Picking a Pixel (Not the one with the notch, obviously)
We spend hours upon hours every day with our phones in hand, swiping, scrolling and tapping. Every year the big tech companies roll out the latest phones with the latest specs (and the latest prices!)
We want more RAM, bigger batteries, bigger screens, thinner devices, better cameras, the list goes on and on. And Apple, Samsung and various other manufacturers are only too happy to keep on delivering. I am a self-professed tech nerd — I love technology. Just a few years ago I was getting a new phone every few months, desperate to remain at the cutting edge of the tech market.
But then I grew tired of the same slight revisions, the slowdown of any real innovation. In 2016 I switched from Android who I had been with for years, to an iPhone 7 Plus. I thought that it would make sense for my iPhone to sync across my iMac, MacBook Pro, iPads and (soon to follow) Apple Watch! This was also when Apple introduced Portrait Mode, and as a photographer, the technology interested me. (Turns out it’s next to useless. I never use it)
And for two years I was quite content to watch the tech world pass me by. I asked myself what would any of these new devices bring to the table, and the answer was — nothing! So the camera would now launch a few milliseconds faster? Great. The bezels are even thinner this year? Ooh, how exciting! Wireless Charging!? Shiver me timbers!
There was nothing to pry me from my current device as it started to slow down and freeze up. I knew a new phone would be needed soon, but none of the offerings on the table piqued my interest.
That is until last night.
Google announced the Pixel 3.
And I ordered one immediately.
Now for those with even a passing interest in the tech world you’re probably aware that the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL have been leaking for the past few months. First, it was leaked specs, then developer units and then like a river bursting its banks, a veritable flood of devices started being spotted in the wild.
So there were no big surprises about what these phones are.
By 2018’s standard the specs are pretty lacklustre. 4GB of RAM. 2915mAh battery. ‘Just’ a 2160 x 1080 non-edge to edge display. Nothing to write home about.
But the joy is in the software. When the software is as optimised as Android is sure to be on a Google phone then you don’t need any more RAM. The Adaptive Battery will mean you use less power, negating the need for a huge battery.
For the first time in a long time, I felt excited about a new phone. In a sea of companies making fast phones, Google has concentrated on creating a Smart phone.
Here are just a few of the features that I’m excited about (I’m a photographer, so naturally, a lot of it is photo related!)
Top Shot — Automatically recommends the best pics, where no one is blinking, and everything looks just right.
Super Res Zoom — keeps your pictures sharp when you zoom in — without the blur by taking multiple shots. A smart kind of HDR.
Google Photos — unlimited online storage at the original quality for all photos and 4k videos
Call screening — Get Google’s AI to screen your calls for you with the conversation shown in text on the screen. Then it’s your choice whether to answer the phone or not.
Adaptive Battery — The phone learns which apps you use the most and shuts down power to less used apps over time to save battery.
Shhh mode — (I think that’s what it’s called) Turn your phone over and take a break from the online world. This one is actually very important to me. For someone who spends a lot of time around technology, it’s essential for me to make sure I spend a chunk of time disconnected from the internet!
Plus all of the other countless features that Google has been implementing in its phones for the past year such as Google Assistant and Digital Wellbeing.
Now some of these features are available on other phones, but I am yet to see them all in one place and implemented so intuitively. And that camera…
Finally, a phone that seems to be focusing on fitting around your life and making the day to day minutiae easier instead of just launching an app quicker each year…
Oh , actually… it launches apps pretty quickly too.