I've been back and forth between iPhone and Android since my first smartphone in 2013 (iPhone 5). After becoming disillusioned with iCloud and the idiosyncrasies of the iPhone, I figured I'd give Android a try with the Samsung Galaxy S5. I loved it, but it felt kind of cheap, and the screen lacked the pizzazz of the iPhone. Fast-forward to this job, and I've used the Moto X Pure Edition, Nexus 6P, HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7, and the iPhone 7.
When the iPhone 7 first came out, I was intrigued and drawn back into the Apple fold. I picked up an Apple Watch Series 2 and delighted in the synergy… for a time. I used the iPhone 7 for a good 6 months before I decided it was time to go back to Android. Here I am with my Samsung Galaxy S8, and it's easily the best phone I've ever used. It's lightning-fast; the fingerprint sensor is WAY better than that on the iPhone 7; the screen is brilliant, and the customization options are the bees' knees.
I'm very happy with my Galaxy S8 and don't plan on upgrading for quite a while, but if I was a "new phone every year" type of person, then I'd definitely opt for the…
Google Pixel 2
Google's Pixel of yesteryear was an interesting first step for the company, and the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL just add great features and improves upon what was already a stellar phone.
First and foremost, there is absolute beauty in the simplicity of stock Android. Many iPhone users would argue that iPhone is as simple as it gets, and they'd be right, but as far as Android is concerned, the Google Pixel 2 nails simple software. There is no manufacturer bloat in the same way there is with Samsung phones (I love my phone, but I'd love to obliterate every Samsung app it came with), and it's the perfect way for someone to enter the Android sphere or for a longtime Android user to enjoy everything Android has become.
Getting a phone made by Google also ensures prompt software updates, giving you the latest features before every other manufacturer. That's a big deal for most, especially when it comes to security. Apple does have it nailed with every phone getting updates at the same time, but the Pixel 2 makes that a moot point.
iPhone is touted as the best smartphone camera around, and for many, it is. Russell Holly did a great comparison piece on the Google Pixel 2 and iPhone 8, and the differences in photos is stark. The iPhone 8 camera shows what's most pleasing to the eye, while the Google Pixel 2 shows something a little more true to life.
The other aspect is Google's ability to take what Apple's done with portrait mode and improve upon it. The Pixel 2 is able to get the same depth-of-field effect with just one camera, thanks to excellent software. And portrait mode even works on the front-facing camera. Some would call Google a copycat, and you're probably right, but nothing can truly be invented anymore, only improved upon, and Google does it in spades.
I know some of you will chalk this up to fanboying, but I've walked in both worlds, and for me, Android is the better operating system. I prefer its flexibility and the ability to customize it the way I see fit.
I've always said it, and it's somewhat ironic, but I find that an Android phone works more like a Mac than an iPhone does. Everything just does what it seems like it's supposed to. I also like that, even though I have no desire to, I could root my phone at any time and customize it far more deeply than I'd ever feel comfortable doing. An iPhone-using friend of mine often retorts with "Yeah, but you wouldn't." And he's right; I wouldn't. But the fact that I can is what appeals to me. iPhone puts you in Apple's box and you must operate within those parameters. It's just not for me.
Copycat alert! Google has its own AirPods. Get out your torches and pitchforks.
You know what? I don't care who did it first; I care about who does it better. Nine Inch Nails did Hurt 18 years before Johnny Cash took a whack at it, but I think Johnny Cash's version is the clear winner.
First off, Pixel Buds are connected. That's important to me. We've written a bunch of articles on iMore about finding lost AirPods and how not to lose your AirPods, and we wouldn't have had to do that if they had simply been connected to one another.
Second, how cool is the real-time translation feature? I mean, slap a pair of Pixel Buds on, and you basically have Star Lord's translator implant.
All that being said, I've yet to actually listen to the Pixel Buds. And to date, I haven't come across headphones with better sound that EarPods when it comes to headphones that come with the phone. I used my iPhone 5's EarPods until earlier this year.
If I had to pick, it'd be the Pixel 2 XL
I'm sticking with my Galaxy S8 for as long as it remains awesome. Using so many phones over the last two years has taught me to simply appreciate a great phone when it comes along and embrace it, so I have.
But if I were upgrading now, I'd go with the Pixel 2 XL. I've weighed it against the latest iPhones, and there's just nothing drawing me to any of the new Apple Devices. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are simply incremental updates to a good phone, and I have very little faith in the iPhone X, given its lack of a fingerprint sensor and the dubiousness of FaceID.
And before anyone tells me to go back to Android Central, this isn't a partisan matter for me. I just want a phone that does what I want it to do, the way I want it to. For now, it's an Android phone. If iPhones start doing that in a couple years, and they do it better than Android, then great; I'll switch back. Until then, it looks like my next phone (whenever that is) will be a Pixel of some sort.
How about you?
Are you considering upgrading to the Google Pixel 2 or will you be going with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X? Let me know in the comments below.
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Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.