Google Pixel 2 XL Review – 6 Months Later

Between the months of September and November 2017 i lusted after the Google Pixel 2 XL. The announcement of an AI enhanced camera plus knowing i’d always have the latest version of Android installed made for a compelling story. The next announcement of it achieving the highest DXO mark further reinforced by need to buy the phone and my conflicting opinion of whether to settle for the Samsung Galaxy S8+, LG V30 or wait for the Note 8 to be launched subsided..

Then started the negging.

Early recipients of the Google Pixel 2 XL reported blue tint when the phone’s screen was viewed at obtuse angles, black smear in low light situations, lack of saturation compared to Samsung phones. This, and the massive hate train of the popular press made me start to second guess my pre-order. However closer to the UK’;s launch date a fix was published by Google which gave you the ability to ramp up the saturation of the screen and the neggers  on Reddit started to be out shouted by users having good experiences backed up by a lot of YouTube videos.

So on the 14th November when i finally went to pick up my phone from the locals network’s store i was again a true believer and even created an un-boxing video for the Google Pixel 2 XL (subscribers welcomed!).

So six months in did i stay with the Google Pixel 2 XL?

The short answer is yes and i’,m still loving it.

Unlike other tech bloggers i’m new to this and like many of you have had to wait for a previous contract on my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ to end before picking up the latest model usually for more than i paid before. So my experience is probably more like the one you’d have yourself. This sense of timeliness is something i hope to carry forwards to future posts/videos.

Here’s 8 things i still love to date:

For balance here’s 4 things i wish were better:

Features you may care about but aren’t an issue for me:

Awesome Reasons to Buy the Google Pixel 2 XL

The size & feel in your hand

The Google Pixel 2 XL is thin, light and a good size to grip. It may be a bit too big for people with small hands.

The oleo-phobic coating on the Pixel’s screen continues to provide a smooth experience and i’ve yet to have a stuck finger.

The back of the phone is a good texture and avoids the phone feeling slippery or on hot days, sticky.

The edges of the Pixel 2 XL are kind of sharp but nothing compared to the razor like edge of the S6 Edge+

I do use the official Google Pixel 2 XL Fabric case (coral) which adds some bulk to the phone when i’m out adventuring with my 2 year old but apart from that its mostly case free.

The screen

I haven’t experienced any blue shift on my Pixel 2 XL except at extreme angles which is comparable with that of the Samsung Galaxy S8 which its self suffered from red shift.

The dreaded black smear appears to be limited to viewing the phone in the dark with the brightness turned all the day down. This is probably not how you’re going to use your phone.

On Vibrant settings the Pixel 2 XL is colourful, has good saturation and is viewable on bright days. When compared to my previous phone the screen is noticeably better.

Android Updates

On the 5th of every month like clockwork i get the latest security patch and feature updates. Not many phone users can claim that!

Google have started decoupling their stock apps from the OS and provide updates or these separately within the Google Play Store making getting the latest features as easy as updating your apps.

I haven’t yet, but if i wanted to i could update to the latest beta of Android however i believe this would be at the expense of future security patches.


Going from 16gb to 64gb in storage on the pPixel 2 XL has meant i’ve never run out of space. and i no longer need to carry around a phone compatible thumb drive of music etc.

The design details

I love the white rim around the edge of the Pixel 2 giving the phone an almost star wars look.

The coral power button really stands out and is a nice touch.

As mentioned in previous articles i don’t spend a lot of time looking at the back of my phone so i don’t really have an opinion on that.


With a few drops on the face and back i haven’t experienced much in the way of damage to my Pixel 2 save for a tiny hairline scratch on the phones front near the top speaker. Not bad when i read about people smashing their iPhone X’s to pieces days after receiving them.

Battery life

My Pixel 2’s battery routinely lasts for well over a day and charges super fast. This is a sharp contrast to the 6-7 hours actual usage i got with the S6.

Finger print reader

One of the best features of the Google Pixel 2 XL is something you use but rarely acknowledge. This phones finger print reader is ideally positioned, fast and has multiple uses. You can configure it to scroll up content and down for a great one handed experience.

4 Reasons the Google Pixel 2 XL Isn’t For You

Screen to body ratio & bezels

I’m disappointed that the Pixel 2 XL isn’t more screen and less bezel, especially since both Samsung and LG managed to do a great job many months before this phone was launched. I would have gladly sacrificed the front facing speakers for more screen.

Headphone jack

You don’t notice how much you used to use the headphone jack on your mobile phone until its gone. Even with Bluetooth headphones and USB-C ear buds being used i do miss the quality and convenience of my SoundMagic E10s and Sennheisser HD 202s when listening to audio. Plus they never run out of battery.

Volume control

Using the physical power buttons on the Pixel 2 adjusts your ring tone volume. so does adjusting the main volume bar in the pull down menu. This is very annoying when you want to control the audio actually playing.

Physical button positions

I went the whole hog and bought the Google Daydream VR headset. The latch presses against the Pixel 2 XL’s volume control button meaning frequently having to take off the headset and adjust things manually. Having these moved to an opposing side or further up/down the phone would have helped. This could be an issue caused by my using an older headset?

Other Considerations

Stereo front facing speakers

I don’t really use the Pixel 2’s speakers and prefer headphones. From what i’ve noticed the sound quality is OK and loud enough to play background music at an intimate gathering.

Wireless charging

I had a wireless charging pad for the S6 but rarely used it so don’t miss it on the Google Pixel 2 XL.

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