I have used Google Pixel phones for years. There has been one in my pocket or laptop backpack ever since the Pixel 4 XL came out back in 2019, and despite trying dozens of other devices as part of my job – from the iPhone 14 to the Samsung Fold – the Android handsets keep pulling me back like a Star Wars tractor beam.
Why? It’s not just the effortlessly brilliant camera system, speedy performance, unique design and pure Android experience that you’ll find on entries such as the Pixel 6a, Pixel 7a and the Pixel 7. There are a handful of exclusive features that I simply can’t get anywhere else. So, here’s my top Google Pixel features that you need to be using.
1. Now Playing
This feature automatically identifies songs that are playing around you, and shows that information onto your lock screen. I know what you’re thinking: but the iPhone has Shazam built-in! That’s true – but Apple’s approach requires you to physically tap a button or ask Siri every time you want to search for a tune, while the Pixel does it in real-time.
2. Photo AI
I am constantly impressed by the quality of the Pixel cameras. Point it at your subject and shoot – it makes even my lacklustre photo skills look decent most of the time. But the true magic for me comes after the snap: the Magic Eraser tool does a great job of removing unwanted people or items from your shots, while Photo Unblur (only on the Pixel 7 series) sharpens images that would have previously been unusable. It works on any image that’s saved in Google Photos, even those not taken with a Pixel! Time to restore those blurry compact camera snaps from 2006.
3. Call screening
If you’ve ever answered a spam call by mistake and been left with the question “how on Earth did they get my number?!” I recommend using the Pixel’s Call Screen feature. If a number calls that you don’t recognise, it lets you tap a button instead of answering. Google Assistant then asks the person to explain why they are calling and then sends you a transcript of their answer as text. You can then answer, or report it as spam – your call.
If you’re recording a lecture for university or have to do lots of interviews as part of your job, you’ll love the Pixel’s real-time transcription powers. I sure do. There’s a dedicated Live Transcribe mode and you can pin a shortcut to your homepage, but I personally prefer the Recorder app, which saves a text transcription of any voices from your audio clip – and it’s smart enough to detect different speakers and label them separately.
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