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Pixel 2

Picel 2

Photo: Andy Crouch

After 2 solid years of use my Nexus 5x finally died. No warning, no signs, it just died. I would argue that 2 years for a phone is not that long. I appreciate I am on it a lot and am an above average use type user. Then again, I am getting older and my expectations are perhaps excessive.

So I upgraded to a Pixel 2. This was a phone that I was actually excited to get rather than just an upgrade. But, I have to be honest and say that after some initial use I am disappointed.

First the good. The thing I love about the Google phones is stock Android. You get the latest version of Android almost as soon as it is released. Their launcher is far better than any others I have tried. The phone itself is very well built and the lack of physical buttons on the front makes it very slick. On the side, you just have power and volume. The performance I have found to be excellent and it comes with 64gb of storage. On the rear is a 12.2-megapixel camera and flash.

Now the not so good. First up, only one USB C connection. I am sure that USB C is going to dominate at some point but it doesn’t yet. No headphone jack. This is a massive issue and a pain I know felt by iPhone users. But, they have Airpods. Google released Buds but they have flopped and flopped hard. This seems to be one of the less harsh reviews. The next issue is the USB C to phono converter they supply. It’s about 1.5 inches which makes the phone about 7 inches long when plugged in. You need deep pockets to accommodate that. It makes it really uncomfortable when you are sitting down so you are forced into buying a good pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Charging is very quick but only if you use the official charger. If you use a converter to make USB C fit in any standard USB port then it charges so slowly you might as well not bother.

Finally, due to its size, the phone is hard to use one-handed. If you try to type single-handed you find you mishit keys and write gibberish.

On the whole, the phone is good but it’s not great. It had the potential to really show how great an Android device can be. Unfortunately, they allowed Samsung to do that instead and given their horrendous UI that is a shame.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Pixel and on alternatives worthy of looking at. Please share them with me via twitter or email.