Google had its big event yesterday and announced two new Pixel phones, the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3XL. I’ve been using Google phones for quite a while now, first the Nexus phones and now the Pixel phones. I love my Pixel phone but I will be upgrading shortly, probably to the larger form factor 3XL.

But even more exciting to me is the Pixel Slate. I’ve been using a Pixelbook at the USV office for the last month and I like it quite a bit but it badly needs a biometric login to the device. The Slate apparently comes with a fingerprint unlock. 

So I will probably swap out my Pixelbook for the Pixel Slate and see how that goes.

I will let you know once I’ve got the new devices and have been using them for a bit.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Surprising that 128 GB is the most you can have in storage for that Pixel XL vs the iPhone XS Max (which I have) that can go up to 512 GB. And the iPhone beats it by .2 inches on screen size 😉 I think camera is slightly better for the iPhone but screen resolution is slightly better for the Pixel. It’s becoming so hard to diffferentiate on specs.

    1. obarthelemy

      The camera is probably better in the Pixel 3. Last year’s Pixel 2 camera is still considered better than the Xs’s by most, especially in low light.https://www.theverge.com/20

      1. William Mougayar

        I was going by this https://www.digitaltrends.c…iPhone has dual 12MP + 12MP telephoto. Pixel doesn’t

        1. kenberger

          But the Pixel camera still out-performs the iPhone’s, despite that dual vs single difference… and the article you’re linking to explicitly points that out.

          1. William Mougayar

            But I use a camera App and getting some really good results. The standard Apple camera app doesn’t fully exploit the hardware capabilities apparently.

          2. obarthelemy

            Same for the camera app on most Androids. One of the first things I do is put in OpenCamera, the UI is excellent and it enables EIS on quite a few phones, along with other enhancements.Not sure what the situation is on the Pixels.

          3. kenberger

            Here is great news: the Pixel 3 camera app is RIGHT NOW ready for download to your Pixel 2. I just did, no issues:https://www.androidauthorit

        2. obarthelemy

          That’s a very useless paper review of theoretical specs.They haven’t actually handled any of those phones. They haven’t taken pics with them. They judge battery life by theoretical capacity not actual screen-on-time. They judge screen by shape and size, not contrast/accuracy/brightness/reflectance/lag/….My go-to sites for reviews these days are The Verge and GSMArena. MrMobile and Techtablets (now covers mostly phones) on YouTube. The reviews take a bit of time, but are much more in-depth and realistic, and in the case of those 4, balanced.

          1. William Mougayar

            Got it. I will do my own testing next time I catch a friend w a new Pixel XL .

          2. obarthelemy

            the first real-life reviews are in. Paul Thurrott is nonpartisan – and provides samples !https://www.thurrott.com/mo…Edit: I take that back, it’s Pixel 2 not 3.

          3. William Mougayar


          4. obarthelemy

            Here you go: Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS. The text is in French, but the pics aren’t ^^https://www.lesnumeriques.c…

          5. William Mougayar

            Thanks! i’m fluent in french 🙂

      2. kenberger


    2. jason wright

      Does the XS Max have unlimited photo and video backup?

      1. William Mougayar

        What do you mean by that?Like via iCloud or google drive?But Iphone does 60 frames per sec vs pixel 30 . That’s a big difference in quality.

        1. jason wright

          When i take a photo/ video using my Pixel it is automatically saved off-phone.i’ve never used an iphone. i don’t know what it allows one to do or not do.

          1. William Mougayar

            Yes, that’s done by google photos even if it’s on an iPhone.

          2. jason wright

            Ah. Does the iPhone have a Google Lens equivalent?

        2. obarthelemy

          For all Android devices (and I think iOS too), Google Photos offers a choice of either unlimited “high quality” (1080p IIRC) cloud backup of all photos and videos, or “original (ie higher) quality” cloud backup but that’s taken out of your Google Drive quota. You have a free 15GB, but that gets eaten up fast.Pixels usually get an upgrade to free “original quality” cloud backup for 2 yrs IIRC. That’s a bait and switch though, what about after those 2 yrs ? (*)edits: clarity and complements.(*) after 2 years, Pixels get bumped down to regular Androids: already-saved pics remain free forever at original quality, but new pics get treated the same as other Androids: free if downscaled, out-of-quota if original.https://bgr.com/2017/10/06/

          1. William Mougayar

            I see. Thanks I use the full backup mode with highest res preservation.

