The only smartphones that I’ve ever owned have been iPhones. I was in so deep that I never even flirted with the idea of owning a Google Pixel or any other Android.
So when the Techly office was given one to play around with, I was curious, but also dreading making the switch.
First I’d have to transfer all of my phone’s data from iOS onto the new Android, then I’d have to learn how to use a whole new operating system when the muscle memory in my fingers is already so firmly entrenched in its old ways and ugghhhh it just seemed so hard.
Didn’t turn out that way, though.
First off, moving all the vital info from your iPhone (contacts, photos, messages etc) is made super easy by the Switch – a little adapter which connects your Pixel to your iPhone and then transfers everything across.
It’s a simple thing, but this was always going to be one of Google’s biggest hurdles – overcoming the logistical nightmare of making the switch.
A huge chunk of Apple’s time has been invested in creating high barriers between Apple and Android. The logic being that if leaving the Apple ecosystem is inconvenient, many people won’t bother.
But with one little adapter, Google has managed to seamlessly avert this hurdle with little more than a hop, skip and a jump.
I think most iOS users will be genuinely surprised about how usable the Android system is – at least on the Pixel. I always found using my mates’ Samsung Galaxys was a little bit like trying to speak another language, so I was pleasantly surprised how little difficulty I had on the Nougat OS.
In terms of functionality, menus and navigation, they’re both relatively similar and intuitive – swipe through your apps on your home screen, a home screen button at the bottom and swipe down to get quick access to your active apps.
Enough logistics – which phone’s better?
I said in the title that I might never go back to iPhones, and I really mean that. The camera on the Google Pixel is nothing short of outstanding, and outshines the iPhone in almost every respect.
The fact that I use Chrome and Gmail accounts for work was an enormous advantage being able to sync my calendar, reminders, alarms and appointments with Google Assistant. The differences which set the Pixel apart aren’t enormous or game-changing, but rather a whole bunch of little things.
The battery life, for instance, is unfathomably good.
I used to have to carry around a portable charger basically 24/7 such was the savagery of my phone usage. Either that, or try to see how long I could go on Airplane mode until my friends and family thought I’d been kidnapped.
But the Pixel’s battery is unquenchable. I easily get a full day’s use out of it, unheard of for a high-functioning smartphone, and the rapid charger means you really do get seven hours use from fifteen minutes of charge (the ads don’t lie).
I found Google Assistant to be a far more useful all-in-one life organiser than Siri. The AI in the software is pretty remarkable – it knows when you leave home, get to work, what public transport you catch and will give you info on whether your train is running late, if you have to be back in the office for a meeting and how long it will take you to get home.
It might be a bit too creepy for some but it was a lifesaver for an unorganised hack like me.
A few things were annoying, the Daydream VR is pretty underwhelming – the technology’s great but there simply isn’t enough content to make it worthwhile.
Also, I’ve found some apps to be a little bit buggier than on iOS and the speaker isn’t anything to write home about.
For me, now that I’ve made the switch I probably will stick with the Pixel – but I’m happy to see if Apple offer any significant game-changers with the iPhone 8.
With both phones at basically identical price points, the Pixel has its nose in front – and if you’re wondering if the switch is worth it, I reckon it is.