Monday, December 2, 2019

The Google Pixel 4

It was hard to say goodbye to my Samsung Galaxy S8+ after over two years of service. It had been a good, reliable phone. Unfortunately, it started to develop some interesting "quirks" after I took it in the ocean to photograph some rays and nurse sharks. Ever since then, it wouldn't connect to the Samsung Dex station. Even more odd, whenever it was turned off and I would plug in the charger, it would complain that the charging port was wet. I could see those behaviors being a result of its dip in the ocean, as saltwater can be corrosive for electronics (I honestly don't know what I was thinking at the time. Maybe I just wasn't). I could deal with those minor issues, but once the battery started losing the ability to last an entire day on one charge, I knew it was time to put the old girl out to pasture.

I picked up the Google Pixel 4 as part of Google's pre-Black Friday deals. Although the Samsung Galaxy S10 appears to have a better battery life and an additional wide angle camera, I was intrigued by the Pixel 4's night shot mode. The lack of a headphone jack on the Pixel 4 also gave me pause, but, I have recently settled on a nice pair of bluetooth earbuds and haven't used the headphone jack on my Galaxy S8+ in months.

One of the best features of the Google Pixel 4 is the Google Call Screening option which is enabled by default. Every time the Pixel rings, the standard "Incoming Call" interface is shown with a "Screen call" button. Tapping on the button will have Google Assistant begin speaking to the caller. Google Assistant will tell the caller know you are using a screening service and it'll provide you with a transcript of the call while asking the caller to state the reason for the call. Once the caller begins talking, a transcript of their response will show up on the phone's screen in real time. I've only had the Pixel 4 for a few days, and I have already used the feature dozens of times to screen out unwanted telemarketer calls.

Google wants you to navigate the Pixel 4 using gestures, but I found that I just couldn't get the hang of it, so I dove into the settings and added the Back, Home and Tile buttons back. I'm not all that interested in the Face Unlock feature and, although I am excited to try out the Astrophotography feature, it's not new as it was released with the Pixel 3. I guess what I am trying to say is that the Google Pixel 4 is a good phone if you don't have to pay full price for it.

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