PERFORMANCE & OS
With a Snapdragon 835 CPU and 4GB of RAM inside, the Pixel 2 was never going to be left wanting more performance - and that's before you consider the virtually raw version of Android 8.0 Oreo it's running. The whole thing feels super-quick, opening apps and games in a flash, and coping well when multitasking.
The revised Pixel launcher looks a little different to last year, with the search pill widget bumped down to the bottom of the screen. It's permanent now, too - there's no way to move it back. In its place is a smart notification widget, which crawls your email, calendar and weather apps to tell you what's next on your personal agenda. The app drawer has changed slightly too, but not so much that you won't be able to find Candy Crush in a hurry.
You won't have to worry about running out of space for apps and games: the base model comes with 64GB of storage, and you can jump up to the 128GB version if you need more room. There's no microSD expansion, but with free, full-resolution uploads to Google Photos, you won't have to worry about deleting old holiday snaps to make room.
The other new addition is Google Lens, which is arriving in beta form. This AR and AI-infused add-on uses your camera to detect objects, then intelligently deliver information, web links and search results. I've only seen it work in a few demos, and at the moment it feels a lot like Samsung's Bixby, so we'll have to wait and see which assistant is smarter.
The Pixel 2 gets a lot of things right. Photos and videos from the camera looks stunning, at least based on what I've seen so far, and of course Google's own version of Android was going to be the best around. Throw in a great screen, excellent build and plenty of power, and you've got a very competent phone.
The problem? Its bigger brother. Whether you want a large phone or not, there's no denying the Pixel 2 XL looks newer, more modern, and more exciting because of those skinny screen bezels. It makes the Pixel 2 feel almost outdated before it even arrives. Apple did something similar a few weeks ago with the iPhone X, and I'm worried that the XL put people off picking one of these smaller phones up.
It absolutely shouldn't. The Pixel looks and feels fantastic to use, and has almost identical hardware to the XL. It's even more affordable. If it can deliver on these early promises of camera quality, and you can get past those bigger bezels, it could be a fantastic phone - and I can't wait to get one in for a full review.