL’s front-facing speakers mean its bezels aren’t nearly as thin as the Galaxy Note 8.

The Pixel 2 XL takes a different approach and with it, Google is signaling to the world that a single camera can do the same job as two. The rear camera is a 12.2MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture and OIS, but the stand out feature is Portrait Mode. While every other smartphone OEM needs two cameras to achieve this, Google is able to achieve this by using one lens, dual pixel cameras, and its powerful machine learning algorithms.

The original Pixel XL had what was arguably the best camera of 2016, and with a record-high DxO Mark score of 98, Google’s new flagships could have the best smartphone cameras ever. Of course, the real proof will come once we put these smartphones head to head so stay tuned for that before the end of the month.

As you might have expected, the Pixel 2 XL runs Android Oreo out of the box, while the Note 8 launched with Nougat and will be updated to Android Marshmallow in the near future. Google’s version of Oreo brings a mostly stock experience, with a redesigned Pixel launcher, notification dots, native picture-in-picture and a whole lot more.

The Pixel 2 XL uses machine learning and dual pixels to achieve bokeh effects with only one lens.

The Pixel 2 is the first Android smartphone with Google Lens, which uses machine learning to give you information about anything you point the camera at. It’s similar to Samsung’s Bixby Vision, but being linked to the world’s largest search engine will probably increase usability. The Pixel 2 XL also comes with the new Active Edge feature that lets you squeeze the edge of the phone, like the HTC U11’s Squeeze feature, as an easy way to launch Google Assistant.

The Galaxy Note 8 comes with Samsung’s software experience on top of Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The standout feature of this phone is the S Pen which can be used to jot down notes, create drawings, translate sentences, and more. The S-Pen brings a few tweaks over last year like being able to save screen off memos that are up to 100 pages long, send gif-like live messages, and more.


Editor’s Pick

Which smartphone would you choose between the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Missed all the announcements from the Google event? We’ve got you covered!

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Pixel 2 XL hits the FCC, LG confirmed as manufacturer

Another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place.

The Pixel 2 XL has just been spotted in the FCC database, in a sign that the official launch of the device is rapidly approaching.

The publication of the Pixel 2 XL FCC documents comes four weeks after the smaller Pixel 2 was identified in the same database. The Pixel 2 docs revealed the phone is being manufactured by HTC, confirming previous rumors for the first time. The filing also mentioned Android 8.0.1 (not Android 8.1) and showed that the Pixel 2 would integrate squeeze gestures, a feature that HTC developed for its own flagship phones.

Read: Our in-depth Android 8.0. review – Oreo for everyone

The new listing confirms that LG is the maker of the larger Pixel 2 XL, but nothing else of note can be gleamed from the document, except the fact that the device will not work on the 600MHz spectrum owned by T-Mobile in the US.

FCC certification is a necessary step for any device that has to operate on US wireless spectrum. While phone makers are not required to certify devices at a specific time before launch, the publication of FCC listings suggests a commercial release is coming sooner, rather than later.

Another leak from today suggests Google might launch the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on October 4, exactly one year after the launch of the original devices.

Read more about the Pixel 2 XL in our rumor roundup!

Android Authority

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Latest Android Oreo bug disables mobile data on some Pixel and Nexus devices

Android 8.0 Oreo already rolled out to most Pixel and Nexus devices, and although it offers quite a few useful and interesting features, it also has a few annoying bugs on board. The latest one disables all mobile data usage prematurely on some carriers around the world, as reported by a number of users on the Google Product Forums.

Certain carriers provide customers with unlimited access to certain apps like WhatsApp, for example. What this means is that even though you have used up all of your mobile data, you should still be able to use these apps. Unfortunately, it looks like Oreo doesn’t know, this because as soon as you reach your data allowance for the month, mobile data is shut off completely.

See also:
Android 8.0 Oreo could let you use Wi-Fi hotspots more like cellular data

Android 8.0 Oreo could let you use Wi-Fi hotspots more like cellular data

10 hours ago

What’s more, some users are also reporting that the mobile data on their Pixel devices is turned off despite the fact they haven’t yet used all of it. This is a software issue and, thankfully, Google is already aware of it.

A Pixel Community Manager announced on the forums that the company is looking into the issue and will fix it via an update. When exactly it will be available is anyone’s guess at this point, but we likely won’t have to wait for long as the problem was described as “high priority” by the community manager.

