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Google Pixel 2 XL Review: CAMERA and DESIGN

The Google Pixel 2 XL is not perfect. It's not even the best Android smart-phone when it comes to features and, arguably, design. Nevertheless, it absolutely embodies Google's method of mixing artificial intelligence (AI), hardware and software to produce an overall experience that is higher than the sum of its parts.

CAMERA

The most useful example is that the 12.2-megapixel rear camera. Unlike competitions that hire a dual-camera systems to create the blurred background effect, or bokeh, the Pixel handles this with a single camera. Google states that this feature, dubbed Portrait Mode, works by using a dual-pixel sensor setup. Each pixel is divided into a left and a right pixel. The camera carries multiple images from each left and right pixel to develop a depth map of the picture.

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The thickness information is processed with the camera software, trained by Google using machine learning, to produce this bokeh effect. Because it's software-based, Portrait Mode also works for the leading camera when taking selfies. Nevertheless, the software isn't infallible. Occasionally, it neglects to distinguish between parts of a theme and the backdrop, creating inadvertently funny artifacts. Additionally, Portrait Mode may look exaggerated because it often blurs everything from the backdrop to the exact same extent regardless of the true physical space. But overall, it seems to be dramatic thus great for posting on Instagram and social networking.

The camera also does not need optical zoom, unlike other flagship mobiles that use dual cameras to enable this feature. Hence, I believe Google will probably switch to double cameras with its next Pixel phones. For normal photography, the Pixel 2 XL impresses with its high dynamic range (HDR) feature that automatically produces a better picture from several shots. I was pleasantly surprised as it turned into a photo backlit by a sunny sky from a potentially wasted shot to some handsome image.

More importantly, you don't have to worry about breaking the restricted storage on the phone. Google offers free, boundless original-quality CloudStorage for videos and photos shot with the Pixel 2 mobiles till the end of 2020, after that it reverts to free, infinite high quality (16MP photos and up to 1080p videos) storage. Pictures taken by the camera might be further analysed together with the Google Lens feature within the Google Photos app. Now exclusive into the Pixel mobiles, Lens picks out relevant information in photos, such as dates and contact information and gives you the choice to act on them with a suitable app like the calendar or e-mail app.

DESIGN

The Pixel 2 XL doesn't need a close bezel-less screen such as the people on this year's top smartphones. The upper and bottom portions of the bezel may be daunted by the existence of stereo, front-firing speakers, but the faces of the bezel is thicker than several mid-tier models. To be fair, the bezel, as well as the textured, sandpaper-like finish on its metal body (which encompasses principles out wireless charging), make the device effortless to grip.

Its design resembles a natural development of past season's Pixel, with the same two-tone look at the back that's immediately recognisable. My Just Black summary collection contains two shades of black while the Black & White variation adds a quirky or tacky signature, based upon your preference, with an orange-coloured powerButton.