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Six months on … Google Pixel 2

Derren, Google Fanboi

10 May 2018

I’m going to put this out here straight away; I didn’t want a new phone, I was more than happy with my OnePlus Three, it had a nice big screen, a great camera and was more than powerful enough for what I use a phone for. In fact, I was so satisfied with my OnePlus that when my mobile provider contacted me offering me an upgrade not only did I turn them down, but I cancelled my contract with the intention of taking a sim only deal elsewhere. 

But then I did something totally out of character. To set the stage a little let me tell you about the kind of phone owner I am; I’ve never has so much as a scratch on a phone in the past, never smashed a screen, never lost my phone, nothing. In fact, I’m so fastidious about looking after my phones (and indeed all my tech) that I’ve rarely even needed to make use of a case. So, you can imagine how utterly stupid I felt when the day after cancelling my contract I make the mother of all bloopers. After an hour or so at the local swimming pool, having been on the flume Emperor-knows how many times I dive into the pool and feel something knock against my leg. I immediately swam to the side of the pool assuming I’ve left my wallet in my pocket.

I could have cried when instead of pulling out my wallet I pull out my beloved OnePlus Three. 

An artist’s impression of my mad dash to get out the pool

Photo by Alex Guillaume on Unsplash

Despite the old rice trick and a new battery, there was no saving my OnePlus and so I gingerly called my mobile provider back up, asked them to cancel the cancellation and accepted their offer of an upgrade to a snazzy new Google Pixel 2 with a free Google Home Mini.

“Do you want to give it a wipe with some paper towels?” – helpful lifeguard

I believe that everyone uses their phone in different ways, some people just play Candy Crush, other browse Facebook and some eccentric people actually use them to make calls!

Unlike big tech sites such as Tech Radar or Trusted Reviews I’m not going to go into massive depth about every aspect of the phone nor am I going to bore you with battery capacity figures or pixels per inch, these guys already do a stellar job of this. What I am going to do is talk about the aspects of the phone that are important to me, this is after all my own impressions of the phone and I want this to be as real and relevant to people as possible.  

This will be a two-part post, the first part (this one) will focus on the aspects of the phone I most enjoy and the second part those traits of the phone that I’m not so keen on. So, enough waffle, onto the things I like about the phone: 

The contents of the box

Photograph by me!

Battery 

One of my biggest frustrations with modern mobile phones is the way battery life has a tendency to drop off a cliff after 6 months or so, I’ve had particularly bad experiences with Samsung devices in this regard; in fact my original Galaxy Note was nigh on useless after half a year. 

I’m pleased to report that the Pixel 2 is showing no signs of battery degradation so far, it comfortably lasts me at least 12 hours of moderately high usage and the best bit of all is that with the fast charge technology if I do need to top it off I’m never more than about 20 minutes away from 70%+ battery. 

Screen 

Although the Pixel 2 does not have a quad HD screen it still has fantastic picture quality, I don’t use it often for watching lengthy videos but if I’ve got 20 minutes between classes I’ll happily watch some Taliesen & Evitel and their videos always look sharp and full of colour. 

The screen is a little smaller than I was previously accustomed to but I soon got used the size and now really appreciate the smaller size for its ease of one handed operation. 

Camera 

The Pixel 2’s camera is one of my absolute favourite aspects of the phone, not only does it take the best quality pictures of any smartphone I’ve owned but it comes with unlimited Google Photos storage. One of the things that upset me most about taking my OnePlus swimming was all the lost photos of my children, with the Pixel 2 I never have to worry about this again, all my pics are backed up to the cloud automatically and I can take as many as I want without fear of running out of storage. 

Another neat feature of the Pixel 2’s camera is its AR Stickers. These allow you to add animated augmented reality characters to your pictures and videos from a variety of popular franchises such as Star Wars and Stranger Things. It’s not a feature I use very often but it is a fun little addition none the less. 

Google Assistant 

Prior to owning a Pixel 2 I barely ever made use of the Google Assistant, shying away from using voice commands because honestly, I felt like a bit of a prat speaking instructions to a phone. Since getting a Google Home mini however I have definitely become a convert. Our mini lives in the kitchen so can only really be used from there or the dinning room, my phone however never leaves my side, so I have the Google Assistant (or Googlette as I call her) with me at all times. It has gotten to the point now where my wife is convinced I’m having an affair with it! 

If you have not yet tried it and you have a Chromecast, I thoroughly recommend using the Google Assistant to control Netflix, it is like living in the future! Whereas in the past I would have had to open the Netflix app, connect it to the Chromecast, find the show I want to watch and then press play now all I do is say “Hey Google, play Trailer Park Boys on the living room TV”; I don’t even need to take my phone out of my pocket! I’m old enough to remember having to rewind VHS tapes so this kind of thing is like Star Trek to me. 

That pretty much covers the highlights of the Google Pixel 2 for me, there are many more aspects of the phone that have impressed me, but the above represent the things that matter most to me in my day to day use. If you have any particular questions about the phone, comment below and I shall try to answer as best I can. 

Tune in next time for my thoughts on the aspects of the Pixel 2 that I’m not so keen on, until then stay classy, be cool and roll 20’s. 

Lok’tar Ogar 

D 

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About The Author

Derren

Hi, I’m Derren and I’m currently studying Software Engineering as a mature student at Southampton Solent University. Prior to this I spent many years managing restaurants and more recently worked as an insurance claims assessor for one of the UK’s biggest providers. It was in this role that I met Ross and our bromance flourished. In 2015, I left my job to begin my degree studies. During ,my time at Southampton Solent, I have gained extensive experience in numerous Software Engineering disciplines such as full stack web development, software application modelling, database design & management and mobile application development. These activities have led me to be proficient in a number of programming languages including Java, C, Python and Javascript. Outside of work and studies I like to unwind in the outdoors, hiking with my two Cocker Spaniels as well as a bit of cheeky wild camping. I’m also a massive nerd, having a passion for videogames, table-top roleplay and war gaming.

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