Software & UI8.7
Setting the Pixel 2 XL is a cake-walk. It doesn’t have never-ending setup processes, neither does it ask for additional account permissions. Another luxury of having the Pixel 2 XL – it delivers a true Android experience.
The Pixel 2 XL runs Android 8.0 Oreo right out of the box and it offers some interesting features which are worth trying out. The UI is clean and the Pixel Launcher which was there on the top in first-gen Pixel devices has now been moved to the bottom. The Launcher is now easily accessible sitting between the favourite app dock and navigation keys. Apps have notification dots that match the colour of the apps, for instance, a notification on WhatsApp shows green dot matching the app icon. The ‘At a Glance’ widget has now taken Google pill’s space. Besides showing temperature, date and time, it now provides information about upcoming events, and even flight & traffic alerts as well.
If some music is playing around and you are unable to identify, your new Pixel will do it for you with its Now Playing feature. When the Pixel identifies the song, the name appears at the bottom of the Always on display. Double tap on the song and Google Assistant will shower more details on you.
The Pixel 2 XL has Active Edge, a feature which was introduced on HTC’s flagship model, HTC U11. Just squeeze the sides of the phone, but all it opens is the Google Assistant. Google Lens, the visual search assistant came handy when we tried spilling out information about some of the old architecture in Delhi.
All you need to do is a take a shot and the Lens will try to recognize the object and give you additional information. The experience gets fluid with the Lens being integrated into the Google Assistant itself, that offers quick access to image recognition tool by the Lens icon at the bottom right corner.
There’s a Picture-in-Picture mode as well that you can launch by tapping on the Home button. We tried using it, but it seems the mode is in its nascent stage as we could only access Google Maps. It neither supported Google Duos nor VLC. YouTube works only if you have YouTube Red (too bad it is only available in the US). The floating window can be swiped and adjusted as per your ease.
Overall, the UI on the Pixel 2 XL is clean and smooth. It delivers best Android experience (not surprised) with a simple layout, little tweaks, some striking features and of course the promise of faster software & security updates.