Gear

Google launches Pixel 2 and more in push towards hardware

Google unveiled the Pixel 2 and 2XL along with a slew of new products at its event in San Franciso on Wednesday.

Although the headlines are being dominated by the Pixel 2 and 2XL’s shot at knocking the iPhone off its throne, Google also announced new versions of Google Home, wireless earbuds, a new, Chromebook, a new Daydream View VR headset, a new clip-on camera and a new version of Nest.

While last year’s Pixel was critically well-received, sales weren’t so hot.

But the search giant is not one to give up easily and has come back with new phones that will go head-to-head with the iPhone 8 and upcoming iPhone X.

TECHLY’S ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE GOOGLE PIXEL 2 IN AUSTRALIA

The Pixel 2 has a 5-inch display and is priced at $AUD 1079 for the 64GB version and $AUD 1229 for 128GB. The larger XL version (6-inch display), costs $AUD $1399 and $AUD 1549 with the same storage options.

This makes the Pixel 2 about the price of an 8 and the Pixel XL about the price of an 8 Plus (and still cheaper than the X).

Google claims that the new Pixels will have an “all day” battery life and fast charging which will give the phones seven hours of charge after just 15 minutes plugged in.

Yes, that’s right plugged in – the new Pixels do not have wireless charging. Another thing they don’t have is Face ID – opting for the traditional fingerprint sensor instead.

The new Pixels are water resistant – a feature notably lacking in the first gen Pixels – and have followed Apple’s suit in doing away with the 3.5 headphone jack.

One of the things the original Pixels were praised for was the camera, and the new Pixels look set to deliver on this front. There’s portrait mode, new AR capabilities, “live” photos similar to the iPhone’s, and a new tech called Google Lens, which allows users to take photos and have Google recognize the objects inside them.

Adding to the world of cameras is the new “Clips”, a hands-free AI-powered camera that captures images and then decides how to use the images later.

In what sounds a little creepy, the AI engine snaps photos when you aren’t paying attention to it and uses machine learning to recognize faces and look for interesting moments to record.

It’s early days yet, but trusted tech site The Verge got its hands on both the Pixel 2 and 2XL and said they were “pretty good phones.”

“What Google has is that it’s Google, so it can find clever ways to apply machine learning and AI to problems that other companies can just force with nicer hardware,” the review said. “This isn’t going to be the year when the Pixel takes on the iPhone and the Galaxy in terms of sales numbers, but Google is very serious about taking them on in terms of quality and functionality.”

The Pixel 2 comes in Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue. The Pixel 2XL comes in Just Black or Black & White.

The new Pixels will be available for pre-order in Australia from October 20.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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