Oct 06, 2017
We've had our first look at Google's latest smartphones, the Pixel 2 and the larger screen Pixel 2 XL, along with a surprising new accessory called Google Pixel Buds. But what will these new devices offer the traveller?
Like the iPhone before it, the Pixel 2 has done away with the headphone jack, putting two front-facing speakers in its place. Instead of traditional corded headphones, Google has launched its own bluetooth earbuds called Pixel Buds. They offer great audio and also give users access to the Google Assistant with a single touch.
The Pixel 2 is a six-inch smartphone, with a full HD screen (1920 x 1080 resolution). The Pixel 2 XL ups the size to six inches and increases the resolution to an impressive 2880 x 1440 to make the most of that extra screen space. The OLED technology means brighter colours and sharper blacks even in bright sunlight – perfect for that beach getaway.
Inside both phones you'll find the powerful Snapdragon 835 processor from Qualcomm backed up by 4GB of RAM. All the apps you’ll need when you're out and about will run quickly and smoothly.
Quick access to Google Assistant
Another feature unique to the new phones is squeezable sides. It sounds strange, but a quick, firm squeeze of the phone will launch the updated version of the AI companion Google Assistant, which can answer all your queries without you having to unlock the phone.
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That new software means similar-style portraits can also be taken using the front-facing eight-megapixel selfie camera.
Unlimited storage for travel snaps
In terms of storage you've got either 64GB or 128GB onboard. Even better, the Google Photos service offers unlimited cloud storage for all your photos and videos.
Sharp travel photos
The rear camera is a single 12.2-megapixel lens but special sensors help add depth information for a brand-new Portrait mode with a blurred background effect. The updated software has been trained to identify faces and scenes using some very smart algorithms.
Built to last
In a nice change from last year's models, both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are water- and dust-resistant. The aluminium frame adds some extra sturdiness and it's topped by shock-resistant Gorilla Glass.
Augmented reality on the road
The rear camera also gives access to Google Lens, a brand-new augmented-reality app. Google Lens allows users to point the camera at real-world objects like museum artworks or a flower in a park and the app will automatically offer detailed information about them. The app will be released later this year to Pixel 2 phones before it’s available to other devices.
Most impressively, Google Pixel Buds offer real-time language translation for 40 different languages. When paired with a Pixel 2, you'll hear the translation in your ear while whatever you're saying will be translated through the speakers on the phone. Depending on how well this works in the real world, this could be an absolute life-changing technology for global travellers.
You can pre-order the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL from October 20. Both are available through the Google Store, Telstra and JB Hi-Fi. The Pixel 2 will set you back $1079 for the 64GB model and $1,229 for 128GB. If you're after the Pixel 2 XL it's $1,399 for 64GB and $1,549 for 128GB. Pixel Buds are sold separately and will cost $249 when they’re released in November.