Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones will please camera buffs

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