Posts Tagged Pixel 2 XL

Should you upgrade? Google Pixel 3 vs Pixel 2

Google has finally pulled the wraps off its latest flagship effort, the Pixel 3 series during an event in New York. But just how different are the new models compared to the old ones?

At a glance, it doesn’t appear that many things have changed, but there’s plenty more going on beneath the surface. So in this article, we take a look at what sets the new Pixel 3 family apart from the Pixel 2 and try to answer the question: should you upgrade?

Design and display

The Pixel 3 and 3XL share most of their DNA with the Pixel 2 lineup, but there are a handful of meaningful differences when it comes to design. Even so, from the back, these distinctions aren’t all that visible. Both the Pixel 2s and Pixel 3s have two-tone rears, but while the Pixel 2s are made mostly out of metal with a glass panel at the top, the Pixel 3s are all glass.

On the front, Google has given each of the new phones a larger screen without making the devices noticeably larger. The Pixel 3 now sports a 5.5-inch screen, up from the 5-inch on the Pixel 2. It also makes a transition from the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio to the modern 18:9 one.

At the same time, the Pixel 3 XL now sports a 6.3-inch display, compared to the Pixel 2 XL’s 6-inch one. Last year, the OLED display on the Pixel 2 XL was plagued by numerous issues, so hopefully this year Google has managed to improve the situation.

The Pixel 3 XL stands out the most out of the two because it comes equipped with a notch on top, while the standard Pixel 3 doesn’t. But even as it retains the classic look, the standard Pixel 3 has shed the notoriously chunky bezels.

Both phones include front-facing speakers still, but Google says the Pixel 3s are now 40% louder than before. We should also mention that the two new handsets are water resistant thanks to the improved IPX8 rating. The previous models were only IP67 rated.

Specifications

Obviously, the Pixel 3 series makes use of a newer Snapdragon 845 processor. Google has provided an upgrade over last year’s Snapdragon 835, but it didn’t do the same when it comes to RAM.

So the Pixel 3s come with the same 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage configuration as their predecessors. In 2018, when most flagships offer at least 6GB of RAM on board, it would have been nice to see Google do the same. Fortunately, Google’s software does an excellent job with RAM management, so you won’t have to worry about your Pixel 3 not working smoothly.

Like the Pixel 2s, the Pixel 3s don’t come with a microSD card slot for memory expansion, so you’ll be stuck with the amount you select when you purchase the device. So choose wisely!

Photography

One of the biggest differences when comparing the Pixel 3s with the Pixel 2s is the cameras. On the front, Google this year has added an extra camera. It’s an additional 8-megapixel wide-angle lens with 97-degree field-of-view. So uses will be able to fit more people into their selfies.

As for the main (singular) camera, it stays pretty much the same, at least on paper. We have a 12.2-megapixel sensor which in the case of the Pixel 3s supports new features.

For example, you get Nightshift, a tool designed to take extra-nice low-light photos by employing an algorithm that readjusts the light settings. There’s also Top Shot, which takes a burst of HDR shots before and after you press the shutter button and picks the best one. Another interesting tool is Motion Autofocus which allows users to tap a subject once to track its movements.

Battery and charging

Google increased the battery size on the Pixel 3 to 2,917 mAh, compared to the 2,700 mAh of the Pixel 2. But in the case of the Pixel 3 XL, things are the other way around for some reason. The device relies on a 3,430 mAh battery, which smaller than the Pixel 2 XL’s 3,520 mAh one.

But why did Google choose to do that? Perhaps the Snapdragon 845’s battery optimizations might provide a clue, although it would have been nice to see a larger battery instead of a smaller one.

The good news is that Google this year included wireless charging with the Pixel 3s. Both support the Qi wireless charging standard, so they are compatible with a large number of existing chargers. Note that Google is also selling its own charging stand, although it’s a bit expensive.

Software

The Pixel 3s run Android 9 Pie out of the box and offer some new features. For example, the two will be the first phones to support Gmail’s Smart Compose feature. They also include Call Screen, which basically allows the phones AI to answer a call for you in real time.

The older Pixel 2s also run Android 9 Pie, though their firmware upgrade support ends in 2020, while the Pixel 3’s expires in 2021. What’s more, all four Pixels come with Active Edge, which allows users to squeeze the side of the device to bring up the Google Assistant or open other apps.

