Last week we finally got confirmation about the Galaxy Note 8 when it was officially revealed to the world. The much-anticipated iPhone 8 isn’t far around the corner with some reports suggesting we could see the official reveal sometime in early September. Plus, thanks to Apple themselves, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect with the new, 10th anniversary iPhone. One launch that has been somewhat shrouded in secrecy is the upcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL update. We know Google is working on the devices and we know they will likely be launched on October 5th but we haven’t had a good look at the devices themselves other than renders which may or may not be accurate. However, despite the lack of solid leaks, a new report from Ars Technica suggests the Google Pixel 2 XL bezel-less display is for real.
Hear that? That was the sound of a collective sigh of relief from Pixel fans. We have gone back and forth with these bezel rumors. First we heard about the Google Pixel 2 XL bezel-less display. Then we heard that the design would be very similar to last year. Now we’re back to the bezel-less rumors. For what it’s worth, I’m putting more stock in the rumors that suggest a bezel-less display is coming for the Pixel 2 XL.
First, we know that LG is producing the Pixel 2 XL for Google. This likely means that LG will incorporate a lot of their existing design elements into Google’s flagship device. Take a look at the LG G6, their latest smartphone release:
Not a lot of bezel to speak of there. In fact, LG was one of the first major manufacturers to come to market with a nearly bezel-less display. You’re now seeing the design being used by new flagships like the Galaxy Note 8 and the rumored iPhone 8 design. LG likely won’t reinvent the wheel just to make a smartphone for Google. They’re going to do what they know how to do and use the manufacturing capabilities they currently have. I would expect the 5.99-inch Google Pixel 2 XL bezel-less display to look a lot like what we see in the LG G6 or maybe even the LG V30 teaser images we have seen.
The second reason I believe the Google Pixel 2 XL bezel-less display rumors is the simple fact that that’s where the industry is heading right now. Bezel-less displays are the hottest design trend in smartphones this year. Even Apple has killed off their home button and completely redesigned the iPhone 8 in order to achieve a bezel-less appearance. Apple has used a similar style in their devices since the iPhone was first introduced. That tells you how big the bezel-less trend is. Why would Google go against the grain with their flagship? That would be a good way to ensure your flagship smartphone is in the discount bin by Christmas time.
Of course, looks aren’t everything. What’s underneath matters, too. That’s why I’m married. Beneath the Google Pixel 2 XL bezel-less look will be flagship-quality hardware to keep Google’s upcoming device humming along with the ever-increasing demands of smartphone users. Rumors suggest that the Pixel 2 XL will pack a Snapdragon 836 chipset. This is a slight upgrade over the Snapdragon 835 that we see in a lot of flagship devices like the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Note 8. I must put an emphasis on “slight upgrade.” It’s unlikely the average user would be able to notice any difference between the Snapdragon 835 and the Snapdragon 836. Still, Google will be able to go to market this fall boasting that their processor is better than everyone else’s processor. Paired with that Snapdragon 836 is rumored to be 4GB of RAM. This is a bit lower than some other flagships and is, of course, just a rumor. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pixel 2 XL actually launch with 6GB of RAM like a lot of other flagship Android devices.
The camera may be the biggest weak point with the Pixel 2 XL. All rumors are pointing to a single camera sensor, likely similar to last year’s model. With the iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8 both having dual camera sensors that put an emphasis on quality shots as well as AR capabilities; the Pixel 2 XL camera may not be able to hold up against the competition. Of course, nothing is official until Google makes it official. We could be pleasantly surprised with a dual camera sensor that is able to compete shot for shot with other flagship smartphone cameras. Time will tell.
Finally, one rumor that has me sweating a little bit about the Google Pixel 2 XL is the removal of the headphone port. Last year, as you very well know, Apple dropped the 3.5mm headphone port in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. This was criticized by a lot of people in the tech world. Since then, a few manufacturers have followed in Apple’s footsteps and some rumors suggest Google may be one of them. This would be very odd considering the shade Google threw at Apple last year for removing the 3.5mm headphone port. They even mentioned it in their marketing! How they plan to turn around and pretend like it’s suddenly okay to remove the headphone port one year later is going to require some interesting mental gymnastics.
The design will surely be fitting for a flagship device. Once we get an official look at the Google Pixel 2 XL bezel-less display I’m sure we will all be excited. But, like I said, looks aren’t everything. Can the Pixel 2 XL camera hold up against the competition? Will buyers be able to overlook the alleged loss of the 3.5mm headphone port? And, if the answer to both of those questions is, “No,” will the price of the Pixel 2 XL reflect its shortcomings? With launch rumored to be on October 5th, we won’t have to wait long to find out.