Google’s contracted pop-up stores are selling the Pixel 2 at a $30 upcharge
It turns out that Verizon authorized resale partner Victra — formerly named A Wireless — is operating the Google-branded pop-up stores in New York and Los Angeles. Google confirmed to The Verge that, as such, only the Verizon version of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. While firmware should be slightly different, these phones should be able to work on all the other US networks. But those are not the problems we’re worried about.
First of all, you can’t buy Google’s two-year warranty at the pop-up — you’ll more likely be offered Verizon’s Total Mobile Protection program. Second, the devices’ bootloaders are locked. Third, if you decide to return the phone, you must do so at the pop-up location — and since they’re pop-ups, when they close, you’ll be directed to deal with customer service through a phone number.
And then — this is a big one — the phones are $31 more expensive here than the Google Store and $30.01 more than at Verizon. No activation charges, taxes or fees are included: a $649 Pixel 2 costs $680 in the Flatiron District and West Hollywood. To be sure, the stores will price match Google’s offer, but the point is that you shouldn’t have to do so in the first place — senseless commissions for a front that’s designed to be a first-party experience put a damper on the whole thing.
The novelty factor in trouncing around a big, open space with a quad-color ‘G’ hanging above your face may be lovely. The fact that the “panda” scheme Pixel 2 XL is also available at the store might also be appealing. But we’d hold off of purchasing anything from these stores.
Image: Chris Welch, The Verge