So you’ve recently picked up a Google Pixel 2 XL? Me too! After slaving away with a Galaxy S6 Edge that quickly deteriorated the moment I got it home, I was apprehensive to pick up another flagship handset. Luckily my contract had already ended by the time the Google Pixel 2 XL hit its 6-month birthday, and with most flagship devices being trumped by their own manufacturer each year, this meant great deals started popping up all over as vendors attempted to clear old stock in time for the likely close-at-hand Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL.
So back to it. Whether you got this popular handset at a fraction of its launch cost, or picked one up months ago and are curious to build on its strengths, I’ve put together a ‘Buyer’s Guide’ listing a bunch of must-have accessories on both ends of the price spectrum. Cases and screen protectors are always the essential evil for a new device, but there’s a few other things you can throw in for good measure; and that’s what we’ll be talking about down below.
My original plan for this was to review each product individually before grouping them into a buyer’s guide if they passed the test. I haven’t had time to do that just yet, but rounding up my favorite accessories just before Amazon Prime Day is undoubtably the best time to do it. It brings everything together for some quick impulse buying while they’re cheap – rather than going through lists of crap as the good stuff sells out.
I refused to take my Google Pixel 2 XL outside like a normal phone until I had a satisfactory case ready to put its life on the line to protect my beautiful new panda phone. I loved the bottom flip case I had for my old Nokia 930 back in the day, but finding a good quality one for a Google Pixel 2 XL was hard. In fact, there’s a strange lack of versatile cases for this phone even after close to a year on the market. In the end, I settled on the RhinoShield SolidSuit for a few reasons, but there are other options depends on your use-case.
RhinoShield SolidSuit for Google Pixel 2 XL
While I wanted a clear case to show off the gorgeous contrast of colours on the back of my new device, the protection offered by the RhinoShield SolidCase was a step above the rest. Not only that, but the RhinoShield Pixel 2 XL case even allows you to up your Pixel 2 XL photography game with great quality screw-on camera lenses.
These likely aren’t on the same level as the Google-certified Moment case and it’s $100+ individual lenses, but they come might close at a fraction of the price. If you’re just looking to keep your device safe from drops and scuffs, the RhinoShield is the way to go. Factor in the possibility to spice up your photography game and there’s little downside with this one.
Just be aware that it’s fairly difficult to take your Pixel 2 XL out of the RhinoShield case once it’s in there. It’s not impossible, but it’s a very tight squeeze. At least you won’t need to worry about it ever slipping out.
Google Pixel 2 XL Phone Case Cover – Cement
Coming in second place is Google’s own line of Pixel 2 XL cases. They do a wide range of these, but it’s the fabric cases that stand out the most. The Pixel 2 XL is a slippery phone. Almost like a bar of soap. So having a case made of a rough – and slightly plush – texture more or less fixes the problem. They’re a bit expesive for what they are, but they’ll stand the test of time while drastically decreasing the likelihood of you dropping your device in the first place. While it obviously won’t help you show off your cool new phone, it will certainly look different. And hey, with the scarcity of cases for this particular phone, this is about as unique as you’re going to get without compromising on protection.
Ringke FUSION Crystal Clear Google Pixel 2 XL Raised Bezel Case
For those who just have to show off pure white or black finish of their phone, the clear Ringke Fusion case looks to be the best bet. I haven’t tried this one myself, but it got dangerously close to my shopping cart before I opted for the stronger protection of the RhinoShield.
The Ringke Fusion is one of many clear Pixel 2 XL cases you’ll find on Amazon, but it’s the more well-rounded of the bunch when it comes to specs, and has higher reviews on average. Whereas a few of the others seem to turn a light yellow colour over time as the material reacts to oxygen and other elements, the Ringke Fusion does not. Better yet, it doesn’t seem to just crack on its own and even offers more screen protection by creating a higher/deeper raised bezel/lip around the screen. This probably won’t help if you drop your phone on gravel, but it should protect it just fine when dropped on flat ground.
