Since coming back to the Android ecosystem, I’ve finally added some pieces (and an upgrade!) to make it more comprehensive. My four week review with the Google Pixel 5!
The Buds sounds good, isolate well, but…
I replaced my former AirPods Pro with the Pixel Buds. Now, while they don’t have the “transparency mode” to talk to people (really, take your earpiece out of your ear so people know you’re paying attention when conversing!) or “active noise cancellation” so you can better listen to music at lower volume levels, I love how they look and feel. Yes, they look like mentos in your ears, but they proved far more comfortable for me, and I have been able to wear them for more than a few hours comfortably. I don’t use voice commands to bring up my playlists on YouTube Music, but the touch commands to play, skip, pause, etc. is convenient when my Pixel is my pocket.
I also got the Google Pixel Stand, despite all the far cheaper wireless stands that are out there. I don’t need it for all the “smart home” functionalities, just a stand to display my notifications and make it convenient to charge while playing games on my laptop.
Wait, why get those? Oh, yea… I got the Pixel 5. My 4a dropped and broke; without insurance I had to pay a fee that was pretty much close to its original purchase price. So, instead, I just upgraded to the 5 as an excuse. (I still recommend the 4a if you need a new phone on the cheap.)
My impressions on the Pixel 5? I won’t boggle on specs, because while I am a tech enthusiast, for my daily driver I just need the basics. It’s nice having stock Android, without loaded OEM skins, apps you couldn’t delete (if even disable), with timely updates, and call blocking/screening. There’s no funky bezels or chonky notches; that’s a uniform thin bezel to watch something without intrusion, on a bigger screen with a smaller chassis. Pairing my Pixel with Google Fi allows me to make and receive calls/texts on my laptop, not unlike iPads and Macs can with iPhones (not to mention, on any browser I log into). The fingerprint scanner is nice in the age of face masks, and a traditional capacitive on the back that works quickly, rather than the an in-screen one that often doesn’t read. I have yet to have my battery die before the day is over!
My Pixel doesn’t have the latest or greatest specs, but as before, my phone is more for communications, watching videos on my break, casual web browsing, taking occasional photos; and not playing powerful games, do heavy workloads, or edit photos and videos. I can’t customize as much as a OnePlus or Samsung phone can. It’s a humble phone compared to others out there, but that’s why I like it. It’s not about the hardware, but the software.
I got a nice-looking wearOS watch from Fossil; it’s okay, it gets the job done. Typing in my password is a pain. Too many buttons; I’m still glad I can change the face orientation so I can wear it on my right hand, without those buttons poking into my wrist when my hand bends back. I can see why Apple went with a square face… But for me, it’s about getting my notifications discreetly, without always needing to pull my phone out of my pockets.
It gets the job done for me, while still allowing me to choose how I want to use it, not the other way around.