(Why) Google Pixel 7 killed the iPhone 14 (for me)

(Why) Google Pixel 7 killed the iPhone 14 (for me)

In the year 2022, the iPhone line died for me. It’s a sad and tragic story of what could have been, as I was always tempted to switch to the bitten apple permanently. But that desire no longer exists.

And I’ll venture here and say that it really doesn’t matter if you buy an iPhone 12, 13, or 14, not only do they look the same, but they also do more or less the same things. And before you throw that dynamic island in my face, let me introduce you to the Pixel family and show you what true innovation is all about.

Innovation to add new skills to your repertoire, to allow you to do new things you couldn’t do before, and innovation that gives you new perspectives.You may also find it interesting:

Why do all smartphones look the same?

A blessing and a curse

All of the above probably sounds a bit opinionated (and to some extent it is), but bear with me. iPhones have one key aspect that is cool and really annoying at the same time. They offer great continuity, so to speak, and users switching from several generations back feel right at home when buying the latest and greatest – there is little to no learning curve.

This applies to both hardware and software and here comes the “curse” part: it takes forever to add new features, some of us are still waiting to get Touch ID back in any shape or form, and widgets took forever. to come to iOS. It took several years for Apple to allow users to remove pre-installed apps and to make Siri work with third-party apps as well.

The same goes for notifications, translation features, and instead of doing anything innovative, Apple has focused on design improvements, animations, 3D emojis, and finally Dynamic Island. Meanwhile, the Pixels are edging ever closer to the personal communicator of the future, and to be more specific, here’s why.

Photo Unblur beats Dynamic Island any day of the week

What would you rather have: a fancy animation around your selfie camera or better photos? With just a few taps, you can turn your old or blurry photos into decent shots. Blur uses the power of AI and you can control the effect with a simple slider.

What’s even better is that this tool works with photos taken with any camera on any phone. I’d buy a Pixel just to fix my old photos from 2004. Yes, there are third-party options, and with a bit of effort you can probably get a similar effect on any phone, but that’s not the point.

Photo Unblur is just the latest example (Magic Eraser also comes to mind), there are other useful tools built right into the core of the Pixel 7 (and other pixels for that matter), and while other brands may have similar things, Google’s the implementation is usually the best (remember the Pixel 3 and its software camera wizardry?).

Live translation and transcription are out of this world

It just amazed me how good these features are on pixels. I tried them on an Android device enrolled in the Beta program, but they work best on Google hardware. You can use Live Translate to transform Japanese gibberish into something you’d understand practically in real time and inside your ear (with a pair of Pixel Buds).

The Pixel 7 can also automatically transcribe audio messages directly on the device without the need to send data to servers and retrieve the transcribed output. You can dictate to Siri and transcribe messages on iOS, but the end result is far from perfect. Which brings us to the next point.

Google Assistant hits Siri with a hand tied behind his back

Google Assistant is way ahead of Siri when it comes to integration with third-party apps and devices: There are thousands of smart home devices that work with Assistant, and only a few that would do business with Siri.

And when it comes to search queries, Assistant always beats Siri; after all, he is Google’s forte. you can check the Annual IQ test that Loup Ventures performs on all virtual assistants and see for yourself. You can even ask the Assistant to call and make an appointment for you; that’s what I call “attend”.

What’s even more important is that Google Assistant will only get better: the open nature of Android and all the third-party developers working to connect their own software and hardware devices to Google’s helpful mastermind can only make it smarter.

Google’s (real) VPN beats Apple Private Relay

We all know how enthusiastic Apple is when it comes to security and protection of its users. That’s a strong point, despite all the naysayers and skeptics who criticize the company for serving the NSA and other government agencies.

When the company introduced Private Relay with iOS15, people praised it for adding an extra layer of security, but failed to take into account the fact that it’s not a VPN service. Private Relay is not a system-wide security feature and works primarily with Safari, along with a small subset of applications.

Google VPN, on the other hand, is a legitimate full-fledged VPN (virtual private network) service that works with your device and not only encrypts your IP and data, but also uses something called traffic obfuscation, essentially making encrypted traffic appear more normal. This is much better for getting around things like geolocation blocking and other restrictive measures.

Of course, the service is still offline and should be coming to the new Pixels sometime in December, and we need to test it in detail to see if it lives up to all of its promises, but it likely will.

Private relay traffic, on the other hand, is easily identifiable and can be blocked if necessary (Apple itself provides the necessary information and instructions for schools, businesses, and other entities on how to prepare their networks for Private Relay and effectively identify traffic).

But what about all the mistakes?

This needs to be addressed, for sure. Sometimes pixels look like half-baked alpha prototypes, and when you’ve just spent several hundred dollars, this is the last thing you’re looking for. iOS, on the other hand, is extremely polished and bugs are very, very rare.

This is where you have to make a choice: connect with your inner adventurer and explorer, or play it safe. I know it’s hard to ask, but so many things are boring and mundane in our daily lives, why add another? I could live with a bug or two, as long as the overall package keeps me excited and engaged. And in a world where a simple animation around the punched hole is considered an innovative feature, I think that leap of faith is more important than ever.

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