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First look reviews: Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are now available, and we’ve had our hands on both. See our first impressions below and take a look at the competition. With so many Android smartphones to choose from, and rivals really upping their game in 2017, Google has a challenge on its hands if it hopes to offer something fresh with the Pixel range.

The clever Google Assistant service may live at the heart of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but what else can the pair do to stand out from the crowd? Best Buy smartphones[1] – impressive mobiles for all budgets

Google Pixel 2 – mini but mighty

This is the Pixel 2, the cheaper of the two new Google phones. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of Ram, enough to handle multitasking and run the latest games.

Like the original Pixel, it has a 5-inch display. Interestingly, you can squeeze the Pixel in your hand to open up Google Assistant. While the original Pixel launched at ?599, its follow-up starts at ?629.

We tried out the Pixel 2 for ourselves to see how its 12.2Mp camera coped in low light, also paying close attention to battery life across a full working day. To see how we got on with the Google Pixel 2, take a look at our Google Pixel 2 first look review[2].

Tested: Pixel 2’s Android rivals

If you like the look of the Google Pixel 2 but want to keep your options open, we’ve rounded up some other mobiles that might grab your attention. See how they stack up in the gallery below:

Samsung Galaxy S8

Proving itself one of the most-talked-about phones of the year, the Galaxy S8 features an attention-grabbing 5.8-inch edge-to-edge display.

It has a 12Mp rear-facing camera and 64GB of storage, which you can add to thanks to micro-SD card support (something the Pixel can’t offer). You won’t spot Google Assistant on the S8 – it uses Samsung’s new Bixby personal assistant instead. The 64GB model is ?669, or ?40 more than a Pixel 2 with the same amount of internal storage.

To see if the Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the best smartphones we’ve ever tested, see our Samsung Galaxy S8 review[3].


Like the sound of a squeezable smartphone? The ?599 HTC U11 did it before the Pixel 2. This Android smartphone has a slightly larger 5.5-inch display, and you can squeeze it to open the camera and take a picture or video.

If you have a favourite app, you can assign that to a squeeze, too. The HTC U11 is dust and water resistant, with a 12Mp rear camera. Our experts have put the squeezy HTC through its paces.

Before you think about parting with your cash, head over to our HTC U11 review[4].


The LG G6 launched at ?649 back in April, but it has since been treated to a price drop. This Pixel rival has a 5.7-inch display, and it’s easy to use with one hand thanks to the 18:9 screen ratio, which means it’s twice as long as it is wide. If you don’t like the large ‘chin’ on the Pixel 2, you might prefer the design of the G6.

It has dual 13Mp rear cameras that work together to help you take shots from a distance. At the time of writing you can pick up the 32GB LG G6 for ?500 from Carphone Warehouse, making it over ?100 cheaper than the most affordable Pixel 2 model. See our full LG G6 review[5] for more details on this mobile’s key features.

Google Pixel 2 XL – the new Google flagship

Starting at ?799 for the 64GB model, the Google Pixel 2 XL has a 6-inch screen, and we think it’s the more attractive of the two new Pixel phones.

It has a taller screen than its smaller sibling, so there are no ugly bezels in sight. Display aside, the Pixel 2 XL shares plenty of characteristics with the cheaper Pixel. It has a Snapdragon 835 processor tucked inside, along with 4GB of Ram.

It’s available with 64GB or 128GB of storage, but you’ll have to pay ?899 for the latter. Does the Google Pixel 2 XL make a good first impression? See our Google Pixel 2 XL first look review[6] for our thoughts.

Tested: Pixel 2 XL’s Android rivals

If it’s a smartphone with a big display you’re after, there are plenty of phones to consider.

We’ve tested the latest 6-inch smartphones in our test lab, and only the models with fantastic battery and dazzling displays leave with a Best Buy sticker.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

If you’re willing to stretch your budget beyond ?799 for the 64GB Pixel 2 XL, see the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It’s a whopping ?860, but for that price you get a 6.3-inch quad HD+ display, a pair of 12Mp rear cameras and an S-Pen stylus for making notes with. The Note 8 is dust and water-resistant, and its handy split-screen feature lets you view multiple apps at once.

To see what our experts made of battery life and call quality on the Note 8, see our Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review[7].

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ has a slightly larger screen than the Pixel 2 XL, at 6.2 inches. Like its Google-made rival it has an edge-to-edge display, but the S8+ has some unique features of its own. For one, there’s an iris scanner on-board, which means you can unlock your phone just with a quick glance.

It has a 12Mp rear camera and is water resistant, so you needn’t panic if you spill a glass of water on the screen. See how the S8+ compares to other high-end smartphones with our Samsung Galaxy S8+ review[8].

How does the Pixel compare to iPhone?

