Pixel 2 or Pixel XL 2, which should I buy?

Google has revealed two new flagship phones for 2017, the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2. These premium mobiles offer upgraded specs and some smart new camera tech compared with the original Pixel phones, but which is best for you?

The original Pixel phone is still a great device one year on, as you’ll know if you read our in-depth long-term review of Google’s handset. Likewise, we remain big fans of the super-sized Pixel XL, which boosted some of the standard handset’s specs as well as bumping the size, to 5.5-inches.

However, anyone looking for the latest mobile tech will want to check out the shiny new Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, freshly launched this evening by Google. These smartphone sequels offer plenty of updates, including even better camera tech and – in the case of the XL 2 – a revamped design that’s reminiscent of the LG G6.

So what’s the difference between the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2? Here’s our full breakdown, to help you decide which expensive and shiny new phone might be your next purchase. Check out our other versus features as well, to see more on these shiny handsets:

Pixel vs Pixel 2

Pixel 2 vs OnePlus 5

Pixel XL 2 vs iPhone 8 Plus

Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel XL 2: Specs

Phone Google Pixel XL 2 Google Pixel 2
Screen size 6-inches 5-inches
Screen resolution 2560×1440 1920×1080
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Water resistant? Yes Yes
OS Android Oreo 8.0 Android Oreo 8.0
Processor Snapdragon 835 Snapdragon 835
Memory 4GB 4GB
Storage 64/128GB 64/128GB
Battery 3520mAh 2700mAh
Rear camera 12.3MP 12MP
Front camera 8MP 8MP

Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel XL 2: Design

Nothing has really changed when it comes to the look and feel of the standard 5-inch Pixel handset. Like last year’s device, the Pixel 2 sports a metal frame with a bit of glossy glass plating on the rear side, a design that carries over to the new XL model as well.

However, while the Pixel 2 comes with quite chunky bezels again, the Pixel XL 2 borrows construction cues from the LG G6 and other handsets with an edge-to-edge display. The result is a spacious 6-inch panel, packed into a frame that’s only slightly larger than its sibling.

Of course, if ease of use is a key factor for you, the standard Pixel 2 is going to be more comfortable to play with one-handed. It’ll also slip into bags and pockets with ease.

Both of Google’s new phones are water resistant, and so can survive a tumble into fresh water. We’re expecting them to once again be quite rugged as well, like the original blowers from 2016.

Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel XL 2: Screen and media

When it comes to the display tech, there’s once again a clear divide between Google’s new handsets.

The Pixel 2 offers up pretty much the same 5-inch AMOLED panel as last year’s handset, with Full HD visuals to keep things pleasingly crisp. You can expect vibrant image reproduction and a retina-searing top brightness, plus the Night Light feature which makes things easy on the eye come evening time.

With the Pixel XL 2, you’re getting a serious size boost: up to 6-inches, which makes this mobile better suited to anyone watching movies and shows on the go (especially given the 18:9 aspect ratio). To keep things sharp, Google has also bumped up the resolution to Quad HD (2560×1440). And this time the screen stretches to the very edges, filling all of that space admirably.

Neither of these new phones feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll need to switch to Bluetooth ‘phones if you’re still using a wired set.

Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel XL 2: Features and OS

Both new Pixel phones use Google’s own Android OS, as well you’d expect, in the latest Oreo version. This offers a great range of useful features as well as smart resource management, as you can see in our Oreo review. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will be supported by Google for the foreseeable future, with at least two years of Android updates guaranteed.

One of the new features found in this year’s Pixel sequels is the snazzy Active Edge sensor, which operates in much the same way as the Edge Sensor on the HTC U11. This allows you to squeeze either smartphone to open the likes of Google Assistant, as a nifty little shortcut. This squeeze sensor can be found on either model, so your choice doesn’t matter.

Each of the new Pixels comes with the same storage options as well. You get 64GB as standard, with the base models of the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, with the option to upgrade to a mighty 128GB if desired. Just as well, as there’s no microSD memory card support; although thankfully you can boost the Pixel’s storage space in other ways.

Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel XL 2: Performance and battery

No matter your choice of shiny new Google handset, you’re guaranteed slick performance. Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 835 platform is a smooth runner, backed in both cases by 4GB of RAM. That’s enough smart tech to run any apps or games right now, while the likes of resource-hungry Daydream VR games won’t cause the Pixels to sweat.

Plus, the Snapdragon 835 chipset offers other benefits such as support for up to 1Gbps download speeds, which will be much appreciated when the UK mobile networks offer improved connectivity.

When it comes to battery life, we’re yet to fully test Google’s new handsets. However, judging from our time with the original phones and the fact that the Pixel XL 2 packs a much larger cell (3450mAh vs 2700mAh), you can expect the new super-sized smartphone to beat the standard Pixel device. That said, both blowers should give well over a day of life per charge thanks to the general efficiency of Android Oreo.

You can expect quick charge support from the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 as well, for those frantic moments before leaving the house when you realise your phone’s close to dead. Apparently you’ll get around seven hours of basic use from a fifteen minute charge, although we’re yet to test this for ourselves.

Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel XL 2: Cameras

The original Pixel phones sported the same camera tech, and it’s no change for the latest releases. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 deliver a 12-megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture lens, as well as an 8-megapixel front-facer.

DxOMark has scored the new Pixel cameras an impressive 98 out of 100, thanks in part to its improved HDR+ mode. This allows you to take great shots even in high contrast. You get a new Portrait mode, to add background blur on demand using either the front or rear shots. And you can also record up to 4K resolution video, with combined OIS and EIS functionality to cut down judders when moving around.

Check back soon for our in-depth Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 camera reviews, as well as our full phone reviews.