Should you upgrade?

The Pixel 3s do bring a few upgrades to the table including a new processor, an extra front-facing camera, wireless charging, and hopefully better displays, but if you are coming from the Pixel 2, an upgrade really doesn’t seem necessary. Unless you really really want to have the latest phone.

The Pixel 2, especially the XL model still remains a worthy phone, even with the Snapdragon 835 processor on board. What’s more, with the Pixel 3 out, it’s more affordable than ever. So if you’re not looking to spend a ton of money on a new smartphone, the Pixel 2 might be a better option for you than spending $799 and up on a new Pixel 3.

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The Pixel 2 is no longer available from Verizon

As we await the anticipated launch of the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Verizon has halted sales for the Pixel 2 on its website. It is clear Verizon is preparing for the new Pixel phones slated to be announced at Google’s October 9 event. However, it is unclear why Verizon has chosen to stop selling only the Pixel 2 while the Pixel 2 XL is still available for sale.

What is interesting is Verizon still has older Samsung phones such as the S8 and Note 8 for sale though. Maybe the Pixel 2 wasn’t a big seller and they decided it wasn’t worth keeping around as they prep for the new Pixel 3. Perhaps production has stopped on the Pixel 2 and Google is no longer providing units to the carrier.

There is no real clear-cut answer here, all we know is if you were hoping to pick up a Pixel 2 from Verizon then you’re out of luck. If you are still in the market for a Pixel 2 then no worries though. It can still be purchased through other retail channels such as Google’s own site, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and more.

 

 

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Google now has an official repair service for Pixel and Pixel 2

Google joined forces with phone repair company uBreakiFix to make it easier for Pixel owners to fix their broken handsets. But what if you don’t live next to such a repair shop?

Well, Google has finally addressed this issue by opening its own Repair Center. The service is available via the Google Store and allows Pixel and Pixel 2 owners to mail their damaged devices to be fixed.

The Repair Center welcomes Pixel or Pixel 2 devices that are no longer under warranty from owners in the United States. Once you’ve submitted your phone, the process of getting it fixed can take from 7 to 10 days and will cost you a pretty penny.

To get started, simply fill out the form on the Repair Center with your device’s information including IMEI or serial number.

Google will also offer up a repair cost estimate. For example, if you’re sending in a Pixel with a broken display, you can expect to pay up to $200.

Check the troubleshooting section first

Keep in mind, that if you choose to mail your smartphone to Google, the company will erase everything you had on your device before performing any maintenance. So make sure you backup your data.

But before you take any action, also take a few minutes to check Google’s troubleshooting guides which are available at the bottom of the Repair Center website. It’s quite possible you’ll find a solution to your problem in there and won’t have to mail in your device.

Why it matters

While in the past official repair options were few, Pixel users in the US have the option of dealing with Google directly.

What’s more, the  Repair Center program will most likely soon include the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The two handsets are expected to go official during an event that Google has scheduled on October 9.

This time around, we expect a classic-looking Pixel 3 and a Pixel 3 XL with a huge notch on top. Both handsets will be based on a Snapdragon 845 platform and will run Android 9 Pie out of the box.

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Deal: Take $250 off a Pixel 2 XL or $300 off an LG G7 or V35 with this Project Fi

If you’ve been in the market for a new phone and want to give Project Fi a try then you’re in luck. Lately, Project Fi has been running some great promos such as the deal from last month for LG, Moto, and Pixel phones. Not only is this new deal great, but it is for some of the best phones you can get on Android making it even sweeter.

Pixel 2 XL Deal

Project Fi’s latest promo will save you $250 on a Pixel 2 XL. In order to get the discount, you must purchase the device from Project Fi’s site and activate it within 30 days. Activating within 30 days is an important step here because the $250 discount comes in the form of service credits.

The phone will also need to keep service for 30 consecutive days within 60 days of purchasing and is for full service, not data only plans. This deal is also limited to one per customer but if you happen to be on a group plan each person counts as an individual customer.

