Since Google launched its Pixel 2 handsets on October 5th, there have been numerous complaints about the larger Pixel 2 XL‘s display, from issues with image retention and image burning on the phone’s OLED screen to users not being happy with the panels muted colors. Google posted some UI changes in the November Security patch to mitigate the first two issues, but what about the display and its dull representation of colors? Well, Google has also addressed this as well, and now there is an option in Settings to make the colors pop a little more. Join us after the break to find out how you can get additional color saturation on your Pixel 2 XL.
Before the November Security patch, users simply had the options Balanced and Vibrant in the display settings to change the color profile ever so slightly. Since the patch and the roll-out of Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 OTA, we can now choose from Natural, Boosted, and Saturated. To change the color profile of your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, you’ll need to do the following:
Navigate to Settings on your phone and tap on Display.
Tap on Advanced to make the full menu available and tap on Colors.
Now you have the choice to choose between Natural, Boosted or Saturated. Natural is the display’s default setting, Boosted increases saturation by around 10%, the difference is barely noticeable. If you choose the Saturated mode, colors definitely have added pop, which is great if you are used to Samsung’s over-saturated AMOLED displays.
Let us know in the comments below which color profile you ended up choosing and the reasoning behind your choice. Don’t forget to check out other tips and tricks for your brand new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets.
Google’s new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL launched on October 5th featuring some great new abilities such as Google Lens, as well as a load of other ways that let you personalize and customize the handset to your own taste. Join us after the break to find out how to turn on the Pixel 2’s Ambient Display (Always on Display), enable Double Tap, Now Playing, schedule the Night Light, and adjust the size of the content shown on the display.
Turning on the Ambient Display on your Pixel 2 will result in the time and date, charging state as well as notifications showing on the handsets’ lock screen.You’ll be able to see the time, date, notifications and which song is playing without having to touch the phone.Just navigate your way to Settings/Display/Advanced and tap on Ambient Display. You can now toggle between the Ambient Display turning on when the display is double-tapped or lifted, and you can choose to keep it Always On. Switching Ambient Display on will impact on the battery life of your handset to a marginal degree.
If Ambient Display isn’t to your liking, you can always choose to use Double-tap instead which will display the lock screen with all its information after you’ve firmly tapped the display twice. Get to Settings/Display/Advanced to enable Double-tap on your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. Once you’ve used it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
One of the nifty tricks of Android 8 Oreo is the ability to detect which song is playing in the background and to display the name of the song and band on the lock screen. Simply open Settings, Security & Location, Lock Screen Preferences and then tap on Now Playing. You can now choose to enable the service on your lock screen as well as allowing notifications.
Enable Night Light
Recent studies say that the blue light emitted from our smartphone displays actually inhibits our ability to get a good nights sleep, so it’s probably to avoid it as much as we can. This brings us to the Pixel 2’s Night Light which places an amber tint on the display, making it easier to look at. This option can be enabled via Settings, Display, and then selecting the Night Light tab. You’ll then be able to choose to have the Night Light turn on and off automatically at a time suitable to your needs, to turn it on or off manually, and also to adjust the tint to your personal preferences.
Adjust icon and screen size
Some of us have better eyesight than others, which makes the trick of adjusting the size of icons and the display extremely handy. Open up Settings, Display, and then choose Display Size where you can adjust the slider along to make everything on the screen larger or smaller. Icons and widgets may change position in relation to how your layout changes in size.
That’s all for now, but keep your eyes peeled for more tips and tricks for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
Should you buy the LG V30 or the Pixel 2 XL? It’s a hard decision.
I was the last person to leave Google‘s Pixel hardware event in Toronto this week, the cleaning staff already entering the converted movie studio to remove the painstakingly crafted demo spaces for Google Lens, augmented reality, and the Pixel 2 camera’s Portrait Mode. I just didn’t want to give the damn phones back, them feeling so good and comfortable and right in my paw.
