Introduction

25 Oct 2023

Given support for Pixel 5 was about to end, it was once again time to buy another phone. Importantly, something that isn't overly expensive, provides a long support cycle, doesn't run some weird Android flavour and most importantly, gets regular updates.

Unfortunately, relentless inflation did its bit here, so this phone was definitely not cheap. Yes, it is a bit over half the price of Apple and Samsung flagship devices, so from that point of view one may say it's affordable. And Google decided to support it for 7 years this time, which is more than twice of what Pixel 5 (5) got. So, looks like a decent value for money on paper.

First impressions

This phone is slightly bigger than 5 and also a bit heavier. The protruding camera block makes the phone somewhat weird. I guess that's the new way these days. Or something...

Apart from that, the phone is actually rather similar in the way it behaves and feels. Of course, the rear mounted fingerprint scanner is gone and that's now underneath the screen. It is nowhere near as good as the rear mounted one in terms of actually detecting fingerprints. Which is probably why there is now also a face unlock. Mildly annoying, to be honest.

The screen itself is OLED like on 5 and is quite nice. I cannot really tell whether it's better, but definitely not worse.

Battery life is worse than 5 in daily use. It can almost never be pushed to two days, unlike 5, which could do this with my use pattern quite often. Not great. I thought that new phones were supposed to be more power efficient. Pretty sure that's not the case here.

Functionality

I use pretty much the same selection of software on this phone, as I did on the previous one, so for most of this, just read about Pixel 5.

What works better is at a glance. Weather is now more informative and leads to a nicer summary page. I had Android 14 on 5, but it did not work that way there.

Speed improvements are marginal with the software I use. The most visible is with Fairemail and processing of plain text emails.

Updates

The phone came with Android 14. There were multiple Google Play system updates since, but no significanly visible changes.

29 Oct 2023: Google Play system update 1 Oct 2023.

8 Nov 2023: Security update 5 Nov 2023, 31.71 MB.

13 Nov 2023: It seems that the quality of screen protector is pretty important for better functioning of fingerprint scanner. I recently switched to Spigen one and fingerprint accuracy improved somewhat. It is still not as good as it was on 5, but definitely less annoying.

29 Nov 2023: Google Play system update 1 Oct 2023, one more time, 1.6 MB.

5 Dec 2023: Google Play system update 1 Nov 2023.

13 Dec 2023: Security update and feature drop, 5 Dec 2023. 347 MB.

6 Jan 2024: Security update 5 Jan 2024. 26.58 MB.

17 Jan 2024: Google Play system update 1 Nov 2023, one more time.

6 Feb 2024: Security update 5 Feb 2024. 26.27 MB.

9 Feb 2024: Google Play system update 1 Jan 2024, 80 MB.

21 Feb 2024: Google Play system update 1 Jan 2024, once more today and a few days ago.

Conclusion

Disappointing when it comes to battery life and fingerprint scanner. Otherwise, looks OK, although probably overpriced. Let's see how Google go with the promised support over the years.

Copyright © 2023 Bojan Smojver.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the licence is here
.