The Playbook For The Modern Man

I Switched From iPhone To Pixel For 30 Days; Here’s The Cold Hard Truth About Making The Leap

Can The Google Pixel 3 seduce an Apple fanboi?

iPhones are as ubiquitous in the hands of ‘creatives’ as Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck is in the wardrobe of angsty French intellectuals. However, although Apple has branded itself as the sexiest purveyor of silicon alive, times change and so does the market.

As I recently discovered, Google’s top-end Android — the Pixel 3 — is a worthy replacement for the iPhone. Once you get your head around it. And with a price of $1,199, the Google Pixel 3 is definitely worth considering, even if you have been an Apple fanboi since Limewire was alive and streaming.

Scary? Sure. But with the iPhone XR coming in at $1,229 and the iPhone XS rattling the piggy bank at $1,629, as your old iPhone reaches obsolescence, it’s worth remembering there’s other tech in the sea.

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Take it from me: a long-time Apple user who has spent the last month in an open relationship with a curvy new Google Pixel 3 and my trusty old iPhone 8. From getting butterflies around my new crush to missing the comfort of my old faithful, here’s the cold hard truth about switching from an Apple iPhone 8 to a Google Pixel 3.

1. Switching really isn’t as bad as you think it is.

In the nervous waiting period between order and arrival, my colleagues warned me it would be like learning to use my hands again. For the first few days they were right. However, the little things that bugged me soon became native, and after a couple of weeks everything felt natural.

2. It has the best camera of any smartphone on the market.

It can’t do much about my self-indulgent selfies, but Google Pixel 3’s Night Sight has redeemed my reputation for posting images so grainy that people assume they must not have loaded yet, while Portrait Mode has convinced me I should start a food blog.

Top Shot is also quite useful, automatically recommending you the best pictures (where no one is blinking etc.). However, I tend to ignore it and just pick the one I look best in — my best friend’s unflattering side of the face be damned. After all: you can’t let Google win every time, can you?

Also: the three dual front-facing cameras help you take group selfies with ease (although I am still waiting on a piece of tech that will reduce the tricep cramp associated with this activity) and Google Lens helps you identify cool clothes of random, stylish commuters, while Super Res helps you zoom in without taking a blurry image (although it does take a couple of weeks to stop trying to zoom in as you would on an iPhone).

To see what you can do with the Pixel 3 camera, check out the photos of D’Marge’s editor-at-large.

3. Buying apps for the second time is not ideal.

When you’re using a $1,199 phone you probably shouldn’t complain about having to re-purchase a couple of $4 apps. But still, realising I no longer had TripView and missing my bus kind of sucked.

4. Life after iMessage isn’t as bad as you think.

Despite News.com’s warning that the ‘green text bubble’ could decrease my chances of getting a Tinder date, my one-liners receive the same luke-warm reception as ever. Also: Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram DM’s are where it’s at these days anyway. And Android has its own messenger system for your browser. Admittedly: this won’t work if your co-workers have Macbooks (but this isn’t so much a Pixel flaw as a result of two competing megaliths).

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5. File transfer between competing operating systems is tricky.

I may have left Apple but I will always love Airdrop. That said, Android Beam, the Google Pixel 3’s file transfer system is fine if you are trying to share with another Android user. However, file-sharing between Mac and Android is still an issue (we’ve found the easiest way is to use Dropbox or Whatsapp).

6. Energy saving mode is the best thing since sliced bread.

Provided your Wifi and Bluetooth are turned off you can get an easy two days of battery life — it just means you have to forego the services of “Hey Google” (Google’s version of Siri). I also found that compared to my (fairly old) iPhone, not only did the Google Pixel 3 battery last longer, but it also drained at a more predictable pace (as well as charging quicker).

7. The lack of iTunes forced me to get with the times.

I initially missed my inbuilt podcast app and the comfort of knowing my music and videos didn’t have to travel through the airways to get to me. However, thanks to downloading Spotify and taking advantage of the free 6-month subscription to Youtube Premium that comes with a Google Pixel 3, I am now no longer living in 2009.

8. The Pixel’s hotspotting is infinitely more reliable.

There’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting, trying to hotspot your laptop with your phone, only to be met with an insouciant iPhone (anecdotal evidence suggests I am not the only one who has suffered this fate). However, thus far, this has not happened with The Google Pixel 3.

