Bangalore, December 4 2017: How priorities change! There was a time when one bought a mobile phone for its core features: making calls, sending messages and latterly, accessing the Internet. All that seems like the Jurassic Era of handsets. Today buyers ask: How good are the cameras?
Google knows this. Which is why, when it comes to its own-brand Pixel phones, it put in huge R&D to create a great camera. And , it does this without resorting to 2017's most trendy phone-tech: the dual lens system.
In the latest avatar, Google has launched the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL, identical in most specifications except that the XL has a bigger screen -- 6 inch to the Pixel 2's 5 inch and a superior 2880 -by -1440 pixel pOLED display -- plus a larger battery 3520 mAh versus 2700 mAh. The phones are identical in all other respects, but there is a subtle difference in the aspect ratio: The XL has the new 18: 9 ratio against the standard 16:9 of the smaller model.
Both phones offer 64 GB and 128 GB storage options and have the same Snapdragon 835 chip under the hood. Google bucks the trend by sticking to just 4 GB of RAM. But I can vouch for the speed with which both phones fire up on booting the latest Android Oreo OS. Google has ditched the 3.5mm audio jack but provides Type C USB adapters and OTG cables so you can still connect to your legacy music sources.
All these are starters. Now for the main course: the cameras: 8MP front and 12.2 MP rear and can shoot in 4K video. In good light most 8-12 MP cameras will give great photos. Pixel 2 and XL do it in poor light and that is where they stand out. Buyers may not be aware of technology like High Dynamic Range (HDR) but they will instinctively sense the razor sharp picture quality and the depth of the image especially in the shadow areas. How do they do it? Google isn't telling. Then there are future-proofing features that are not quite there yet: Pixel Lens: where the camera studies a photo and tells you what it knows about it. e-SIM, is waiting for the day when mobile providers provide their service without needing you to install a physical SIM. Monsoon region users will appreciate the water proofing. With the XL, squeezing the side of the phone activates Google Assistant and avoids you having to say, 'OK, Google', in public
The Pixel 2 costs Rs 61,000 ( 64 GB) and Rs 70,000 ( 128 GB). The Pixel 2 XL is priced Rs 73,000 ( 64 GB) and Rs 82,000 (128 GB). A good chunk of change. But we're suggesting that with these two handsets, Google has joined a small club of premium models like iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8, where the name is half the game. Play on! Vishnu Anand