The Pixel 2 is going to get all of the best Pixel 3 features that matter through a software update next month. So, is it really worthy to upgrade or spend more on the $799 Pixel 3 when you can get a Pixel 2 for $150 less?
Let’s review the features coming to the Pixel 2 and you can judge for yourself.
Adjustable portrait blur
The fancy-schmancy portrait effect doesn’t require any special hardware. The dual-pixel sensor in the 2017 Pixel 2 will do just fine and the next update will add the capability to blur your backgrounds to make your subjects pop up.
The Pixel 2 is also getting the Pixel 3’s magical night vision, which “increases” your phone light sensitivity using an AI trick: It takes and combine several dark photos into a perfectly exposed image with all the light, detail, and color you can only get with a high-end digital camera.
One of the best — if not the best — features of the Pixel 3. At least for people who hate to waste time talking on the phone to strangers: Google Duplex will act as you personal assistant and talk like a human to make reservations or verify information. It’s like having a concierge in your phone, and that’s really awesome.
Another must-have feature in Pixel 3 — and one that all phones should have to destroy all the phone spammers who disturb you with their commercial calls. It’s simply amazing to see how this screening service transcribes incoming calls in real time, so your assistant can talk to whoever wants to bother you so you don’t have to waste valuable time and energy.
Gmail’s Smart Compose
Another great feature for lazy folks like myself: Gmail’s Smart compose will use AI to automatically write emails, suggesting ways to complete phrases as you type so you don’t have to type as much.
This is Google’s augmented reality toy, so you can add animated 3D characters and thingamajigs to your videos and selfies. Definitely not as important as the other features, but fun anyway.
Exclusive Pixel 3 Features
You will not get wide-angle selfies on the Pixel 2 as you will on the Pixel 3, or the ability for the phone to pick the best photo out of a burst (Top Shot). Other two interesting features that will not be coming to Pixel 2: Super Res zoom (which uses AI to increase the resolution of your digital zoom) and Motion Auto Focus (which intelligently keeps the important subjects on focus without you having to do anything while filming a video).
So you will be the judge: Are those features worth $150 for you? That’s the actual price difference between the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 2, which is currently $649 at Best Buy. The Pixel 2 XL is just $50 less than the new version, so the difference is not that much.
Judging from the lack of enthusiasm about the new Google flagship phone — a recent informal poll says that 54% of Android fans are not planning to upgrade to the Pixel 3 or 3XL — it seems that people will not need much convincing. Why spend money when you can just buy the previous generation and get all the features that matter?