The Google Pixel Phone – Pure Android
The Google Pixel is now shipping and people so far have been really happy with it. The phone was announced at the Google Event back in early October. This is the first phone designed by Google themselves. Before they would tell a manufacturing partner (LG, Samsung, HTC) what they wanted and they would build it and brand it as a Google Nexus by whomever. This is the first phone Google engineered, designed, built the OS from the ground up for. Google did partner with HTC to do the actual assembly, but that is it. This is not a warmed over HTC design. It is all new.
So why does that matter?
It matters in a way that Google was able to tailor everything together to work together. Sounds a little redundant, but trust me it’s a good thing. Most of the smartphones you buy these days come with a version of Android that the manufacturer has added their own stuff to. That’s why a LG phone looks different than a Samsung or HTC. Google is able to make sure that you get the true to intent Android experience.
So why do I want it?
That’s easy, I am always looking for the latest and best way to do something. This phone does literally do everything, I heard it even makes phone calls, but who does that. It is the first phone to ship with Google’s new AI, Google Assistant, not the catchiest name. I have been able to use Google Assistant a little bit on my current phone the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active through the Google Allo app. I really like where it is going. The ablity to just tell my phone what I want is great. I can ask “it” to call someone or send a text or open an app all without needing to click through a bunch of menus. Is it life changing, no, but I like it. It kind of reminds me of Star Trek, where the crew can just ask questions of the computer and it responds. The AI also keeps track of things I ask about and asks if I want some of the same information delievered at the same time each day. Google calls this a subscription. You can change anything about the subscription at any time.
If you have spent any time using Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana then you will know what I am getting after here. It’s nice to be able to handle simple tasks with the phone without needing to click on it a bunch. I find it is best when I need to set a quick reminder or start a timer for something.
The second thing I like about this phone is the camera. It is, according to some websites and reviewers, the best smartphone camera on the market right now. Even beating out the Apple iPhone 7, which was the benchmark for smartphone cameras.
I have been trying to take more pictures lately, a lot for this blog and just to capture some of life’s moments. Having a high quality camera in my pocket would be great. My S6’s camera is good, but falls down a little in low light and with zoomed in shots. Two things the new pixel is supposed to be great at.
This phone also comes in two sizes, the Pixel which has a 5 inch screen, my favorite size, and Pixel XL which is a 5.7 inch screen. I don’t care for the “phablet” form factor, but that’s me. YMMV.
This phone is also equipped with the latest and greatest processors and hardware. It should last a couple of years before it becomes obsolete. It is already VR capable and can capture 4K Video
Some other nice things are the all aluminum build and the glass back, this makes the phone light, and easier to hold onto. There are no physical buttons on the back or the front, the ring on the back is the fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone quickly. The Pixel also has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, who knew that would become a “feature”
The Pixel also uses the new USB-C connector for charging. No more worrying about which way to plug the phone in like with Micro-USB. This is the new standard in connectors and it’s nice to see this phone has it now. The USB-C might not be really common now, but it will be everywhere soon.
I don’t usually get too fired up about a phone. I have a love hate relationship with my smartphones. I like having one for using it as a computing device when I am out and about, but I usually hate looking at the small screen for too long. I also don’t like needing to pull it out of my pocket all the time to check messages and notifications. For that I do use Pushbullet to send those notifications to my desktop. I can respond to text messages and stuff from the desktop, which is great.
I am deep into Android and the Google Chrome environments. Both which, while being a semi-closed ecosystem, still offer more flexibility than Apple’s iCloud/Tunes/Takemymoney $.99/time system. Android just works and lets me work. Chrome is the same way. With Android apps coming to Chromebooks I see my dream of convergence coming soon. I should be able to be working on my Chromebook, move to my phone or tablet and keep going with what I was doing.
This is something I think Google is working towards. They have the heft of their search engine powering their AI, they have the money from it to develop things like Chrome and Android, so I think the future for the system is bright.
The Google Pixel is the best Android phone on the market right now, and with it being Google’s flagship device it will get the latest and greatest updates first. So this phone will be a relevent feature on the smartphone landscape for a long time to come. This phone should replace the iPhone as the standard by which other phones are judged.
Some other reviews out there:
My friends at Chromeunboxed.com did a complete video review, it’s really a great way to see the phone and how it looks in real life.