          2. jason wright

            “after 2 years, Pixels get bumped down to regular Androids”which is a wonky mismatch when the monthly software updates and security patches bundle is guaranteed for three years from the date of release of a Pixel. i want my three years please Google.

    3. bogorad

      Who needs this much local storage when every picture/video you take via Pixel is automatically and transparently backed up to the cloud, preserving the original quality, and not eating into your storage allowance. Even the previous generation (Pixel-2) camera was already better than the one in iphones. The new one is just adding crazy things like super-res-zoom and night shot. This shows that AI is better than more optics 🙂

      1. obarthelemy

        I do. I carry a lot of media on my phone for when I’m out of coverage which is when I need it most: on planes, in the back country, in a storm with kids… and I can’t be bothered to micromanage a few GBs of storage. My main phone and tablet both have more storage (128+128 and 64+240 GB resp) than my Windows PC.Also, Cloud Backup with Google Photo isn’t unlimited unless you downscale your pics to “only” 1080p, so my original photos and videos still end up on my local NAS directly off my phone.

        1. bogorad

          Not true. Whatever is shot on Pixel-1/2/3 is uploaded in original quality, and storage will stay free forever. You can upload more for a couple of years in case Pixel-2/3, and forever in case of Pixel-1. But once uploaded – the storage will always be free.

          1. obarthelemy

            You’re right for Pixels, and for 2 years.Non-Pixel users, and Pixel users after 2 years, do run into local storage issues though.And people (whether on Pixels or not) who want access to media when out of coverage, or when using metered data which is still a thing in some places (Canada !) can need significant local storage.

          2. bogorad

            We are discussing Pixels :). Also two years is the average life span of a phone with people who buy flagship devices

          3. obarthelemy

            I once spent a lot of time trying to work out iPhones’ actual lifespan, and came up with 4 yrs. That was 1 yr ago and for previous phones, with progress slowing down we can probably extend that to 5 yrs for phones sold today. I’d explain that by people either hanging on to their phones, or passing it down to someone else. Around me phones seem to be kept until physically broken.Anecdotally, I couldn’t even manufacture a reason to upgrade my 2yo low/mid-ranger this year either. Someone please push me off a boat ? That’s how I got my previous one killed after 1 year ^^

          4. bogorad

            Exactly my point – “mid-ranger”. People who buy flagships tend to upgrade much more often.Personally I will keep my Pixel-2xl because of the fugly notch.

          5. PhilipSugar

            I am not debating the phone. I am not debating how much storage you need.”the storage will always be free forever” is an absolute bullshit statement.Have you read the terms of service? I’ll answer for you. No.Free until 2020It will be free after that as long as Google wants it to be. Sorry you have seen that many times.Not busting on Google.You are the product and when it is determined that is not the case

          6. bogorad

            You should read up on that some more. Uploads(!) will be free until 2020. Whatever you’ve already uploaded by that date will be stored for free.

          7. PhilipSugar

            Talk to me about Google+

          8. bogorad

            Doesn’t make much sense arguing with someone who’s changing the subject all the time. YOU WIN

          9. PhilipSugar

            I don’t want to win or lose. My point is simple. You don’t pay for something, it is not free. It is free as long as the entity providing it decides to keep it that way, because it serves their purpose. You look as old as me, you know this. I’ll give things for free as long as it suits my purpose. After that???? Not so much. Now if you have class you allow people to move it to something else.But saying free forever. Nope.

          10. LE

            Actually a great example of my theory of why certain people will never be billionaires. To be a billionaire you have to be smart but not so smart that you know so much that you won’t take a gamble or a chance. Point being if you get enough of these ‘smart enough’ people that are not hindered by ‘to much knowledge’ you end up with some lucky people who make money in spite of things that they overlook or foolish chances they take. This will be a chapter in the book (that I will never write).You see I am just like you. I know enough (about google) to know what they can and have done. Others who don’t follow this don’t have the same fear. Just like I don’t know what happens in the cockpit of the airliner (or in the operating room of a hospital) and as such have no fear of the risk I am taking. Or of course maybe it just doesn’t matter to them at all.My wife has a really simple password on her laptop. I reminded her last night to change it to something way more difficult. She said ‘yeah but not right now’. Now multiply that small bit of knowledge by 1000 and that is what it’s like to spend time on things that others simply take their chances with. The more you know the more you are burdened.

