Today, Google announced a few new products under their Pixel series, namely the Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixelbook, Google Home Max and Home Mini.
Previously announced, the Google Home acts as your voice assistant or a conversation partner at home. With the Google Home Max and Home Mini, you now have choices in size. You can use your Google Home to do various things such as asking Google the weather, do a simple language translation, converting inches to centimetres, set reminders, play or change your music, turn on your smart fans or lights, and the list goes on and on – all using your voice. Even if you were in a situation where you can’t communicate with your Google Home, you can still use buttons on the device to play pause, change music and toggle talking, useful for when prefer not to leave it always on. The Home Mini, as the name implies, is a miniature version of the Google Home and is the size of a donut, while the Home Max comes in a larger body that is equipped with a bigger speaker for louder and better-quality music.
According to Google, the Pixelbook is a high-performance Chromebook and they might be right on the money for that. The Pixelbook sports the 2-in-1 form factor, allowing you to use it as a laptop or a tablet. It comes with a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of SSD, a 41 Whr battery that uses a USB Type-C port to charge, a 12.3-inch Quad HD LCD display, and a premium looking aluminium body. Of course, it will run on the Chrome OS and will come with an accessory called the Pixelbook Pen. This pen allows you to instantly annotate on a text or image and have Google Assistant look it up for you, as well as actually draw and write on the Pixelbook.
However, the star of the show is the Google Pixel 2. This brand-new smartphone comes in two different versions – Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL – and is designed by the newly acquired team from HTC, which is why it features Edge Sense. Google calls its version the Active Edge, but it does the same thing: It allows you to squeeze the edge of the phone to bring out Google Assistant, so you wouldn’t need a dedicated button for this. There is also a new addition to the Always On Display of the Google Pixel called Now Playing. It’s similar to the Google Assistant, but instead of listening in for the “Okay Google” command, it listens in to songs in your surroundings. For example, when a song plays on the radio and you want to know the name, it will display the name of the song in your notifications or your lock screen. If you double tap the name of the song on your lock screen, it will trigger Google Assistant to find out more info of the song. Now that’s a pretty neat feature to have.
There are a few differences between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, namely the screen size, battery, and colour choices. The Pixel 2 comes with a 50-inch Full HD AMOLED display, while the XL comes in a 6-inch Quad-HD OLED display. Battery wise, Google opted for a 2,700 mAh battery and a 3,520 mAh battery for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, respectively. Both will run on Android 8 out of the box, all while being powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, as well as 4GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB for storage. Due to the insurgence of bezel-less phones, front facing speakers are becoming extinct. However, the Pixel 2 devices will have it. On the other hand, it does remove something else many didn’t expect. When Apple announced the removal of the headphone jack from their iPhones, Google was among many to mock. Ironically, the Pixel 2 devices now follow suit. Guess it does take courage to follow Apple.
Aside from that, the Pixel 2 is IP67 water and dust resistant. It also charges via a USB Type-C charger, so you can charge both your Pixelbook and Pixel 2 using the same cable! The camera of the Pixel 2 has also gotten a huge upgrade, now featuring a 12.2-megapixel shooter with f/1.8 aperture and an optical plus electronic image stabilisation. An 8-megapixel camera adorns the front of the device as well. Unsurprisingly, the Pixel 2 is now the highest rated device on DxOMark with a score of 98, despite only having a single-camera setup. Currently, the Pixel 2 comes in Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue, while the XL variant comes with Just Black and Black & White.
In regards to availability, Google has yet to say when the devices come to Malaysia. But the latest update shows that Google Store now includes Malaysia and Singapore, so we might see more Google devices popping up on local shores in the very near future.
Prices are as follows:
Google Home Mini – $49 (RM207 converted)
Google Home Max – $399 (RM1,687 converted)
Google Pixelbook (i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) – $999 (RM4,225 converted)
Google Pixelbook (i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) – $1,649 (RM6,975 converted)
Google Pixelbook Pen – $99 (RM419 converted)
Google Pixel 2 (64GB) – $649 (RM2,745 converted)
Google Pixel 2 (128GB) – $749 (RM3,168 converted)
Google Pixel 2 XL (64GB) – $849 (RM3,590 converted)
Google Pixel 2 XL (128GB) – $949 (RM4,013 converted)