There’s a new boy in the smartphone arena block, where the 2 dominating kids are the Samsung Note 8 and the iPhone, with the new contender being an entry from Google. Yes, Google, the company that created the Android OS. Google, that huge search engine that you turn to every time you come across something that you do not know.

Meet the Google Pixel 2 XL. That’s a mouthful of a name isn’t it. This is basically Google’s next entry in their Pixel lineup, with the XL denoting that it is the ‘Plus’ version of the Pixel. So is the Google Pixel 2 XL really able to compete with smartphone juggernauts like the Note 8 and the iPhone X? Today, we list out 5 great features in the Google Pixel 2 XL, and we’ll see if the Google Pixel 2 XL is going to be the third elite in this competitive market!

1)      Google Lens

This is a feature found in the new Google Photos App in the Pixel 2 XL, and while it is still in beta, it works surprisingly well. What it basically does, is to enable your phone to recognise the things found in the photos you take. Took a photo of a cup? Google Lens can tell you it is a cup. Took a photo of an advertisement? Google Lens recognises links, address, contact names and numbers and QR codes as well. Say goodbye to typing in stuff you see, just snap a picture, and let Google Lens do its magic.

However, there are a few limitations to Google Lens. It is still in beta after all. We found that Google Lens is by NO means omniscient. There are many things that it does not recognise, for example, we took a photo of a Macbook, but it recognised it as a HP notebook. Hilarious. However, as this technology is still in beta, we are looking forward to seeing the Google Lens becoming smarter and be a truly useful function in the future.

2)      Active Edge

Remember the HTC U11 and its squeezable function? Well the squeezable function is back in the form of Active Edge in the Google Pixel 2 XL. Owing to a special partnership between Google and HTC, the Active Edge technology enables you to squeeze the Pixel 2 XL, which becomes yet another form of input and interaction with your phone. However, this function is as limited as the Samsung’s Bixby button, with the Active Edge only able to bring up your Google Assistant. We hope to see that Google will allow users to remap Active Edge, to make it similar to the U11. Well, only time will tell.

3)      Google Assistant

Speaking of the Active Edge, we have to talk about the Google Assistant as well. One really interesting thing that Google wants to bring into its Google Assistant is for the Assistant to be able to speak Singlish. It is still in its early stages, but the Assistant definitely is able to understand my ‘Singlish’, or broken English. This is surprising as other assistants tend to have problems with the accents we Singaporeans use, but with the Google Assistant, this didn’t even exist. The Assistant is able to do things like take a photo or a selfie, where in other assistants could only open the camera app. I daresay that the Google Assistant is currently the best AI assistant out there right now.

4)      Camera

The Pixel 2 XL sports a beast of a camera, with its 12.2 MP f/1.8 aperture camera lens on the back, with an 8 MP f/2.4 aperture lens on the front. While this might seem pretty standard, what makes the camera stand out, is the software behind it. Google has made its camera pretty smart, being able to calibrate and tune most shots (especially in portrait mode) to look amazing without much adjustments. In fact, the camera has been compared with the Note 8 and the iPhone X, and it is pretty much neck to neck with them. One cool thing about the camera is that it takes pretty good low light photos, one feature that Google is touting about the camera on the Google Pixel 2 XL

5)      AR Stickers

While not exactly available yet, AR stickers are a really cool feature that uses Google’s AR Core, which basically allows you to insert AR models into the photo with you. This feature is expected to roll out sometime later this year, so do look out for it.

So there you go, 5 cool features of the Google Pixel 2 XL. While most of the technology in it still seems experimental for now, we can’t wait to see these technologies come to fruition. Eager to get one? You can get a Google Pixel 2 XL exclusively at Singtel at this link

Expect a full review of this phone coming soon!

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