Posts Tagged Pixel 2

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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Android Pie updates, Fitbit Charge 3 coming soon, and other news worth knowing

Welcome to In Brief, the AndroidGuys tech briefing. Today is Tuesday, October 4th, and we’re taking a look at all the tech news you need to know. In this post, we want you to learn about the news the way you want to learn. We’ve embedded a podcast version of all this news below. If you don’t want to listen, you can read just like you normally would.

In today’s edition, we see yet another Pixel 3 leak, HMD Global confirms Android Pie rollout, the Fitbit Charge 3 is coming next week, and more.

We’d love feedback on this post, so please let us know what you think in the comments. If we can improve in some way, we’d love to know!

Pixel 3 and 3 XL appear in new “Sand Pink” color ahead of launch

We already know that the Pixel 3 lineup will be unveiled on October 9th in New York. We also already know exactly what to expect from these devices in terms of design and specs.

One piece of information we weren’t privy to was which colors the phones would come in. The folks over at Android Headlines were able to get their hands on some official press renders of the devices in Black, White, and a new ‘Sand Pink’ color.

It’s not outside the realm of possibility for this to be legitimate as Google is known for releasing unique color options. Everything other than the front display panel has been made pink, and there will be a matching wallpaper included.

Nokia to begin rolling out Android Pie this month

In addition to unveiling the brand new Nokia 7.1, HMD Global also shared the expected release date for the Android Pie update. The Nokia 6.1 and 6.1 Plus will receive the Pie update first, as the rollout begins this month.

Starting next month, the Nokia 8 and 8 Sirocco will begin seeing their updates. We are starting to wonder has been taking so long considering that Pie has been available for a few months.

Nonetheless, it’s great to see older devices updated to the latest version of Android and not just left collecting dust.

Fitbit Charge 3 set to launch on October 7th

The Fitbit Charge 3 was officially announced back in August, but the company failed to share its launch date. That has now changed, as the Charge 3 will launch online and in retailers on October 7th.

As a refresher, the fitness tracker sports a touchscreen OLED display which claims to be almost 40% brighter than the Charge 2. Additionally, Fitbit has stated that you will get up to 7 days of battery life on a single charge.

The standard Charge 3 is priced at $149.95, but there is a special edition which costs $169.95. The difference is that the Special Edition includes an NFC chip for Fitbit Pay.

You can now use Google Assistant to book an Uber or Lyft

An update to Google Assistant is now available which makes it possible to hail either an Uber or Lyft with your voice. Simply say “OK Google, book me a ride to…” and say your destination.

From there, you will be provided with a map of the route, along with comparisons between Lyft and Uber. Then, you can select which service to go with and get along on your merry way.

While the voice command only works in English, Google has confirmed that there are plans to include more languages “over the coming months.”

DVR controls come to YouTube TV

If you’re one of the folks who have cut the cord and subscribed to YouTube TV, there’s good news. The streaming service has opened up DVR controls for more more channels.

Some of the channels include those from AMC, Disney, Fox, and Turner. Unfortunately, there is a catch in certain instances, as specific channels offer a “VOD” edition of a show. This means that you will have unskippable ads that you must watch and can’t fast-forward through.

However, there are still plenty of channels that you can record your favorite TV shows and skip all of the commercials.

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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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LAST CHANCE GIVEAWAY! Win a Google Pixel 2 and Brother multi-function printer!

We recently published a post on how mobile printing is in 2018 and how it has come such a long way over the last few years. Thanks to the Mopria Alliance, the out-of-box experience for devices running Android 8.0 or newer means you can print from your phone just as easily as you would from your PC.

If you haven’t had the chance to read the post entitled “Printing from an Android phone is easy thanks to Mopria“, we certainly recommend you do. Our team recently put the experience to the test and came away finding it refreshingly easy to print from an Android phone.

As indicated in that article, we were sent a phone and a printer from our extremely generous friends at the Mopria Alliance.

We loved the experience; the phone (Google Pixel 2) is one of the best you’ll find on the market. For a variety of reasons, it’s one of our favorites of all time. The printer, a multi-function unit from Brother, is excellent for home and office, providing print, scan, copy, and fax capabilities.

Together, the two devices make for a winning combination, and one which any household or work environment would benefit from. So… guess what!

We Want You to Know How Awesome it is!

Our partners at Mopria are providing us with a second phone and printer combination just for us to give away. That’s right, one of you lucky readers is going to end up with the Google Pixel 2 and Brother MFC-J985DW multi-function printer!

The Rules

First things first. This one is limited to residents of the US only; we’re sorry to deliver that out of the gate, but we don’t want to hide from it.

When we choose our winner, you’ll be contacted for your shipping address. You must be 18 to enter and have a US address.

In the widget below, you’ll see a few options to enter. The only mandatory option is that you must enter your email address. We will not sell or give away your email address and you will not be signed up for any kind of mailing lists. We only collect your email address so we can contact the winner.

Beyond that, you have a couple of options to gain more entries into the contest like following AndroidGuys on Twitter, following Mopria on Twitter, and tweeting out a message letting your friends know that you’re entered into the contest. None of these are mandatory, but you can tweet once a day from the widget for more entries if you wish.

This contest will run from right now until 11:59PM EST on September 30, 2018.

We’d like to thank Mopria one more time for teaming up with us on this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Mopria Print Service

Mopria Print Service is an Android system app that allows you to print to multiple printer brands without having to download an individual app for each printer you encounter. It saves you both time and valuable disk space.

Easily print photos, web pages and documents when your mobile device is connected to a Mopria® certified printer through a wireless network or using Wi-Fi Direct®. For more information, you can check out the video below on how to print using Mopria.

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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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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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