[Color Factory x Google Pixel 2 Review + Tips and Tricks]
“OK, Google,” we get it, there’s nothing you can’t do. I’ve been using the Google Pixel 2 for about 3 weeks now, and life could not get any easier if I tried. From the functionality to design to performance, I must say Google, you have another smash on your hands and in mine.
In regards to the highly anticipated Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, I wanted to hit a few key points that stood out the most to me and why I am now a converted Android user. (And to break up this very long post, I decided to share the photos I took with the Google Pixel 2 while I was at the Color Factory exhibit in San Francisco 3 weeks ago, which was SO much fun! I definitely recommend taking a trip there if you get the chance. Every room has a theme and color attached to it, all packed with interactive themes to keep your Instagram full and happy.)
First, Google Lens – this amazing new feature enables you to recognize anything from a plant to an artist by simply using the camera to take a photo and then use the Google Lens feature to get more information. Personally, I thought the best part about this feature is the fact that you can take a photo of a business card or Facebook event, and it automatically recognizes addresses, contact info, and dates, making it easy to store contacts and events into your phone. All the options easily pop open on the screen after Google analyzes the photo. The Google Lens can also be used to easily find information on a restaurant you were passing by when you’re in a new neighborhood or traveling and don’t want to type it into the search bar. Google making life easier and taking advantage of that unlimited storage space. I’m into it!
Talking about the unlimited storage space-- let’s dive right in. Being a selfie-activist and heavy photo abuser, this definitely is my top 2 features of the Google Pixel 2. Not to mention the photo quality on the Google Pixel 2 is phenomenal. I cannot tell you how gorgeous the photos turn out. Whether it’s a portrait, where the camera automatically makes you look even better than you do in real life. No joke. There’s smoothing features on the “Portrait” mode so you can skip the FaceTune step of your editing process as well as of course the quality of it in general that allows the photos to look even better than real life. But isn’t that actually why we take so many photos anyways? Insta life > Real life.
Going back to the camera quality, I took this for a test drive and I can honestly say I feel confident leaving the house without my DSLR camera when I have the Pixel 2 in my hands. A tiny powerhouse that captures photos and videos with automatic image stabilization with its 12.2 MP camera. I love clicking that camera and I’m not afraid to show it! It also has this cool feature that captures images as mini video clips so there’s motion captured in each photo. Your very own “Boomerang” photo option available without opening the app. Whoo hoo! It has definitely changed my Instagram game. Though, I must warn you that if you do use this “Motion On” feature in your photos, it may come out a little pixelated or not as sharp as it would if you used the original photo when posting it on Instagram. I’ve also used this camera at night during events and the images came out just as sharp and beautiful as it did in the daytime. *Single tear drops from my eye* I’m never going back!
OK… Google… so this is the best part of the phone in my opinion—the Google Assistant! I have never been so amazed by technology until using this option. I love that it has two ways of accessing the Google Assistant. First, using voice recognition, you can call upon your beloved Google Assistant by saying, “OK, Google” and you can get any app open, any question answered on Google, and so much more. I’ve been using this non-stop to open my phone, multi-task, and do things when my hands aren’t free. It saves so much time! You can also access Google Assistant by using the Active Edge feature that allows you to lightly or firmly, depending on your customization, press the sides of the phone to access Google Assistant easily. I've been abusing this feature at every possible moment -- asking it to “Take a Screenshot” or help me navigate to my destinations while I'm driving. Oh, Google. What would I do without you?
Next, I have to talk about the battery life on this thing. Wow. Just wow. I have successfully used each and every app possible on this phone, including features that you would think would drain the battery life but at the end of the day I still have sufficient battery power without recharging mid-day. When I was using my iPhone 7 Plus, using Snapchat specifically, would drain my battery very quickly. This, in addition to my constant need to use Google Maps and my Spotify always playing, I would definitely need a mid-day charge when using my iPhone 7 Plus. I also tested the “7 hours of ‘go’ from 15 minutes of charge” claim from Google and they did not lie—well, sort of. With only 15 minutes of charging the phone, I had the phone charged at 42% from 28%. I did the math and because I only used about 70% of my battery power from about 9 hours of use, the 15 minutes of charging will give me about 5.4 hours of use, which is pretty dang close to the 7 hours they claim. And I’m okay with that because 5.4 hours of use gets you far, especially if you just need to make that one phone call before your phone dies or get directions to your friend’s new place before you have arrived at your final destination. That 15 minutes of charge is going to be a lifesaver.
Another great feature I wanted to talk about was the fact that it only took about an hour to completely switch my phone from iPhone to the Google Pixel 2, which isn’t the 10 minutes or less as they claim BUT it definitely was hassle-free. It completely transferred all my contacts, photos and videos, which, I had A LOT of—but was all saved because of the unlimited storage space Google Pixel 2 offers, messages, and calendar events. The Google Pixel 2 also transferred most of my apps but, unfortunately some of my paid apps did not make the cut, which I’m okay with because to be honest there were a few apps that were cluttering my iPhone screen.
