Hands down, the Google Pixel XL is the greatest phone I have ever owned. I got mine on launch day, October 19 of last year, and to this day I have not had a moment where I stopped loving the thing; a feat no other phone can claim with me. What’s not to love? It’s got a gorgeous screen, an aluminum chassis that’s sleek, smooth, and thin, modeling that mimics the iPhone (which, let’s face it, is an amazingly well-designed piece of kit) and a pure, unencumbered version of Android that is first in line to receive all the newest updates. It’s basically perfect.
Well, close to it, at least. Here are just a few little tweaks I’d like to see in an upcoming version of the Pixel.
Better battery life
This speaks more to my overuse of the phone rather than any shortcoming of the phone itself, although it has been mentioned by other users that the Pixel line falls short of other flagship phones in battery longevity. The Pixels are just begging to be switched on and fiddled with, and with a screen as vibrant as it has, is meant to be displayed at maximum brightness. Doing so puts a major strain on the battery and as a result, can find you reaching for your chargers by the end of the work day.
Or, if you’re like me and use Daydream, much, much, much sooner than that. Like, maybe after an hour or so.
Larger, higher resolution screen
As brilliant as the Pixel screen is, it could stand to be a bit sharper, brighter, and more vibrant. Nowhere is this more notable than during the aforementioned Daydream sessions, when your eyeballs are mere centimeters from the screen while you’re faffing about in VR. The “screen door” effect is in full swing here, and there are times that it’s just so blurry that you really can’t make out what’s going on.
Google’s “Tango” is a project in which phones are fitted with two cameras, but not in the way the iPhone 7 Plus has them. These two cameras are placed at the top and bottom of the phone, or if you’re holding the phone horizontally, the far left and far right. This allows for high-quality, room-scale AR that Google has some pretty high hopes for. I intend to take it one step further.
Redesigned Google Daydream View built for Tango Mixed reality
If anyone can make this dream a reality, it’s Google. Just as the Pixels launched with a deal to get the Daydream View headset, so too could this hypothetical Pixel launch with a redesigned Daydream View built with the Pixel’s Tango cameras in mind. A sturdy strap going right up the middle of the phone wouldn’t interfere with the two camera setup, and with a little clever coding, Google could beat everyone to market with a truly affordable, mobile mixed reality system.
Having laid all this out, I don’t think this will be true of the next Google Pixel devices, rumored to be launching this year. Unlike the previous devices, this year’s models are said to be produced by two separate manufacturers; HTC will continue on to produce the smaller Pixel, and LG is taking over for the bigger (and let’s face it, much better) Pixel XL. Android Police posted images of what they believe the final design will look like, and let’s just say I’m looking at the trade-in value of my current Pixel XL.
So maybe this year I won’t get my perfect Pixel phone, but Google is truly killing it with their design. If you haven’t had the chance to play around with the Google Pixels yet, I recommend it. The first-gen models will surely be going on sale right before or right after the new ones launch, so keep an eye out for discounts.
Me, I’ll be waiting online at the Google Store to hit that preorder button.