LG G7 and V35 Deal

 

This next discount will get you $300 off both the LG G7 ThinQ and V35 ThinQ effectively dropping the price to $449 for the G7 and $599 for the V35. There are far fewer terms for this deal and unlike with the Pixel 2 XL it does not come in the form of service credits. Instead, you get the discount all up front.

However, you must activate the phone on Project Fi within the first 30 days. If you fail to do so the remaining amount for the phone will be charged to your account. There is no minimum activation time but you must activate for full service including voice and data.

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Android Pie Review: The reason why I gave up my iPhone X

It’s August which means that we were greeted with a new version of Android. This has been Google’s MO for the last few years, and Pie is now available on your Pixel devices, along with the Essential Phone.

Android Pie made its debut after being unveiled at Google I/O 2018 and then came to handsets through Google’s beta program. Then, in a move that surprised most, Android 9 Pie was officially made available.

Read Later

For the purpose of our review, we have been using Android Pie for the last month through the beta program and final release. This is also the reason why our review is a bit later than others, because we wanted to spend some time with Google’s final product.

What’s new?

At first glance, you probably won’t think that there is much packed into this latest release. But the real fun comes when you start diving deeper. Here is a list of some of the features coming with a “higher profile”:

  • Adaptive Battery
  • Adaptive Brightness
  • Digital Wellbeing
  • Gesture Navigation
  • Notch Support (up to 3)
  • App Actions
  • New App Switcher

These are just some of the new features, and while that’s all fine and dandy, you probably want to know about the important ones. So let’s get started with the most surprising one – Battery Life.

Battery Life

Android Pie has provided a pleasant surprise in the battery department. In my usage, I was seeing all-day battery life with around 15% left with at least 4 hours of screen on time (SOT).

In fact, there were a few nights where I forgot to plug in my Pixel 2 XL, only to find that the battery drained just a little bit. Most recently, I went to bed at 1 AM with around 50% remaining, and woke up with 42% battery remaining.

This is no doubt in part to the new Adaptive Battery features. Google explained that this new functionality was intended to learn which apps you use, when you use them, and when to shut them down.

It seems that Android Pie really takes things into overdrive, as my battery life has just been incredible. From time to time, I noticed that an app (like Twitter) was closed when it had been a few hours, but notifications continued to come through.

Adaptive Brightness is another feature that is undoubtedly helping with the battery life race. The only issue that I found came when I was looking at my phone at night. The dark light of my room seemed to cause confusion with my device, as the brightness would fluctuate randomly and annoyingly.

What is making these new battery tweaks exciting is Google’s initiative to integrate Artificial Intelligence into its software. This is nothing new, but it will be interesting to see how everything holds up over time and with newer devices launched with Pie.

How are the gestures?

The next biggest change that users will be able to see is the removal of the good ole’ navigation bar. Instead of having three buttons to tap at the bottom, you are now greeted with a “pill”, which acts as the navigation for your device.

Android Pie ‘pill’ button

As someone who switched from an iPhone X to the Pixel 2 XL with Android Pie, the learning curb was not all that bad. Here are how the gestures work:

  • Tapping the pill button will take you home
  • Swiping to the right once will take you to the previous app
  • Swiping and holding will allow you to scroll through your open apps
  • Swipe up once to reveal the multi-tasking drawer
  • Swipe up twice to reveal the App Drawer

In practice, this makes quite a bit of sense, other than the whole App Drawer debacle. You can do a slow drag to reveal the drawer, but having to swipe up twice to reach all of your apps is rather annoying.

Android Pie Multi-tasking

To help combat the issue, I resorted to placing more apps on my home screens. My home screen has turned into folder-central and it is rather annoying for someone who doesn’t want a whole lot going on.

One extra feature that has been added is for those who make use of rotation lock. If you are using rotation lock but want to view one specific app in landscape mode, a new icon shows up in the navigation bar. This will allow users to view content how they want to, with just the tap of a button.

Visual enhancements in Android Pie

Something else that you may notice when you start poking around Android Pie is some slightly redesigned panels. Most notably, there has been a slight redesign to the notification tray, as the toggles are a bit brighter and more vibrant.

Additionally, since more devices are launching with notches, the clock has been moved from the right side to the left. This is to help make sure that you can see all the necessary notifications, while still seeing the time.

