Advertisement

Hands-on with Google's Pixel 2, a shift away from the war of hardware specs

Hands-on with Google's Pixel 2, a shift away from the war of hardware specs
From TechCrunch - October 4, 2017

Google sold the idea of paradigm shifts hard on-stage at todays big event in San Franciscothat, after all, is kind of the companys M.O. This time out, CEO Sundar Pichai hit the stage to discuss a coming transition in hardware, away from the specs race, to something less immediately apparently, but no less important: machine learning and AI.

The Pixel 2 is a pretty solid distillation of many of these idea. After all, the product doesnt exactly represent leaps and bounds when it comes to upgraded innards. The processor has been bumped up to a Snapdragon 835the same one thats powered practically every flagship over the past year (rumor has it that the new Qualcomm chip just didnt make it out in time).

Storage has been doubled, but RAMs the same. The same goes for the screen and camerafrom a hardware perspective, were dealing with largely the same components as the last generation. Its probably going to be a hard sell for the companyconsumers (and tech bloggers alike) have been trained to salivate at the mere mention of specs, Pavlov-style. And from that point of view the phone doesnt bring much more to the table. Its a big like a politician arguing for nuanceyoure doomed to get drowned out by the person who can yell the loudest.

There are, of course, a number of key changes designed to appease upgraders. The new design is nice, with that shiny black and white piano piano finish. Theres a bright orange swath of paint on the power button as well, but thats really got an Apple Watch red dial vibe and doesnt really bring much to the table. The new squeezeable sides carry some awfully familiar shades of the HTC U11, launching Assistant when you tighten your grip. It was a gimmick then as it is now, but at least here the company didnt build the entire phone around it.

You have the scratch the surface a bit more for the real change. Portrait mode, for one, is really impressiveparticularly when you consider the fact that the company has managed to do it with a single camera. I tried it outit works really well, adding that fake bokeh effect around the subject to help the person in the picture pop. Ditto for the addition of hybrid optical and electronic image stabilization. Both are clear cases of the company improving upon existing hardware without participating in the phone spec cold war.

Advertisement

Continue reading at TechCrunch »