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Pixel 7 Pro – a story of adventure & discovery…Apple best watch out!

The last 48 hours has really opened my eyes up

Pixel 7 Pro

Taking the blinkers off

The Pixel 7 Pro has proven a win for me – and not just in the obvious ways.

I wrote yesterday about the phone itself being like a breath of fresh air, but more than that it has just made me stand back & smell the coffee.

There is more than Apple after all.

Open to change

I am a creature of habit. I like things to be just so – it helps me to have a sense of order in my day and workflow. Boring as that sounds it works for me.

So when I was handed a Pixel 7 Pro recently I wasn’t sure what to do with it and me being me I kind of parked it to one side and thought ‘that’s for another day’.

Finally, ‘that day arrived’ and intrigue got the better of me – I finally got it out of the box – but that was about it. I took it out spun it around a few times, sat it next to my iPhone on the desk and then just as quickly tucked it away in its box again.

How could a Pixel 7 Pro possibly be for me? After all, I was using the best device out there the cream of the crop. How much better can things get than running an iPhone right? And this is my best Apple device yet – it’s a Pro!

Learning

Part of what had been holding me back was the fear of something new.

The same debate has been raging over why I don’t switch to Final Cut Pro. Simply put, I love Premiere Pro and it works for me, so why change? Initially, I’d lose so much time in re-training and learning the ropes that it would actually cost me time rather than saving it. And even when I had got proficient with it would there have been enough benefits to have made it worth my while? Essentially they both do the same thing – chop up video and chew out an exported file.

There are similarities between that situation and picking up the Pixel 7 Pro – I was heading into the unknown and for the time invested would there really be any meaningful net gain?

Adding to that, from a professional point of view I’d never made any content on phone reviews – it had just never been my thing but that needed to change too. So I finally decided that this Pixel 7 Pro needed a proper looking at.

I didn’t have the balls to take the sim out of my iPhone and render that retired, even if it was to be temporary, at this stage I had too much to lose. So I went and got myself a spare sim, popped in and charged it up.

The story begins…

Boring as can be

The first thing I did with it, believe it or not, was take it out on a bit of a photo shoot. It was a lovely day so I figured a few shots might not be a bad thing. It also gave me a good chance to look at the two phones side by side – Apple vs Google and iPhone 14 Pro vs Pixel 7 Pro.

The more I looked at it the more a tiny and almost reluctant part of me started to like it. I wasn’t going to admit it but I had to admit that the Pixel was kind of lovely to hold. A small part of me was starting to like the Pixel 7 Pro – what the hell is going on?

As I began to load more and more apps on it and start to actually use the thing it made me realise that different can be better. I’m frustrated right now because I know so little about Android OS that everything I turn to do I have to figure out or search for.

But with another day of use behind me, I stand by what I said yesterday – the Android OS 14 that’s running the Pixel 7 Pro is ultra snappy compared to iOS 17. I’m trying hard to be objective and make sure it’s not just a case of being the new kid on the block and all is shinier. I honestly like Android OS.

Change for change’s sake

If you read my story from yesterday you’ll know I had a bad Apple day on Sunday. My iPhone wouldn’t sync photos to iCloud and needed to be rebooted a few times, iCloud was also slow to sync up and the Photo app on my 13-inch MacBook Air refused to open.

Of course, the timing for all these niggles couldn’t have been worse. This was the first proper day of use for the Pixel 7 Pro and it was flying – I swear it was almost as if it had been showing off!

All those Apple niggles are now sorted and my Apple life is again a happy place. As a side story to get the Photo app working on the MBA, I ended up copying over the library from my MacBook Pro to sort it. Why there was an issue in the first place though – your guess is as good as mine.

I’m not suddenly switching allegiance and walking away from my Macs and iPhone but at least now I now have some comparison – a yardstick to measure Apple by.

Google Assistant, speech-to-text and the Home Screen have all been examples of where I can now see Apple needs to push on and develop – stop playing it so safe. And these are just the first few areas I’ve come across. As I said I am very wet behind my Android & Pixel 7 Pro ears. I’m sure the more I use it, the more goodies I’d stumble across.

It turns out there is another rather good way after all.

Status quo

iPhone season is weeks away and I’m worried.

Why worried? Well unless all the leakers are wide of the mark there isn’t that much to get excited about. We know what we are getting with iOS 17 and I’ve written about the highlights already. So we know how it will work, but what about the hardware – what is exciting and new there?

First, the range will be as this year. We’ll have two standard iPhone 15s and two Pro models and we’re not expecting any naming shocks as Apple are likely to stick with the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. The only minor shock could be if Apple decides to swap out the Max and rename it the Ultra.

The 6.1-inch & 6.7-inch screen sizes again will be unchanged so too will be the OLED panels. Bezel-gate raises its head again and the rumours for the Pro range are that it may be slimmer…the Pixel already beats them in that area though – I love that curved edge screen ‘infinity’ it has.

The first change of any note may come to the two Pro phones which might get a Titanium body which would help to save weight.

I already have Dynamic Island but that feature is expected to be rolled out to all the models in this year’s lineup. The A16 bionic chip will be used in the non-Pro phones this year with the new A17 chip will get used in the Pro models. The major point of interest with the chip is that it’ll be the first time we’ll get to see the 3-nanometer technology in action. It should be more powerful while being less power-hungry.

iPhone 15 Camera

I made mention yesterday how I love the flatness of the camera bump on the Pixel 7 Pro. The opposite seems set to be the case for iPhone 15. The 48-megapixel sensor of the iPhone 14 Pro will be expanded to the entire iPhone 15 generation and all models will have sensor improvements as well. The Pro phones are likely getting a periscope lens to improve the optical zoom – but the trade-off will be an even bigger camera bump.

The battery may be made slightly larger across the iPhone 15 range, some new colours, an Action button may replace the current mute button and of course, we’ll be getting USB-C charging.

But apart from the inevitable price-hike that is it for iPhone 15 this year. iOS 17 was more tame this year and iPhone 15 doesn’t look likely to be shaking anything up too much either.

Is this Apple treading water, are they uninspired or just out of ideas?

Wrapping up

I’m far from ready to walk away from my iPhone, but this week at least my eyes have been opened to the fact that there are options out there.

The Pixel 7 Pro seems to get less attention than the Samsung S23 range which makes me wonder if that could be an even better experience than I’ve had with this phone so far.

I think more than anything, these past few days have made me realise how much I rely on Apple’s ecosystem and just how much I want Apple to do better. They have been innovative and trailblazers in the past, it’s time for them to step up to the plate once again.

I love what they have done, but right now I think they are playing it a little safe and I can now say that as I’m able to draw comparisons.

For all we know this year has been a little less than inspired for both iOS 17 and iPhone 15 because of Apple Vision Pro – all the brains were being used up on that device.

But that excuse can only be made for one year. Apple the clock is ticking…

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