In a world where Microsoft has given up on consumer mobiles, is the Google Pixel 2 a good fit?
Google makes Android, and while it’s the likes of Samsung that usually take the spotlight, the Pixel 2 is 2017’s showcase for Android as a platform. While some other phone makers have a tendency to layer on their own custom user experiences, the Pixel is Android as Google intended.
So, you’re getting the latest software mixed with the latest phone hardware. But if you’re inside the Microsoft ecosystem, perhaps looking for a place to go now that Windows 10 Mobile is out to pasture, would the Pixel 2 be a good fit?
Latest software, no fluff
Aside from some custom apps and maybe a little sponsored pre-loading, Windows mobile users have been accustomed to getting a consistent user experience across whichever brand of phone they may have been using at the time. Carriers sometimes got in the way, but Microsoft did a pretty good job at keeping things in line and pushing out updates.
Even now, folks who are sticking with the platform can get updates first through the Insider’s Program.
If you’re the kind of mobile user who puts great importance on having the latest software and timely updates, the Pixel is probably the best Android phone to get. Google handles it directly, and it’ll launch on the latest version of Android 8.0 Oreo. And you’ll be good for at least a couple of years.
The open secret is that HTC makes the (smaller) Pixel 2 phone hardware for Google. And that means high quality. The company may have struggled in recent years with selling phones under its own brand, but the quality of the hardware made by the Taiwanese manufacturer has never been in doubt. (LG manufactures the larger Pixel 2 XL.)
The Pixel 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s a harmony of metal and glass in two sizes. You’ll either get a smaller phone with chunky bezels or a larger phone with skinny ones, but the quality will be the same whichever you choose.
And naturally, it ticks all the hardware boxes: Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, USB-C, fast charging, up to 128GB of storage and more.
More: Google Pixel 2 specs
A quality camera
The Google Pixel had an excellent camera in 2016. The Google Pixel 2 in 2017 also has an excellent camera. Take or leave the “class-leading” results at DxOMark, but if you’ve used Lumia phones before, then a good camera is probably high on your shopping list.
Spec-wise the rear shooter is 12.2MP ƒ/1.8 with 1.4μm pixels. Those are still numbers, albeit pretty good ones. Early signs are promising as we found out with an early unit and putting it up against the iPhone 8.
Pixel 2 vs. iPhone 8 camera: A real-world test
All Microsoft’s apps and services
Microsoft’s new approach to mobile involves servicing its customers whatever device they choose to put in their pocket. That means if you’re a Windows mobile convert or just a heavy Windows desktop user, you’ll be well taken care of.
Microsoft has a ton of apps on Android. From staples like Skype, OneNote, the Office suite, and Outlook, to newer additions like the Microsoft Launcher and, coming soon, Microsoft Edge.
Windows 10’s Phone Companion app has helped ease folks using Android phones into working with their PC, but it’s going so much further. Cortana can help mirror notifications to your desktop, and with Edge on Android coming soon along with the continue on PC feature, you’ll be able to go seamlessly between your mobile device and your Windows computer.
Best Microsoft apps for Android
The bottom line
The Pixel 2 embodies much of what Windows mobile fans have come to enjoy over the years. You get great hardware with a no-fluff software experience, an excellent camera, and timely updates.
Microsoft is doing its part, too, making it easier than ever to seamlessly go between an Android phone and a Windows PC, all the while improving its mobile applications for Google’s platform. If you’re thinking of moving over to an Android phone, this is one you should definitely consider.
More: Pixel 2 hands-on