9. Google Chrome’s personalised homepage is a worthy Apple News replacement

It’s a nice touch that my Pixel’s Chrome web browser syncs with Google Chrome on my computer, which I was actually using already instead of Safari (#confessionsofanapplefanboi).

10. Setting the alarm reminded me of dial-up internet… in a good way.

To set your morning alarm you don’t scroll through a list of hours then minutes as you do on an iPhone; you drag your finger around a clock face until it lands on the right hour, then do the same with the minutes, all to a rather pleasurable metacarpal vibration.

11. It charges really quickly.

And it goes even faster if you plug your Macbook Pro charger into it (one area where Google and Apple have come to an uneasy truce?).

12. Customisation of the home screen is kind of a big deal.

You can make your diary always visible and make various other adjustments. Trust us: your boss will thank you. Also, even though I find iPhones more intuitive (largely because I have been using them for the last 10 years), I found the Google Pixel’s features (particularly the camera) allowed you to do more, once you got your head around using them.

13. The Pixel gives you unlimited online storage.

After hitting the iCloud paywall a few times it’s nice to know Google will let me amass as large a digital horde as I can manage.

14. Google Assistant is a worthy replacement for Siri.

No major differences — they both work well.

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15. Transferring from an iPhone to a Google Pixel 3 is remarkably simple.

As long as they are both fully charged this is a relatively painless process, where you send all your (free) apps, contacts and data down a cable and into the Pixel.

16. The Pixel’s ‘button on the back’ is more intuitive than the iPhone’s ‘thumb on the front’.

Some may miss Apple’s facial recognition system, but I got used to The Google Pixel 3’s fingerprint scanner reasonably quickly.

17. Sending photos from the Pixel to an iPhone using MMS will result in significant loss of image quality.

This can be easily avoided by using Dropbox or Whatsapp though.

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  • Dom Minieri

    You consider Siri and Google Assistant to be on par? You might want to use Google Assistant again a retest. It’s superior in every way.

  • herrbrightside
  • Kate McMullen

    Pixel does facial recognition

  • potedude

    Pixel all the way.

  • Ali Rahmati

    Siri is nowhere near Google assistant… As my 10 n 8 year old kids asked after using Google home vs Siri on old iPhones I’d given them to play on… ‘Why is Siri so dumb’…. You may not have used Google assistants full potential…

  • Mark Z

    Iphone XS $1629??? What a ripoff.

  • BruthaBeige

    You forgot to mention that when iPhone sends to any other non-iphone device, it ALSO sends shitty quality MMS.

  • andy

    Google Drive all the way for quick and easy file sharing with a Mac…

  • PSev

    Try Pushbullet for sharing. It works great for me!

  • http://amyhall.biz/ Amy Hall

    I switched last November and have had nothing but issues with the phone. About 2 months after I purchased my phone went completely dead (it was fully charged) and wouldn’t turn on again. I was sent a replacement phone (refurbished) and about 2 months after that it completely wiped out my fingerprint and access code. I had to take my phone back to Verizon and get it factory reset to be able to use it. Not even an offer to send another refurbished phone and no explanation as to why the phone would just forget access info. The Pixel3 is an expensive hunk of junk paperweight. And I can’t get a refund or even the balance put toward a new phone. Google does not stand behind it’s product in the least little bit.

  • Josh Cook

    The whole “Green bubble” “blue bubble” argument is ridiculous.

  • Lucas Post Rock Cippa

    Android file transfer, Is the easiest way to transfer file from an Android device to a Mac and it works…

  • http://terrawire.net terrawire

    Actually wrong. You bought it from Verizon. Therefore your dealing with Verizon’s terrible service. If you bought direct from Google. They would have sent you a horde of phones for free. Lesson learned. Under Verizon’s contract Google can’t help. Only Verizon. I dealt with the same under TMobile. Always buy direct from Google. They are absolutely insane with how easily they will send out new phones.

  • http://terrawire.net terrawire

    Google drive or Google photos for sharing is all you need. You just login in from anyhwere and download.