Pixel 2 vs Apple iPhone 8

The iPhone 8 has a slightly smaller screen than the Pixel 2 – it’s a 4.7-inch Retina HD display that runs at a lower resolution. In theory, that means the Pixel should provide more detail on-screen, but we’ll have to wait for our lab tests for the verdict.

Apple’s iPhone 8 is powered by the tech giant’s A11 processor. It has a 12Mp camera (the Pixel 2 has a 12.2Mp snapper) that can shoot 4K video at 60fps, something that the Pixel can’t handle. Buy from Apple and you’ll pay ?699 for the 64GB iPhone 8 – ?70 more than the Pixel 2.

We ran the iPhone 8 through our rigorous lab tests earlier in the year to see how it fares for battery life, picture quality and speed. To see the results, click our Apple iPhone 8 review[9].

Pixel 2 XL vs Apple iPhone 8 Plus

In a battle between chunky mobiles, the Google Pixel 2 XL goes up against the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone has a smaller 5.5-inch screen, and that’s partly due to the physical home button on the front, which also houses a fingerprint sensor.

Compared to the Pixel 2 XL, the iPhone 8 is far better equipped for taking photos. While the Pixel has a solitary camera on its back, Apple’s mobile features a 12Mp dual camera system. There’s a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens, and they work together to make sure you can zoom in on objects without missing out on picture quality.

The 64GB Pixel 2 XL is ?799, which is the same as its Apple-made rival.

See how the iPhone 8 Plus fared in our lab tests by heading over to our Apple iPhone 8 Plus review[10].


  1. ^ Best Buy smartphones (
  2. ^ Google Pixel 2 first look review (
  3. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8 review (
  4. ^ HTC U11 review (
  5. ^ LG G6 review (
  6. ^ Google Pixel 2 XL first look review (
  7. ^ Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review (
  8. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8+ review (
  9. ^ Apple iPhone 8 review (
  10. ^ Apple iPhone 8 Plus review (

Vertu goes bankrupt: farewell to the world’s most unnecessarily expensive smartphone

?128 million deep in debt, smartphone brand Vertu is officially bankrupt.

200 UK jobs will be lost as it shuts down all manufacturing, with owner Murat Hakan Uzan only offering to pay creditors ?1.9 million of the debts owed. If you haven’t heard of Vertu before we can’t say we blame you – its products aren’t exactly for everyone. It presented itself as the ‘purveyor of the finest luxury mobile phones’.

You certainly can’t argue with the aesthetics, as handsets come in such decadent cladding as titanium and alligator-hide leather, but the technical specifications were often far from top-of-the-range. However, you didn’t just get a smartphone when buying a Vertu – you also got a full concierge service. The price of each handset also included 18-month access to a personal concierge.

This acted as a ‘lifestyle manager’, which would provide you with ‘discreet and personalised 24/7 assistance worldwide’. Currently the services section[1] of the Vertu website says it has suspended those services with the view of relaunching them, better than ever, in September 2017. Whoops.

Best Buy mobile phones[2] – Find out which handsets we think are really worth your money

All beauty and no brains?

Sure, a mobile phone that costs more than a new car sounds ridiculous, but if you have the money to spare and are looking for something special then it’s not necessarily the worst investment in the world. Or is it? Perhaps the biggest oversight of Vertu’s line of handsets is that for all the money being asked, their tech specs simply aren’t that impressive on paper.

Take a look at the handsets below alongside some technologically comparable handsets from more reputable, affordable brands.


Left: Vertu Signature, Right: BlackBerry Curve 9320

As the name, and price, suggests, this is Vertu’s flagship handset. When it was first released in 2008 it made a lot more sense – or at least as much sense as a ?39,000 mobile phone could. Almost ten years on and its continued existence is absolutely baffling.

You don’t need to be a tech buff to realise that something is seriously wrong just from looking at the specs below. The Vertu Signature isn’t even a smartphone – it has functionality similar to most other handsets released in 2008, a time when the first iPhone was on sale, but most people were still using more basic handsets. Whilst woefully lacking in features it is at least available in a wide variety of styles.

The cheapest model is made of stainless steel and black leather with a single button made of ruby, but more expensive options feature mother of pearl inlays, sapphire-faced keys, 18 carat gold detailing and polished black sapphire inlays. Nice and subtle. Want a cheaper handset with the same specs?

Speaking of failing brands, how about a BlackBerry?

The Curve 9320[3] offers all of the above but for a far more reasonable ?110 (that’s 1/100th of Signature’s cheapest price). It also has a full QWERTY keyboard rather than a standard number pad, plus an actual app store. Of course it’s hardly the newest or best phone on the market right now, but that shows just how much of a dinosaur the Vertu Signature really is.

What else could you buy for the price? A two bedroom terraced house in Darlington.

