Review of My (Almost) New Google Pixel XL 2

My previous phone an LG G4 took a bit of a tumble and it cracked the corner of the screen.   Although it was still usable it did seem to heat up a lot more and the battery life appeared to be affected.  The phone would not last through an entire day often having to be charged towards the end of the day in order to last through the evening.  Over the Christmas holiday, my provider Koodo,  offered a number of phones including the Pixel XL at a discounted price with a Large Tab which I took advantage of.

Koodo’s Large Tab Plan that I purchased for $74 (plus tax) monthly included:

  • Unlimited Canada-wide anytime minutes,
  • Unlimited messaging (text & picture),
  • Call Display, Voicemail, Call Waiting, Conference Calling and
  • Unlimited Canada-wide Family Calling.

The plan also included 1 GB of “Shock Free” data which they doubled during the Christmas promotion.  Shock Free means that they warn you when you are approaching the cap and they pause the data until you choose if you want to add more.  The phone was then offered at a cost of $200 plus a monthly tab charge of $21 for two years.  My company provides me with a stipend of $75 towards a cell phone as it is required for my job so this made this affordable.

The LG G4 served me well over the years.  I quite liked the power button and the volume controls on the rear and until the drop, the battery life was quite good and the screen was bright and clear.  I also liked that it received regular android updates.  So in choosing a new phone, I leaned towards the Google Pixel which had the same characteristics.  It is missing volume controls on the rear but the fingerprint reader does act like the power button for turning on the phone.  The XL 2 has a bigger battery and the screen is very bright and detailed.  The full specs can be found at Google.

The Pixel 2 XL is much larger and in fact, the non-XL version was smaller in size than the LG G4 when compared side by side.  So in looking for an upgrade, the XL was my obvious choice.

I also purchased a Spigen Rugged Armor Google Pixel 2 XL Case from Amazon for about $15 which fit extremely well, seems to provide adequate protection and did not increase the form factor very much.  The fingerprint sensor was also still very accessible.

So having used it for a couple of months now here are my first impressions

  • The Pixes 2 XL feels great in the hand and the fingerprint sensor is easily accessible with my fingers.  Love the way it is easily turned on with a simple touch.  I also like that the sensor can be used to open the notification bar and scroll through it.
  • Fingerprint sensor works with many apps such as Lastpass and works very well with multiple fingers
  • Although it is a tall phone if its nice in my breast or pants pockets
  • The Super Fast charging works great- 15 minutes for 7-hour battery life.  It can be charged quickly when in the shower and lasts the entire work day if I forget to plug it in at night.
  • I love the way the time displays when not in use with little power consumption.  It also has a Shazam type functionality for naming the song and the artist of music that is playing when in this same mode.
  • The speed with which it launches programs and videos is noticeably faster than with the LG G4.
  • I love the Active Edge on the bottom half of the phone.  Give the phone a slight squeeze on the bottom half of the phone and it launches the google assistant so you can ask it questions or get it to call or text someone.  It also allows you to get to Google Lens which is worth a whole blog post of its own!
  • Additionally, if your phone is ringing and you don’t want to answer, just squeeze the phone and it will silence the call. Works great in my pocket.
  • Turning on the flash for a flashlight is very easy from the notifications bar.  Came in handy when trying to find a pen in the movie theatre after the show had finished.

There are a lot of good things but there are a couple of annoyances as well.

  • The worst is the unreliable BlueTooth 5.  I had expected a better experience with the upgraded BlueTooth but I have had nothing but trouble with it.  Connecting to my Fitbit and my car OBDII device is spotty at best.  Did a separate posting on that.
  • There is no 3.5 mm headphone jack so my existing headphones are not compatible and since the Bluetooth is unreliable I would not expect the wireless headphones to work very well.
  • A minor inconvenience is the non-standard charging connector which means the only cable I have right now is the one that came with the phone.  I will have to purchase new cables to keep in the car or at the office, especially for this device.
  • There were a lot of posts about an OLED burn-in issue but I have not experience that on my phone.

So, other than the BlueTooth issue, I am very pleased with the Pixel 2 XL and hope that this one major issue is addressed in the next Android update.  The phone, BTW, does seem to get the android updates very quickly.


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