  • Derek B

    No, the Pixel 3 and 3XL do not support facial recognition unless you have a rooted device.

  • JediWombat

    MMS is ancient tech. It’s limited to 300k, or 600k for the MMS1.3, which is nothing compared to the size of a decent image.

    The low quality of an MMS is independent of which handset you’re using.

  • Kate McMullen

    Oh, the 2 does! Wonder why they took it away?

  • Pinky Sar

    Yes, Pixel 2 has facial recognition

  • Shawn Young

    Pixel 3a XL with straight talk is the way to go.

    Geek squad warranty – $50 for 2 years. Anything breaks… New phone.

  • Hernando Abril

    In Pixel 2 it’s called ‘trusted face’.

  • Marl

    And this is just an American thing as the rest of the world mainly uses Android, and WhatsApp is they mainly use.

  • Azmodeus

    Come to Australia, the iPhone XS Max with 1TB costs $2600.

  • OUsooner08

    There’s things I love about the Pixel, and things I absolutely hate. To be honest the whole notifications and how I can set individual sounds for things is so much nicer in iOS. I like the who numeral indicator vs the dot. Often times I won’t check emails until I have 15+ emails which is easy to tell in iOS, whereas the Pixel uses that dot on the app icon. With iOS I can go in and easily assign sounds to various things, but I find the process more tedious with Android.

  • Adam Irvine

    Just change the launcher to something like Nova and you can easily get badges with numbers on the icons instead of the coloured dot. Job done.

    It’s this level of customisation that lets Android really shine

  • Tech Artillery

    What a dumb comparison

  • Tech Artillery

    When you get an apple device from third party vendors they provide the same service as all apple customers

  • Tech Artillery

    All just fandroids

  • Willard

    This is not true at all, and I spent over a decade troubleshooting and repairing consumer and commercial electronics, including Apple devices before their first party referral policy went into effect. Feel free to research the plethora of lawsuits covering third party vendors using generic non-Apple parts and trying to pass them off as genuine.

    The point being made is deviating from first party will subject you to the policies of the third party vendor, and the quality can and will vary from the experience you would get directly from first party. For example, you can walk in and exchange your iDevice at the Apple Store in a matter of minutes, but I’d welcome you to try that at a Verizon store.

  • http://amyhall.biz/ Amy Hall

    But the issue here is that a phone should not break like this. I don’t run my phone hard. I don’t drop it. There is no reason the phone should have these issues unless it’s poor engineering. AND if it’s poor engineering and Google knows it they should replace the product no matter which outlet I purchased it at. Verizon can only work within Google rules for the phone. If Google would replace it with Verizon then Verizon would have to replace it with me. Google does not back it’s own product.

  • OldDirtyBastardird

    Why pay $4 for a bus schedule when bus schedules are built into google maps as well as Uber?…..I think you needed more time with your Pixel and Google services.

  • Huzaifa

    To set an alarm just tell Google about the 100s of other things you can do without touching the phone

  • Tech Artillery

    I’m Aussie so we have different laws about third party vendors and everything. Consumers here have many rights compared to your country

  • Tech Artillery

    Also why go through Verizon in the first place, all apple devices come with first party warranty

  • Willard

    I’ve heard good things about Aussie consumer protection laws. As for why you would go through Verizon, many people in the US elect to purchase their phones via billing agreement with their phone providers, meaning they do not own the device until they pay it off. This adds complexity to the issue and sometimes will require them to go through their phone company.

  • Edwin Ramirez

    It’s seems to be only a concern for americans. The rest of the world has long migrated to Whatsapp.

  • Edwin Ramirez

    Don’t blame him, he’s used to iOS and paying for basic features.

  • Edwin Ramirez

    Glad to see you enjoying Android and bursting out of Apple’s bubble.
    Just a couple of comments:

    “5 File transfer between competing operating systems is tricky.”
    Let’s be clear here, this is because Apple doesn’t want you sharing with the rest. You can easily transfer files between Android, PCs with Windows, Linux, hell even Macs.

    “14. Google Assistant is a worthy replacement for Siri.”
    Sorry but Siri is no competition for Google Assistant.

  • Eastern37

    It is significantly worse on Pixels or Nexus phones though. It does seem to be fixed in Android Q for me though.