I’ll be frank here; I’m not actually using a screen protector. I’ve been against the look of these things for so long now, but using one on my 6th Generation iPad (after my 3rd gen took a hit) was a bit of an eye-opener. My issue with screen protectors is how easy it is to compromise the look of your device thanks to the air bubbles that apparently take many people a long time to fully avoid. This ended up being true for my iPad, but they managed to only sprout up along the tablet’s large bezel and thus weren’t too hard to ignore due to not being on the actual screen.
But with such a thin bezel on the latest trend of 18:9 (and above) widescreen devices seen over the last year, avoiding these eye-catching air bubbles is getting tougher and tougher. It’s hard to recommend a screen protector without owning one, but I’ll select a few that look as if they wouldn’t ruin the futuristic look of the Pixel 2 XL’s wide always-on P-OLED screen.
SPARIN Pixel 2 Tempered Glass Screen Protector [2 Pack]
Easily the best reviewed of the lot is the SPARIN tempered glass screen protector. While it’s the more full-bodied selection with laser cut holes for the camera and speakers, it’s the fact that you essentially get two screen protectors for the price of one that will win most people over. Not because you’ll need a spare when you drop your phone and shatter the first, but because you get a second chance to apply the thing without any nasty air bubbles without forking out for another (and waiting on yet another delivery). Most other sellers only give you a single protector for around £10, so SPARIN giving 2 for the same price gives you a great opportunity to practice with one and perfect with the other.
Dome Glass Google Pixel 2 XL Tempered Glass Screen Protector (With ‘Easy Install Tray’ and UV Light)
And for those who really don’t care on the cost as long as their screen is safe and clean for as long as possible, the Dome Glass Pixel 2 XL tempered glass screen protector is undeniably the safest best – and by far the most expensive.
Cramming in all the bells and whistles to make for perfect application, this kit comes in at an eye-watering £56 before any Prime Day deals come into effect. For that price you get a single screen protector designed to fill in any existing light scratches and scuffs with ‘liquid glass’ that then hardens to protect against further damage. Sounds fancy, right?
As for application, you get an ‘easy install tray’ and even a UV light to help you spot any specs of dust or debris that might be hiding on your screen. There’s alcohol wipes to remove finger prints, stickers, and even additional bottles of adhesive liquid for if you mess up enough to leave the protector without any stick. It’s an expensive set, but if you think you’ll burn through that many inferior protectors during the install process, you might actually be better off with this. Maybe you could use the UV light to run a professional fitting service with enough practice?
RhinoShield Camera Lenses
By far my favorite additional purchase with my Google Pixel 2 XL is the RhinoShield camera lens. Compatible with the RhinoShield SolidSuit case (with the lens adapter), these assorted camera lenses screw into the thread of the lens adapter on the back of your case/phone to switch up what your Pixel 2 XL camera is capable of.
This phone is already regarded as one of the best cameraphones on the market, so having a bunch of additional lenses makes things even better. As many other reviewers note, it’s the cheaper one of the lot that you’ll want to pick up, as it’s by far the most versitile; increasing both the macro (close-up) and wide-angle capabilities of your photography. You only need to unscrew one from the other to switch it up.
If you’re itching to try other lenses too, RhinoShield do a super wide-angle, HD wide-angle and fisheye lenses that work in just the same way – minus the fused body like the wide-angle/macro setup.
Unlike Moment, RhinoShield hasn’t put out a telephoto option just yet, meaning you won’t be able to up your zoom game above the normal 2x digital zoom on the Pixel 2 XL. Hopefully it’s something they’re working on, but given their goal of making better photography as easy to attain as possible, the added bulk of a telephoto lens has probably ruled it out for now.
For example shots of the super wide-angle and fisheye RhinoShield lenses, check out this review. To compare them all with the Moment lenses, click here. To pick them up from Amazon, use the links below.
Note: The image above is for illustrative purposes only. Each lens is compatible with both iPhone and the Google Pixel 2 XL. You just need the right case (like the SolidSuit) and the specific camera adapter (the last link) for them all to work.
