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pixel 2 xl

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Portrait mode on the Pixel 2 mimics the results of an SLR, and here's how it works

The Portrait mode on the new Pixel 2 phones is impressive. With just a single camera, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are able to mimic a convincing depth of field effect, like that created by much larger hardware. It isn't quite as good as an SLR, but it's a reasonable approximation. And if you were interested in exactly how it works, we've put together an explanation. 

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The Pixel 2 and 2 XL are now available on Australian Google Store starting at $1,079

For those of you down under, Google's latest and greatest phones are now available for purchase. I hope you've been saving up, though. The Pixel 2 starts at more than a thousand bucks, and it'll cost you a few hundred more for the XL. Time to smash that piggy bank. Do you guys have those? Or are there like... platypus banks? I hope there are.

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iFixit tears down the Pixel 2 XL, gives it a respectable 6 out of 10 for repairability

As is tradition when a new phone is released, the Pixel 2 XL has appeared on the sacrificial altar of iFixit. Not only do we get to find out how easy this phone is to repair, it's a chance to see how things work in there. After tearing down Google's latest flagship, the team at iFixit has granted the phone a repairability score of 6 out of 10, which is better than many other devices.

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[Update: Confirmed with dates] The Pixel 2 will supposedly receive three years of OS updates

If you've been caught up in all of the Pixel news today, then you might have overlooked something in the specs page. It would appear that Google is extending its software update promise from two years to a minimum of three years. That's fantastic.

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[Update: Official details] The Pixel 2 can automatically switch to Do Not Disturb mode when you're driving

Before Google announced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, it pushed a new app listing to the Play Store that offered some details about the rumored always-on music ID feature. It turns out there's another interesting tidbit in that listing: the Pixel 2 will be able to automatically toggle on Do Not Disturb mode when you're driving.

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[Update: Confirmed as a bug] Surprise: The Pixel 2 has a hidden menu button on its navigation bar

The menu button used to be oh-so-important to Android in the early years. Google ditched it pretty early on with the introduction of the Galaxy Nexus, but Samsung's flagship Galaxy Note III was released in late 2013 and still had one on board.

But even after menu buttons lost their permanent spots on the chins of phones, some still persisted through long-presses of the multitasking button. You could even find cheaper devices with dedicated menu buttons to the right of their multitasking buttons, and if you really wanted one on your current phone, some custom ROMs would allow you to add one there.

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The Pixel 2's camera displays photos using the "Google Photos filmstrip" and not some standalone gallery app

By now you've probably overdosed on all the Google Pixel reviews (here's ours by the way), but one thing we wanted to focus on was an interesting change in the way the Camera app will handle photo viewing on the phone.

Previously, whether you were on a Nexus or the first-gen Pixel, when you took a photo and tapped it from the Camera app, you'd be taken to a slightly barren interface like the one below: back button and All photos on top, sharing and editing and deleting and info on the bottom. The problem? This was a standalone gallery activity that only displayed local photos and didn't integrate in Google Photos.

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The Pixel Launcher on Pixel 2 has automatic dark and light themes based on your wallpaper

There's a lot to like about the new Pixel phones—they're fast, the battery life is improved, and Google fixed the Bluetooth. You also get a lot of thoughtful software features that aren't available on other phones. For example, the launcher theme changes automatically based on your wallpaper.

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Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL review: The best gets (mostly) better

We were all a little concerned to see the Nexus program come to an end, but Google assuaged our fears with the 2016 Pixel phones. They weren't the prettiest devices on the market, but the Pixels showed what was possible when Google got serious about making a phone. These devices had terrific cameras and consistently fast performance—even to this day the Pixel and Pixel XL are robust experiences. They were not perfect, though.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are a chance for Google to address some shortcomings from last year while keeping the things that worked. Google has done that for the most part.

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The Pixel 2 has a Google-designed image processing chip, and it's not even turned on yet

We've known for a while that Google was interested in making its own chips. Recently their hardware efforts even bore some fruit, but most of us assumed that it would be quite a while until Google made anything at a consumer level.

Well, it turns out that the new Pixel 2 phones have a bit of Google-designed hardware inside them. It's called Pixel Visual Core, and it brings even better camera performance to the phones — or it will, once it's turned on. Pixel Visual Core augments Google's HDR+ implementation, improving latency, power efficiency (using 1/10 the power), and speed (5x faster).

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