Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: What's the difference?

These phones share a digit, but still vary pretty significantly

Last year's Google Pixel and Pixel XL were more or less the same handset at heart, offered in larger and smaller options with some slight differences along the way. But this time around there's a bigger gap between them.

True, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL still share a lot of DNA: from the processor to the camera and the new pressure-sensitive Active Edge sides, they're very much cut from the same cloth. And yet it's the differences that'll ultimately push you in one direction or the other.

Thinking about jumping on Google's bandwagon this autumn? You can hit our extensive hands-on reviews of both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. But if you need a to-the-point overview of exactly what sets these handsets apart, then read on...

1) The XL looks totally new

Let's face it: the standard-sized Pixel 2 is more or less another version of last year's phone. The glass cutout on the back is a bit smoother looking and there somehow seems to be more bezel up front, along with dual speakers – but the iPhone-esque aesthetic remains intact.

That's not true with the Pixel 2 XL, which is clearly the star of the show from a visual standpoint. The screen takes up nearly all of the face now, much like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6, which makes a pretty striking first impression. It doesn't have quite as much individual style as the Galaxy S8, but the Pixel 2 XL still looks fresh and modern. The Pixel 2… not so much.

2) The XL has the bigger, better screen

Although the two handsets also came in mini and maxi form last year, the difference between them wasn't as pronounced. Before, you could choose from a 5in 1080p display on the smaller device or a 5.5in Quad HD screen on the larger XL. Both were AMOLED, and both had a standard 16:9 aspect ratio.

With the Pixel 2, you still get a 5in 1080p AMOLED display on the standard model, but the Pixel 2 XL bumps up to 6in. What's more, that screen is an extra-tall, 18:9 display akin to those on the Galaxy S8, LG G6, and the upcoming Apple iPhone X. It's still at Quad HD resolution (2,880x1,440 here) and is a pOLED panel - a slightly different type of OLED panel, but not one which is likely to make much difference in everyday use.

In short: it's larger, crisper, and covers much more of the phone's face than the Pixel 2's screen, so if media consumption is a big deal for you, it's probably going to be the better option.

3) More lasting power too?

The Pixel 2 XL has the larger, sharper screen, and it also has a higher-capacity battery pack to try and offset any added drain. You'll find a 2,700mAh pack in the standard Pixel 2, but a 3,520mAh battery cell in the Pixel 2 XL.

That 30% larger pack should at least keep these phones on par with each other for daily uptime, but with a bump that big, we'd hope to squeeze a couple of extra hours out of the XL with each charge. We don't know yet how long either will last for, really – but both should be strong all-day performers with average usage. Let's hope the XL is even better, though.

Both phones get super-fast-charging, which Google claiming that a 15-minute boost with give you around 7hrs' worth of extra juice. But neither has wireless charging as many rivals now do.

4) You'll pay more for XL

No surprise here: there's a price difference between the two Pixel 2 models, and it's even larger than last year's. Sure, that makes sense given the extra screen size on the 2 XL, but it's still a significant shift between them.

The standard Pixel 2 is available for ₹61,000 for the 64GB base model, or ₹70,000 for 128GB. But if you've got your eye on the Pixel 2 XL, you'll need to shell out an extra ₹12,000 for the 64GB variety, which now costs ₹73,000, while the 128GB version will set you back a whopping ₹82,000. Last year, there was only ₹10,000 between the Pixel (₹57,000) and Pixel XL (₹67,000) starting prices.

So which should you buy?

Well, we haven't spent enough time with either Pixel 2 model to make a final recommendation, but we suspect the decision will come down to whether you want the bigger, taller screen or not. The design differences are substantial, but neither phone is a stunner in the way that the iPhone X is, so we probably wouldn't decide purely based on looks. The bigger battery is likely to have minimal effect and everything else - from the excellent camera to the fast processor and latest Android OS - is identical between them.    

So what you're left with is the prospect of paying an extra ₹12,000 for that extra inch of screen...

The Pixel 2 will be available pretty soon, on 26 October, while the Pixel 2 XL will follow a bit later (15 November). We'll have full reviews of both phones very soon and will give you our final verdict on which we'd recommend buying then.