[Buy from Amazon] 2-in-1 Wide Angle + 5x Macro Lens (iPhone & Google Pixel 2 XL)
[Buy from Amazon] Super Wide Angle Lens (iPhone & Google Pixel 2 XL)
[Buy from Amazon] HD Wide Angle Lens (iPhone & Google Pixel 2 XL)
[Buy from Amazon] Fisheye Lens (iPhone & Google Pixel 2 XL)
[Buy from Amazon] Camera Adapter for RhinoShield SolidSuit Case (Pixel 2 XL)
GorillaPod 1K Stand, Clamp, and Ballhead
A famous name in the tripod scene for many years, it took me a few returns to find the GorillaPod for the Google Pixel 2 XL due to just how many of these things Joby have spat out over the years.
But what is it? The GorilliaPod 1K Stand is a tripod with 3 very stiff and bendable legs. Unlike a regular tripod, this one can wrap around trees and poles etc for some unique shots when attached to your phone. On uneven terrain, you can easily bend the legs to balance things out, allowing for a perfect shot on even something like a sharp boulder on the beach. You’ll need a few other accessories to get it ready for your phone, but once they’re all in place, you have something that’s not only great for taking unique stills and great sports footage, but a super positional phone stand for watching Netflix/YouTube, taking selfies and even setting up a decent vlog channel.
The GorillaPod 1K will accept most DSLR cameras right out of the box, but you’ll need this heavy-duty clamp to attached the Pixel 2 XL to the rig. An optional extra is a ballhead to allow for portrait orientation. The ZCTL allows for panning, whereas the Neewer does not.
[Buy from Amazon] Joby GorilliaPod 1K Stand
[Buy from Amazon] Manfrotto Universal Smartphone Clamp
[Buy from Amazon] ZCTL 360° Metal Camera Tripod Ball Head
[Buy from Amazon] Neewer Mini Ball Head
I’m a sucker for VR. While we wait for that ‘full dive’ technology a certain popular anime has led us to believe will eventually arrive, having numerous different VR headsets thrown around the house will have to do.
The Daydream VR headset doesn’t use any ports or plastic clips like some other VR headsets. Instead, you pull the elastic strap to open the door, rest your phone on it, lift it back up and secure it with back onto the hook. NFC makes the connection and automatically fires up the Daydream app on your Pixel 2 XL so that it’s all ready to go in an instant.
The controller – which connects through Bluetooth – can be used to point and click at things, or scroll through lists of apps and experiences similar to the classic touch wheel on old iPods. This means you can sit down, stand up or lie flat and still point and select apps to launch. I haven’t used it for much more than watching YouTube videos in bed just yet, but the opening tutorial experience will show you exactly what this thing is capable of. Must-have apps will be YouTube and Netflix for big-screen private viewing experiences, and Google Earth for some seriously convincing Streetview tours.
The Pixel 2 XL handles things without breaking a sweat, too. It barely even heats up. I could watch hours of Netflix content and still have enough battery left to go grab some drinks without fear of running out of juice.
One of the biggest decisions when it comes to buying a Pixel 2 XL is undoubably the lack of a headphone jack. Nobody expected Google to be the next in line to ditch the legacy 3.5mm headphone port, but that’s exactly what they did. With a clear lack of USB-C headphones on the market, the best thing to do with a Pixel 2 XL is make the jump to wireless cans. The phone itself still comes with a USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor for those who just can’t go without, but if you’re reluctant to need an extra cable every time you leave the house, wireless headphones are the way to go.
Anker Soundbuds Slim Wireless Headphones (with in-line mic)
I was on a bit of a shoestring budget when it came do to headphones, but the Anker Soundbuds Slim were my eventual choice. It wasn’t my first rodeo with Anker – or even these specific headphones – but the purchase has never been regretted. They sound great for the price, magnetise together to stay around your neck, and have a respectable 7-hour battery life. The only downside here is the lack of mutiple memorised connections. Once they’re connected to a device, you’ll have to pair and re-pair them with each device you want to use rather than quickly flick between them with an on-board switch. This won’t be a problem if you’re using them exclusively with your phone, but as someone who uses them with phones, tablets and my work laptop, it can get a little annoying.
