For the record, I am not a tech guru or anywhere close to knowing software and hardware name on a familiar basis. I am, though, an everyday consumer that majority of us are that don’t really need to focus on the nitty and gritty details of technology sometimes (this I will explain later in the description). I’ve had my Pixel 2 phone for about a week now and here’s the verdict:
Since my first smart phone days I’ve always had Samsung– started with a Samsung Fantastic then went to a Samsung 4, 6, then 7. Like most standard smart phones, they’re always filled with the company’s own apps that 99% of the time you would NEVER use and it’s just there taking up space because you can’t uninstall it. It’s one of the things I loathed about Samsung/Android devices. Not to mention my last two Samsungs notification and syncing were terribly off timing so I never got notified on a timely matter, example: email notifications never sounded and my Instagram notifications were always 5+ hours late. It got to the point where I had to manually check everything and it got really annoying quick. I tried resetting the phones 3 times already and it would end up resorting back to late notifications/no notifications.
Then the last two years Google decided to start pushing out their own phones. Software wise, I’m sure they’ve got their shit together seeing as how big they are on AI coding. They started with Pixel– it’s definitely a beta testing moment since it was their first round in the smart phone business arena and many things needed to be tested to see what needs to go and what they should keep. I actually loved to joke how basic the phone originally was and how it was made for essentially people who weren’t familiar with more in-depthness of smart phones.
But the more I looked into it and the more I asked people how they liked Google’s phone, it sounded rather tempting to try. Why? First and foremost, no bloatware and that itself really sold me. In October 2017 Google released Pixel 2 and I finally decided maybe it was time for me to switch. I ended up picking up a Kinda Blue ($700) option that was strictly for Verizon users that had a nice mint color on/off button that I really liked and the pastel blue was pretty to look at.
The Pixel 2 is more square edged than the S7 I had before, which I preferred compared to rounded edges that many phones are doing. There’s also the “large” bezels of the phone that a plethora of tech guys are disappointed with because it’s such a archaic design. It’s actually not that bad, it’s almost the same bezeling as the S7 so it didn’t bother me. I actually like the bezeling as opposed to the recent new phones that are now bezel-free (I find that really ugly in my opinion). I loved the overall simpleness of the phone design, it’s very Google– simple and clean, no nonsense. It’s definitely not flashy like the gold and silver colors and high def screens of Samsung. The latter isn’t Google’s forte, but it was also something that I never really cared about either so those missing points were never counted against them when deciding to go with Pixel 2. The only gripe about the aesthetic of Pixel 2 was that the blue color didn’t go all the way around (colored bezels), which is pretty standard design concept for most phones already. Instead we’ve got black bezels on the front and blue on the back. It feels inconsistent and a little off.
Then we’ve got P2’s (Pixel 2 will now be referred as) camera. Something that was often boasted on other sites and early users on how the software tech of this feature was something to look forward. I tried it out and while it’s a cool concept, there’s definitely areas that can be perfected/cleaned up. The more anticipated feature is their “Portrait Mode” that’s supposed to give you that nice bokeh style that DSLRs can do. You point at a certain area to focus, click then P2 will collect data and morph the remainder into a blurry depth of field look. I found that sometimes it’ll work (when it does, it’s pretty cool and the results can be quite brilliant), and sometimes it won’t. It’ll miss and strange part of the photo will blur instead if there’s too many subjects in the photo. But the camera is much more detailed and crispy compared to my S7 with deeper colors (this I also really liked). It really takes in light and shading well that the image doesn’t get faded in color and details an issue that was prevalent in the S7.
As for the internal software, for most Android users, we definitely rely heavily on Google apps like Gmail, Google Drive, ect. and those apps and a few other Google apps are the only ones installed on Pixel 2. I already use those apps so it’s something I need and with nothing else on it, it was really nice. Ironically enough I ended up loving how simple everything on it was, it definitely made the overall use very smooth and sleek. It feels faster than my Samsung without all the clutter of extra apps.
With that said, there were a few things I realized I didn’t quite like about the P2. I am HUGE on customizing, while I knew that customizing wasn’t Google’s goal and was probably limited. I thought if I used my standard app, Zedge (an app that lets me customize without downloading a launcher), I’d still be able to change out most of my phone’s stock icon image and notification settings. How wrong I was. LOL. After hours of testing, I realized Google didn’t let Zedge overwrite their stock icons. I ended up having to download a third party app launcher (Nova Launcher) then downloaded an icon app package (Flight Lite) to get a different icon look. It wasn’t my ideal way of doing things, but it’s something I have to accept until P2 gets more attention in terms of customizing apps. It also wouldn’t let me set notifications tones via an app, it had to be done through the standard notification setting or else the setup gets really wonky and messed up.
A few other things that I miss having from the S7 and P2 lacked was the clipboard option and the simplicity of screenshotting. The lack of both made P2 feel really archaic and basic in a bad way. Samsung has this nice clipboard options that allows multiple copy and pastes as well as ones you can ‘lock’ so it’s always there for you to use. Since I’m a huge Instagram user and copy and paste quite often, I found the lack of the clipboard on P2, sucked (again, I had to download an app for just copy and pasting). Then there’s the screenshotting, with Samsung it was a simple and easy swipe across the screen. Boom, done, but the P2 you have to hold the power button AND the lower sound button together in order to get a SS done. It’s very cumbersome and more work than necessary. I am hoping to see Google look for an easier method to solve these issues in the future.
Google’s Pixel excels at the AI level making your life easier in terms of getting information and help getting stuff done because they’re good at providing and writing apps/programs that can do stuff for you (attach it to Google Home and essentially you got yourself a basic Jarvis). But understanding and finding ways to make the phone itself smarter and easier to use is definitely something I think Google can work on, but they have massive potential since they’re still young in the game. I’m still digging the phone though, most stuff listed is really just subjective stuff. I think I can get over it (although ideally waiting for phone updates that will better the ease of use of the phone). Currently they’re offering a promotion of free Google Home Mini and $100 in Google Store credit if you purchase a phone. You can also finance the phone, after tax it’s $700 (roughly $30 a month for 2 years).
Hope this helped in anyway possible and maybe some insight on the Google’s Pixel 2!