          11. PhilipSugar

            So right. Too practical. Not willing to make crazy statements and truly believe them.I mean think about free forever.Forever? That’s a pretty long time.Free for now?, sure.What if Facebook or Twitter starting charging for posts or reads, other than improving the worlds productivity and people yelling to high heaven? Nothing. What if they go bankrupt? That’s happened to other social media companies.Changing Terms of Service? Every company has that “term” in their terms of service. South Park did an especially crude skit about Apple changing theirshttps://www.youtube.com/wat….

          12. LE

            Oh man super ironic from Bogorad, given how he takes up this point with you about ‘free forever’ and never will change (and with gusto to the point most importantly):https://medium.com/@bogorad…My analysis (he can chime in if he wants). He is analog (he is creative a photographer) you are precise digital (an engineer). Hence his brain is liberal and more willing to be naive and accepting. This clearly shows in what he wrote in this post it. They say ‘free forever’ he has no skepticism. To wit from the post:It sounded like an offer from a libertarian’s dream bank: they promised to open accounts for just anybody, mail plastic cards around the world free of charge, and convert currencies using Forex rates +1% (after the fist 500 GBP)! And they did it!Then:Then the reality kicked in. First, they stopped allowing credit cards for top-up. Understandable — higher rates etc. Then they blocked almost all cards issued by Russian banks. It turned out that Russian banks were cheating, and using credit-card number codes even for debit cards

          13. obarthelemy

            That guy said he’s ignoring me now. One can’t have a rational and respectful discussion with him like the two of us did.

          14. LE

            Plus that if you want the high res photo backed up that does cost money. They don’t backup the high res for free. Only the lower resolution. Unless they changed things with the Pixel vs. my S8+.Plus you still (with low storage on the phone and no other card) have to decide what to keep and what to delete even if it’s backed up to the cloud. That is stressful and takes time. Also if you are backing up to the cloud at least from my phone it is stupid enough to hog all of the bandwidth when doing so. Yes it is that stupid by default. And no I don’t have any time to figure out if there is a way around that. And whatever that way is it’s not trivial for someone who isn’t a computer person (and may not even know it is possible). Sure I could spend time and figure out but I don’t want to do that and shouldn’t have to do that.I mean who designs an OS where you could connect to someone’s network (a friend or at the office) and steal all of the bandwidth? Who are these people who have a job and even let something like that happen? [1][1] I noticed this when I first brought the S8+ to the office and was getting slow response and finally tracked down the reason was the wifi on the S8+ was uploading photos in the background as if it was the only device on the network.

          15. PhilipSugar

            You know I checked this out today, about the bandwidth hog.This is a great piece of info. Seriously great piece of info.It shows why some of this “hacking” culture sucks.Us “oldsters” know why you don’t do that.MikeZ talks about this.Sure you connect your phone to the office or home Wifi, all of a sudden you wonder why your internet connection on other devices blips……

      2. William Mougayar

        Yup, I went for 256GB just because sometimes you want some local music and videos, even if they are backed up .

  2. kenberger

    I think the camera being something more powerful than just a picture taker is the big story, and plays well to Google’s strengths.The approach Android takes is software-driven, so interesting advantages are already happening:- The Pixel 2 cameras have been rated by many to be “better”* than iPhone’s, even despite the latter having dual lenses, mostly due to AI software.- Besides the camera taking photos for people’s posterity, it is already providing other features built in, such as constantly scanning for things it can help with by recognizing them (restaurant menu items, dog species, bar scanning, shopping) and having this deeply integrated into the camera app:https://www.androidpolice.c…*to the average viewer; professional photographers might not necessarily agree.

    1. LE

      Photography used to be much more special before all of these advances. Now it’s like it’s no fun to take pictures when so many more people are able to use their phones to create art. It was entirely different when you had 24 or 36 exposures and had to really think and work but in the end you had something that others would look at and say ‘wow that is good’ (because they were using some Kodak or Polaroid).

