I missed these Pixel features the most after switching to Samsung

Oops, I did it again.

After the Pixel 6 broke my heart, I ended up going back to the Pixel 8. Feeling lost? Let me recap.

There I was, enjoying my experience with my precious Pixel 6, and things were going great. It lived up to my expectations; it made me happy. Sadly, it was not a perfect relationship. Roughly two years of short-lived happiness ended abruptly, and we broke up.

The reason why I ended up dumping the Pixel 6 was simple: it just wasn’t usable every day anymore. The device would hang up on me, I had a ton of network problems, and the Bluetooth would only play nice when it was in the mood. Google didn’t design the Pixel 6 for sustained heavy usage, and the phone just couldn’t take it anymore.

(Image credit: Android Central)

Once that was done and dusted, my next primary device was the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. This was partly because I was curious and partly because I wanted to reaffirm my belief in the longevity of flagship phones. This experiment had a more cheerful ending, leading me to conclude that Samsung’s phones age far more gracefully than Pixels.

Now, I have taken everyone — including myself — by surprise and have cautiously switched back to a Google Pixel — the Pixel 8, to be more specific. Before you grab your pitchforks and torches, calm yourself. No, I am not a “hater” of either phone, Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel, so I have no issue bouncing back and forth between either brand or even using both simultaneously.

What’s ultimately the most important factor isn’t brand loyalty. All I care about (and so should you) is a good quality product that’s worth my while and my hard-earned money. But there’s more to the story than just curiosity.

Sure, I wanted to test out the latest Pixel to see for myself whether it had improved over the Pixel 6. But I was also sorely missing a couple of Pixel-exclusive features that no other Android phone has.

Now Playing on the Pixel lock screen

I missed these Pixel features the most after switching to Samsung

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Now Playing is, in my opinion, the most underrated Pixel feature of them all. This music identification feature is seamless, automatic, and so darn good at what it’s supposed to do.

You no longer have to ask, “Hey, what song is that?” because the Pixel does it for you. It records the song with a time stamp, lets you browse the list and favorite tracks, and you can even share songs right out of the Now Playing app.

Forget Shazam, Now Playing is the ultimate song tracker slash audio identification app, and it is baked into modern Pixels. I tried to use alternatives on my Samsung, but nothing came close to this. There isn’t a lock screen widget that’s as good as this, either.

Yelling STOP at my phone’s alarm to turn it off

I missed these Pixel features the most after switching to Samsung

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

It had become somewhat of a weird tradition for everyone in the household to start yelling “STAHPP” at my Pixel every time the alarm would ring.

In case you weren’t aware, you can simply command your Pixel’s alarm to turn off verbally when it goes off. This includes simple answers like “snooze” or “stop,” but because the alarm is pretty loud, you need to be a bit louder when speaking to your Pixel.

Call it an idiosyncrasy, but I missed screaming at my Pixel to turn off the alarm. It’s dumb, it’s chaotic, but it’s also fun. The fact that it confuses people hanging around you is an added bonus. It’s a great conversation starter if anything. Every phone should have this feature.

Pure, unadulterated stock Android with a Pixel twist

I missed these Pixel features the most after switching to Samsung

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

After the Android 12 Material You facelift, Android on a Pixel is unmatched. The UI is mouth-wateringly delish to look at. Android 14 has an even better look, and I absolutely love the look of my Pixel 8 running it.

Although One UI and dynamic color theming as well as themed icons, it just doesn’t have the soul of a Pixel. The charm of the stock Android phone lies in the little things like the shape of the Quick Settings menu, the clock, the At a glance widget, and the fluid animations.

It’s so easy to get used to the subtle software tweaks added by Google. I almost forgot that all phones don’t have the ability to copy text from just about anywhere or translate text selected within an app without taking screenshots or any extra steps. Then there’s the Magic Eraser, Magic Editor, and Audio Magic Eraser, all of which deliver superior results.

Once you get used to Google’s spin on stock Android, it’s really hard to move on from there. Despite switching over to Samsung’s better-functioning phone, I still yearned for these little built-in options and abilities. No one does cool, seamless software tweaks like Google does.

Peak Android photography

I missed these Pixel features the most after switching to Samsung

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

This section is extremely subjective, but I’m the expert here so bear that in mind before bullying me in the comments section. I’ve tested tons and tons of Android phones, and when it comes to picture quality and color, Google is the undisputed champ.

Between the iPhone 15, the Galaxy S24, and the Pixel 8, the Pixel wins the battle when it comes to photography. Hand on my heart, the Pixel 8’s camera is superior. I find the camera app to be more user-friendly, with easily findable and usable modes and just better photography overall.

I love the color tones and accuracy that the Pixel 8 delivers, with vibrant hues that are true to life. The level of detail is stunning, and the motion unblur kicks Samsung and Apple’s butts. Night mode is phenomenal, too.

I’m not here to persuade you that the Pixel 8 has the best cameras. Picture quality is subjective to the eye of the beholder. For me, Google has the right formula, but it might not be the same for you. However, this was a big feature that I craved when using the Samsung phone as my primary device. And it’s not just my Pixel 8; my Pixel 6 could whoop the S22 Ultra with its hands tied behind its back. Photography is Google’s forte, so if you ever ditch a Pixel, you’ll miss the photography experience.


This doesn’t make up for the poor build quality and longevity of Pixels in general, nor does it negate my poor experience with the Pixel 6. However, these features are enough to make me want to give Google’s Pixel ecosystem another shot. It makes me hope that the Pixel 8 doesn’t walk down the Pixel 6’s path, and though there’s no way for me to confirm this right now, only time will tell whether newer Pixels are built to last.

Via: Androidcentral

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