For some reason, Google has placed a limitation of three notches for Android OEM’s to be able to use with Android Pie. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean that Google knows something that we don’t and a phone is incoming with too many notches.

Notifications for messages have also been slightly revamped, as there are new quick reply features. You may remember an app called “Reply” which surfaced earlier this year that added smart replies to your favorite messaging apps.

This has been integrated into the system of Android 9 Pie, making it possible to quickly respond to your friends or family. The API has been also opened for developers, which hopefully means more apps will take advantage of this in the future.

The fight to improve your “Digital Wellbeing”

At Google I/O 2018, during the Android P introduction, a new feature/app was announced called Digital Wellbeing. Google stated that the purpose of this app was to help provide users with a way to see exactly how much you are using your phone.

Not only can you now see that you are spending way too much time on Twitter, but you can also limit yourself. This is done with the help of App Timer, which is a setting that you set up for your “problematic” or “time-wasting” applications.

As someone who has no penchant for restraint, app timers seems like something that could be really useful. However, I ended up being more annoyed that I couldn’t access the app I was trying to view on my smoke break.

It was also a bit alarming to see just how many times I unlocked my screen or how many notifications that I received. Suffice to say, Digital Wellbeing really has given me a different look at how I should be staying off my phone when I don’t need to be on it.

READ MORE: What is Digital Wellbeing and how to sign up for it

The odd thing here is that it’s not automatically built into Android Pie. Instead, you have to sign up for a beta program and then wait for it to auto-magically appear in your settings menu.

As a side note, Chris Lacy (of Action Launcher fame) developed an app that allows you to view Digital Wellbeing as an application. It creates a direct shortcut, so you won’t have to dive into your settings to see what is going on.

Download Pixel Shortcuts

What’s next?

For owners of the Pixel, Pixel 2, and Essential Phone, you likely have already been enjoying the fruits of Android Pie. However, the real question remaining is when are other OEM’s going to jump on board.

As much as I would like to sit here and give you a rundown of what each manufacturer will be doing, I can’t. We have seen failed promises time and time again, and it just wouldn’t be fair for us to convey those failed promises to you, the readers.

So instead, I will say that it’s time to just sit back and play the waiting game.

Final Thoughts

Android 9 Pie is one of, if not the best, iterations ever released. My personal excitement drove me to pick up a Pixel 2 XL of my own, and put my iPhone X in a drawer.

In the time spent with Pie, I really fell back in love with Android and enjoyed all of the new features. I can safely say that once Pie arrives on more devices, it will be a joy to just about everyone to use.

Sure, gesture navigations may be annoying, but I feel that this is the way to full experience bezel-less devices. Google is making all of the right moves, and the Pixel 3 will be interesting to see how the latest version of Android works with the latest hardware

We want to hear from you. Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think about Android Pie. Have you been using and enjoying it? Have you run into any issues? Let us know if you have any questions!

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What is a YouTube Signature Device and what phones are certified?

If you’ve never heard of a YouTube signature device until the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launch, then you’re not alone. For many of us, that was the first time we ever heard of this certification. Join us as we dive deeper into what exactly a YouTube signature device is and what devices are currently certified.

What is a YouTube Signature Device?

In short, it is a device which has been certified by YouTube to provide you with the best video quality and fastest load times on YouTube. Breaking it down further, YouTube tests the devices to make sure that they meet these specific qualifications.

HDR Video

HDR video playback certification ensures that your phone can display a greater dynamic range for videos that support it. Meaning simply that you will be able to view more detail in the highlights and the shadows of the video. It also provides you with more vivid true-to-life colors.

360° Video

Support for 360° videos that allow you to look up, down, and all around you. Whether you’re controlling it with your finger or a VR headset, YouTube Signature Devices are certified to immerse you in the scene.

4K Video

As 4K TVs and video cameras are becoming more prevalent so are the videos. Any phone that has undergone YouTube Signature Device certification has been tested to guarantee it can decode and play 4K videos. You’ll have no worries about watching all your favorite content with crystal clear clarity.

High Frame Rate

Videos shot in high frame rates appear smoother to the naked eye and are very useful for high action situations such as sports. In the case of YouTube Signature Devices, this covers any videos that are greater than 60 frames per second.

