A month ago I received the first generation Google Pixel XL that I had purchased on eBay. Although I don’t actively collect the phones that have left the most footprint on the market during the smartphone era for a decade and a half, I like having them around. The Pixel is not one of them, since it was launched without shame or glory, and it did not even reach countries like Spain.
It did not have the depth that its predecessor would leave in photography, nor the price of some outstanding models of the old Nexus that it succeeded. Still, I bought it for good money. The reason? One that I did not value at all at its launch in 2016: the original Pixel you will always have free storage in original quality on Google Photos.
I got over the “loss” of Google Photos, but I never knew what to do with my videos
Not having original quality in Google Photos didn’t matter to me when the company launched the service, since most of the photos I took were less than 16 MP, and the compression always seemed great to me. The announcement of goodbye to your unlimited free storage it ended with that but, above all, with the comfort of knowing that videos of great memories, in greater or lesser quality, were safe.
I switched to Amazon Photos for images, and began to better manage everything locally, because at the rate at which my digital library was now growing, I saw that I needed a combined approach against Google Photos. I used the upload to YouTube as an alternative to share with relatives with relatively decent quality. But at a certain point, I felt that neither option fully convinced me.
I could pay for Google storage, but now I was making a lot more videos that I wanted to keep in the cloud in original quality, and any payment plan that did not imply “unlimited storage” was going to fall short for mefor a price that deep down he did not want to assume.
So I remembered that the Pixel and Pixel XL kept their unlimited upload free and uncompressed forever, in a sort of contractual election promise from Google. All the videos and photos that I took with my cameras or with my mobiles would be uploaded to the cloud in original quality without occupying a single megabyte. I just had to design a system for them to reach a local folder on the Pixel. It would then upload everything as if it had captured the contents itself.
In the time I’ve had the terminal, I have uploaded about 500 GB of content. I do it with little effort once I synchronize all I want with the open source wonder that is syncthing (and the help of OneDrive and Dropbox to automatically push my iOS camera roll to my PC). The NAS option It was there, and although it was more complete, it also required a higher outlay. For the moment, it gives me (technological) life to feel again that I can upload whatever I want, and that I don’t have to control myself and rule out making videos or photos due to storage issues.
The Pixel XL is more than its limitless upload, but also a proof of Android’s maturity for years.
I have already explained why I acquired the terminal, and the use that I am giving it. However, have it too It has helped me to be able to enjoy your camera again, and remember a time when computational photography already existed, but it still had a relative influence on the final result. Likewise, it has offered me the possibility of remembering the naturalness of RAW photos from those years, when I already took them with mobile phones, but underestimating them in favor of automatic shooting, which I tolerate less and less in terms of results.
Viewing and editing “raw” photos taken with it gives me almost the same pleasure as those made with the HTC 10. A picture as the one with the daisy It is all that I ask of today’s mobiles regarding naturalness.
With all this, the Pixel already satisfies me and validates my investment. But I have also loved being able to use it as the main mobile for a few days to see that, next to another pair of terminals that I have with Android 13 (the latest stable version available), I miss almost nothing.
On the one hand, it’s because, for years, I’ve mostly used iOS, as I’ve been getting less and less into features, because both systems overwhelm. On the other hand, I consider Android a system that lacks almost nothing since about Nougat 7.0.
I think Android should stop updating every year, because what has been coming to it for five years, version by version, is useful, but little. And it is something that I confirm being able to use only a version from 4 years ago. I’ve thoroughly tested the new ones, and I like them, but I don’t miss much. My colleague Ricardo Aguilar also thinks so, after using Android 14 thoroughly. Come on boring version in boring version.
The biggest recent Android change is called Material You. It permeates the system with a new aroma that is not present in Android 10, and is missed. But Google’s design language was already mature in 2019, and I don’t feel strange at all using the systemWell, other graphic novelties, such as dark mode, are there, having released generally in the system in that version.
Another of the things that I value most about modern smartphones, the gestures present since Android 10 after an erratic first try, they are also in this Pixel. It’s a modern experience, and being a strong advocate of manufacturers needing to update Android earlier and longer, these days with the Pixel XL leave me feeling like It is only crucial for one point, security updates.
No matter how good an operating system from years ago is, the most important thing is still to remember that you do not have security against vulnerabilities
The Pixel XL stopped receiving them shortly before the pandemic, and since then many vulnerabilities have been corrected by Google and others. In that sense, using the Pixel for personal or work issues, I expose myself much more than with a terminal with Android 13but it is not something that you are generally aware of on a day-to-day basis.
Google does not have a problem with Android for updating it with functions that in the past they would have provided for minor versions. Google has had a very good operating system for years. And it is something to celebrate. Especially if, tomorrow, your mobile is not updated to Android 14. You probably don’t care. You probably already have everything you need.
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