Google Pixel Features: What is your favorite feature?

Can you believe it’s been six years since Google released the first Pixel phone? At this point, we’re only a few months away from the Pixel 7 series, and so far, Google has released 16 smartphones. But over the past few years, some features have come and gone on Pixel phones – what’s your favorite feature left behind?

There were a few key elements in the Pixel lineup that have survived through every Google phone. Software-backed cameras that still look amazing even as the competition progresses. Cool add-ons like Google’s Now Playing feature. And let’s not forget about the clean software and timely updates.

But on almost all Pixel phones, Google introduced a new feature or two and, in time, left some features behind. The elephant in the room, of course, is Face Unlock, which arrived with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, but it only lived through that single generation that mostly failed. Face Unlock worked brilliantly on Google phones, offering an experience similar to that of the iPhone.

On top of that, though, there were a lot of other features that Google ended up getting rid of.

Active Edge debuted on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but was discontinued starting with the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G in 2020. The feature used special sensors on the sides of the phone that, combined with its haptic motors, allow you to “tap” on the sides of the device to invoke the Google Assistant. It was a great idea, but was somewhat polarizing for some users. While, personally, I’ve always been a big fan of the gesture, others have not been impressed by how easy it is to turn it on by accident as well as how difficult it is to use it when set to less sensitive levels.

In the end, it might have been better if Google pulled this feature. Active Edge was inherently cool, like the edge referenced in a recent retrospective, and arguably very valuable given how disturbing it is Can The software gesture to open the assistant is triggered in newer versions of Android. But really, the removal made sense considering that the feature was Not all that popular and wanted special devices to actually work.

Next in line is Soli, the special chip on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL that helped boost Face Unlock but also enabled a few other features. As mentioned, this only lived through a generation, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be back anytime soon.

Soli uses a miniature form of radar to detect motions and nearby objects. It can do some amazing things, but in a smartphone, it was limited to a few gestures near the device and that was all about it. You can allow the swipe gesture to skip tracks from the Music app or pause playback. Swiping can also answer or reject a phone call. My favorite choice was the wave that could snooze the alarm – something I admit Maltreatment During my time with the Pixel 4 XL in 2019.

Pixel 4 motion sensor skip songs

While Soli only made it one year into the Pixel phones, the technology is still present in other Google products. The Nest Thermostat uses the chip to detect pedestrians to illuminate the screen, and The Nest Hub 2nd Gen uses the chip To track your sleep, which is absurdly cool. It also keeps the snooze gesture, which, yes, I still use often.

Another feature from previous Pixel phones that Google has since abandoned is the dual camera for selfies. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL both ship with two cameras on the front of the phone. One was a standard pistol for selfies, but the other was a wide-angle lens that could capture larger groups in a shot. It was a really useful feature that made taking selfies on the Pixel better than on other phones. I vividly remember offering my phone for a group photo because my friends couldn’t fit everyone in the shot with their iPhones.

This may have resulted in a gigantic notch, but the dual cameras were really useful

Google has yet to bring that idea back to Pixel phones, and for relatively good reason. A “premium” Android phone in 2022 can’t get away with leaving room in its edges for two cameras, and a dual-camera hole as a “punch hole” would be equally distasteful. The Pixel 6 Pro has a wide angle lens, but it doesn’t have quite the same effect as the Google 2018 versions.

Perhaps one of the most short-lived features ever honored by Pixels isn’t technically even exclusive to the lineup. Android 11 brought with it a completely revamped power menu, and instead of just offering power and reboot options, it also provided quick access to a tap-to-pay mobile wallet, as well as smart home controls. This feature was not exclusive to Pixel phones, as it was also used by OnePlus and some other brands. However, this feature was more prominent on Pixel phones, and it still hurts that Android 12 completely removed it.

Similarly, Android 10 introduced new customization options in Android, such as the ability to change system font styles and icons. It was a fun option, but it’s a Google choice Finally removed In Android 12 vs the excellent Material You.

You might also remember that in Google Photos, Pixel phones have the ability to take photos in portrait mode, but you can revert that shot back to the “original” with a single click. This option made it easy to save a snapshot where the Portrait effect didn’t work very well or where the effect might not be appropriate to use when sharing the snapshot. Either way, the feature was present on many of Google’s previous Pixels but was quietly removed around the launch of more recent devices.

One feature that probably stings more than any other as the Pixel family progresses is the issue of Google Photos backup. The original Google Pixel launched with the promise of unlimited full-quality photo and video backups for life to Google Photos. It was a massive show at the time that had yet to be matched. The Pixel 2 series has fallen behind a bit, moving to a timed offer of unlimited backup. The Pixel 3a was the first to lose the original quality rendering, only getting unlimited backups from Storage Saver. By the time the Pixel 6 arrived, Google had completely withdrawn the offer. The Pixel 5 was the last phone eligible for unlimited Google Photos backups for life, but it only got that offer with limited-quality backups.

There are certainly a few other little features from the previous Pixels that we forgot here, but what we’re really curious about is which one was your favourite. Let’s discuss in the comments!

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