I returned my first ever Google Product – Pixel, after one month of using it & 3 days of arguments with the Google staff. It was almost like a breakup… with the company I loved all my life – Google. A company known for its “not to be evil” tagline, has definitely forgotten the basic laws of business (“customer first”)
Why Did I Choose Pixel Over Other Android Devices?
For the most obvious reason: I was in the mindset that by having the software and hardware from the same (and a reputed) company, I will get the most stable smartphone and a product with almost real time updates.
I was expecting to get all the latest updates from Google/Android along with accurate description before any other Android based mobile device.
And What I Got – The First Impression
A copy of iPhone – This was my exact reaction when I opened the box for the first time. My colleague (who is a fan of Apple) reacted to it by saying, “the design is cool, I liked it. It looks like an iPhone“.
The last thing an Android lover would like to hear is that he is holding a phone that is a copy of iPhone.
Coming to the accessories, it had almost none. The US models, do not even have a pair of earphones. Seriously, no earphones with a 800 bucks phone? Even Apple is giving a pair of earphones with their no-audio jack iPhone 7 (if not the air pods).
Battery is non-removable and SIM card slot can be opened only by using a pin (just like Apple). These features are NOT user friendly and if you are launching a product almost after a decade since the first smart phone came into the market, then it is expected that you take all this into consideration.
A new USB port (USB C) with no free converter – forcing everyone to dump all their micro USB chargers (or keep them for less frequently used gadgets like your Bluetooth headset).
Okay, it’s not just all bad about Pixel – It had some positive points as well!
#1 Camera – Yes, it’s camera is really good. It can take clear pictures even in areas with almost no light.
#2 Unlimited Storage – Your Whatsapp is still going to eat your phone’s memory, but the unlimited cloud storage is a big plus for people who are interested in photography.
#3 Well, actually nothing much here. The other features in Pixel are more or less something you get in any other smartphone in this price range.
[The Bad] Problems.. With Time
The first problem I encountered with Pixel was with its Bluetooth. Although I was able to connect it to one of my over-the-ear headphones but not to the in-ear earphones. Tried everything possible, to connect them but with no success.
If you like to keep your stuff organized and arranged in shelves and folders, then you are definitely not going to like the Apps arrangement in Android Nougat 7.0 – where applications cannot be kept inside folders and they arrange themselves in alphabetical order.
So you will NOT find “Facebook Messenger” in the row ‘F’ but in the row “M” because the name is just Messenger.
If you have already upgraded to Nougat then start remembering the exact names of the apps to find them in the lot – may be Android is planning to transfer some of the smartness from phones to people.
If you are going with the smaller one (Pixel), then the battery capacity is definitely something you will NOT like.
Being one of the most common problems among smartphones, it was not expected with Google to miss out on such an important point. It in fact they made it worse.
The battery problem in Pixel phones is actually a combination of two issues – one with the hardware and other with the software.
Its battery is already small in terms of capacity (less than 3000 mAh for Pixel) which can hardly last for a day or so for an average user. Add to it the software issues of Android Nougat 7.0, due to which a lot of users are reporting a sudden drop from 15-30% to 0%.
I had a first hand experience of this issue which was the main reason of returning the device to Google.
Although I was lucky that I did not face this issue, but again many users have reported distorted audio from their phone’s speakers.
[And The Ugly] The Real Problem
Problems with smartphones is not uncommon and you can certainly get the issues fixed by the manufacturing companies – be it hardware problems or software glitches, provided the company is ready to take the accountability and is acknowledging the user issues.
But Google (totally unexpected) did not officially acknowledge any of these issues, even though users started posting their problems on websites and online forums.
To make things worse, if you could not identify the problem in your phone within the first 15 days of purchase and make up your mind to return the device, then the only option left to you is to get a refurbished phone. So, basically without a fault of yours and just for holding a faulty piece of 16 days you will get a refurbished (which can again land up in the same problems) Pixel after paying around $1000.
It means Google trusts it’s own devices worth $800-$1000 for a maximum 15 days
And this is where, my patience broke. Even Walmart has a no-questions asked policy to refund the entire amount up to 90 days of purchase – that too for products which are not manufactured by Walmart.
The Google helpdesk did mention that it might be a software issue (for the sudden draining issues of battery) and this could get fixed in a future Android update but they were not ready to take the guarantee, as there was no official word from the company.
After 3 days of our arguments, finally the staff did agree to refund the amount to me as I could not agree for a refurbished product. And our deal ended there.
How Pixel Is Being Rated At Popular E commerce websites
After around two months of returning the product to Google, as I am still searching for my next Android phone, I once again came across Pixel on Amazon. I was curious to know the “recent” user ratings and reviews. And I was not at all surprised to see the ratings going down and other customers facing similar issues like me.
Pixel vs Nexus – What The Poll Says
I never used a Nexus, but Nexus being so closely associated with Google – I expected Pixel to perform better than Nexus as you usually learn from your mistakes. But, quite surprisingly in a poll conducted by AndroidPit – 77% of voters preferred Nexus over Google Pixel.
Google Pixel vs Samsung Galaxy S8
Well, I think at this point the comparison simply narrows down between Samsung Galaxy S8 and S7 in the Android market. Samsung (except for it’s Note 7 blunder) has been leading this space ever since we have heard the name Android.
The latest in the market is Samsung Galaxy S8, but with no significant upgrades to its predecessor – Galaxy S7 might last a little longer in the market due to the price advantage.