TECH TALK

7 Days in Dubai - - TECH TALK -

THE CAM­ERA

The Pixel’s im­age qual­ity is su­perb – though purists may quib­ble. Colours in some shots look too strong and clean, thanks to soft­ware pro­cess­ing in­tended to re­duce dis­tor­tion and im­prove de­tail (some­thing all phones do to some ex­tent).

But au­toma­tion pays off in an­other way: the Pixel will au­to­mat­i­cally com­bine suc­ces­sive shots into an an­i­mated GIF file, of­fer­ing a fun way to share a tod­dler’s steps or a dog jump­ing. For video, the Pixel’s sta­bil­i­sa­tion tech­nol­ogy com­pen­sates for shaky hands and other move­ment, match­ing what the iPhone and Galaxy phones can do.

THE AS­SIS­TANT

Google’s voice as­sis­tant, sim­ply known as Google As­sis­tant, will seem fa­mil­iar to those who have used Ap­ple’s Siri or Ama­zon’s Alexa fea­tures.

Google’s ver­sion goes fur­ther in of­fer­ing daily up­dates such as weather and news, though plenty of apps al­ready of­fer sim­i­lar ca­pa­bil­i­ties through no­ti­fi­ca­tions.

OTHER FEA­TURES

If you need help, you can reach Google’s cus­tomer sup­port and en­able screen shar­ing rem­i­nis­cent of Ama­zon’s May­day help fea­ture. And the Pixel will work with Google’s up­com­ing Day­dream View vir­tual-re­al­ity head­set, much as Sam­sung phones have Sam­sung’s Gear VR.

Long-press­ing an app icon brings up a menu of short­cuts, such as get­ting di­rec­tions to home or launch­ing the selfie cam­era. It’s sim­i­lar to the iPhone’s 3D Touch. The Pixel also of­fers “Night Light”, a fea­ture that tints your screen am­ber by fil­ter­ing out blue light that might keep you up at night. Ap­ple calls it Night Shift.

WHAT’S MISSING

The Pixel will be OK if you spray it with wa­ter, but don’t drop it in the pool. You also can’t ex­pand its stor­age with a mem­ory card, as you can with the S7 – though for $100 more, the Pixel’s 32 gi­ga­bytes of stor­age quadru­ples to 128 gi­ga­bytes, and the free on­line stor­age should take care of your pho­tos and videos. The bat­tery isn’t re­mov­able, though that’s true for most phones these days.

MAK­ING THE SWITCH

Google tries to make it easy to switch. The phone comes with a trans­fer ca­ble, and the setup process walks you through trans­fer­ring pho­tos, mu­sic and video, as long as it’s not en­crypted (so scratch iTunes video). But apps won’t switch over from iPhones; you need to buy them again.

NEW AD­DI­TION: Google Pixel dis­played next to a Day­dream View vir­tual-re­al­ity head­set

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