Have you been experiencing this issue on your Pixel or Nexus smartphone? Let us know in the comments.

Android Authority

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The Pixel is a real testament to good software

For years now the importance of smartphone software has taken a back seat in the arms race known as the specs war. How often have we lamented a beautiful piece of hardware – take most Huawei phones prior to the EMUI 5 update or Xiaomi phones to this date – ‘ruined’ by a bad software experience? But with the first Google Pixel, those poles were reversed, and largely horrible hardware was miraculously saved by superior software.

See also:
The Pixel’s camera software has its origins in Google Glass

The Pixel’s camera software has its origins in Google Glass

March 26, 2017

I know there are plenty of fans of the Pixel hardware out there – our own Joe Hindy is one of them, and we’ve debated the merits of the Pixel’s nuts and bolts at length. And while I’m not straight-up calling the Pixel’s hardware a dumpster fire, I would definitely call it dumpster fire adjacent. Defend the Pixe’s build quality if you will, but you can’t tell me it’s on the same level as the Galaxy S8, LG G6 or even the OnePlus 5. But there’s a good reason for why this is so…

Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica did a superb piece of sleuthing when the Pixel was launched to back up his convincing claim that the Google Pixel was simply a gutted HTC mid-ranger. Google’s original hardware partner, Huawei, reportedly backed out at the last minute over a branding dispute, resulting in HTC offering up a sacrifice of one of its children to the Google gods.

I’ve acknowledged elsewhere that what Google achieved in such an incredibly short timeframe was nothing short of a miracle and it should be applauded for the result. But again, that sentiment relates primarily to the software and camera, not the hardware generally (even if the chipset, RAM and so on naturally contribute to the software experience). Then, as now, I find the Pixel – as an object – to be uninspiring and infinitely forgettable.

Then, as now, I find the Pixel – as an object – to be uninspiring and infinitely forgettable.

The Pixel feels cheap, the glass on the front and back scratches incredibly easily, the ‘paint’ rubs off on the edges where it gets the most action and if you ever drop the thing, it fails to even vaguely hide dents and scrapes. If this phone had appeared under HTC’s banner it would’ve been mocked for what it is: a nondescript mid-range chassis that looks and feels like one. But add that Google logo – and again, that software and image processing – and suddenly perspectives change.

The reason I’m bashing the Pixel’s lackluster hardware and undoubtedly inciting rage in Pixel fans, is to point out the redemptive power of software. We rarely see a phone’s hardware dominated by its software these days and when we do, it’s usually in the reverse direction mentioned above.

The Pixel software is so good that it makes me forget there’s a cheap HTC shell around it.

But the Pixel software is so fluid, so enjoyable, so clean, that it makes me forget there’s a cheap HTC shell around it. I don’t even care what chipset is in the thing or how much RAM it has, that’s how good Android is on it. With software that good Google had no need to get into a specs pissing contest with the likes of Samsung, LG and others, and the Pixel experience is in no way diminished by the lack of it.

While I know several folks have had issues with the Android O developer previews, my Pixel has been remarkably stable with no noticeable battery drain. I’ve bounced around this year between the cream of the flagship crop, and yet I keep coming back to the worst piece of hardware in my drawer. Because of the software.

I keep coming back to the worst piece of hardware in my drawer this year. Because of the software.

This is exciting for several reasons:

  1. It proves that the specs sheet, as enticing as it can be, is not the be all and end all of a device. That a company can put out uninspiring hardware and still end up with a phone I’d easily rank among the year’s best;
  2. As Adam Sinicki duly noted in his recent Android Instant Apps explainer, we’re steadily entering a post-specs era where expensive hardware will be increasingly less important because most processing will be done off-device;
  3. And Android (at least on the Pixel) has almost fully entered the mature phase we saw the first hints of in Marshmallow, where the OS has become so good that it is now the main event rather than the shiny glass and metal that surrounds it. As much as it pains me to say it, that’s something iOS users have enjoyed for a while, but now Android has caught up.

With every Android phone I’ve had over the years, I’ve suffered slow down, lag, stutters, crashes and worse. But on the Pixel, even running developer previews, I’ve enjoyed a more stable and polished software experience than I have on many previous stable builds. I can’t wait to put Android 8.0 on my phone on Monday. Even if that phone is still the Pixel.

