Google Pixel 2 First Impressions

It’s been a fun couple of days here at the Android Unfiltered HQ. After a summer full of intrigue and rumors, I’ve finally gotten my hands on the Google Pixel 2. And while I’m still quite some time away from being able to provide a full in-depth review, I wanted to share a few thoughts on what I think Google did right, as well as what I think they’ve done wrong with the Pixel 2.

We’ll see how my thoughts change over the course of the review phase, but for now, my first impressions are strong.

Here’s what I love about the Pixel 2

  • Size factor – I’ll go ahead and say this, even though I know opinions will vary. I really like the smaller form factor, especially after lugging around this Galaxy Note 8 review unit around.
  • The phone feels great in your hand – I have the Just Black Pixel 2. I’m told that each one has a slightly different coating and that the all black model is slightly easier to grip than the white and blue models. I can’t speak for the others, but the black one feels amazing in my hand. Also, props to HTC for whatever the coating is they used on the top half 1/5th of the back of the device. It’s not a fingerprint magnet.
  • The camera – This goes without saying. It’s the reason I bought the phone, and after a few test photos, I’m head over heels.
  • Android 8.0 – There’s a lot of subtle new changes in Oreo, many of which I’m still discovering. After my first day, I can say that I love the direction Android is heading in. It’s becoming more customizable by the minute, and with each update, things just keep getting smoother.
  • Now Playing –  This one needs some time to settle in, but it’s still in its infancy. If you haven’t heard, the Pixel 2 identifies songs all by itself, without the need for an Internet connection. You have to enable it, but I wrote a guide on how to do that, so you’re covered here.
  • Adaptive themes – groovy little addition that changes your notification shader based on your current wallpaper. Very slick, indeed!
  • Great sound – Those dual front-facers though! Google’s idea to include two front front-facing speakers paid dividends with the Pixel 2. Music and other audio sound amazing!
  • HDR Display – If you own a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, do yourself a favor and check out an HDR video on YouTube. The results are pretty friggin amazing.
  • Quick fingerprint sensor – Google said to expect a quicker, smoother fingerprint unlock experience. They weren’t kidding.

And here’s what I hate about the Pixel 2

Honestly, there isn’t much to hate here. For the sake of being objective, here are a few things I’m disappointed about.

  • AR Core Stickers aren’t out yet – They’re coming. They’re just not here yet, which is kind of a bummer.
  • Button locations – The volume rocker and power button seem to get in the way with the “Squeeze” functionality that invokes Google Assistant. It’s not a big deal, I just have to hold the phone in a slightly-less-natural manner when using it, or I accidentally push the power button, which turns off the display.

That’s really all I have for now, in terms of things I’m not 100% in love with. Again, we’ll see if those feelings hold up after some real-life testing.

Did you get your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL yet? What do you love and/or hate about it? Hit me in the comment threads with your best shot!


  1. Hi, I can only agree with you so far after 5 day’s of ownership.The big issue I have is that the blue tooth will not work with my car. It sometimes connects and allows you to pair the phone but won’t download the phone book etc . It won’t play or show any media from the phone either.My car is an Audi Q3 only 11 months old. It is absolutely useless and I have given up trying to get it to work. It seems this is an issue that Google know about as lot’s of other people and model’s are having the same issues.
    Let’s hope an update comes soon or I will have to go out and buy a cheap blue tooth device as it is impossible to operate with out a car phone/media system. I have just heard that there are people reporting screen issues on both new pixel phones.
    Will watch with interest, Barry.

    • Hey Barry, thanks for stopping by!

      I actually haven’t tried the BT in my car yet. I still have my Note 8 review unit paired and haven’t switched just yet as I’m still working on that review. I have used BT headphones, though. No issues to report there.

      Have a great day, my man!

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