The end of an icon

My Nexus 5 finally died 4 years of near constant use. It was one of the best pieces of technology I have owned. Reliable, functional and powerful. If they still made them I wouldn't have hesitated in purchasing an identical model with updated software.

Unfortunately Google has decided it wants to square up to Apple and now has it's own flagship line, the Pixel series. I had heard that the Nexus phones were much cheaper to buy then they were to make so I can understand the decision. It still stings though, but I am so deep in the Google ecosystem that changing to an iPhone would be tough.

The features I want in a phone are good software, security updates, a decent camera and for it to fit in my tiny hands. In the Android world this doesn't give you much choice, the only phones that get updates for any amount of time is the Pixel range. So I bought one.

Pixel impressions

In almost every important respect it is identical to my old Nexus. Android hasn't changed much in the generations that I skipped. It's roughly the same size although top heavy which is terrible. It feels like it wants to fall out of my hand. The Camera is faster and I like that there is no Camera bump, it takes as good photo's as the Nexus to my eye and is noticeably better in low light. Fingerprint unlock is unexpectedly really useful, turns out Apple was onto something with that. And a new battery makes a world of difference, by the end my Nexus needed charging twice a day and I think it was the battery failing that killed it in the end. In every way it's exactly the phone I wanted.

Except it isn't, the price increase from Nexus to Pixel was enormous and the benefits seem to be marginal. Moving from my first HTC smartphone to the Nexus was a paradigm shift and I guess part of me expected the same feeling moving to the Pixel. But it doesn’t, they are very similar phones. And that is what I wanted. I guess I was spoiled by Google's subsidies and now I feel cheated.

I’ve already had phone envy picking up a friends iPhone 7. It was much more comfortable to use despite being a similar size. Apple is also far better at supporting older handsets with the latest software, this is something Google has to improve on if it wants to compete with Apple long term.

When I come to replace my Pixel the choice between a Apple or Google phone will be more difficult.


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