My Pixel 4 is broken. That's how this all needs to start. Like too many other people, my Pixel 4 didn't have the long and fruitful life an expensive smartphone should have and with one warranty replacement under my belt for a swollen battery, I've got a phone with a flakey battery connector. Worse, now there is no warranty to fall back on. Dammit.
Yes, the Pixel 4 has really bad battery life even when it works correctly and that is the reason I switched away to a Galaxy S21, but I assumed that I could switch back when Google did something cool that made me want a Pixel phone again. But it just didn't turn out that way.
I can't complain too much because the Galaxy S21 is a great phone that likely isn't going to break twice in a year and it took very little effort to fix almost everything I didn't really like about its software out of the box. Samsung has come a long way since the days of blooping nature sounds and slimy plastic and after using it every day for a while, I can say that the Galaxy S21 is the best Android phone you can buy for almost everyone. Almost everyone.
I'm just not part of that "almost everyone" metric, and I know a lot of people who read websites like Android Central aren't either. I see Google show Android 12 and all the new stuff, I get to experience the new stuff for a few minutes on a broken Pixel 4, and now I am seriously jonesing for the new stuff. Samsung will give me its version of Android 12 in a few months but I just don't want to miss out.
A Pixel really has only one advantage in 2021 — instant access to potentially buggy software (read: fun!)
I'm also fully aware that this is really the only advantage a Pixel phone offers for me. The S21 camera is more than good enough for what I need even if it's not quite as good as the Pixel's. The hardware on the S21 is better than any phone to ever come from Google and the size works for me even if I wish it were a bit wider and had just a bit more bezel around the screen. It's a really good phone in every measurable way.
But it's not a Pixel phone and it doesn't have any access to the new stuff Google is slowly pushing out, and that's starting to feel like a deal-breaker. Now the question is how much value is there in spending money to get what I want while giving up some of the other things I want.
I could swing just buying a Pixel 5 or I could just move my wife onto my Google Fi plan and get one for next to nothing after the generous subsidization Google offers for new customers — she has no desire to get a new phone and set it up so it works just like the phone she already loves. Both of these ideas will cost me money and I'll let you in on a little secret about me: I hate spending money because it seems like I never have enough of it. Shocker, I know.
Amazon also wants me to buy a Pixel on monthly interest-free payments because it makes sure to tell me every time I search for one. Like most people, I probably wouldn't miss $30 a month added to my credit card but it still adds up. And yeah, I know I'm preaching to the choir and most everyone reading this works out these very same scenarios in their heads whenever a new phone comes along that they want to buy.
I'm going to do the thing I hate most: spend money for no real reason.
I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do just yet, but I know one thing: in the end, I'm going to have either a Pixel 5 or a Pixel 4a 5G with the Android 12 beta running on it in my hands in the near future. And I know it means I have to spend money and that I will complain about that part.
But it also means I get to have that buggy beta experience with not fully tested software from Google in real-time and that makes having a phone fun again. At least to me, it does. I'll also have a beautiful and 100% working Galaxy S21 to use so I can still be part of the digital world when those bugs are really bad.
I just need to get all of this behind me before google releases a Pixel Watch and I decide that I want to try Wear OS again or that mythical Pixel foldable ever appears. My bank account is going to hate me.