Signature Touch

Left: Vertu Signature Touch, Right: OnePlus 3T

The Signature Touch is a handset that actually looks like it belongs in the smartphone era, thanks to its touchscreen and 4G capability. It’s not exactly an iPhone killer, but compared to the Signature it’s a steal at a mere ?7,500.

Take note that the version of Android it runs is almost two years out of date, as is its processor – although 4GB of RAM is actually quite impressive. It also comes clad in alligator leather or polished titanium, if that’s something you look for in a smartphone. Want a cheaper handset with the same specs?

Take a look at the OnePlus 3T[4].

It’s got extremely similar specs to the Signature Touch, but for the much more palatable price of ?350 – plus no alligators were harmed in its production (we think). It also runs the latest version of Android, 7.0 Nougat. What else could you buy for the price?

You could employ a Starbucks barista to be your own personal coffee maker for a whole year.


Left: Vertu Aster, Right: Sony Xperia Z3

Just when we thought Vertu was redeeming itself with the Signature Touch, we get to the Aster. This is a mid-range smartphone in an ?8,000 body, although 64GB of internal storage is quite nice, as is 4G support. You’re not buying the Aster for its specs though – you’re buying it for its looks, and because you have more money than common sense.

How does ostrich leather sound? Brushed titanium? A chassis encrusted with 55 black and white diamonds?

All very real options that you can choose to pay through the nose for. Want a cheaper handset with the same specs?

The Sony Xperia Z3[5] came out three years ago and sports very similar specifications, diamonds aside. It has less internal memory, but it does have a microSD card slot – unlike the Aster.

It’s also able to update to Android 6.0 and has a rear-facing camera that’s almost twice the resolution, all for ?320. What else could you buy for the price? A second-hand 2005 Porschse Boxter.


Left: Vertu Constellation, Right: HTC U Ultra

Now we’re talking.

A Quad-HD screen! A shiny new high-end processor! An enormous 128GB of storage, powered by 4GB of RAM!

And all it will cost you is… oh. It’s not available. Presumably Vertu was planning on releasing the Constellation later this year, but sadly it looks like that will never happen.

Want a cheaper handset with the same specs?

We can only hazard a guess at how much the Constellation would have cost had it ever seen the light of the production line, but you can get the HTC U Ultra[6] for ?590 – which is probably nearing the absolute most anyone should be looking to spend on a smartphone.

What else could you buy for the price?

We’ll never know, but presumably a lunar module or a modest Fortune 500 company.


  1. ^ services section (
  2. ^ Best Buy mobile phones (
  3. ^ Curve 9320 (
  4. ^ OnePlus 3T (
  5. ^ Sony Xperia Z3 (
  6. ^ HTC U Ultra (

This woman was so angry about her mobile phone service she padlocked herself to the shop

Searching for a mobile phone signal can be a frustrating necessity for most people, but for this woman it all became a bit too much. Sat on a camping chair, Diane Cartwright padlocked herself to the door of a mobile phone shop for several hours in a desperate attempt to get her phone working. The business owner placed a chain around the door of her local EE store on Wednesday in an attempt to convince bosses to give her a working phone or release her from her contract.

Waving a placard saying: EE: Please release me, let me go and peaceful protest Ms Cartwright sat in the shop doorway from 2pm to 5.30pm. Police were called to the scene but took no action over what was deemed a civil matter .

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Mrs Cartwright, who is in her 50s, relies on her mobile phone to run her dog-grooming company called Porthma DOG in Porthmadog with husband Edmund. She claims her phone only receives an intermittent signal, meaning her company was potentially losing hundreds of pounds from customers in missed calls, the Daily Post reported2

Mrs Cartwright said: We have lost 700 – 1,000 worth of business. We don t want the stress. People were trying to call us and it was saying out of service.

She says that, despite numerous calls to EE, the problem has not been resolved.

Hywel Trewyn Diane Cartwright padlocked herself to the EE shop in Bangor

She wanted to cancel her contract with EE and had demanded they give her a PAC code so she could keep the number but move it to another mobile company. Mrs Cartwright from Mynytho, Gwynedd, said: I can t afford another week without my phone working. All I need is the PAC code. They don t want you to leave. This is the second time the Cartwrights have had problems with mobile phone coverage.

Two years ago, their home was hit by a lightning strike which knocked out their mobile phone, broadband and landline supplied by EE. Mr Cartwright claims he spent 45 hours on the phone trying to sort their problems out. Then, it took six months and the intervention of their MP to get their problems and refund sorted. At the shop in the Deiniol Shopping Centre at Bangor Mrs Cartwright said: We don t owe them any money. I went to the shop at Bangor and I was assured that they would sort it out. I am at the end of my tether and sick to death of it.

The Daily Post said they had approached EE for comment.


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