And gave them back I did, but not before I snapped some photos of the Pixel 2 XL next to the LG V30. I’m saying this both to hedge against the poor quality of the photos themselves (Lightroom’s Clarity can’t fix what isn’t in focus) but to emphasize that, Samsung flagships aside, I think this is the most interesting comparison to come out of the entire event.
See, the LG V30 goes on sale pretty much now — it’s already available at Verizon and AT&T, and will be next week at T-Mobile and Sprint — despite being announced in August and seeded to reviewers shortly thereafter. LG has a knack of announcing its phones well before they actually go on sale, which means that despite a great product, they tend to lose the momentum of public discourse in the weeks following.
Anyway, what that means is that the October 5 release date of the V30 is only two weeks before the LG-made Pixel 2 XL, which is astonishing if you think about it.
So which should you buy? Honestly, that’s a difficult question to answer. But let’s try to get you closer to that truth.
What’s the same
Both the LG V30 and the Google Pixel 2 XL share a number of hardware similarities, and while they don’t look the same, they are built on similar bones.
LG brought its Plastic OLED technology to the V30 first, but it appears that the Pixel 2 XL has either the same panel, or one very similar — they’re both six inches at 2880×1440 pixel resolution, with the increasingly-common 18:9 / 2:1 aspect ratio. I like this compromise between width and height; unlike the Galaxy S8+ and Note 8, neither the V30 nor Pixel 2 XL feels top-heavy or onerous to use in one hand. That’s not to say they’re one hand-friendly the way the smaller 5-inch 16:9 Pixel 2 is, but they’re easier to maneuver without risking a drop.
The panels themselves are excellent. These are OLED displays with vivid colors, perfect blacks, and awesome calibration; both LG and Google boast of full DCI-P3 color gamut support.
Those screens, curved at each corner, fit into chassis only slightly larger, making them practically bezel-less. But LG does a better job on the V30, mainly because it eschews front-facing stereo speakers for a single bottom firing port. The Pixel 2 XL is slightly taller, and a bit wider, as a result, but to me it’s not a dealbreaker — I haven’t heard them just yet, but I love the idea of phone speakers with actual impact.
Both phones are powered by the same underlying hardware, too: Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM, between 64GB and 128GB of storage (though only on the V30+, which is limited to Sprint and US Cellular), and a sizable battery — 3300mAh for the V30 and 3520mAh for the Pixel — along with IP67 water resistance. Thankfully, the rear fingerprint sensors are in the same (gratifying) place — though only the Pixel’s lets you swipe down to reveal the notification shade. Come on, LG!
On a high level, that’s where the similarities end. And that’s what makes this comparison so interesting.
The LG V30 focuses on so many different things than the LG-made Pixel 2 XL, and that’s why I love Android. The V30 is a shiny slab of glass on the front and back, which supports wireless charging. The Pixel 2 XL is … not. It has a unibody metal chassis, but a portion of the back is covered in glass, which is both a design and signal benefit, since Google doesn’t have to break up the look with plastic antenna lines. The metal back is rendered slightly more tactile, and less slippery, thanks to a finish that can only be described as plasticky. When I first picked it up I had to be reassured the phone was indeed aluminum — it feels more like the Nexus 5X than the original Pixel XL.
Of course, the V30 has two cameras, one 16MP sensor with a wide-angle lens, and a 13MP sensor with an extra wide-angle lens. The two form the basis of one of the more interesting and fun camera experiences on the market, and as we’ve said before, no one does landscape photography better than LG. At the same time, many of LG‘s new video modes are substantially more robust than anything you’ll find on a Samsung or even Sony device, and far surpasses that of Google‘s simple camera app, which even lacks a dedicated manual mode.
At the same time, Google‘s focus (pun intended) on a single camera, which is lower-resolution with larger individual pixels than the V30‘s main sensor, allows for some incredible low-light shots. Google also boasts of a computational portrait mode, while its HDR+ capabilities bring out color and detail in situations that many other phones would fall flat.
We’ve spent a lot of time with pre-production versions of the V30‘s hardware and came away impressed, but I’m fairly confident that, when put head to head with the Pixel 2 XL, it won’t square up in most situations. The Pixel also has Google Lens, which further reinforces the company’s lead in using the camera for contextual gain; point it at a sign and get information about the words, or its location. Point it at a dog and (hopefully) find out the breed (it’s a Great Dane). That’s all very cool, but it remains to be seen if people will actually use the feature.
