A week ago while pulling my phone (Google Pixel 4XL) out of my pocket to check the time, I caught it restarting on its own. As I watched in confusion, I soon realised that it was never going to turn on… It was caught in the dreaded boot loop. To get myself through while I work on getting a replacement, I dug through some moving boxes to bring my Google Pixel 2XL back to life. While they are, for the most part, a very similar phone with only 2 years between them – there are quite a few differences I’ve had to adjust to as my daily driver and quite frankly, I’m loving it.
Goodbye Face Unlock, Hello Fingerprint
Thanks to Apple making Face Unlock a standard in premium phones, Google followed suit in it’s 4th iteration and ditched the ol’ trusty Fingerprint Sensor. While Face Unlock has its place in the smartphone world, after spending a week back in time, I’ve come to realise Fingerprint Unlock is the missing piece my phone needed again. I’m a big user of LastPass and using Face Unlock for Biometric authentication sucksssss. Speaking of LastPass…
Apps Don’t Suck Anymore
I was constantly running into troubles with apps I used daily with my 4XL. LastPass wouldn’t autofill my passwords and credit cards on most other apps or websites. Android Auto straight up stopped displaying notifications while I was driving and Spotify would constantly crash and require a force quit on both Android Auto and Spotify before it would work again. Pretty annoying on the way to work. The 2XL hasn’t had these issues at all. The performance of general navigation around the phone is a little slower, but I can live with that for the luxury of apps working as they’re supposed to.
A Battery That Keeps Going & Going…
It’s no secret that the 4XL battery is far less than perfect, especially for a flagship of 2019. But what I didn’t expect to see what such a BIG difference in my day-to-day experience when moving to another device. I’m 22, so you can imagine that I’m a bit of a heavy user. YouTube, TikTok, all the power-hungry stuff. Come midday on a weekday, the 4XL would sit around 55-60%, and would likely be around 10% before bed. At the time of writing this, at 9:57pm on a Thursday, my phone is on 71%. I could seriously go another day without an overnight charge and be fine. I will admit that my phone is on charge for about 40mins each way to work, but I did that with both phone daily and showed constant results. It means I can go back to using neat features like Always On Screen and Gestures and not have to worry about a dead battery by lunch.
Am I bringing a gun to a knife fight?
I can hear some of you saying in your head “What about Android 11? You’re only running Android 10, how is this a fair comparison?” and to that I say… Fair point. But the way I see it, it kind of goes in my favour here. Not only is the newer hardware not all it’s cracked up to be, but the newer software might not be up to scratch either. Sure, the new features in Android 11 are pretty neat like Notification Grouping and Media Controls, but for the meantime, I’m happy to sacrifice these for a more stable experience overall.
What I’ve learnt
It might not be such a shock to you as it is for me, but what I’ve walked away from this experience is that just because it’s “The Latest” doesn’t make it “The Greatest”. I’m the guy that if money permitted, I’d camp out the front of a Google Store (which don’t exist in Australia – come on guys we’re waiting) for the Pixel whatever on Day 1. At first, I was in a rush to go blow some money on an upgrade, but I think I might just settle for a downgrade this time round.