I just replaced my poor tired battered old Pixel 4 with a garish “Lemongrass” Pixel 7. I just don’t care that much about mobile technology any more — what was the last time a new phone changed your life? — but jumping four years and three generations ought to be newsworthy, no?
Why? · First question: Why a new phone at all?
My four-year-old Pixel was fast enough, small enough to be comfy in any pocket, camera still one of the mobile greats. But the battery was wearing out and the USB-C socket was pretty well done for. It’d charge most times from most wires, but only if you didn’t breathe on it. And keeping Android Auto running was a real problem, because my car doesn’t do AA-on-Bluetooth, so pretty well any serious bump in the road stopped the music.
Next: Why Pixel? It’s over a decade since I left the Android group, but my heart’s still with that platform. And I still decline to use a general-purpose computer where I have have to get its manufacturer’s approval to give away any code I might write.
Also I’m a paying YouTube Music customer and Android Auto addict.
Last question: Why the Pixel 7? To be honest, mostly because MKBHD said so (and here). I’ve pretty well outsourced my thinking about mobile devices to him because he seems to share my technical tastes and is fun to watch.
His advice was “The 7a is pretty good but the 7 is better even if it’s six months older, and when it goes on sale it’s a great deal.” So I watched and pounced when it went on sale.
Is it better? · Yeah, it’s a little faster. I doubt I’d have noticed the speed bump from 4 ➔ 5, 5 ➔ 6, or 6 ➔ 7, but from 4 ➔ 7 you can feel it. I guess the 90Hz screen helps.
The display’s not just faster, it’s better. At least that’s what my eyes tell me when I look at my pictures.
The big suprise was Android Auto. It syncs up with the car faster, and Google Maps got a big shot in the arm; sharper-looking and better-positioned on the screen.
Dislikes · It’s too big, doesn’t slide easily into the car’s mobile holder. I guess I’m in a tiny minority in liking smaller devices. Oh well.
The fingerprint reader is meh and is stupidly on the front of the phone, unlike my fingers, which go on the its back.
TBD · 5G? I remain skeptical. We’ll see. I spend a considerable amount in the boat/office tethered to the hot spot; we’ll see if that improves.
Well, and of course the camera. I’m 100% sure I’ll have more to say about that, and will be sharing its fruits.
The real lesson · Phones are nowhere near the white-hot center of tech innovation any more. I was there when they were and boy, was it ever fun. Golden ages all end.