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What would you like to do?
Pixel 2 or Priv?
It so happens that I've found myself in possession of a Pixel 2,
Google's new flagship Android device. My current device is a Blackberry
Priv, which I hitherto have had little complaint for.
For some time now I've been a technological skeptic; the notion that
newer is better does not appeal to me, and I believe that the presence
of additional new behaviour doesn't necessarily mean greater general
utility.
So here I am holding this shiny new phone and looking at my Priv. I
gave the new phone a fair shake: I set up my primary Google account,
sync'd in my favourite apps and gave it a go. The device is notable
faster at switching applications, but the applications I use don't
appear to be notably faster in and of themselves. Of course, the VR
experience is greater than zero and so is clearly superior, but for a
device that will reside on my desk or in my pocket the capacity for
which it can drive a facebox is of no importance to me.
In terms of other features, there's this finger print scanner that, as
you're setting it up, the device warns you is less secure than a
four-digit pin. Fine, I thought, I won't use it then. Only it kept
asking me to set it up. "Please set up your phone to be less secure,"
it begged, "it will make your life convenient." No thanks, and I wonder
how that will fair when the back is covered by a phone case.
There's this... Squeeze to interact? I dunno, you can squeeze the phone
to turn the page in readers and to acknowledge a setup screen. Again,
not sure how much utility is there when its inside a phone case.
I suppose Google doesn't expect Pixel 2 owners to use the device inside
a case; but they sell case accessories at the Google booths at Best
Buy, so maybe they do?
And there's a dongle for your headset! Dooooongles!
The device uses USB-C, which is neat, but the box doesn't contain any
sort of adapter. Just at USB-C cable and a USB-C wall wart. The fuck?
Do they expect everyone who has a Pixel 2 to purchase a new laptop as
well? The new laptop I received for work this past summer doesn't even
have a USB-C port. It's like Firewire all over again.
It doesn't have a physical keyboard. AFAICT, Blackberry remains the
only source of physical keyboards on smart phones now that it seems LG
has abandoned the idea. I guess that doesn't matter for 99% of users,
but I am the 1% for whom it does.
It doesn't have any means by which one can expand the storage. Google
really wants users to avail themselves of the unlimited Photo storage
they provide and Google Music. They want all your data, and despite the
phone costing nearly a thousand dollars, they aren't interested in
providing a means by which users can carry their whole music
collection, photo library, and work documents on-the-go without also
agreeing to their cloud user agreements and so allow them to use your
data for business intelligence. Sell me shit, give my data to American
authorities on demand, and so forth.
It doesn't have DTEK, so I can't see which apps are using what
permissions with what frequency.
It has much lower latency audio output, but I don't think it's as loud,
and so I expect it's not as good for video calls with Freija's
grandparents.
It has Android 8, whereas the Priv is stuck at 6, but I can't really
tell the difference, as a user. Particularly because I use Microsoft's
Arrow interface.
The Google suite is more streamlined and so more useless than ever, and
I've long since switched to Microsoft's Office tools. Office Lens is
fucking amazing, so is One Note, and combined with a One Drive account
it's all just so well integrated. I can print to One Note on my PC and
it appears in my Quick Notes on my Phone, where I can scribble on them
and that shows up on my PC; on any device I can import those into...
Well, you get the idea. I could use these on the Pixel 2, of course.
The Pixel 2 is going to stay on my desk. Ultimately, it's a work device
and I don't want to put it at risk, but I probably would've felt the
switch was a step backwards regardless.
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