Silverman: Finally, an Android phone to call me: Google’s Pixel 6 Pro

Regular readers know that I’m a longtime iPhone user, and I’m an all-around person in the Apple ecosystem. But I have been interested in Android for a long time, and I reviewed smartphones with Google’s mobile operating system Since the launch of the first HTC Dream in 2008.

Every now and then, I think of buying an Android phone. In the past month, I’ve done more than just think.

I now own the Pixel 6 Pro, the flagship smartphone from Google and considered the flagship device for the Android operating system. When a new version of Android is put to the ground, it appears first on Pixel devices. More on this in a minute.

I spent my money this way because, while I’m familiar enough with Android to write phone reviews, I don’t have the experience on the platform I do for iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system. Pixel ownership is my take to change that.

This in no way means that I’m on the way to becoming an Android Switch. Like I said, I’m surrounded by Apple devices, happy with Apple’s software, and have taken advantage of Apple’s services, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. What others mock as “locking”, I consider to be “empowerment”.

iPhone users who can copy text or images from their mobile devices and paste them instantly into a document on their Mac, iPad, or other iPhone know what I’m talking about.

No, in that case, I’m going to go to school, and enroll in Android University. Since I received the phone after Buy it from amazonI have spent a lot of time using it like my iPhone 13 Pro Max. He’s not my daily driver, but now he gets the same time. I’ve been customizing it, installing (and uninstalling) apps, modifying settings and subscribing to services.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten close to the Pixel 6 Pro. I checked it last novemberDeclaring at the time:

“From its stellar camera to its beautiful 6.7-inch screen to its unusual design to its Google-designed processor, it is an immediate contender for the best Android device you can own. Bonus: It costs less than the competition too.”

Choosing a Pixel as my Android tester wasn’t a simple decision. I thought about what I wanted to achieve and the criteria needed to achieve that goal. Here’s what I’m asking my Android device called my device:

longevity. Apple provides at least five years of updates for its iOS devices, but users often get more than that. Some low-end Android devices don’t get any OS updates, and even flagship models may only receive one or two. That’s changing — Samsung now offers four years of operating system updates and five years of security fixes, while Google gives Pixel phones three years of operating system updates and five years of security patches. To make sure I receive plenty of updates, my choice should be a new model, not something that is a year or two old already.

Minimal bloatware. Like Windows PCs, Android devices are notorious for bloatware and unnecessary apps that get in the way and often duplicate the operating system’s native apps. I wanted a device that was relatively free from spam, or at least one from which most offending apps could be removed. The closer we get to “pure” Android, the better.

the current. I didn’t want a device not readily available in the US, or with little or no carrier support. I wanted to test multiple carriers with it, so it was necessary to unlock it.

Drum roll, please

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to find a device that meets all these criteria. However, I narrowed my choices down to a short list of four phones, and asked my followers and readers of my personal blog on social media at dwightsilverman.com for their ideas. the list:


Samsung A53 5G
At the higher end of Samsung’s mid-range range of phones, the A53 has a decent camera and screen system, good battery life and a responsive processor. It’s also an excellent buy at $450. I rejected it because Samsung is making major changes to Android. It also contains a notorious amount of bloatware, some of which cannot be removed.


Samsung Galaxy S22
– Ideally, I really wanted the S22 +, because I prefer devices with larger screens. But the bigger phone is $1,000 compared to the $800 in the S22. But still, it’s Samsung so it has bloatware and a modified OS.


Google Pixel 6a
Although this phone is smaller, with a 6.1 inch screen, I was impressed by the great reviews it received. Also, it’s brand new and costs $450. But the camera system is less capable than the 6 Pro.


Google Pixel 6 Pro
– In the end, I ended up choosing it because it is free of bloatware and will get many years of OS updates that are as pure as Android. It’s not the cheapest option, at $899, but it’s less expensive than the top-of-the-line models from Samsung or Apple. The downside: Google phones have a relatively small market share, and mostly Omanis like them. They are not particularly mainstream devices. Also: A successor, the Pixel 7 Pro, is set to come this fall.

I also decided, for now, to subscribe to google fiThe company’s wireless service. Fi, as it is known, is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO. These types of services operate on top of major carriers. In the case of Fi, the primary carriers are T-Mobile and Consumer Cellular, which themselves operate on the AT&T network.

You’ve signed up for the flexible tier, in which you only pay for what you use: $20 a month, plus $10 for every gigabyte of data. (Pro tip: Don’t do 5G tests with the famous Speedtest app from Ookla in this plan. In my case, each test consumed about half a gigabyte of data, which cost me $10 under flexible tier terms. Sorry!) But other than that, I like the convenience of Fi, but will be moving to an unlimited tier at the end of this billing period.

Expect to see future columns focused on Android, including a look at version 13, which may come sometime this month.

dsilverman@outlook.com

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