OnePlus Bullets Wireless
If you want to take a step up in terms of audio quality, the OnePlus Bullets are the way forward. They may be far more expensive than the Anker Soundbuds Slim, but they’re still far cheaper than the high-end cans they compete with. They aren’t completely free of a cable like Apple or Google’s expensive offerings, but they sound far FAR better at a fraction of the cost.
OnePlus launched these ahead of their flagship OnePlus 6 handset, but they’ll work just fine with any bluetooth-enabled device. There’s even the added bonus of your music automatically pausing when you let the buds magnetically reattach around your neck – so you won’t miss your tunes when you have to take them out in a hurry.
Don’t mind going with a wired option? The wired Bullets V2.0 are far cheaper.
[Buy from Amazon] Wired Bullets V2.0
[Buy from OnePlus] Bullets Wireless
Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling – Black
Then, on the far more expensive ‘high-end’ front, is the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II. The successor to arguably Bose’s crowning achievement, the QuietComfort 35 wireless noise cancelling headphones are an absolute treat if you’re a frequent commuter.
The toggle on the side transmits unaudible frequencies to drown out things like train/plane noise, nearby chatter and PC fans, giving you an isolated experience that can help you unwind in busy enviorments and relax in the office. Cutting out all that external noise means Bose’s award-winning headphones will do your musis a bigger justice than ever before. And near endless standby battery life means they’re practically always ready to go.
They may be very expensive, but they’re by far the best pick of the lot if you have the cash to spare.
Our last segment is perhaps one of the more important – the battery. The Pixel 2 XL has fantastic battery life thanks to a fairly chunky 3520 mAh lithium-Ion battery and ‘rapid charging’ (with the supplied charger) capabilities, but there’s always the chance of running short of power when it matters most.
I, sadly, just invested in a large powerbank a month or two before biting the bullet on my Pixel 2 XL. The thing worked just fine for my old Galaxy S6 Edge, but the lack of a USB-C port meant getting power to my new phone would mean using a cable that didn’t ship with the phone (this one) and settle for noticibly slower charging when compared to the added umph of the supplied wallcharger.
But you don’t need to make the same mistake! Whether you’re looking for a compact battery to keep in your pocket, or something larger to tether to on those all-day Pokemon GO raids in the city, these are the best two portable battery / powerbanks for the job.
Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C Powerbank
One of the bigger batteries you’ll find in a smaller form-factor, this is one of Anker’s only USB-C compatible powerbanks that supports fast-charging. Coming equipped with two USB3 PowerIQ-enabled ports and a single USB-C port, you have three jacks to charge a bunch of popular devices at the same time. You can use the wall charger supplied with your phone to charge it up, and keep the supplied USB-C cable in your bag so it’s there when you need it. The capacity of this battery means a fully charge can juice up your Pixel 2 XL from empty to full around 6-7 times, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever be without power with this thing nearby.
Aukey USB C Power Bank 10000mAh QuickCharge 3.0
If you’re looking for something a little thinner, the Aukey 10000mAh USB-C is the way forward. Still capable of charging your Pixel 2 XL 3 times over, this almost plush-looking powerbank could very well save the day. Being Quick Charge 3.0 compatible means it won’t take long to give your phone a well-needed power boost, either. And just like the rest of them, there’s two USB 3.0 ports there for any legacy device you might have on hand.
Anker PowerCore 5000
Just leaving a powerbank in your bag or car for emergencies? Then things get far cheaper if you’re willing to source a USB-A to C cable from elsewhere. The 5000mAh charge of the Anker PowerCore 5000 won’t be lightning fast, but it’ll be more than enough juice to get you up and running from flat or carry you home. You’ll get about 1.5x charges out of this before it needs topping up, so it’s just fine for occasional use if you remember to top it up.
Disclaimer: Just so you know, some of the shopping links on this Buyer’s Guide are affiliate links (meaning I’ll get a portion of any sales generated back as commission). It doesn’t make things cost any more for you, but means putting together hopefully useful content like this helps pay my bills. Thanks!