Apples to Apples
The Google Pixel phone was released last week and the reviews are in. Google’s first smartphone has received nearly universal praise and its early success has resurfaced that age-old question: iOS or Android?
Usually when buying an Android handset, you’re making a compromise. Shorter security and update support as well as a lack of support (cell phone carriers do their best to offer parity with the Apple Store) are common reasons to get the iPhone. As we discussed in this month’s podcast, part of what you’re paying for with the premium price the iPhone commands is piece of mind; Apple supports the iPhone with iOS updates (new features and patches) for three to five years after release, which is much longer than the one to two typically seen on the Android side.
"The open nature of Android lends itself to customization in a way unlike the iPhone’s dictatorial and closed approach."
That’s not to say Android phones are without their advantages. The open nature of the platform lends itself to customization in a way unlike the iPhone’s dictatorial and closed approach. You also have a wealth of choice when shopping for an Android whereas the current iPhone lineup is at an all-time high of three devices.
The Pixel’s approach is to match Apple feature-for-feature with the end goal being a superior phone: 24/7 support, a top-notch camera, a guaranteed three years of security updates. Not to mention, the similar design.
The iPhone’s main advantages are its A10 Fusion chip which benchmarks higher than the Pixel’s Snapdragon 821 and its waterproofing. The Pixel’s main advantage is that it’s not an iPhone. At the expense of coming across as an edgy Apple fanboy, your correspondent is in the market for a new handset and is not sold on the Pixel promise.
The aforementioned three years of security support is outlined in a Google Support thread which also states that there are “no guaranteed Android version updates after October 2018” for the Pixel. That and identical pricing to Apple left a bitter taste and lead yours truly to shop outside the flagship segment of the market. If you’re getting shorter-term software support than the iPhone, you should be paying a lower price.
Readers are advised to consider the mid-tier, last year’s flagships, and hanging onto their current smartphone because with Google leaving the Pixel susceptible to water damage and Apple nixing the headphone jack, there is no perfect smartphone. Both companies have nailed their software to near perfection, but the hardware in both camps is sorely lacking.