Google’s Pixel 2 Has Serious Problems

Google Pixel 2 was recreated in a couple of high-resolution renders this weekend, with one digital artist recently taking to Reddit to share their creations that were based on the latest credible leaked image of the successor to the 2016 Pixel which emerged online earlier this week.

The device that can be seen in the gallery below is shown in four color variations, one of which is the black-gray one depicted in the aforementioned photograph that’s believed to be legitimate.

The remaining three colors are just guesswork, with the source showing the Pixel 2 in silver, red, and light brown that looks like burnt umber. The silver model has white bezels on the front, whereas the other three are shown with black ones, with those two colors also being featured on the top portion of their rear panels.

This week Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) revealed the Pixel 2 will sport a design which is bewilderingly iterative of the original Pixel. And design was by far the worst thing about these otherwise brilliant smartphones.

In practice this means the Pixel 2 will retain the same huge top and bottom bezels at the Pixel and Pixel XL, the same 16:9 aspect ratio display, the same polarizing two tone glass and metal back and the same single rear camera. It’s also expected to remove the headphone jack. This combination is commercial suicide.

Because while the Pixel and Pixel XL magnificently overcame their uninspired designs to top their rivals, the smartphone world in 2017 is a very different place and the biggest advances have been exactly this this area where the Pixels were already lagging behind.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are obvious, eye catching rivals. Their ‘Infinity Displays’ almost fill the whole front of each phone, their 19.5:9 aspect ratios are much easier to type on one handed and the headphone jack remains. Consequently there’s no competition when your average smartphone buyer walks into a showroom and lines up Galaxies with Pixels. The Pixel 2 was meant to solve that.

And yet the bigger problem lies just around the corner. Prior to the Pixel 2’s October launch will be the arrival of the redesigned Galaxy Note 8 and greatly hyped and overhauled iPhone 8. Both phones will virtually eliminate their front bezels, switch to 18.5:9 aspect ratios, all glass backs with wireless charging (another Pixel 2 omission) and sport dual cameras.

The last of these I’ll happily argue with given the Pixel delivers a superior and more consistent photographic experience to the dual camera toting iPhone 7 Plus, but single lenses lack the optical zoom party tricks and dual cameras are (rightly or wrongly) seen as more cutting edge.

As such the Pixel 2 may be an incredible phone when it comes to substance, but it only just about convinced buyers to overlook its design in 2016 when Galaxies still had noticeable bezels and iPhones – well – looked little better than Pixels. That’s not going to fly in 2017 or (most of) 2018.

In fact the only shining light here is the Pixel 2 XL, which is expected to significantly redesign itself to fit in with the minimal bezel, new aspect ratio trend even if it will also stick to a single rear camera and also drop the headphone jack (a real iPhone differentiation own goal, especially as it was a key part of Pixel marketing last year).

Consequently the main hope for the Pixel 2 would be its realignment as a budget alternative to the more adventurous Pixel 2 XL, but Google has already confirmed this won’t be the case. I want to love the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL as much as their predecessors, but Google isn’t making this easy.

In fact, unless Google has several significant tricks still up its sleeve, right now the only consolation I can offer the company is it might not suffer the same from the same chronic stock shortages as the latter because it’s going to be hard to recommend these phones.

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