Last year’s Pixel and Pixel XL featured an RGB notification light cleverly embedded into the right side of the front earpiece. However, Google did not prominently mention it, while enabling required a dive into settings. That now seems to be the case again with the Pixel 2 XL and its indicator for incoming notifications.
One YouTuber in the UK has managed to snag a Pixel 2 XL early, as well as doing a hands-on video, and noticed the notification light on the top bezel. Compared to last year’s placement, it is situated closer to the edge and is more prominent.
On the original phones, Google cleverly hid the LED just underneath the earpiece. Not only was it sunk a layer, but it was covered by the cloth material of the speaker grill.
It’s unclear whether it will again be an RGB LED — not that users had the ability to map colors to specific notifications on the original — or whether it will be available on the smaller Pixel 2.
The Pixel 2 specs page on the Google Store does not note an indicator light, while the listing for the original model only added the feature following last week’s event and site redesign. Besides most documentation not mentioning the existence of the light, it was disabled by default last year.
From Settings on Android 7.1, users had to go to Notifications, then tap the gear icon to “Configure notifications” and toggle the light on. The experience is only slightly streamlined in 8.0 Oreo, with users now heading into Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications. At least “Blink light” is now in the main list of notification options.
Regardless of whether it’s enabled be default, it’s very likely that the Pixel 2 XL will have a similar option right out of the box. Given the new always-on display, a notification light might be somewhat redundant, but it’s still a nice feature to have on a flagship.