If there’s a rockstar smartphone of the Android world, it’s got to be the new Pixel 2. In a year filled with phone superlatives, Google’s own Android devices still whip up enthusiasm like little else can.
Android 8.0 Oreo is full of pleasing touches. The homescreen search bar has been shifted to the bottom, so that it’s easier to reach one-handed. In its place is an at-a-glance space, which normally shows date, time, and weather, but can also flag your upcoming appointments, traffic jams, and soon even more personalized information.
Homescreen icons now have notification dots to let you know there’s something new inside. Long-press the icon, and a shortcut menu unfurls, and you can drag shortcuts out to give them their own icon.
The original Pixel’s camera is still one of the best around, so the Pixel 2 had a lot to live up to. Unlike the dual-camera systems most rivals are adopting, Google opted for a single 12.2-megapixel sensor and plenty of clever algorithms. There’s dual-pixel and laser autofocus, f 1.8 optics, and optical and electronic image stabilization.