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With the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, has Google saved the best for last?

by Brandon Russell | September 14, 2017September 14, 2017 12:00 pm PDT

Samsung, LG, OnePlus, and Apple have all shown their best cards, each ranging from great to really great. There was even room for a newcomer, Essential, to throw its name into the mix. These and other devices like them have made this year one to remember.

While you may have your pick for smartphone of the year, don’t write it down in ink just yet. We still haven’t seen what Google has planned.

When the Pixel was released last year, few expected it to challenge the overwhelming dominance of Apple and Samsung. But the device quickly became a cult hit, earning rave reviews for its clean software, snappy performance, and amazing camera—and that was despite its bland design. People still mention it with reverence almost a year later.

So, expectations are high for the sequels, which Google has confirmed will be unveiled on October 4. Could the search giant do the unthinkable by building another contender for smartphone of the year?

The release of the Pixel 2 XL is particularly interesting because it’ll see Google explore new territory. The device is expected to feature the big, beautiful edge-to-edge displays the industry is now infatuated with, along with some squeezable inspiration from the HTC U11.

That in and of itself doesn’t constitute the honor of this year’s best smartphone. But when you consider the polish, software, and camera prowess offered by Google, it starts to sound like a much more enticing proposition.

While nothing’s for certain at this point, here’s what we do know: The Pixel 2 XL will feature arguably the best version of Android, a market-leading camera, and plenty of Pixel-specific perks. Last year’s Google Photos offer could just be the start.

Also remember that Google’s Pixel lineup will get Android updates the quickest. Not only that, but these phones will be supported by Google for longer than 24 months, so you can rest easy knowing your device is safe and sound with the latest security patches.

There’s also word Google’s new phone will exclusively support new accessories from the search giant, including Assistant-powered headphones, much like Apple’s AirPods. The only issue that may turn people away from the Pixel lineup this year is their lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack—something Google’s PR team is reportedly preparing to defend.

If the Google Pixel 2 XL features all the bells and whistles offered by its competitors, including wireless charging, water and dust resistance, and an otherworldly camera, it could go on to become a big competitor to the Galaxy S8 and iPhone X—and potentially act as a stepping stone for something bigger.

With devices like the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 already unveiled, there may be no more mindshare for the Pixel 2 XL to nudge in. But this could be another situation where Google’s late arrival to the party will be well worth the wait.

“Ask more of your phone,” the tagline for Google’s October 4 event reads. I’m already intrigued. I just hope the Pixel 2 XL doesn’t cost $999.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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