I have been an iPhone user for as long as they’ve sold iPhones, and for all intents and purposes, I’m an Apple Fanboy.
But, like many, I’ve been getting a bit bored of it.
Apple has used the same design, the same features, they’re slow to adopt new technology, and the ecosystem… Never do I feel more trapped than when I hear that word.
In the last few months, I have been exploring the possibility that the Pixel 7 Pro might be the device that finally - yes finally - encourages me to make a complete transition to Android. And spoiler alert, I have actually switched to Android, but it’s not what you think it is.
Let’s first talk about the flagship features that attracted me to the Pixel 7 Pro in the first place.
And primarily, it’s all about voice for me.
The fact is, the Pixel has far better voice transcription than any iPhone I’ve ever used.
I can use it to send messages, add emojis, and send the message much more accurately and much faster than my iPhone experience, which generally ends up with me giving up and typing it out by hand.
Google’s transcription also works really well if you want to record a conversation and have the Pixel live transcribe what’s being said, including who said it, whilst you have a discussion. It’s good enough to walk into a meeting with the phone in your pocket and it records and transcribes the entire conversation word for word, it’s so accurate.
Then you’ve got the translation features, and there have been 2 ways that I’ve used these features on my Pixel so far.
Firstly, when watching or listening to content that doesn’t have subtitles, you can switch on transcription on the Pixel for it to do it for you. No matter which app you're using.
Secondly, I work with some clients overseas and help them create video content, and I’ve used Pixel to translate what they’re saying in their videos so I can provide them with feedback.
And for me, one of the flagship features that I was interested in is the Google Assistant service which can screen your calls, make bookings, and waits on hold for you.
Now, these features look and sound like they work really well in the US. But here in the UK, at least in my experience, it hasn’t been AS good as I’d hoped.
The UK voice you hear sounds very robotic in comparison to the US voice, and that’s also pretty obvious when you use call screening, where the Pixel will answer the phone for you and ask things like who’s calling. Google Assistant will then transcribe what they respond with so you can tap on the screen to either accept the call or you can get the Assistant to ask them not to call again.
And so for me, with the Google Assistant answering calls, 9/10 times, the caller will just hang up whilst the Pixel is halfway through talking.
Here in the UK, we also don’t get the features where Google Assistant will stay on hold for you when you call say, the Doctor or somewhere where you have to wait in a queue. And we don’t get the feature that got me really excited a couple of years ago with the Pixel 6, where the Pixel will call to make a booking on your behalf, sounding completely natural, even with the uhms and ahhs that humans make when making appointments.
Not being from the US, I don’t actually know if it’s capable of doing that yet. Maybe let me know down in the comments if it can or can’t - I’d love to know.
Other minor features that I want to mention here. Back Tap - I love that I can set my pixel up to double-tap the back of the phone to trigger the flashlight! It’s a straightforward but well-implemented feature that I use every single day.
Whereas over on the iPhone, we have features such as Dynamic Island.
Honestly, I know there’s a lot of love and hate for Dynamic Island - but recently there have been some really good use cases that I have missed from the Pixel.
And as far as ‘Flagship features’ go on the iPhone 14, that’s kinda been it for me. Again another reason why a lot of iPhone users I know are considering a switch to Android.
There has been one feature that is still very much a sticking point for me, though, and it comes down to my choice of laptop and desktop, which is, at least for now, a Mac.
And that sticking point is their seamless Copy and Paste. Most often used to just copy phone numbers from one screen to another or copy images, or documents - I can copy anything on my computer - hit Cmd C, and paste it on my iPhone.
There are workarounds for this on the Android platform, but they require you to go to specific websites and install various apps that just don’t work as seamlessly.
Which brings me to that word again, the Ecosystem.
And for me this is a really short one.
Facetime - Most recent video calls I’ve had have been over WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger so that’s not a big issue for me.
iMessage - I thought it would be a big issue for me, but only a small number of conversations were still using iMessage, and most of those were easy to move over to WhatsApp.
I prefer to use Signal since it’s more secure and encrypted - but I found that a harder sell because you have to get your friends to install and sign up for a whole new app when they have something like WhatsApp already installed and working.
Photos are the other one - and Google Photos works just as well as Apple Photos and their ecosystem.
In fact, I’d even say that it’s better. It’s better organised, you can search on pretty much anything about the photo to find them, and its utilities has genuinely good suggestions like moving a tonne of old screenshots - things I typically do to just send to someone and then never care to see again, moving them to an archive, just gets them off my main camera roll.
So for me, as far as the Apple Ecosystem goes, it’s not a big issue, Apart from the copy and paste and also the Watch - which we’ll chat about in a mo.
I want to touch briefly on the design, as this is a bit of a luxury iPhone users don’t really have each year, with pretty much the same design and camera bumps that just seem to get bigger and bigger.
So we have the Dynamic Island vs the Pixel’s Pinhole Camera, which is much less distracting than Apple's approach, and also - I couldn’t see any reason why this Dynamic Island feature couldn’t be developed to look just as good, if not better on the Pixel. In fact, I’m sure someone out there has already designed an app that will do just that, knowing the Android community!
