I’ve never owned an Android phone as my primary device.
I jumped on the iPhone train in 2009 shortly after I got my MacBook because I wanted a quality smartphone that would work well with my laptop. Apple’s iOS ecosystem also had a reputation for having all the best apps, whereas Android devices would get those apps at a later time, if at all.
I came for the revolutionary smartphone, but I stayed for the device integration. When Apple gave us iCloud and put iMessage on Macbooks a few years later, and it made a huge difference in my life.
In recent years, though, device-syncing started to feel less like a practical reason to stick with Apple and more like an excuse to stay in my comfort zone. So for the last week, I bravely put my iPhone 7 away for a Pixel 2 and opened up my mind — and my heart — to the possibility of switching over.
Returning to my iPhone did feel like coming home, but a there were several things about the Pixel 2 that drew me in just a bit closer:
1. Google Pixel 2 lets you make custom shortcuts, which can save you a lot of time.
Imagine being able to create an icon on your screen that takes you directly to the text conversation with the person you talk to the most.
Now, imagine being able to do that with practically any app: an icon for your route home, and another to visit your favorite website.
This was something I had heard a lot about: Android fans tout customization as one of the key reasons Android is better than iOS, in the same way iPhone owners tout iMessage.
After a couple of days using the Pixel 2, it was difficult to deny the time-saving power of these widgets.
2. The Pixel 2 camera blows the iPhone X out of the water.
Google Pixel 2 set a high bar for what I expect from my next smartphone camera. It has portrait mode on its front and rear cameras just like Apple’s iPhone X (although I preferred the more realistic coloring on the Pixel 2), and Google’s new co-processor even improves the quality of images in social media apps.
I’ve used friends’ iPhone X cameras and seen the stuff they post. I do believe it’s an impressive smartphone camera, but based on my experience, the choice here is a no-brainer. Google’s Pixel 2 camera gave me more detail, better color, and a better “bokeh” effect, where the background appears slightly blurry. I couldn’t stop using it, as you can probably tell from this very mundane shot of almonds, which was actually taken through the Snapchat app.
3. Charging your phone — especially from 0% — is much less of a hassle.
I distinctly remember a time when I could turn my dead phone back on as soon as it was hooked up to the charger, and the Pixel 2 brought that small pleasure back to me. Those minutes when my iPhone is starting up feel like they fall somewhere between a microwave minute and a treadmill minute — it’s infuriating.
Google Pixel 2 also charges a lot faster than my iPhone 7 did when it was brand new. As for battery life, I didn’t actually find the Pixel 2 to be much better or worse, but it’s nice to not have to wait as long for your phone to re-energize.