Google Pixel 2 XL release date, news and rumors

The Google Pixel 2 XL release date and price will be unveiled on October 4, according to every leak we’ve seen over the last six months, and it’s going to be usher in some big changes.

It’s the larger version of Google’s flagship smartphone, the Google Pixel 2, which we have already covered in length, and the sequel to last year’s 5.5-inch Google Pixel XL. 

We expect the same things to differ between the big and small versions as today’s do: the screen size, the resolution that it runs at, battery capacity and of course, price. However, recent Pixel 2 XL leaks show that the camera sensor is located in a slightly different place than the core Pixel 2, so there might be a story to tell there, too.

There’s plenty to say, so here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 2 XL, including all confirmed details, as well as a tidy roundup of the many rumors that have come along.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Google’s next plus-sized smartphone
  • How much will it cost? Rumors point to $849 (about £630, AU$1079) 
  • When will it release? Launch set for October 4, release likely in the weeks that follow 

Google Pixel 2 XL price and release date

Like its predecessor, the Pixel 2 XL won’t be a cheap phone. But a recent trove of insider info claims that it might be more expensive than before.

Compared to a launch price of $769 (£719, AU$1,269), which was a $100 jump up from the smaller Pixel, Google’s new Pixel 2 XL will reportedly launch for $849 (about £630, AU$1079). This means that there will be a wider $200 gap between the two options. Want that extra battery and screen resolution? It’s going to cost you.

And that’s just for the 64GB model, which to be fair, is double the capacity of last year’s 32GB base model Pixel XL. But if you want 128GB, the price will go up another $100, bringing you ever so close to the cost of a iPhone X at $949.

As far as when you’ll be able to have your very own Pixel 2 XL, our best guess puts its release shortly after the October 4 event. We wouldn’t be surprised if pre-orders begin following the event’s conclusion with a release occurring later in October.

Google Pixel 2 XL screen

As was the case when comparing the original Pixel devices, the screen resolution of the Pixel 2 XL sticks out as one of the biggest advantages to going big. Both are likely to feature a vibrant AMOLED display, though only the larger 5.5-inch model will feature a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, a spec that lends brilliantly to virtual reality applications via Google Daydream

If Google sticks with this resolution, it will be one of the few companies to release a flagship phone with the yesteryear aspect ratio standard: 16:9. It’s easy to find many examples of phones that stretch this ratio to 18:9, which results in a much taller look.

Left: Black & White Pixel 2 XL, Right: Kinda Blue Pixel 2 (Source: DroidLife)

Google Pixel 2 XL design

Moving onto the design surrounding the display, which of late has almost been as important as the screen itself, early leaks suggested that Google’s new phone would feature slim bezels, much like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30. However, more recent mumblings have indicated that the new fleet of Pixels will retain the family’s signature bezel-licious look on the front.

The Pixel 2 XL’s lack of visible differences on the front side might be disappointing given the number of bold looks introduced this year from the likes of the Essential Phone and the Samsung Galaxy S8. But a recent glimpse at what could be the final Pixel 2 XL design show an overhauled design on the phone’s rear. 

Looking at the above image, the divisive split of glass and aluminum is still here, but it looks a bit more confidently executed this year. Otherwise, the button layout looks similar.

For those interested in picking up with the Pixel 2 XL in a wacky color (raises hand), the leaked batch of colors available might disappoint. It will be available in “Just Black”, a melding of black aluminum with charcoal-backed glass, or “Black & White”. While the latter is exactly how it sounds (the top being black, bottom being white) this color’s power button is a bold orange. Some have described this as the “panda” look, but I’m settling on penguin given the orange power button.

Unfortunately, the Google Pixel 2 seems to be getting the cool color. Have you seen “Kinda Blue” above? It’s colorful in a subtle, yet brilliant way.

The Google Pixel 2 XL (and the smaller version) will omit a 3.5mm headphone jack, according to many sources, making it the first Google-made phone to ditch the port. Whether this is an effort to strut the wireless codec smarts built into Android Oreo or just a means of ensuring a waterproof device, another popular rumor, this exclusion is almost guaranteed to be more controversial than its design.

Google Pixel 2 XL camera and battery

The camera performance is one of the original Pixel’s strongest suits and hopefully, Google can build upon that success in the Pixel 2 XL.

Leaked benchmarks have shown off a 12MP rear-facing camera that’s capable of shooting video in 4K and a 7MP front-facing camera, which by themselves aren’t extraordinary specs, but we’ll have to see if Google puts it to special use. 

Keep in mind that we’re not certain if the camera specs on the Google Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL will match or differ. Given the fact that the rear-camera’s location seems to be slightly adjusted between the two models, it’s always possible that the Pixel 2 XL’s higher price will bring along some souped-up camera abilities. Of course, Google Lens will certainly make this phone more capable than most.

The original Pixel XL featured a 3,450mAh battery and the word has been quiet as to whether Google is shifting that capacity around. Chances are good that it will, at the very least, stay the same. Here’s to hoping that it’s not reduced, like we saw with the Moto Z2 Force.

Google Pixel 2 XL specs and OS

The Google Pixel 2 XL was speculated to be the launch phone for the next generation of Snapdragon chipsets, specifically the Snapdragon 845 or 836. Sources close to Qualcomm have recently squashed such a rumor, so it’s about guaranteed that it will feature the Snapdragon 835, a celebrated spec that is plenty fast and efficient even as we move closer into 2018.

Paired alongside this powerful, ubiquitous system-on-a-chip is 4GB of RAM, which if true, won’t have moved an inch since last year’s model. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and OnePlus 5 are famous examples of devices with 6GB of RAM, though the gains won’t be noticeable to most using today’s applications. Heck, the iPhone X will ship with 3GB of RM, so 4GB is very much still a viable offering.

Moving onto software, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be the true showcases for Android Oreo, even though several phones already have the software. Sure, you can experience just about everything else that Google’s latest operating system update has to offer on the Google Pixel, Google Nexus 6P and Sony Xperia XZ1, but the latest is likely to have some special treats.

Right image lists “Active Edge” feature (Credit: 9To5Google)

Spotted in the phone’s supposed FCC listing, the Pixel 2 XL will pick up the HTC U11’s most interesting feature: its squeeze-friendly sides. Google is rumored to be rebranding the feature to be called “Active Edge” and will give users a new way of interacting with the device, which could be a super handy feature given this particular phone’s larger size in the hand.

While stock Android offers a few shortcuts, like double tap the power button to launch the camera, Active Edge will likely offer many more options due to its customization. We imagine it could be used for things like launching Google Assistant without the need for a dedicated button (ahem, Bixby) or executing any other task, really. 

Will the Google Pixel 2 XL have a superior camera like the leaks show? Will it indeed be waterproof and lack that age-old headphone jack? Stay tuned for our hands-on review of the Google Pixel 2 XL when it’s unveiled on October 4.

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