Wednesday, October 4th, we here at Pixel Spot will be running a live blog and we encourage you to tune in. We will cover the Google event and each of the products and services expected to be announced.
One of the most anticipated announcements is the second generation Google Pixel smartphone and its older sibling, the XL 2….? Or whatever they decide to name it. While the new devices will amaze some, I think the majority of people will want to know if Google’s new flagships are worth the high price.
I’ve compiled a list of features Google will likely rave about at the event. If true, and if the price we saw leak last month is accurate, it is both my personal and professional opinion that the devices will be overpriced. If Google wants $650 to $850 for the base models, it is with great sadness (or happiness?) that I recommend you look to some of the other Android smartphones of 2017.
Just to set it straight, for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the smaller of two 2017 Pixels, the Pixel 2.
1. Single Lens Camera
The Google Pixel 2 will reportedly be one of the few flagship phones without a wide-angle lens or an optical zoom lens (even some of the more affordable phones include this hardware). Fortunately, last year Google received the highest camera rating ever bestowed upon a smartphone. Perhaps the Mountain View creators will be able to pull off some sweet shots with image-enhancing software, but no matter how fast the shutter snaps and how epic the bokeh appears, the image still will probably not have a natural 3D feel.
However, prove me wrong, Google.
2. Lack of Wireless Charging
No, Apple didn’t invent this dream, but a good portion of the world has now finally acknowledged the advancement. While it’s true that many manufacturers still exclude the PowerMat or Qi wireless charging coils, others (like Samsung) have blazed the trail with their devices for years.
Google opted not to include this on their first generation Pixel, even though Nexus smartphones flaunted the technology long before that.
We gave Google another year to get it together, as the #MadeByGoogle branding took off. Well, if it doesn’t happen this year, consider a less expensive alternative.
I mean, come on, if Apple’s finally including it, don’t you think, Google, that you should as well?
3. FHD Screen Resolution
Sure, you probably don’t need a 4K UHD screen on a mobile device, but in case you want it, Sony made that possible on the Xperia XZ Premium. Most high-end Android AMOLED screens top out at about a 2K (QHD) resolution which is typically sharp enough for a full VR experience. Apple’s Retina display is typically a measly 720p (and yes, you can totally tell the difference between it and a standard FHD (1080p) mobile screen with the naked eye).
Pixel 1 boasted a pretty mediocre FHD OLED screen that still looked better than the LCD iPhone 7, but rumor has it that the Pixel 2 won’t change a thing. It’s kind of funny, because, being affectionately titled the Pixel, the new line of Google smartphones doesn’t seem to spend a lot of time or money investing in improving its … well, pixels.
4. Massive Bezel Design
Okay, maybe even if the density of the pixels couldn’t be intensified, surely Google wouldn’t release a clone of its already butt-ugly flagship. The first Pixel won no awards for aesthetic beauty. Instead, reviewers universally guffawed at the lack of cohesive materials chosen by Sundar Pichai’s team.
Surely, as the rest of the tech world hoped that Gen 2 would bring with it a design worthy of impressing even the most Apple-y of tech nerds, but shucks, it looks like once again Google is going to include both the glass and metal collage backing and the behemoth bezels on at least the smaller Pixel, and possibly even the larger one.
Get a prettier phone if you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on a new device.
5. No 600 Mhz Band Support (or 5G)
Sure, it looks like the only US carrier with a 600 Mhz spectrum for LTE will be T-Mobile. And at the time of the writing of this article, no mobile phones support the frequency. But in the next few months and by next year, many more OEMs will want to take advantage of installing the necessary hardware antennae to allow millions of users to use their devices in hard-to-reach areas and buildings.
LG is all about this, but alas, Google is expected to omit this and possibly even 5G support! If you’re looking for the best speeds and coverage, it looks like Pixel 2 will not offer you what you want.
6. No Headphone Jack (or Headphones)
I didn’t mind that Apple ditched the 3.5 mm jack. In fact, I believe that wireless is the future, so I was kind of happy to see it happen. I didn’t expect Apple to be the first mainstream producer to initiate the transition, but that’s okay.
Google was among many of the masses to hate on the iPhone 7 for its “courage,” but that’s fine — the Pixel had a headphone jack still, and that’s what mattered most. Except for… well, it didn’t come with any, you know … headphones. None (you couldn’t even buy Google-branded buds separately!). Are you kidding me? Google mocks and then doesn’t even include anything in the box?
Not even a couple of buds for jogging are included (not to mention ones with the Assistant built-in)? Let’s be clear: most (clearly not all) manufacturers charging more and more money every year for their bread-winners are making them better and giving you more reason to shell out the heavy cash.
These Google leaks have failed to convince me that I need to be $700 poorer.
7. Lack of IP68 Waterproofing
HTC flagships don’t have a long history of water resistance. The U11 included IP67, which is code for rain-proof. The first Pixels squeaked by with IP53 (mist-resistance?), and leaks suggest that the 2017 models will only get IP67. HTC has never produced a flagship phone with IP68 waterproof-ness. Sony, LG, Samsung, and several others have somehow found a way to have both “courage” and waterproof gasket seals.
Since last year, we know Google was working on “waterproofing.” Dismal was the announcement that the new iPhones would lack IP68 certification, and so are the rumors that Google couldn’t manage to find a way to take that great camera of last year underwater.
Plenty of original equipment manufacturers offer devices for roughly the same $650 starting price of the new Pixels packed with far more features and tested hardware.
8. Drastically Different Designs
Finally, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look like they’re being built by both HTC and LG, respectively. That’d be fine if the two devices were identical, save for possibly RAM, size, and battery. But no, it appears the two may look less like siblings than cousins, or even distant relatives. The design differences, features, and possibly even IP ratings don’t even sound like they should have the same model name.
Further, I speculate that the materials used in the devices won’t be the same, or may not be of the same quality. The aluminum or Gorilla Glass, for example, may be from different suppliers, and we know from Samsung’s battery issues and Apple’s processor issues that these problems don’t play themselves out very nicely.
At this point, while nothing is confirmed, I simply don’t have faith that Google will handle this next generation of flagships with the necessary diligence in order to avoid missing some major flaw in either performance or safety.
If I’m not wowed, I will probably wait for the Pixel 3 (if Google can afford one after this one bombs out). V30 has my attention, and since it’s released October 5 for pre-order, it won’t take me long to decide where to spend my dollars.
How about you? Do you plan to shell out an estimated $650-850 on a new phone next week? If so, what’s convinced you that the Pixel will be better than the Galaxy S8, LG V30, Essential Phone, or even iPhone 8/X? Let us know in the comments below. Perhaps you will convince me.