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Friday, October 27, 2017

Review of the Google Pixel 2

First week with my Pixel 2.

Not impressed with the appearance -- the glossy plastic at the top of the back looks cheap, and in general there's nothing distinguishing about its appearance. In particular, I'm surprised how much of the front is NOT screen-- a good 1.5" or so vertically, and 0.25" horizontally. The iPhone X is going to make it look years behind.

No real problems so far, except that the headphone adapter USB C connector is a bit wobbly and loose (partially because USB-C never seems to have any grip... I much prefer lightning's physical design). It gets a little staticy in my pocket here and there.

Also, weirdly, on some calls I've been able to hear my own headphone microphone, which is weird. That could be a Google Fi issue. (I'm still a big fan of Fi, I'm guessing it's interior quality to Verizon but it's much, much better than T-Mobile for connection reliability for me in NYC, and absurdly cheap)

Also not crazy about the battery. It's fine, it just seems to use about 5% per hour just sitting in my pocket, and I was hoping the hardware and OS would do better than that.

Android 8.0 seems to have shifted enough of the API to destabilize a few apps I use quite a bit (Instapaper, TrueCaller, Advanced Task Manager Pro [for monitoring what's chewing up CPU in the background]) and I'm hoping that settles down.

It's certainly fast, and I especially appreciate how quick the camera access is.

It pushes Google Now (you can squeeze the sides to pull up the assistant, which is kind of satisfying) but I still find Google Now pretty useless. I tried getting it to add something to my calendar a few times today and gave up. Part of the problem is that it fails to parse the whole command to figure out which part is the event name, what time range I'm describing, etc. The other part is that even when I repeat the name, the voice recognition just isn't that good.

(I just tried creating a random event, "Meet Bruno for pizza" and it heard "MIT pronoun for pizza"... disappointing. It has hundreds of samples of my voice! And Google Now already knew I was creating an event! "Meet" has to be one of the most common first words used in events... Have some context, guys!)

So, it's solid, but I'd be thinking about reselling it and just holding onto my still decent Nexus 5x if the Nexus's headphone jack wasn't so janky.

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