What do you think of the new Google Pixels? From a privacy and security standpoint I don’t think much has changed, but I figured it would still be fun to talk about what we do or don’t like about the phones so far and whether some of us will or won’t get it.
For me, I think the Pixel 6a remains the best of the line since the move to a camera “vizor” has MKBHD likes to call it. The new horizontal camera bump just looks ugly to me, lol. Everything else looks nice, but it’s not so different from the Pixel 6/Pro so I don’t think I’m missing out.
From my experience, their quality control is quite bad, and that hasn’t changed, since Google started making them (transitioned from the Nexus).
I honestly find a hole punch camera more distracting, than a notch. That’s something I didn’t think I’d say, until I tried it.
I kinda feel icky, by buying one of Google’s devices. I understand it’s one of the better privacy options (once flashed), but I just feel dirty supporting them. It’d be like giving money to Facebook.
I don’t mind the visor, but I don’t like their colour options. I think they look kinda ugly.
One thing I cannot deny, though. The base model is priced very competitively, especially on a device you’d expect to be supported, for years. If someone was looking for a (seemingly good, waiting for reviews) mid-range phone, this is at least worth a look.
As for upgrading, treat it like a PC. Upgrade when it can no longer do, what you want it to do. So long as it’s getting security updates, there should be no need to upgrade.
To play devil’s advocate, most issues with Google revolve around their advertising business, not hardware. So in a way, it’s nice to demonstrate to companies like Google that people are willing to spend money on a less invasive revenue model.
Even with that said, I struggle myself to hand over the cash. The Pixel 6 I picked up used. The used market is a great way to get these devices without directly supporting the companies.
One day I will write out my thoughts on how to marry the invasiveness of these companies with the positive things they also do for privacy, but not today. lol
The short version
I don’t think these companies are inherently evil - rather the negative effects are largely attributable to profit motive and the positive steps they take (secure hardware and open sourcing some things) are signs that there are people inside who want to do better but are held back by the nature of the business.
If I say any more then we gotta start a new topic!
From my personal experience I have had Pixels for many years (4+ years) and they are still working like new, although this could just be luck that I didn’t recieve a bad batch.
There really aren’t many ‘ethical’ options in terms of phones as there is probably something unethical happening at some point in the supply chain or in the designing of the product. The only option that I have seen is the Fairphone but it’s only available in Europe and even then there are still questionable practices (removing headphone jack yada yada). But then with the Fairphone you get worse security (uses insecure public test keys for verified boot) because it doesn’t implement security features that are on par with Google Pixels.
I justified buying a Pixel simply because there aren’t any other comparable products that offer the security and privacy options that the Pixel provides. Unfortunately that means buying an unethical product that is probably directly helping a company that is against privacy.
I’m at a bit of a personal crossroads when it comes to phones right now.
I’ve been an iOS user for the last 3-4 years, and I’ve been consumed by the Apple ecosystem since. Previous to that, I was a 100% pure android/google person.
Right now, I have an iPhone 13 Pro that’s in perfect condition and a Pixel 6 with a cracked screen.
I want to get off of iOS and back to android, but I can’t bring myself to use a broken phone and I can’t bring myself to shell out the cash for a Pixel 7 Pro (in hopes to flash it to ProtonAOSP or GrapheneOS eventually).
All that being said… I like the 7 & 7 Pro. I think the base model is priced competitively, and i think the upgrade to the pro is worth the $300 difference. The tensor chips are pretty awesome, and the tensor 2 chip seems to bring some promising upgrades.
Honestly my experience has been nothing but positive I’ve got a pixel 6a and the color doesn’t matter because it has a black spigen case on it. The hardware is pretty secure and with graphene os together they form a pretty solid base the updates are performed perfectly in my opinion. Automatic and immune to user stupidity, you can’t break an update in the middle of it and you can continue right where you left off if your download is abruptly stopped. I didn’t really the notice the notch until you mentioned it but I mostly use my device in dark mode anyways so I think I’ll get used to it. Pixels are decent alternatives to iPhones if one can master them well.
The Pixel with Graphene OS is an excellent choice for hardware, privacy, security and features.
Bottom line though - much like IOS devices - the new releases are ‘meh’ at best. IF you can get a 1 or 2 version old unit at a great price then the story becomes even stronger.
I got the P6P (brand new) at < $550 usd and really glad I didn’t wait for the P7 series as the changes are pretty minor (if even noticeable).
But yes - the hardware manufacturers are malicious and can’t be trusted. EVERYTHING built into a device (whether Google, Apple, Samsung, etc…) are designed to enslave us and capture all we do. This includes the hardware, firmware, software, OS, etc…
I have a Pixel 6 Pro, there are enough problems with it that I don’t think I’ll be getting another pixel. For one, the USB data rate is garbage. Its faster to copy files over wifi than USB. For two, it has no audio jack. For three, its power hungry. I have less than 24 hours of charge and if you turn on 5G you get like 2 hours. Maybe those problems were fixed in the newer problems but I doubt it. In addition to that, I’d guess its actually likely that the hardware is compromised, which is why they were able to be produced for so cheap even compared to other major phone manufacturers.
Its otherwise not a bad phone but I can’t really recommend it.
Working in the finance industry and associating with the cybersecurity and digital privacy communities, I often reflect about the profit motive all the time. In particular, something I learn day by day is the difference between being ambitious and proud with humility and dignity versus being megalomaniacal and unbalanced.
In everything, there are specific paths that make excellent use of it. I really like the threat models article by Cryptee and ProtonMail.
And the discussion about more sustainable and ethical paths to advertising and marketing should be something discussed more AND taught in business schools. The current privacy-invasive advertising approaches are like oil, a ticking time bomb that will deplete soon.
I think this is something that should be discussed more.
It is appalling seeing people throw a mental apartheid-like caste mindset against Big Tech (IE “How dare you use Apple products for your job! You don’t care about privacy because you’re supporting a company who is completely hostile to the end user! Big Tech deserves nothing but absolute hostility! FUCK THEM!” OR “How dare you use Firefox, which Google financially helps them, making Firefox compromised.” OR “Don’t touch the Google. It is dirty and infectious.” OR “Don’t use GOLANG because Google made it and therefore it is compromised and can never be trusted.”), along with those who abuse digital privacy and security to commit felonies.
In the caste system, there is a social class known as the Untouchables and they’re treated as if everything they do and interact with, it is “impure” and can never be used again. The only fate is destruction. Not too different from the extremist FUD sometimes thrown around.
And then, on the flip side, there might be those who carry a big stick, but has meaningful points and commentaries (like the Hated One), along with folks like Techlore and Naomi who are more practical and go more with things pretty much anyone can and would be onboard with.
This is also a fantastic point that I’ve thought a for a good while. Why is it that of all the kinds of organizations that are out there, that the advertising and marketing industry is the one that lucked out and is somehow justified in knowing everything about you?
I don’t want to get more off-topic, but there is definitely more to our problem than just “Big Tech evil.”