      1. kenberger

        Yup. And there are loads of people that relish receiving an actual letter or postcard in their physical mailbox.And some who love playing vinyl on their record players.I’m fine with forgoing both forever, in exchange for the practicalities while acknowledging the emotional sacrifices.

      2. obarthelemy

        Erm. I really suck at taking pictures, so I won’t stray from the lamest holiday-type shots.I’ve tried, again, repeatedly, to shoot wonderful scenes these holidays. A magnificent setting comes out as flat, narrow garbage. But pixel-perfect. I’m certainly not eating artists’ lunch.

        1. LE

          I will brag that I am really good. I could have been a professional. I was taking pictures and making money from photography (had a darkroom) in high school. [1] 100% self taught back when that was a big deal. From day one I took good photos. Only reason I didn’t go into it was that I thought it was to easy and not challenging enough and also not a way at the time to make money. The business ability helped greatly. My sister was an artist and was good enough that one of her paintings was stolen. But she had no hustle or ability to use it to make money (she studied in Rome for college).[1] Commercial photography (catalogs), press photos, legal photography and so on.

      3. jason wright

        quantitative observation. the camera that matters is the one inside our heads, and that is something Apple can never sell to us. It would have us believe that art is to be found in the tech, ironically, and falsely.

        1. LE

          Don’t you mean ‘qualitative’?You are right though. People don’t have the composition skills or close to it. Their brain is not wired that way. One thing though that people have (to more of a degree) is the ability to pick out something from a bunch of possibilities. So if the camera gives them multiple choices (because it can) and/or alters the photo in some way then there is a better end result. So there is a difference between creating something from scratch (as the creator) and picking or noticing something that is nice when compared with a lesser choice is my point. That is far easier almost like a multiple choice test vs. open ended ‘what is the answer to the question’.

          1. jason wright

            “when so many more people are able to use their phones to create art.” – that’s the quantitative shift, that everyone now has the instant means in their pocket to take an infinite numbers of photos.It’s like photography has become a machine gun approach to creation, based on statistical probability, that inevitably great art will be produced by this method. It will not. great artists are rare, and because they see what we do not.

      4. Girish Mehta

        Also, its about the difference between capturing a moment and creating a moment. What is special is the moment itself that is happening..aka “life”. What a great photograph does is captures that moment. Now you can argue that it is the eye of a great photographer that sees something as special and captures that instant…but that fleeting instant was real, and it was “life”.Unfortunately in the age of Instagram and Facebook, it is become about creating a moment. Something is lost there when you create a moment in order to capture it on a photograph. More and more, it appears that instead of observing, experiencing or enjoying a moment – people are attempting to create a moment with the intent of capturing it.

        1. LE

          instead of observing, experiencing or enjoying a moment – people are attempting to create a moment with the intent of capturing it.Yes this is actually exactly the way I have always operated and it has nothing to do with what people do now where they snap to share. For example my photos are almost never shared. But when I go anywhere with a camera I am totally focused on taking a picture and not enjoying what I am seeing. Using the camera is the enjoyment and honestly it definitely takes work and detracts from the moment.I have a shore place with a fabulous view of the beach and the ocean. And when I go there I go out on the balcony and the first thing I do is take yet another picture of the view which generally is exactly the same as all the other pictures. And when there were fireworks I drove down the street in the car with the camera taking a picture of the fireworks and the buildings going by (where you could see the fireworks in the background). I even take pictures of articles that I am reading in the paper and I am not sure even why I do that.

  3. bogorad

    Seeing the title, for a second I thought you referred to an irritating effect we saw yesterday (see screenshot). What a screw-up!https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  4. Matt Zagaja

    The new Google gadgets are cool looking and tempting but I wonder what the customer support situation is like. A thing that I enjoy about being an Apple customer is that for the most part the customer experience situation is seamless. Just had my broken iPad Pro keyboard replaced out of warranty for free.

    1. jason wright

      here in the UK i can call Google from my Pixel and receive immediate one-to-one voice support (a real human being speaking to me in real time). I’ve done it a few times and it’s quite good.

