Google adds in­tel­li­gent soft­ware on top of an amaz­ing cam­era to make this phone an in­stant hit

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Google is back again with its nextgen­er­a­tion An­droid of­fer­ing, bring­ing ex­tra smarts and a cracking cam­era, but can it com­pete with the fierce com­pe­ti­tion?

It seems Google is re­ally start­ing to de­fine its vi­sion for the per­fect An­droid phone: prag­matic, quirky de­sign, with killer soft­ware.

Let’s start with the de­sign, which has its good and bad parts. With a five-inch screen, it’s a great size, and easy to use one-handed. The phone over­all has a clear vis­ual iden­tity now, with a larger glass panel on the rear that stretches around the edges of the de­vice, and cham­fered bezels.

Oddly, it feels like it’s made from plas­tic, though it does feel as solid as a rock. Com­pared to the al­most ce­ram­i­clike iPhone 8’s glass back, it feels kind of cheap de­spite be­ing pre­mium. That said, it’s the most grippy flag­ship phone out there, which we like.

We also need to talk about those gi­ant bezels at the top and bot­tom of the phone, which are so egre­giously large, we’re not sure if Google is trolling us here in the year of bezel­less­ness, 2017. We can live with them, as we did on the iPhone 8, but it does make us wish the slim-edged de­sign of the six-inch Pixel 2 XL was used on the smaller phone – but we’ll talk more about the XL ver­sion later.

At least within those bezels, the Pixel 2 has been given a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade in the dis­play depart­ment, with a more vi­brant-look­ing OLED dis­play (though still Full HD, which is bril­liant sharp at five inches). It also fea­tures an am­bi­ent ‘Al­ways On’ dis­play, which con­tin­ues to show key in­for­ma­tion and no­ti­fi­ca­tions even when the screen is the­o­ret­i­cally off. This is a nice touch but has been seen be­fore, though it’s ex­e­cuted nicely here, and in­cludes a fea­ture to tell you what song is play­ing in the back­ground, like an in­stant Shazam.

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