Wednesday, March 21, 2018

No birthday present this year? :P

I used to buy some kind of a tech gadget for my birthday ever since I had started earning. But this time, it didn't happen. That's because I bought it a month and a half in advance.

It's a Google Pixel 2. That's my 2nd phone purchase since moving to Australia. I got it from Telstra on a $59 per month plan with 15GB free monthly data allowance. That alone is a good deal, but I got $100 gift card from JB HiFi and a Google Home Mini (which I will write about later) with it.

I was upgrading my phone from a Samsung Galaxy S7, which had become very sluggish for no apparent reason. I was paying $65 per month for it with only 7GB monthly data, so this is a good deal.

I got the White one. But I got a black case for it so the white body hardly reveals anymore. I loved the Spigen case that I had on the S7, so I had no reason to look for another brand. This new case has a sturdier kickstand than the old one.

While the Pixel 2 is a newer phone, it lacks so many features not only comparing with phones from competitors that were released around the same time but also the S7.

Improvements over S7

  • Super snappy UI and fast app launches
  • Tapping the fingerprint sensor takes me into the phone. With S7, you need to "press" the home button.
  • No bloat (read: no bundled Samsung apps)
  • Squeeze feature
  • Better camera
  • Full quality unlimited photo uploads to Google Photos (for 3 years at least)
  • Stereo front facing speakers, but not really louder than the S7's single speaker
  • Simpler but effective stock launcher
  • Faster OS updates
  • Double the internal storage
  • USB type C (i.e. modern and reversible)
  • Bluetooth Headset's battery level is displayed
  • Double tap screen to wake

Things missing after switching to the Pixel 2

  • Battery level is not displayed on always on display (but should be fixed via software)
  • No hardware buttons despite having a large chin (i.e. software buttons taking up screen space) and slightly smaller screen size (5 inch vs 5.1 inches)
  • The fingerprint sensor on the back (i.e. have to lift the phone up to get into)
  • Terrible automatic screen brightness adjustments (reddit post)
  • Large bezels
  • No inbuilt Smart Stay functionality (screen won't keep awake while reading)
  • The power button is hard to press (to double press to launch camera)
  • No headphone jack and no bundled earbuds (but I use Bluetooth Earbuds almost all the time so not really a deal breaker for me)
  • The battery is smaller, but I probably the S7 died sooner than the Pixel 2
  • Photo shooting gestures missing from photos app (should be added to the Camera app)
  • Supports USB type C which is also a disadvantage because now I had to buy new cables (I blew the $100 gift card on cables)
  • No IP68 water resistance (only has IP67)
  • No MicroSD expansion

So it doesn't feel like an upgrade across the board, but I give a larger weight to the snappiness of the phone, so it definitely is a worthy upgrade for me.

Other than those deficiencies over the S7, I have experienced few things that I have never experienced on the S7.

  • Bluetooth crashed twice!
  • The phone has rebooted a couple of times out of nowhere

But these things don't happen often, so I am not infuriated by it... yet.

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