When Google launched Pixel, its first phone, last year, the biggest draws were the back fingerprint sensor, a great camera and unlimited photo and video storage. The newly launched Pixel 2 boasts all these features—the fingerprint sensor remains one of the fastest and most intuitive ways to unlock a phone, and the camera now features a Portrait Mode, which offers a very professional looking background blur, along with image and video stabilization. After using the phone over the weekend, here are the other functions and features of note in in the Pixel 2.


The look and feel of the Pixel 2 is without a doubt an upgrade. The rounded edges of the glass display give the phone a sleeker look, and the nerd-humour colour names are back. Aside from Just Black and Clearly White, the phone is also available in Kinda Blue (in the 5-inch size only), a greyish-blue hue that’s unlike any other phone colour out there. There’s also a graphic Black & White option that seems made for anyone who has a hard time choosing between a black or white phone. 


If you read our story on getting a good night’s sleep, then you already know that just seven seconds of screen time can decrease your quality of sleep. Enter the Night Light display. This option, which you set to turn on automatically, changes the light of the screen from cold, bright white to a warm amber-toned glow, which is less harsh on the eyes and may help reduce the sleep-harming effect of looking at your phone right before bed. Is it as good as tucking your phone away an hour before bed? Probably not. But it’s a nice feature for those of us who just can’t resist a final Insta scroll before hitting the pillow.


If you use Shazam more often that swiping Tinder, then you’ll enjoy the subtle new “Now Playing” feature, which flashes the name of whatever song is playing wherever you are. 


Your good old non-wireless earbuds have been your loyal commute companion for years, and the headphone adapter that comes with the Pixel 2 is perfect for those of us who are not ready to move on. 


The original Pixel introduced us to one of my personal favourite features—shaking the phone in camera mode switches the phone’s camera from front-facing to selfie (or vice-versa). Now, Google has added another motion feature to the phone. When you squeeze the sides of the phone like a stress ball, you summon the Google Assistant. From there, you can ask the weather, get directions or book a calendar appointment and more.