You do get a toggle switch on the side to Mute your phone, though on the Pixel I just set it up so that it goes into DND as soon as I place it face down on the desk - that’s been great when shooting YouTube videos and I can just pop it down and know that nothing’s going to interrupt me.
The always-on Display - I can leave it on all day without impacting the battery, and it’s dim enough whilst still displaying all of the information that I need, like the notifications.
Whereas with Apple, you get a more colourful, somewhat richer experience - but I do find that I keep thinking that the display has been left on because it’s still quite bright. It does eat into the battery considerably, so I usually just switch it off.
They’re not as rich as the Apple notifications, but still good enough, as long as you stay on top of them.
I find if you don’t deal with them, then you’ll just get a tonne of icons on the always-on screen and not really be able to tell what’s going on.
Another design feature that you don’t get on the Pixel is Magsafe - something I’ve grown to love about the iPhone. I have so many chargers around my house where I can just stick my phone to. One at my desk, one in the car, and my bedside table.
Pixel does have a charging stand, but Magsafe really is great. Thankfully, just before I decided that I would make this post, my favourite case of all time from MagBak, which I ordered a month or two ago, I think - got delivered!
This isn’t sponsored or anything; I just genuinely love these cases where they have built-in magnets, which means you can stick your phone to any metal surface.
I’ve used it a few times in the Gym so I can watch a video, check my workout progress, or even film myself getting ripped.
But it also means that all my MagSafe accessories still work. The chargers are great, and I also use the wallet because you can fit way more into them than the Apple wallet.
So now, Magsafe isn’t a problem for me.
One thing that kinda sits in the design section is FaceID vs Face Unlock.
I’ve come to love FaceID over the years. Just pick up the phone, and it’s unlocked by the time you’re there. It’s fast, it’s secure, and it works really well.
The Pixel, on the other hand, has Face Unlock, which actually works better in some cases - because you don’t need to swipe up after unlocking your phone as you do on an iPhone. I can just look at my Pixel, and it goes straight back to the app I was in, or to the home screen.
That’s been really great.
But, because the Pixel’s implementation of Face Unlock isn’t as secure, you can’t use Face Unlock for things like Contactless Payments or unlocking password managers. So you’ll have to use the under-screen fingerprint sensor for that - which, thankfully - is really good. I’ve had no issues with the fingerprint sensor in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, I know the 6 had issues, but they’re not here in the 7.
Oh, and one more for design, but - USB C. Come on, Apple!
I no longer have to carry around multiple charging cables and bricks with me everywhere I go, JUST so that I can charge one device that still uses a proprietary port.
In terms of actually switching from the iPhone to the Pixel, there are a few ways you can switch.
Firstly in the box, you get this little dongle that allows you to plug your iPhone into your Pixel, and it will copy as much as you can from your iPhone to your Pixel.
But I’ve used an iPhone for so many years now, that I didn’t want to just copy everything from one place to the next; I wanted to start with a clean slate.
So if you do want to transfer things, you can. But I used this as an opportunity to start from scratch without suddenly bloating my phone with a tonne of photos and messages and apps that it thinks I needed.
Now the one potential problem when moving from Apple is for those of you who use Keychain to store all of your passwords. So I would highly recommend before you switch to a Pixel that, you sign up for a proper Password Manager.
Because using a proper password manager for me, has meant that I can bring all of my usernames and passwords with me to any new device that I pick up.
I’ve used 1Password for years now, and they’ve become a long-term sponsor of my YouTube channel, so there’ll be a link below to get 25% off either a personal or family subscription.
Next on the list of things that nobody can agree on is the Cameras on both of these phones.
Honestly - it’s 2022, and these phones are both excellent and widely regarded as the two best phones when it comes to cameras.
A few things I have noticed, though, when using the Pixel.
Firstly, in my experience, the Pixel seems to miss the edges when taking Portrait photos. So snap a photo, then zoom in and look around the edges; you’ll see that ears are often mistaken as part of the background, so the Pixel blurs them out. Vs the iPhone, which, isn’t always perfect but does seem to get it right more than the Pixel. I think when testing out various Android phones recently, the S22 Ultra and Samsung in general, seem to be the best here.
One thing that I definitely prefer with the Pixel over the iPhone, though is the lens setup. And specifically, Pixel’s 5x lens is far more practical than Apple combining 2 of their lenses to give us a 2x optical lens.
With the Pixel, you can get better photos from greater distances, particularly if you have kids and want to snap photos at their shows, or, honestly really anything where you’re not standing right next to it.
On the iPhone, Apple has combined the 1x and 3x lenses to give you this semi-fake 2x focal length. But I use the 5x on the Pixel all the time.
Checking off the other modes - Video and Cinematic Mode, it can be very, very blurry on the Pixel - that is better on iPhone, but I don’t often use Cinematic mode on either phone, to be honest.
