A week with the Pixel 6a
I've been using the Pixel 6a, relegating the iPhone 12 mini to the drawer of devices, for a week now. I think it's a great phone, and I have only missed the iPhone a bit.
What I liked:
- The screen size. The iPhone 12 mini now feels too mini. However, I don't use my phone for long periods of time as most of the day I'm at my desk, and I have recently been spending more time with the Kindle using the ability to send web pages and reading them much more comfortably on the e-ink screen.
- How snappy most things are. Particularly the launcher search, which is much quicker than the iPhone equivalent. Whether that would still be the case if I had the number of apps installed I have in iOS remains to be seen.
- The battery life is impressive. The 12 mini has never had particularly great battery life, and mine is now 2.5 years old. With the 6a, I'm ending the day at about 65% without being plugged in before 7 am.
- My Airpods work seamlessly, which I'm slightly surprised about. My car Bluetooth also seems to work better; connecting with the iPhone took about 30 seconds.
- The Android app Megalodon is excellent. Fantastically smooth scrolling and other UX features haven't made me miss Ivory.
- SimpleNote has made a suitable replacement for Tot. I'll likely use this now instead of Tot on iOS and macOS.
What's not been as good:
- There are some iPhone apps, such as Reeder, which demonstrate a level of polish that I've found replicated on Android.
- I've missed one of my apps, beorg. However, Orgzly is good; it takes a different approach and doesn't have some shortcuts I use daily - such as templates and time-tracking reports.
- There isn't an equivalent to Shortcuts. Tasker, in my opinion, is great, but it can't be used the way I've used Shortcuts. For example, in iOS, I use a Shortcut to take an album in Apple Music and start playback on a Sonos speaker. Another Shortcut I have is to automatically add a reminder to my calendar for my online grocery shopping order.
The big surprise for me is not missing the Apple Watch at all. I'm used to wearing a watch, so I bought a Casio W-800H, which is comfortable, great value and tells the time well. I don't think a watch needs to be smart to be useful.
I will probably continue using the Pixel 6a as my daily carry for a bit longer. I will then switch back and forth between the iPhone and Android. As a developer who writes apps for both, it will be good for me to be more immersed in both operating systems daily. I will be off for a holiday in Disney World in May, and the iPhone 12 mini batter just won't cut it - so it will be left at home this year.