The Google Pixel officially launches in two days. Reviews of Google’s new smartphone went live this morning, including our own Google Pixel review. While I liked the smartphone, it’s not one that I’m going to buy for myself.
If you listen to the podcast or follow along with me, I buy a lot of phones. I return a lot of them, too. I usually like to buy a device to understand what the rage is about. To put myself in the shoes of consumers. To understand what it is to *own* a product.
The Google Pixel has been tempting, no doubt, but I won’t buy it.
Google Assistant wasn’t as impressive as I’d thought it would be. Often, she didn’t understand what I was saying. Or she wouldn’t answer to “OK Google” at all. While the support may be coming later, I wasn’t able to control my Philips Hue lights, a task Siri does. GPS locked up while I was driving, and I ran into a host of other bugs before I performed a hard reset. Maybe I had a bum unit? But that’s not all.
I also found the device uninspired. The hardware is boring, yawn-worthy even. It does little to stand out from the pack of familiar candy bar smartphones. I tested the smaller Google Pixel, which could easily be mistaken for an iPhone from the front.
Android, to me, has always been about hardware innovation. Styluses, crazy displays, IR blasters, removable batteries, microSD expansion slots, water-proofing, iris scanners. You’ll find none of that here. I admit the camera and battery life are great, but you can find that elsewhere.
So, really, the Pixel boils down to the software experience. To me, it just didn’t justify the price. I seem to be at odds with other reviewers, though. The Verge called the Google Pixel a “home run.” Android Central said it “can’t think of a better phone to buy.” Business Insider said it’s “the best of Android and the best alternative to Android.”
I appreciate the point of view in those reviews, which is why you’ll find it valuable to read more than just one. Maybe my mind will be swayed in the future. Google will continue to add new features and accessories, like the Daydream View VR.
If you’re on the fence, I list a few alternatives to the Google Pixel in our review that might be worth considering. For now, I’ll be using the Moto Z.