A few days ago India Today Tech published its Google Pixel 2 XL review. This is no doubt the best Android phone in the market right now. But it is also flawed, because of its OLED screen that is just not in the league of the similar OLED panels in the iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy S8. The issues with the screen of the Pixel 2 XL are real. But it is important to note that even an average screen doesn’t take away from everything else that is brilliant about the phone. Yes, for many people the other phones will be better. But for some, there is no beating the Pixel 2 XL.
This sounds little contrived. But it’s not. Let me explain.
As far as I am concerned, and I say this after using the Pixel 2 XL for over two weeks, there are two issues with the Pixel 2 XL screen. One, is the colour issue. The colours are more muted on the Pixel 2 XL, although Google says that this is because they are more real. But surely there is some issue because I have seen in the phones likes the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus that you can real colours as well as have them shiny and vibrant. The second issue is when viewed at an angle, the Pixel 2 XL screen has a bluish or greenish hue. Some of this is natural for the OLED screen but the Pixel 2 XL exhibit too much hue.
Overall, the result is that the Pixel 2 XL screen leaves you asking for more when you are swiping through some photos or watching a FullHD video on it. Put it in front of the iPhone X screen, and it looks really average.
But the screen is one — albeit one very important — aspect of the phone. Despite its screen issues, and although Google has already rolled out a software fix for the colours that I believe is not going to entirely solve the issue because it is something related to hardware, there are aspects of the Pixel 2 XL that make it worth its price. If you are looking for a smartphone that packs best camera, both front and rear, then you have to pick the Pixel 2 XL (or the Pixel 2). Period. Similarly if you are looking for a high-end phone that will give you clean, untainted version of Android, you have to pick the Pixel 2 XL.
In fact that is not all. There are many redeeming features in the Pixel 2 XL:
— As noted earlier, its 12-megapixel rear camera is the best in business. It clicks better photos than what the iPhone X can manage. Or what the Galaxy S8 achieves. In fact, in low light it rivals many standalone cameras. It also comes with the portrait mode, powered by the dual-pixel sensor and Google’s AI. And I have found that the Portrait Mode in the Pixel 2 XL is the best. The Google AI is really smart about applying the blur and detecting the edges around a person. The really amazing part of the Portrait Mode in the Google Pixel 2 XL is that even works almost equally well with the front camera, something I can’t say even for the iPhone X.
— The Pixel 2 XL is a very fast phone. This is because of the hardware — Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM etc — as well as the well-optimised Android Oreo software.
— The Pixel 2 XL offers the best battery life among all the existing ultra-premium phones. Most of the time, it is phenomenal. I usually got around 16 to 17 hours of battery from the Pixel 2 XL while reviewing it.
— The Pixel 2 XL comes with 2-year warranty. The only phone to have this feature.
— The Pixel 2 XL is one of the handful phones to come with virtually unlimited photo and video storage because whatever you click with it or shoot with it can be (with you permission) stored in Google Cloud servers.
— The Pixel 2 XL is guaranteed Android updates for at least 2 years, along with monthly software updates.
Basically, what I meant to say is this: For a lot of people a phone like the iPhone 8 Plus, which has a price similar to that of the Pixel 2 XL, or the iPhone X is going to be the perfect phone. But if you are someone more comfortable with Android, if you are someone who love to see the world through a camera lens, if you want a high-end Android phone with top class software and guarantee for updates, you don’t have to look beyond the Pixel 2 XL. Personally, even though I find living with the Pixel 2 XL means living with a phone with average screen, I find its camera so brilliant that the trade-off is worth it. Most of the time.