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7 things to know about Google’s new water-resistant Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones

Tech giant Google unveiled new phones, smart speakers, earphones and more at its second annual hardware gala Wednesday. 

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But the company’s new flagship Android phones, the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, are taking the spotlight.

Here are seven things to know about the new phones, according to tech experts:

The main differences between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

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Pixel 2

  • 5-inch screen
  • 2700mAh battery power
  • Weighs 143 grams
  • Available in three colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black and Clearly White

Pixel 2 XL

  • 6-inch screen
  • 3250mAh battery power
  • Weighs 175 grams
  • Available in two colors: Just Black, and Black and White

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Specs both phones have in common

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4GB RAM of memory
  • 64GB or 128GB of storage space
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • No headphone jack (USB-C dongle for headphones comes in the box)
  • Video specs: 1080p at 30, 60 or 120 fps on read camera
  • Rear camera specs 12.2MP, 1.4μm pixels
  • Front camera specs: 8MP, 1.4μm pixels
  • No wireless charging
  • Squeezable sides
  • 18W power adapter

What are the squeezable sides for?

A short squeeze on the sides of the Pixel 2 will automatically activate Google Assistant or — if you’re getting a call and want to silence the ringer, a short squeeze will do just that.

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Other notable features

  • Always-on display will show notifications and time and always-on microphone will listen to music and display its title, artist and art on the screen
  • The phones will be the first to get Google Lens
  • The Google Search bar moved from the top to the bottom
  • At a Glance, which shows you calendar events, flight status and other personalized information, is now at the top of the screen
  • Audio speakers are on the front now
  • Phones are water resistant and can be submerged in 3 feet (one meter) of water for up to 30 minutes
  • Google says the Pixel 2’s HDR+ is much-improved
  • Cameras have AR support and come with AR stickers
  • Cameras aperture is up from f/1.8 to f/2.0. This bump, according to CNET, means cameras will be able to let in more light, “which is everything in photography.”
  • Cameras have improved optical image stabilization (OIS) and an improved portrait mode

Learn more about the devices at store.google.com.

What the critics are saying

Wired.com called Google’s new phones refined and improved versions of last year’s models.

“In general, they're top-notch, high-end, bleeding-edge, super-good smartphones. They'd better be, for the price,” wrote Wired’s David Pierce.

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TechRadar critics noted Google’s “already winning formula” but said the new phones don’t “bring anything game-changing to the table.”

TechRadar’s John McCann, who wrote a hands-on review of the Pixel 2, lauded its bright, clear display, its dual front-facing speakers and its water resistance.

But the bezel-heavy design, lack of headphone hack and price all made the cons list.

Price

The Pixel 2 (64GB of storage) costs $649 and the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849.

If you spend $100 more on either model, you can add an additional 128GB of storage.

Where and when to preorder, buy

The Google phones won’t hit stores until Oct. 19 and are also available for purchase via Verizon, the Google Store, Best Buy and Project Fi.

But you can preorder yours now on the Google Store. If you choose to do so, you’ll get the new Google Home Mini device for free (U.S and select countries only).

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