  • Emin Tolga Ozdemir

    Try Airdroid app for file transfer between PC or Mac, it is very simple.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sand.airdroid

  • James

    TripView tells you where the bus is in real time and trust me — in Sydney you need it…

  • James

    At least iPhones have a built in voice memo app! Or does the pixel have it too and I’m just not looking in the right place?

  • James

    Not Australia! (not yet anyway)

  • Edwin Ramirez

    Really? What do Android users use there?

  • James

    Facebook Messenger and regular sms, mostly. I think Whatsapp is slowly catching on though.

  • James

    We have an article in the works comparing Siri with Google Assistant. Stay tuned! Also – what are your thoughts on security? We’ve heard Apple is still ahead of the game on that front but are keeping an open mind…

  • James

    Oops. Thanks.

  • Edwin Ramirez

    I believe Apple is still ahead. Although Apple isn’t like Google who makes it public on how many malware apps they take down. So Apple could easily be taking down the same amount be we would never know.

    I’ve been using Android for the last 6 years so at least my personal take on security for both OSes is that Google let’s you cross the road on your own. You may be paranoid and not cross at all, you may be just careful and look before crossing, or you can just cross carelessly and get hit by a car. Apple doesn’t even let you go outside.

  • James

    Huh – that’s a good point. When you are talking about security though, why would you want to ‘go outside’ at all? What is it, exactly, that Apple stops its users from doing in the name of security, which can be done (securely or insecurely) on Android?

  • Roxanne Ong

    agree. that’s why I want to do the pixel switch. which casts credibility to this article.

  • http://fiercefamily.com/ Tim

    After using the Pixel 2 for a year and a half now, I’m test driving an iPhone simply because I have a new car that supports Apple Car Play but not Android Drive (which is dumb). After using an iPhone for a couple days I have pretty much determined that my dislike of the Toyota nav system is nowhere near as great as my dislike for the iPhone. iPhone buries every setting beneath a multitude of clicks, has an inferior (albeit decent) camera, lacks the widget support of an Android (just…why?), and is just clunky. In the past, I switched to Android phones because of a dislike for Apple in general but I knew that I was taking a hit in some aspects of the experience where iPhones out-performed. Though I’ve been using Android since the Samsung Galaxy 3, I feel that the Pixel 2 plus more recent versions of Android has, for the first time, just completely leap-frogged past Apple. I’ll be switching back but am making myself stick with the iPhone for a full week just to be sure.

  • Rara Avis

    Not quite… iMessage communications between iPhone users are fully encrypted end-to-end, and therefore much safer and (because of Apple’s Privacy principles) much more private than anything that goes through SMS (for iOS users, green bubbles). Let’s not even mention the dreadful privacy concerns about anything having to do with Facebook (FB Messenger’s and WhatsApp’s owner). They are also totally free, independently from whether or not you have a text message limit in your phone plan and whether you are in the same country or not.

    Furthermore, iMessages have so many quality-of-life features, and they are so rich in effects (such as animations, web image search, apple pay, memojis, animojis) which so greatly enhance their ability to convey expression, that I’m sitting here wondering whether any of you have ever used iMessage before ridiculing its defenders. Whatsapp, WeChat, FB Messenger or plain SMS simply DO NOT compare. I should know, as I carry 2 phones (1 personal, one for work); mine is an iPhone, my company’s is a Samsung.

  • Edwin Ramirez

    Whatsapp is also encrypted end to end. Trusting either Apple or Facebook is more of a personal preference, which poison you prefer to take.
    The rest of the features you list, Whatsapp either has them already or don’t apply to most countries.

    Whatsapp is free. No text limit either. It has animations, gif search, and stickers. Apple pay is basically non-existent outside the USA and Europe and also exclusive to Apple. Memojis and animojis, also exclusive to apple, are nice if you’re a 12 year old and are not really missed in Whatsapp.

    Really, I get that Apple users live in a bubble where everyything is nice for them but the rest of the world went with cross-platform, compatibility, and non-exclusivity. That is why Blackberry is no more and iMessage is only big in the USA.
    I’m not ridiculing iMessage, I have tried it. It’s borderline useless outside the USA and that is why the rest of the world uses Whatsapp

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