Who needs a good smartphone when you've already got a great one? If you've been a longtime reader of Android Central, then you've likely seen the dozens of stories on how capable the Google Pixel is at being a daily companion. It takes great pictures in a variety of situations; its battery life is still humming along after nearly a year of use; and it continues to run quickly and efficiently, almost as well as the first time it came out of the box.
The Pixel is also why I'm having trouble drumming any excitement for what's to come in the Pixel 2. It's still a perfectly good phone, and it's possible that this is the first time in years that I'll stick with the same device for more than 52 weeks.
I already love my phone
Phones — so many smartphones. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the devices making headway, in addition to their successors, the competition, and the VC-funded startups attempting to throw a wrench into the fire. We still have a couple of smartphones to launch and see us through the end of the year, including the Galaxy Note 8 and Pixel 2, which leaves me two more chances to switch before the end of the year. But I'm struggling to find a worthy reason why I'd go through the trouble of doing that when I already love the Pixel so much.
The Pixel has been my daily driver since last October. It's the first smartphone I bought as a married woman, and the first phone I've been able to take overseas and merely swap out SIMs to get it to work. That may sound entirely silly to some, but I've never been able to use my "home phone" outside of the U.S. The Pixel broke that tradition because it's an unlocked phone for Verizon! I'd waited so long for this.
The Pixel has been my companion through a year of relative ups and downs — it was there when my mother needed me after she totaled her car, and it was there recording a friend's nuptials during what seemed to be the windiest day in Iceland. I've never had a dead Pixel battery on public transportation because of its power management techniques. I've even skipped out on bringing along a tablet to a transcontinental flight because the screen is comfortable enough for reading, games, and anything else I needed to stay distracted.
I haven't felt this satisfied with a smartphone since my first
And sure, the Google Pixel has had its setbacks. My unit does that thing where it distorts any bit of bright light in a photo. The pictures I took at another friend's wedding features bright flares from high piercing through formal wear. (I shared one to Instagram, anyway.) The Pixel isn't water resistant, either, as most flagship devices are these days, so I missed out on snapping silly selfies with my pals at Iceland's Blue Lagoon. It doesn't even have a manual camera mode, which I'd appreciate having on me from time to time.
Still, I haven't felt this satisfied with a smartphone since my first, the HTC Incredible. I held on to that device for three years because it was stable, it took good pictures, and it was the right size — and because nothing else seemed to satisfy as a replacement at the time. That's kind of how I feel about the Pixel. It has all the necessities, like a rear fingerprint scanner and NFC. I still have unlimited uploads through Google Photos, too.
Sure, the promises of a larger device with a better processor and a squeezable interface sound enchanting, but it's not enough to convince me to swap out Old Faithful. My Really Blue Pixel XL is still a hardworking machine — one that I finally paid off a few months ago.
But there are so many other phones
The smartphone wars aren't just exhausting for those of us who engage daily in its drama; it is confusing for consumers, too, and not everyone can afford to spend the cash to stay on top of the latest trends. Carriers offer discounts and leasing options as a ploy to get us to rotate through devices like pairs of underwear, and for some, the stability of knowing they'll always have the latest and greatest is incentive enough. For others, a good phone is all that matters, and when advertisements and online reviews are telling you otherwise, it can be hard to stay put.
You don't have to upgrade your smartphone, especially if you're already happy with what you have. I plan to hold onto my Really Blue Pixel XL when the next batch of Pixel smartphones will be announced, even though I know very little about what's next. Part of the motivation is because I want to know that I can still use an Android phone for more than half a year before it is deemed outdated. But I also know that whatever comes out a year after it will be better, so I'm going to start saving now.