Consider the smartphone war well and truly on: Google has unveiled its latest update to the Pixel model with a few shots directly across the bows of Apple. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL certainly seem like interesting additions to their stable of mobile devices, but the question remains of whether Google, or anyone, can challenge the market dominance of the iPhone.
While not referring to their rivals by name, there were certainly a few well-aimed jabs taken at Apple as Google launched the new devices. Representatives of the tech giant made reference to not holding cool features back for the larger device (which Apple famously does), as well as supplying the superfast charger right there in the box with the phone (which, yep, you guessed it, Apple doesn’t).
So with the new-gen Pixel, you can be confident of getting get seven hours usage from a fifteen-minute charge, and whichever phone you buy you’ll have the same great features. Nice as these features are, are they really enough to compete with Apple? Let’s drill deeper. What else can you look forward to if you’re planning to buy a new-gen Pixel?
Upgraded Google Assistant
Let’s be honest here: there is no way of saying “OK, Google” in a public place without dying inside just a little bit. In fairness to Google, they realize this, and now you can launch Google Assistant by squeezing the pressure-sensitive sides of the phone. You then need to still talk to your phone, of course, but this change at least makes part of the process more discreet.
A Better Camera
Google say that the Pixel 2 has “the best smartphone camera, again”. They seem to be justified in saying it, too. A “fused” system of image stabilisation along with a brand-new depth sensing feature allows a detail and crispness of image that no other manufacturer is able to offer right now.
No Headphone Socket
For all that Google are trumpeting the things that make their product different from the iPhone, they seem to have followed one step Apple pioneered: they’re dropping the headphone socket. This will annoy some users, but it makes the phone more waterproof, and frees up space for other good features. Speaking of…
A 6” (Or 5”) Screen
The XL will have a six-inch screen, and even the smaller model will have five inches, which allows for better display across a range of uses. By stripping out things that don’t need to be there, you can now get a much better view of what’s going on your favourite bingosites and get more enjoyment from those cat videos.
When you’re out shopping and hear a song that stops you in your tracks, you usually have to use Shazam — if you have it — or decipher a long enough portion of the lyrics so that you can Google it to know what to add on Spotify. With the opt-in “Now Playing” feature, the new-gen Pixels phone will listen to the song for you, without you asking it to, and display the title and artist. This even works if you’re in Airplane Mode, which will doubtlessly come in handy.
Will all of these features be enough to let Google catch and eventually overhaul Apple? Possibly — especially as the new Pixels cost far less than the new iPhones. Of course, it will never be that simple, but let the companies worry about that, and you can enjoy the features they throw your way.