Speaking of clutter, I love how Google organizes your apps. You have the top 5 always on your home screen and the rest you can find easily in alphabetical order (hooray!) when you swipe up. You can also customize your top 5 by hitting “Settings” > “Apps & notifications” > “Advanced” > “Default apps”.
Lastly, the design fits to work with its functionality superbly. It is a little thicker than the iPhone 7 Plus that I had originally but overall, I am happy with the design more so because of its functionality. I love that the fingerprint is on the back of the phone, which works more naturally with the way I hold the phone. I love that all of the major settings that I usually use, such as the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are easily accessible with just one swipe down and that you can access the rest of your settings in that same window. I also love that all the apps are in alphabetical order when you swipe up and your “Google Now” screen, which is your daily newsfeed, can be accessed by swiping right. I found that for me, the design of this phone and these movements seem to work more seamlessly than iPhone. It hits all the major uses of a phone in just one swipe. And of course, if that’s not easy enough, you always have your handy dandy Google Assistant to call upon.
Still not convinced?
These were my top reasons for loving my new Google Pixel 2 and becoming an Android convert. There are so many reviews out there on the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL right now so if you want to take a deeper dive on the pros and cons on getting one, then I would recommend doing more research. But, if you ask me, it’s bye-bye iPhone for a while now.
Tips and Tricks
1. The always on-display screen —the digital clock, date, and notifications are always on the screen when the ambient light sensor picks up light. It won’t drain your battery if it’s in your pocket or purse. This setting is turned on automatically when you first use your phone, but you can always change it by going to “Settings” > “Display” > “Advanced” > “Ambient display” > “Always on”.
2. Double-tap feature to check phone’s home screen and notifications. “Settings” > “Display” > “Advanced” > “Ambient display”> “Double-tap to check phone” > “On”
3. Now Playing feature—if there’s a song playing in a café or in the background when you’re out and about, it will recognize the song and display details of it on screen, which you can click and find more details on the song in the Google search results. To enable it, go to the “Settings” > “Sounds” > “Advanced” > “Now Playing” > “Show on lock screen”.
4. You can swipe down on fingerprint sensor to access your notifications. You go to “Settings” > “System” > “Languages, input & gestures” > “Advanced” > “Swipe fingerprint for notifications” and you turn that on.
5. Active edge- Give your phone a firm press and allows you to access
a. Google Assistant. You can increase or decrease your sensitivity for this by going into “Settings” > “System” > “Languages, input & gestures” > “Advanced” > “Active Edge”.
b. You can also use this feature to silence your phone when you forget to put your phone on silent when you’re in important meetings or watching a movie.
6. Easy- access to camera- “Jump to Camera”. Double- tap the power button. You can double-twist the phone and switch the camera to selfie mode! OMG. Fun fact: the portrait mode is available in the rear camera as well as the front-facing camera. To activate, go to “Settings” > “System” > “Languages, input and gestures” > “Advanced” > “Jump to Camera” > “On” and “Flip camera” > “On”.
7. Notification LEDs – “Blink Light”—it’s available on “Settings” > “Apps & Notifications” > “Advanced” > “Notifications” > “Blink light” and turn on. When a notification comes in, and your phone is on vibrate or “Do Not Disturb”, the LED light comes on to let you know there is a notification for you to see.
8. Changing your default apps- Go to “Settings” > “Apps & notifications” > “Advanced” > “Default Apps”.
9. Free up storage – on the Google Pixel 2, you have 64 GB. To free up space, “Setting” > “Storage” > “Free Up Storage”. This works really well on Google Photos as well— go to the hamburger drop down menu after clicking on Google Photos and go to “Free up device storage”.
10. “Smart Lock”- you can create “Trust places”, “Trusted devices”, “Trusted face”, and “Trusted voice”, which allows your phone to recognize specific places, devices, faces, and voices and ensure your phone security and ease of use when using in trusted places, devices, etc. (“Settings” > “Security & location” > “Smart Lock”)
11. “Do Not Disturb” – You can set times when you won’t get notifications and also customize what will override the “Do Not Disturb” option. (“Settings” > “Sound” > “Do Not Disturb”)
12. Display message on lock screen- Create a personalized message that will appear on your screen if you feel as though you might lose your phone or just to add a little personalized touch to your phone. (“Security & location” > “Lock screen preferences” > “Lock screen message”)
13. Take a screenshot- power button + volume down. Then share or edit.
14. Notifications – you will see a dot on the app. You can quickly see what the notification is my pressing down on the app.
15. Themes – are controlled by what wallpaper you choose. If you change your wallpaper, the themes will change to fit the mood. “Settings”> “Display” > “Wallpaper”.
16. Customizing “Google Now” feed- swipe right on home screen. Click on the 3 dots on the top of the feed and customize what news stories will pop up on your “Google Now” feed.
This post is sponsored by Google Pixel 2 but all opinions are my own.