I also found that video can be jittery on Pixel, especially when you zoom with stabilisation where it’s trying to lock on to the thing that it thinks you’re trying to film.
Low light, both are equally good.
Macro, too, is also good on both, but I prefer the image Pixel produces here.
You also have the flagship photo features on the Pixel, Magic Eraser, which lets you quickly erase other people or objects from your photos, which can be fun to play with, and Photo Unblur, which restores your blurry photos to a sharper image.
Day to day, I don’t honestly use these features a whole bunch. If I see I’ve taken a blurry photo, I’ll just try to take a better one. And actually, the one time I did use it, it didn’t work.
The magic eraser does work, but it depends on the type of photo you’re trying to erase things from. And if you zoom in close on the images, it’s sometimes pretty obvious that it’s had some objects removed.
Overall - Even though the Pixel does have some issues, I actually find myself wanting to share my Pixel photos more than I do the iPhone photos.
Though I know this will always come down to personal preference and so there is no right or wrong answer here.
Before I get on to the Watch experience, I want to touch on overall performance and pricing.
Performance (and Pricing)
For Performance, both of these phones are very fast. They keep up with each other when launching apps and with day-to-day usage. I haven’t experienced any slowdowns or glitches, or even bugs! Something I keep seeing seems to be affecting a lot of iPhone users online.
But honestly, I’ve not had any issues with either.
Yes, if you do some heavy lifting, the iPhone’s faster chip may be better for you. But personally, I don’t edit videos on my phone, I don’t edit photos, or really play that many games, and the Pixel manages to keep up with me just fine.
The Pixel also has the benefit here of being more competitively priced than the iPhone, particularly the Pro Max version of the iPhone 14 even though you get a similar-sized screen.
So I would say that for those worried about downgrading to a cheaper, slower phone - it’s really not an issue when it comes to the Pixel 7 Pro.
OK so for the Pixel and Android in general - it does open up more options to you in terms of which watch you wear.
More choices in different designs, to suit your preferences!
There’s the Galaxy Watch 5, TicWatch, Fossil, and of course, the Pixel Watch.
For me, these options still aren’t as good as the Apple Watch. It’s still got the best user interface, it’s smooth, the way it works is flawless, and particularly with the new Ultra that I’ve been wearing for a while now, its battery life, the screen, everything about it is just crazy good.
I did wear the Pixel Watch for the last couple of weeks - and it was just, OK.
A few specifics which really dulled my experience with the Pixel Watch Specifically.
Firstly, when you set your phone to DND, it doesn’t set your Watch to DND. A feature that I would have thought would be pretty obvious to have.
Secondly, the Watch's Battery Life just isn’t great. Even with the always-on display switched off, I found myself getting to the end of the day with a dead watch.
Thirdly, with the Apple watch, you can use your phone to unlock the watch. So I put on my watch in the morning, and the first time I look at my phone, it unlocks the watch, so it knows I’m wearing it.
The Pixel watch doesn’t quite work like this. I put the watch on, and I assume that everything is fine. Until I realise that my watch hasn’t given me any notifications all morning, so I tap my watch, and it prompts me to swipe to unlock it. So I unlock it - and then it kind of, finishes booting up? I guess from where it was totally dead the night before.
So I’ve gone a few days where I haven’t remembered to put the watch on and unlock my watch at the same time - so then I miss out on notifications.
Fourthly - and this is a minor thing, but still hasn’t been updated. If you swim with a Pixel watch, all it can do is track the time you’ve been swimming. It doesn’t log heart rate, lengths, pace, or anything. Just the time.
So if you’re a keen swimmer, the Pixel watch isn’t for you.
This is the first generation of Pixel Watch, so they’ll, of course, be learning a lot from all of us who are feeding back our experiences. But for me, I’d probably go with a Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for being the closest to Apple Watch-like features. Maybe let me know in the comments below what you’re using or which watch you’d go for if you switched.
So that’s a not-so-good about the Pixel experience, but what IS good is the audio experience.
You do, of course, get the Pixel Buds, and the Buds Pro which I have, and both work great. But they don’t stay in my ears; I seem to have a shape of ear that just doesn’t keep in-ear headphones in place.
But, I do use my Beats Fit Pro earbuds all the time, and I’m glad to report that they work just fine on Pixel phones. You can also use Airpods on the Pixels with some limited features, but for general day-to-day use and listening to music, they’ll work just fine.
Now I know that the whole iPhone vs Android discussion is hugely triggering for a lot of people, with most people saying the side they’ve chosen is the best. But this is exactly why I’ve been trying out a bunch of Android phones this year. And actually, after all of this testing and swapping back and forth, I am going to be switching to Android, but it’s not going to be a Pixel. Not just yet anyway...
🛒 Get 25% off 1Password Families: https://geni.us/Xph6Weky-OI-4
🛒 Get 25% off 1Password Individuals: https://geni.us/Xph6Weky-OI-6
🛒 Get 25% off 1Password Business: https://geni.us/Xph6Weky-OI-5