Next Generation Codecs

Video codecs are used to compress video files making them smaller and easier to transport faster over the internet. The higher the compression the smaller the file and the more advanced the codec the smaller the file can be while retaining higher quality.

The qualifications for a 2019 YouTube Signature Device requires hardware with the ability to decode the VP9 profile 2 codec. Use of the VP9 profile 2 codec allows for you to stream high-quality video with up to 30% less bandwidth.

Digital Rights Management

Digital Rights Management or DRM is a form of copy protection used to protect media from being shared or stolen. While YouTube is mainly a free or ad-supported platform, they also provide services for renting and purchasing videos as well as the YouTube TV service. All signature devices must be compliant with DRM protection.

What Devices are Supported?

Google

  • Pixel 2
  • Pixel 2 XL

HTC

  • U12+

Huawei

  • Mate 10 Pro

LG

  • G7 ThinQ
  • V30

Nokia

  • Nokia 8 Sirocco

OnePlus

  • OnePlus 6

Samsung

  • Galaxy S8
  • Galaxy S8 Plus
  • Galaxy Note 8
  • Galaxy S9
  • Galaxy S9 Plus
  • Galaxy Note 9

Sony

  • Xperia XZ2
  • Xperia XZ2 Compact
  • Xperia XZ2 Premium

Xiaomi

  • Mi 8
  • Mi Mix 2S

More Coming in the Future

At this time the total includes 19 YouTube Signature Devices in total. One glaring omission you might have noticed is the iPhone. Apple devices don’t support the VP9 profile 2 codec and as such cannot be YouTube Signature Device certified. However, this list can grow over time as YouTube provides a link to a form for manufacturers to request their devices be certified.

The current qualifications are specified for the year 2019. As time goes on, there will certainly be advancements in technology and the requirements are sure to evolve with those advancements.

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Project Fi is offering $200 off the Pixel 2 XL and deals on Moto and LG phones

Google’s back to school sale isn’t the only way to get a deal on a Pixel 2 XL. Starting August 12 until the 31 Project Fi has some discounts for you as well. Starting with the Pixel 2 XL, LG G7 ThinQ, LG V35 ThinQ, and Moto G6 for some pretty steep discounts.

Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 XL is still one of the best Android phones around and one of the few running the official release of Android Pie. The $200 discount through Project Fi is for all current and new customers. With the discount, this effectively drops the price of the 64GB model to $649 and $749 for the 128GB model. However, it will require you to activate a line within 30 days or your account will be charged the additional $200 and is limited to 1 per customer.

LG G7 ThinQ and LG V35 ThinQ

For this pair of LG phones, Project Fi is offering a bill credit of up to $899 when you purchase two of them. You can purchase two G7 ThinQ, two V35 ThinQ, or mix and match. However, the bill credit will be for the amount of the cheapest phone. In order to receive the credit, both phones must be activated on the shared group plan within 60 days of purchase. They must also remain active for 30 consecutive days, only then will you begin to receive the bill credits.

Moto G6

The Moto G6 is one of the best budget phones around and with this Project Fi deal you can snag it for $50 off. In this case, just as with the LG phone deal, the discount comes in the form of a bill credit. The Moto G6 must also be activated within 30 days of purchase and remain active for 30 consecutive days before you’ll receive your credit.

If you’re interested, you might want to jump on these deals quickly. Even though they run through August 31 the terms also state they are only good while supply lasts.

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Google offers a detailed glimpse of security enhancements in Android Oreo

With Android Oreo, Google has doubled down on security by making it safer to get apps, hardening the kernel or making Android easier to update. And in a new blog post this week, Google is taking a more in-depth look at the security goodness inside Oreo. Google’s latest mobile operating system comes with support for […]

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Best deals on Verizon right now (December 2017)

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to get gifting and find the presents for your family and friends. If you haven’t picked them out yet, maybe you’d like to take a look at Verizon’s list of discounts for the season. America’s biggest carrier is offering promotional prices on a lot of products, as […]

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Google’s AR Stickers are now making their way to Pixel phones

Remember the AR stickers feature which Google demoed during its Pixel 2 event in October? Well, the search giant has released the AR Stickers app in the Play Store. It’s available for Pixel phones and require Android 8.1 Oreo to work – which is in the process of rolling out. If you managed to make […]

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