Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL: Which should I buy?

Google Pixel 2 & Google Pixel 2 XL

So the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL went official earlier this week at an event where we saw a lot of cool new hardware from Google, including new versions of Google Home and a premium and expensive Pixelbook. It’s not just the company’s new Chromebook that’s aimed at the high-end segment; the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, like their predecessors, have been assigned rather high price tags in India, with the Pixel 2 starting at Rs. 61,000 and the XL variant starting at Rs. 73,000. While these prices will put off many consumers in India, some will be looking forward to getting their hands on one of Google’s new flagships, which boast of the industry’s best smartphone camera, the latest version of Android (8.0 Oreo), and other high-end features worthy of taking on the competition.

We have already taken a look at how the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL compare when it comes to specifications, and our official reviews will shed light on what sets the two apart (and what makes them similar). But if you’re looking to start saving up ahead of the phones’ November release and are wondering which of the two you should pick, we’re here to try and make things a tad easy for you.

Let’s get started.

One reason to choose the Pixel 2, in addition to the lower price

Google Pixel 2

It has become something of an industry trend in the last year or so that the smaller variant of a new flagship launched by the big name manufacturers is often just the right option for those that simply need to have a compact device and aren’t willing to move to big, unwieldy phones. While Google and other Android manufacturers aren’t stripping away features from the smaller flagship like Apple, they are compromising on an important factor, and that’s battery life.

The Pixel 2 has a 2,700 mAh battery, which is smaller than the battery on the original Pixel. The screen size is the same (5-inches), the Pixel 2 is running on a newer, more efficient processor, and Android Oreo comes with new rules for background processing that will make it less likely for apps to run awry and drain battery in the most mundane instances. But such a small battery in what is otherwise a flagship full of the latest and most high-end components means it will spend a lot of time connected to a charger.

As a result, the Pixel 2 becomes the right option only for those who really must have a phone with a compact phone that they can operate one-handed without breaking a sweat. Or is it? See, the Pixel 2 comes with a standard 5-inch display that we have been seeing on smartphones for years, but the Pixel 2 XL comes with one of those virtually bezel-less screens that we have seen on newer phones like the Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, and the upcoming Apple iPhone X.

Thanks to the minimal amount of bezels around the display, the 6-inch screen on the Pixel 2 XL will be much easier to handle in single hand operation. It won’t be as easy as a 5-inch phone, but you could consider it as striking the right balance between screen size and ergonomics. If you’ve played with a Galaxy S8+ or even the Galaxy Note 8, you know what we mean: These so-called bezel-less displays are actually quite manageable despite being 6 inches and larger, something that was impossible with the standard 16:9 displays of smartphones in the past.

But of course, the Pixel 2 XL will still require two hands for comfortable usage, so the Pixel 2 is certainly the device to go for if you like small phones. It does have an unsightly amount of bezel above and below the display for a 2017 smartphone, but if the original Pixel is anything to go by, the 5-inch display on the Pixel 2 will allow for true single-hand operation at all times.

The Pixel 2 XL is a much better option overall

Yes, the Pixel 2 XL is the variant that has it all, especially if the price tag for the base variant isn’t an issue. The XL model comes with a more attractive and larger display and a battery that’s bigger than the original Pixel XL and the Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8. Other features remain the same as the Pixel 2. You get the best smartphone camera (as rated by DxOMark), water resistance, a speedy fingerprint sensor, squeezable edges for quick actions as seen on the HTC U11, and stock Android 8.0 Oreo with a promise of software updates up to three years. The phone should also perform better than any other Android flagship, at least if we go by how optimized the software was on last year’s Pixel and Pixel XL.

There’s nothing else to say, really, as the Pixel 2 XL is the flag bearer for Google’s smartphone lineup. If you care deeply about the numbers on the spec sheet and amount of features, then neither the Pixel 2 nor the Pixel 2 XL are the options you should be looking at. Instead, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy S8/S8+ would be a safer bet, since they offer more bang for buck (including basic features like a standard 3.5 mm headphone port).

But, if you’re confused between the two variants of Google’s newest flagships, our recommendation would go to the XL model. We did the same last year, and it’s much easier for us to do so for the second generation of the Pixel phones.

Never one to back down from criticizing things, Abhijeet helps out with smartphone reviews (and a bit of editing) at Gear by MySmartPrice. He’s also a maniac driver, loves singing along to Bollywood songs from the golden age, and calls himself a realist.