So what happens when a bonified Huawei user plays a Google Pixel for the first time? I have to say, as hard as it is to admit, it sure feels nice having Google mobile services again. In case you missed it I spent a year using a phone with no Google services and you can read that here. But I have stuff that I am missing on the Google Pixel 6 that I had access to on my Huawei Mate 40 Pro.
Huawei Supercharge is 2x faster than Google’s Rapid charging
The charging experience is worse on Pixel. I was used to 40W charging on the Mate 40 Pro which meant that if I woke up late with a dead battery, I can throw the phone on the supercharger, and by the time I am done bathing, dressing up, making my bed, and packing my backpack the phone will be at 100%.
That’s empty to full in a little under an hour. And that’s not even its fastest charging speed. With the 66W supercharger, the job could be done even quicker. The Google Pixel 6 on the other hand took double the time to get to 100% using the 30W rapid charger. What I have observed is the battery life on the Pixel is very similar to the experience I had with the Mate 40 Pro which is pretty decent. Just under a day of heavy usage. Just over a day of moderate usage. But it takes a much longer time to charge
Multitasking on Huawei is in a different dimension
Multitasking on the Mate 40 Pro was far more superior. You could drag and hold from any edge in any app to launch the app tray with a selection of apps that you could either choose to run in split screen mode or picture in picture mode.
It’s not like the Pixel does not have a split screen mode because it does but it is not as elegant and powerful as on the Huawei. You have to open recent apps which interrupt whatever you had open. Then you click on the app icon and select split screen which will throw that app on the top half and from your recent apps you can then choose the second app you want to run in the bottom half.
If the app you want to run in split screen mode is not in the recent apps then you have to go to the apps list, launch it, minimize it, and then run the split screen. There is no multitask launcher like on the Huawei and picture-in-picture mode only works from within an app that natively supports it like Netflix or VLC.
With Huawei you did not have any interruptions, the gestures were natural with fewer steps needed to launch these apps and to top it all off you could open an app that was non-existent in the recently opened apps list directly from this sidebar. I definitely miss this power user feature the most.
Losing some features on my Huawei accessories
The last biggest feature I miss is more of a result of switching brands when I had invested in Huawei accessories. So I have a Huawei smartwatch and Huawei Buds. These accessories naturally worked a lot more seamlessly with a Huawei than they do with the Pixel. So an example is I can use the watch as a remote shutter button for the camera. But this feature only works on Huawei smartphones. On non-Huawei smartphones, the option for the remote camera shutter on the watch is not visible.
Another is that the Google Fit health app cannot sync with the Huawei smartwatch. So for me to continue using the health features of my Huawei watch on the Google Pixel I had to install HMS core (Huawei’s version of Google Mobile Services) so that I can install the Huawei App Gallery. I then used Huawei’s App Gallery to install Huawei Health. The only way for me to still be able to access and retain all the features of the Huawei watch on the Pixel. It’s a process to initially set it up but the good thing is you only have to do it once.
Oh, and I did not use this feature at all but you lose the ability to run navigation via petal maps on the watch when you use a phone that is not a Huawei. I’m just putting it out there for those that did use it. I didn’t.
That said…Life is GOOOD with Google’s Pixel Goodies
Hearing all these things you would assume I am having a miserable time with the Google Pixel 6 and you would be very wrong. See I knew when I bought the Mate 40 Pro in April last year that I was in the market for a competent brand that I would transition to from Huawei. I was on the fence with the Google Pixel till I watched the launch event of the Pixel 7. I was immediately sold on it.
So I got the regular Pixel 6. Not the 6a or the 6 Pro. Just the Pixel 6. And The Pixel experience has been better than I had imagined. Ignore the slow charging, the less-than-ideal multitasking, and the finicky integration with Huawei accessories. It’s a brilliant smartphone.
It’s so smooth and fluid
It is fast, and when I say fast I mean responsiveness, and the responsiveness is sustained. All the actions performed on it are just smooth and consistent. It’s an almost iPhone-like level of consistency in the smoothness of motion. I don’t even know if this will make sense but it is a reassuring level of fluidity of the UI and all the animations and gestures when you interact with it. It’s just a smooth Android experience.
Even small things are just so satisfying like the way the lock screen melts the always-on display away when you raise the phone, the way the veil of the always-on display wipes towards and away from the power button when you press it to wake the phone, or put it to sleep. Any phone can do this but I have not seen an Android smartphone being this fluid when it does it and being fluid every single time with no excuse.
The best of Android smarts powered by Google
It’s also a really intelligent device. So one of the Pixel’s party tricks is that it can run live transcriptions of voice recordings and produce a text transcript of the whole conversation. I was using this feature at a recent breakfast forum I attended. The accuracy is impressive but what was even more impressive was how well it was handling thick Nigerian accents. It was picking up some words and phrases that even I was failing to make out. And remember it’s not using the internet to try and figure this out. Processing is occurring on-device.
Precious Google services
Also, the fact that I now have access to Google services means all the apps I could not use before, all the features I had no access to on my accessories, and all the conveniences of being in Google’s ecosystem, and I can say without a doubt that I was missing out by not having access to the full-fat suite of Google services.
This is by no means a review of the Pixel 6. That will be a standalone feature coming really soon so make sure you are subscribed to our YouTube channel for that.