If you care about audio quality at all, the V30 isn’t just better than the Pixel — it’s the best out there.
LG also puts a tremendous amount of effort into shoring up its audio game; not only does the V30 have a headphone jack, but its Quad DAC and powerful amplifier ensures that all headphones, even high-impedance ones, sound excellent. It’s also possible to tune the phone’s sound to suit one’s individual ear, with additional filters and settings that even 2016’s V20 lacked. This is as robust an audio-visual experience as you can get on any phone today — but it requires a tremendous amount of tweaking to get there.
The original Pixel was renound for its awful Bluetooth performance, so it’s a bit concerning that its successor lacks a headphone jack. Sure, there’s a dongle in the box, but it’s one sure to be quickly lost or discarded. At the same time, Google is patterning with companies like Libratone to deliver “Made for Google” Bluetooth accessories, which consist of easy pairing and (we assume) consistently good performance. It really would be nice if Google were to deliver a phone that didn’t experience base-level problems for once.
LG also delivers some very decent headphones in the box, whereas Google delivers… well, that dongle.
The last two differences are obvious, but worth pointing out. Google‘s software is worlds ahead of LG‘s in many respects; not only does the Pixel 2 XL ship with Android 8.0 Oreo, but its interface and general aesthetic feels substantially more mature; LG, which has made strides in recent years, ships the V30 with Android 7.1.2, and though many of the more hard edges have been softened, it’s still easy to find nits to pick. For example, LG still insists on shipping its own keyboard, which is terrible, and its default launcher lacks an app drawer and hits icons with an ugly stick.
The Pixel 2 XL is sure to get more updates sooner, but LG‘s software is a lot better than it used to be.
At the same time, Android 7.1.2 is a known quantity, both mature and easy to understand, and LG benefits from this extended lead time; the V20 was one of the first devices to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat and experienced some awful bugs that took months to resolve. I’ve yet to experience a single show-stopping issue with the V30. The original Pixel on Oreo, on the other hand, has developed a cottage country of complaints since the update became available.
But updates are going to come to the Pixel must more quickly, and for longer, than the V30 can hope to see. For starters, Google updates the Pixels directly, and is promising three years of both security updates and, for the first time, platform updates. The V30 is being sold primarily through carrier channels, so it will have to go through approval processes that often take longer. We can hope that the V30 receives Oreo sooner than later, but it’s the next update, Android P, where that lead will lengthen on Google’s behalf.
Which should you buy?
The LG V30 costs between $800 and $840 at U.S. carriers, which works out to around $32 to $34 per month for 24 months. The V30+, which is available only at Sprint and US Cellular, runs closer to $920, or $38 per month. The Pixel 2 XL starts at $849, but can be had at Verizon or the Google Store for around $35 per month for the 64GB model and $39 for the 128GB version.
So the cost is a wash.
That leaves the features, and to my eyes the V30 has a more robust collection of experiences for the advanced user, especially when it comes to audio and photography. Not only does the Quad DAC provide better sound, but there’s a headphone jack with a powerful amplifier and plenty of adjustability. The dual camera setup is tons of fun, and the manual mode is just wonderful. The V30 has wireless charging, too, and the all-glass design keeps it lighter than the Pixel 2. The overall body is smaller, too, though you forgo front-facing speakers.
The Pixel 2 XL is a simple phone. It’s meant to be easy to understand and use, and accessible to any and all who buy it. It hides much of the complexity that Android is famous for. Its design is also sure to be divisive; it’s both whimsical and utilitarian, and while the larger Pixel doesn’t have the substantial bezels of its smaller counterpart, it probably won’t win any design awards.
it’s time to take the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 for a spin! We spent some time with both phones today and are ready to share some initial thoughts and run through a tour of each device.