    2. LE

      This is exactly why Apple is able to charge a premium. And additionally my experience owning a Samsung s8+ the hardware and the way Android operates does not even come close to the Iphone 6s which I also own. [1] The Samsung hardware in particular the screen with touch is nowhere near as accurate as the Iphone and that’s with an older iphone (getting new one after the bugs are shaken out). I am constantly getting annoyed by the way it works. And what it does that I don’t want it to do. And the fact that it’s impossible to browse without being logged into some google account. Nothing works as well or as easy as on IOS. No way.Also you are right about the Apple store. We have a few customers that get email service and are tech clueless attorneys. Instead of spending time on the phone with them to figure out why things don’t work (config wise with the settings we give them) we just tell them to go to the Apple store. There they have plenty of time and are not rushed with figuring out why the customer didn’t configure their phone correctly. Where else can you get that type of service and help? No way that is happening at any Tmobile store or Best Buy. Nothing that the customers pay us a premium and obviously pay Apple a premium as well for that.[1] I use two carriers , two OS’s two phones and phone numbers for redundancy and honestly anyone who depends on their phone for business should do the same. Especially if you are doing two factor authentication.

      1. jason wright

        “Especially if you are doing two factor authentication.”Exactly why i have two phones, but both are Android.

    3. Adam Sher

      Google offers good chat support for their phones if you use Google Fi. Their phone support is average. I haven’t bought a non-phone Google device since the Nexus 7 tablet, which was superb. Based on where I see major wireless carriers pricing their phones, Google Fi may be an inferior option.

    4. JamesHRH

      Apple quietly killing it on services.I just had a great free phone based support call with them. They are locking up their user base for life.

  5. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:We are second or third generation hardware users. We wait until all the upgrades and kinks are worked out of devices. Really wonder what Fred does with his old devices when he upgrades this quickly. Let us purchase your old (To him) devices.Thanks in advanceCaptain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

    1. kenberger

      1 very interesting attribute of Pixel recently is it lets you trade in your existing device for the new model, during the ordering process. My year-old Pixel 2XL is worth ~$350, same as what my Nexus 6P was last year. So the phone is around half-price if you want to upgrade every year…However, that’s only true for US-based orders. Order it in Europe and it’s a higher price AND no trade-in (or Project Fi) availability)

      1. jason wright

        I did not know that, and i am in Europe. A second class Pixizen.

  6. Jeff J

    The Slate is the most interesting of the devices they mentioned yesterday. I too have used the Pixelbook for the past year. The lack of a biometric unlock is a major issue, as my Google PW is 43 characters long and BT unlock is flaky.I saw a quick hands on last night on This Week in Android, that showed the Slate connected to a 4K external screen that is quite interesting from the mobile computing perspective. If only Google Docs were better.And why no LTE? I’d this is to be a serious alternative to the iPad Pro or Surface I need built in LTE. I’ll consider the Slate, it’s been my experience that you need a W10 or MacOS device to truly manage PowerPoint when mostly using the PixelBook

    1. William Mougayar

      So what’s the verdict vs Surface Pro?

      1. Jeff J

        For the Slate? No idea. The Slate hasn’t been realized yet, though a few technologists have pre-release Slates. They are shipping “later this year”, whatever that means. I’ll check it out when it ships.

        1. William Mougayar

          Ah, got it. Thx

  7. Pointsandfigures

    On the new Apple OS I love the password mgr that works between devices

  8. Adam Parish

    Great decisions.

  9. Adam Sher

    @fredwilson what’s your experience with Pixel battery life? Mine has been that it is terrible.

    1. Jeff J

      Mine has been 8ish hours, depending on whether or not I have BT on and how many tabs I’m running. I’ve not seen the battery life attrition others have mentioned, but it hasn’t been my only device

      1. Adam Sher

        8 hours isn’t good. I’d say we have similar experiences. I notice the screen is particularly power hungry compared to other Google Fi phones like Moto X4 and Nexus 6P.

  10. Dan G

    notch is awful

  11. Hugh Knowles

    The endless replacement of technology and incremental improvment sold as revolution is pretty exhausting both for us and the planet. Shouldn’t the goal be to hold on to your tech for as long as possible?

  12. karthickgopal

    Isn’t privacy a concern?