When the Pixel 2 drops later this year, I’ll be among the first to pick one up. I can’t wait to see the improvements Google will have made to the already outstanding Pixel camera processing. I’ll be psyched to see what new Pixel-only exclusives might make it to the handset, where barely a year ago I, like most Nexus fans, wasn’t too happy about missing out on new features. That it’ll be running stable Android 8.0 out of the box only makes it more enticing.

That is the redemptive power of software at work. I haven’t been this excited for a new device, primarily because of its software, in a long time. If ever. Perhaps because I dislike the current Pixels’ hardware so much I’m basically guaranteed a better hardware experience in its successor. But if my distaste for the original Pixel has taught me anything, it’s that hardware, at least to me, doesn’t matter as much as software anymore.

Android Authority

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The Pixel Launcher is getting a revamped look for some users

When the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones launched in October, they also came with the Pixel Launcher. It did away with the traditional Google search bar, and instead presented owners with a redesigned Google “pill” widget on the left and a weather and date widget on the right. Now, there’s word that a new version of the Pixel Launcher has started appearing on some Pixel phones, and it seems to be going back to its roots.

See also:

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

2 weeks ago

The new look of the Pixel Launcher, as first reported by Android Police, ditches the weather and date widget and turns the Google widget into a full search bar again that extends to most of the display. There’s no word as to why Google is making this change, but if we were to speculate, we would guess that many users prefer seeing the simple search bar on top compared to the somewhat more complicated design it originally had.

If you own a Pixel phone and want to get the new Launcher design immediately, you can do so by clearing the data in the app. Be aware this move will wipe out your home screen layouts. Alternatively, you can just wait until Google rolls out this new design automatically. What do you think of this revamped Pixel Launcher? Do you like it or do you prefer the original look. Let us know in the comments!

Android Authority

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Google Pixel XL International Giveaway!

Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, the place where we giveaway a new Android phone or tablet each and every Sunday!

A big congratulations to last week’s winner of the Google Pixel XL International Giveaway: Brandon B. (USA).

This week we are giving away another brand new Pixel XL Smartphone!

The Pixel XL features a vibrant 5.5-inch QuadHD AMOLED display alongside a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 3,450 mAh battery and an all-new 12MP Pixel XL camera with phase detection and laser autofocus. The standout feature is Google Assistant, a new incredibly-clever AI assistant that also powers Google Home. To see how the Pixel XL compares to flagships new and old, check out the Pixel XL vs Galaxy s7 edge and best Google Pixel XL cases!

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Google Pixel XL International Giveaway!

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  • Only 1 entry per person, do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
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Verizon sending free Daydream View headsets to some Pixel owners

We have been reporting for some time that demand for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones continues to exceed supply, especially for the larger Pixel XL. Now it looks like Verizon Wireless, the exclusive US carrier for the phone, is trying to make up for these shipping delays by offering some of those buyers a free Daydream View VR headset.

See also:

Best Google Pixel accessories

3 weeks ago

Many users on Reddit who have ordered a Pixel phone have posted word online that they have received calls from Verizon telling them they will be getting a free Daydream View headset. Some of the users have already received their Pixel phone, but only after a number of delays, while others who have gotten these calls have yet to get their phones.

It would appear that Verizon is trying its best to apologize for the shipment delays that have hit the Pixel with this free offer. Normally the Daydream View headset costs $ 79, although a current promotion from Google has lowered the price down to just $ 49 until February 25.

A quick check of the Verizon site shows that the black 32GB Pixel is the only model that’s available for immediate shipment. The white 32GB model will ship on February 14 if ordered today, and the blue version will ship on February 28. The black 128GB Pixel will ship on February 14, and the white version will ship out on March 10. It’s even worse for the Pixel XL. The 32GB version will ship on February 21, but all of the other colors and models have shipment dates in March. That includes a date as late as March 31 for people who want to get the white 128GB model.

Google recently said that it is “working with our partners to restock inventory across our retail channels” in reference to an incorrect report that claimed the company was stopping production of the Pixel phones. While Google is clearly trying to make as many Pixel devices as it can, we suspect that it will be making more apologies, and possibly offering more freebies, to frustrated customers.

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