My first major take away is that these feel like true Google phones. What I mean is the fact that these feel like phones Google actually designed, phones that weren’t just last-minute leftover parts from HTC’s iPhone knockoff department. Each phone is unique in this cluttered smartphone world, especially the Pixel XL 2.
Both phones feel really nice in hand, though the Pixel XL 2 definitely feels more premium. They are similarly finished, but the smaller Pixel 2 just isn’t quite up to par, at least to my hands. That’s not to say that it won’t be a heck of a phone, it just isn’t the flagship of the two and that’s OK.
The software experience is what you expect. It’s clean and minimal still even as Google continues to add-on their own custom touches. The updated Pixel Launcher with Search buried down in the dock is going to take some getting used to, but this is Android, so launchers can be changed if it’s not your thing. The squeezy side gesture to launch Google Assistant works well, and no, you can’t change it to do anything other than launch Assistant.
The camera is as fast as you would hope. I know that DxoMark crowned it the king of smartphone cameras, but I just didn’t have enough time to test its quality. I’m expecting it to be pretty damn good, though, just like last year’s Pixel cameras. Who needs dual shooters, eh?
And that’s pretty much it for now. We (obviously) didn’t have time to test battery life or look at performance or setup the fingerprint reader or train Google Assistant either. We definitely didn’t get a superb grip on which phone will be the one for you. I’m certainly leaning towards the Pixel XL 2, if only because it feels like the it’s on trend, unlike the smaller Pixel 2. Either way, we can’t wait for more.
Google hasannounced a very limited beta program for Android Wear, allowing its flagship smartwatch, the LG Watch Sport, to test out some upcoming features based on Android 8.0 Oreo.
” Today, we are launching the beta of the next Android Wear update. As we mentioned at Google I/O, this will mainly be a technical upgrade to API 26 with enhancements to background limits and notification channels. “
The update is not significant from a consumer perspective at this point, since it doesn’t change the Android Wear 2.0 user interface that started rolling out earlier this year. Instead, it updates the core AW code to Oreo, giving it access to two important features phone users have been enjoying for some time: notification channels, and background limits.
The former lets apps on the watch follow the same rules as apps on the phone; if you limit a particular app from sending specific notifications, that behavior will be imitated on the watch.
” For notifications generated locally by Android Wear apps, users will be able to customise the notifications channel they want to see, right on their watch. “
Given that Android Wear is becoming more phone-independent, notification channels will likely benefit those who rely on apps that generate their own notifications rather than just forwarding them from the phone.
Background limits are battery-saving properties that should extend the battery life of some watches.
” There are increased restrictions on background services. Developers should assume services can no longer run in the background without a visible notification. In addition, the background location update frequency will be reduced. Battery-saving best practices such as using JobScheduler should be adopted to ensure your app is battery-efficient and able to perform background tasks when possible. “
There’s no word on when Google will make the Android Wear beta program available to more watches, but it’s good to see the company sticking with its development path nonetheless. You can sign up for the beta if you have the LG Watch Sport.
Google is set to announce the next generation of Pixel devices next week and despite already seeing a leak showing the rear of the device, this time a new leak reveals the specs of both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
The Pixel 2 XL will feature a curved QHD screen and will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor with either 64 GB or 128 GB of internal storage, which we already suspected. It is said that the screen-to-body ratio will be around 80% and 85%, lending a similar look and feel to that of the Note 8. The Pixel 2 XL will also feature dual stereo speakers but no headphone jack.
It appears the Pixel 2 devices won’t see dual rear-cameras but instead retain the single front-facing and rear-facing cameras we’ve seen in previous models. These will be specifically called Pixel cameras though so that could lend some suggestion as to how much focus Google will be placed on the camera functionality.
The source also suggests that the Pixel 2 devices will come equipped with an E-SIM that would allow the device to connect to different carriers without the need for a physical SIM. The Pixel 2 XL will have IP67 water resistance and Gorilla Glass 5 and be powered by a 3520mAh battery.
The subtle differences of the Pixel 2 over its bigger brother are that it is likely to have a larger bezel and will be removing the headphone jack. The device will have an FHD screen instead of the curved QHD screen on the Pixel 2 XL and have a smaller 2700 mAh battery given the smaller profile of the device.
