Test Google Pixel 2 XL: an excellent smartphone, but without a grain of madness

Presentation

Google decided a year ago to release its own smartphones. Pixel was born and the company was to make it a showcase for its technologies. France was left out in 2016 with the Pixel and Pixel XL, and a year later it was back on the table: Google still hasn't announced the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in France. For those who are still interested in these terminals, importing them remains an option. It is the one we have chosen to get this Pixel 2 XL.

Il you have to count between 950 and 1 050 € to buy the Google Pixel 2 XL.

Ergonomics and design

Google Pixel 2 XL is the first smartphone of the lineage to choose a screen in 18:9 format. However, unlike aGalaxy Note 8 or aHuawei Mate 10 Pro, the Pixel 2 XL retains a fairly wide screen border. The result is a particularly massive terminal, where the screen occupies just over 77% of the front panel. That's better than the 71% of the first Pixel XL, but it's still behind a Mate 10 Pro and its 81%. You'll have to arm yourself with both hands to hope to make full use of the Pixel 2 XL.

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An 18:9 screen not really borderless.

In good high-end smartphone, the Google Pixel 2 XL benefits from excellent finishes. The black matte metal shell of our test model is elegant and pleasant to the touch. The shiny surface on the top back of the Pixel is a little less happy and gets dirty quickly.

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design remains rather sober and elegant on the black version of Google Pixel 2 XL.

Toujours on the back, Google has chosen to place the fingerprint reader. It falls perfectly under the index finger when you take the Pixel 2 XL in your hand. On the other hand, the device is inaccessible if the terminal is placed on a table, which is more annoying. The fingerprint reader has no particular malfunctions and unlocking is fast.

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Pixel 2 XL has 2 speakers on the front.

Google has gone to the essentials on connectors. There is only one USB-C port on the device, and no headphone socket. An adapter to 3.5 mm jack is still supplied with the smartphone. No microSD card slot either. The device is waterproof, with an IP67 certification (dust and water resistant up to 1 m deep for 30 min).

Screen

Pixel 2 XL chooses a 6" Oled slab from LG's stalls. The screen displays a WQHD+ definition of 2,880 x 1,440 px, for a resolution of 536 dpi. This offers a fineness of display largely sufficient for all uses, except RV, which requires even more density. One of the definite advantages of the Oled is the almost infinite contrast ratio. With a maximum brightness of 416 cd/m² and a light reflection rate of 11%, the Pixel 2 XL does well against the sun's rays. In complete darkness, the brightness can be as low as 5.8 cd/m², so you don't get too much glare.

La colorimetry of the screen of the Google smartphone is not as good as the one of the previous generation. The profile giving the best results is the "Natural" mode. When it is active, we measure a delta E at 3.2 and a color temperature at 6,730 K. Both values are satisfactory, but not perfect. The sRGB mode is available in the options for developers. However, unlike Pixel XL, it does not improve things on Pixel 2 XL.

Côté reactivity, the screen of the Pixel 2 XL is correct. We measured a touch delay of 78 ms and zero afterglow.

Performances

Avec a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 platform on board, the Pixel 2 XL is a particularly powerful smartphone. Nothing frightens it: all uses are swallowed without a hitch. Fluidity is the order of the day in the vast majority of cases. The transition between applications is smooth and the greedy applications are launched promptly.

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Températures CPU + iGPU usage readings.

Malgré this raw power debauchery, the Pixel 2 XL never climbs too much in temperature. When its CPU and iGPU are put under heavy load, the Pixel 2 XL does not exceed 36.3°C at the surface. This will in no way interfere with its use.

La Adreno 530 graphics chip remains one of the most powerful on the market. It enables Pixel 2 XL to run all the games in the Play Store without any problems or concessions on the level of graphics. Google's smartphone is proving to be a very good ally for fans of nomadic games.

Audio

Sans 3.5 mm jack plug, the Pixel 2 XL requires the use of a wireless headset or the USB-C to jack adapter provided in the box. Our measurements were performed with the latter. The results obtained with the adapter are slightly less good than those of the first generation of Pixel, however, the output level ensures a good use with the majority of listening devices, without distortion. The width of the dynamic range is within the average of our comparison, as is the stereo image reproduction.

Pixel 2 XL has 2 front speakers. A layout that offers stereo, an endangered species on smartphones. The power of these speakers is good, but a lack of precision can be felt at the top of the spectrum when pushing the volume up. The absence of bass is not a surprise. You can use these speakers to watch an episode of a series from time to time.

Photo

Google is one of the last manufacturers not to have opted for a 2-module main camera. The Pixel 2 XL only needs one module, combining a 12 MP sensor and a stabilized optics opening at f/1.7. The result is very good: the Pixel 2 XL ranks among the best in the discipline. The captured shots are quite rich in detail, well exposed and warm. For a sensor of only 12 Mpx, the fineness of detail is appreciable. The colorimetric rendering is also high-flying. Compared to an HTC U11, the Pixel 2 XL delivers slightly less detailed images, but also less cold.

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In low light, the result is above average, but this time significantly lower than HTC U11. Electronic noise management is not as satisfactory. The Pixel 2 XL still manages to capture a good amount of light and transcribes the general details correctly.

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Google offers a portrait feature, which for once does not rely on the coupling of two modules, but on the AI integrated into the terminal. While the system is surprisingly powerful, it doesn't really do any better than the competition. We often find a very artificial cutting of the subject, with an unattractive "sticking" effect.

video recording can of course go up to UHD definition at 30 fps. In this configuration, the result is interesting, with a good exposure management and an efficient focus tracking. Stabilization also remains rather effective.

8MP front-end sensor delivers correct shots. It manages to capture a good amount of light in difficult conditions, at the price of a fairly present smoothing. We are still far from a rendering similar to that of the back module.

Autonomy

autonomy of the Pixel 2 XL is a small disappointment. We expected more from a smartphone supposed to be perfectly optimized by Google. With its 3,520 mAh battery, the Google smartphone lasts 11 hours 14 on our SmartViser test protocol: one of the lowest autonomies found on a high-end smartphone at the end of the year. For comparison, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro lasted 16 hours 20 under the same conditions, and the OnePlus 5T15 hours 49. In practice, the Pixel 2 XL will not last more than a day and a half in standard use and will barely reach the end of the evening in case of more intensive use.