Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - After weeks - even months - of rumours and leaks Google has unveiled the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, its two newest homemade phones. Google says it designed, and built this year's flagship to be smarter and better. 

Last year's Pixel and Pixel XL were built in partnership with HTC and featured a distinct two-tone design on the back. This year, a variation on the theme is evident in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. That's to say, the back is predominantly metal, with a portion at the top covered in a contrasting glass finish. 

In addition to the white and black models, this year sees the introduction of a cool blue finish for the smaller model at least. The larger is available in black and white only. All are made from a solid unibody aluminium. The Pixel 2 also has stereo front facing speakers. 

As was the case with the first Pixel family, there's a rear-placed fingerprint sensor on the back which Google says is faster than ever, along with the camera and LED flash. Apart from in size, these two devices look very similar - apart from a slight difference in colour choices. At least from the back. Turn them around and you'll notice a clear difference. 

Best smartphones 2021 rated: The top mobile phones available to buy today

The regular Pixel 2 has a conventional 16:9 screen, complete with some fairly noticeable bezels. It's a 5-inch 1080p display OLED display, with an impressively high contrast ratio.

Pixel 2 XL has a longer aspect ratio 6-inch P-OLED screen with rounded corners, which looks a lot like the design used by LG in its V30 and G6 smartphones. It's QHD+ resolution and supports 18:9 content. It's tuned to a very wide colour gamut, and has a polariser so that you can even use it wearing sunglasses. 

Both devices are IP67 water resistant, and both can last all day and charge super fast. 

This year, for the second year in a row, Google - using test scores by DxOMark - claims the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the best smartphone cameras ever. 

The Pixel 2 has a 12MP camera with OIS and a fast aperture, using algorithms to boost colours and contrast, with zero shutter lag. Compared to last year, texture, colour, blur and dynamic range are improved. 

It also has Portrait Mode, but uses only the single camera. It does this by utilising machine learning and a "dual pixel sensor technology" to detect what the foreground, and what's in the background. Because it's AI/algorithm based, it works on both the front and back cameras.

As well as offering optical image stabilisation on still photos, Google has developed a video stabilising technology that combines the optical stabiliser and electronic stabiliser. The result is super smooth video, with lots of colour and detail. 

Pixel 2 users will continue to get free Google Photos cloud storage, and will be able to store full resolution files without paying extra, not reduced quality ones like customers with other smartphones.  

Of course, on the software side, the two sizes of Pixel will come loaded with the tasty goodness that is pure Android Oreo including a smarter version of Google Assistant. Interestingly, you can launch Google Assistant by just squeezing the phone, similar to the edges on the HTC U11. 

One interesting feature highlighted at the launch is Google Lens, similar to Google Goggles of old, it lets you point your camera at an object and ask Assistant information about it. This was previously demo'd at I/O earlier in the year, and - like everything at the Google Event - is powered by machine learning and AI. 

As expected, the new Pixels are able to take advantage of the company's augmented reality technology, ARCore, so you can have virtual stickers and objects on screen interacting with the real life scene they're in. 

You'll be able to pre-order the Pixel 2 from today for $649/£629, while the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849/£799. Initially it's going to be available in India, Australia, Canada, US, UK and Germany. 

Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published on 7 September 2017.