This is how the two devices lineup:
Some of these specs may be surprising while others seem spot on with exactly what we were expecting from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. With only a few days left to the event, the devices are certainly shaping up to reveal some interesting features.
Shortly after Google launched their device trade-in program for Project Fi and the Google Store last week, we all noticed that the Pixeland Pixel XL were not listed as devices eligible to be traded in. This week, that changed and both are now listed, giving us an idea as to how much Google will give us as we consider upgrading to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in a few days.
For the regular Pixel with 32GB and in working condition, Google will give you up to $350. If you own the 128GB model, your phone will fetch up to $360. For the Pixel XL under those same circumstances, you are looking at $400 for 32GB models and $410 for 128GB models. Now, those are the prices if your phone turns on and has a display free of cracks. Should your phone have issues, the price will drop.
I’m no expert on trade-ins, but those prices don’t seem bad at all to me. Samsung, for example, is only offering up to $300 for a Pixel or Pixel XL in its Note 8 trade-in program. You can buy a refurbished (used) Pixel or Pixel XL for around $350 or $400 today as well. Google sure seems to be giving you more than market value for their own phones.
Assuming these trade-in prices stick through Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL orders, you could pay pretty affordable prices if you are willing to part with your original Pixel or XL. Remember, we gave you Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL pricing last week, so we already can do some simple math with these numbers:
Today is a big day for new Google device leaks. We already got a glimpse of the upcoming Google Home Mini and the Pixel 2 XL. Now, it’s time for the smaller Pixel 2 model. This is the Pixel made by HTC and it mostly looks like the XL. Again, it has glass on the top part of the back with the fingerprint scanner underneath.
The Pixel 2 will be available in three colors (all pictured): Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White. It will have 64 and 128GB options and start at $649. The landing page is already up at the Google Store, but nothing is there yet. We should know more very soon. What do you think about this Pixel?
Android Oreo while a small update it terms of visual changes brought some interesting new features. The new Autofill API paved the way to improve the way in which apps like LastPass interact with the OS, as well as things like Project Treble.
Another new feature enabled by Android Oreo is the Always on Ambient Display mode that seems to be reserved for the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 as it is currently disabled.
Despite the next generation Pixel devices only a month away, the always on display feature seems to be fully functional in Android Oreo and just needs activating. This means you don’t have to wait for the new Pixel 2 devices and can get started with any device that supports Android Oreo AOSP.
The new ambient display setting works pretty similarly to all of those other “always on display” modes from Samsung or LG that have included it with its devices for a few generations. When you receive a notification, it’ll display on the AOD for a few seconds before facing away leaving just the icon below the clock.
The method to enable this in Android Oreo AOSP is pretty simple and comes courtesy of XDA that found the “alwaysOnAvailable” code that is tagged as “false” can be reversed by simply changing the method to “true”.
Check out XDA Developer Mishaal Rahman’s post to try it out and see for yourself.
Earlier we reported that Google has confirmed the big reveal date for the new Pixel 2 smartphones will be October 4th. Thanks to a new entry spotted in the FCC database, we are now able to also confirm that LG is indeed the manufacturer of the larger of the two devices dubbed the Pixel XL 2. This is not really surprising as all signs up to now were pointing to LG being the manufacturer with this latest discovery merely making things official. The smaller Pixel 2 phone was spotted in the FCC database a few weeks ago with HTC as the manufacturer.
The FCC documents did not reveal much else of note regarding the forthcoming device, although one bit of disappointing news was discovered. In examining the bands to be supported by the Pixel XL 2, it appears the device will not work with T-Mobile’s new 600MHz spectrum. For those interested in model numbers, it appears the new Pixel XL 2 will be model G011C.
While many details about the new device are unknown, we do know that LG ended up sticking with a Snapdragon 835 for the processor instead of being upgraded to the now-delayed Snapdragon 836. We also anticipate the display should be similar to what LG developed for the LG G6 and the LG V30 devices that have screens with minimal bezels.