The Google Pixel Watch was (obviously) going to be a must-have item around the DL offices, being the first smartwatch from Google and all. Even if we don’t quite know all of the details surrounding its specs and features and price, it is without a doubt a device we need. But now, after seeing Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 line-up in a leak today, the Pixel Watch is looking like the last hope for excitement in 2022.
Let’s talk about what we know is coming in 2022.
We know that the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are coming and what they look like. There will be improvements there (like Tensor 2), but let’s be honest, what we’ve seen so far sure comes off like a minor upgrade over the Pixel 6 line. We know that Samsung is likely to release a Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 in the coming weeks, also with minor improvements over previous generations. We’re pretty sure OnePlus is about to deliver an awkward upgrade in the OnePlus 10T. We know that the Nothing Phone (1) isn’t coming here. We know that OSOM sold their soul to the sketchy world of crypto.
2022 is looking like a mid-rangey year for phones. And if not a bust, because the quality of devices should be high, then it’s at least looking like a snoozey one. That’s not to say that most of the devices I mentioned above won’t be good or worth upgrading to depending on your current device, it’s just that this isn’t going to be a year for ground-breaking new-ness.
So with phones shaping up in that fashion, we move to wearables, and that’s where the Pixel Watch vs. the Galaxy Watch 5 comes into play.
As I mentioned in the opening, the Pixel Watch is the obvious choice for me. Not just because it’s Google’s first smartwatch, but really because Samsung’s watch line-up is like the phones everyone is about to release – nothing new.
Samsung guy is going to show up now and say, “The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is brand new, you fool!” And yeah, man, it is. Did you see it, though? That deep dish ass design lookin’ thicker than a leg and with a battery we expect to make for a case that looks goofy on everyone’s wrist whose name isn’t Dwayne Johnson? And the regular Galaxy Watch 5 is a straight copy of the Galaxy Watch 4, a fine line of watches, but ones we’ve already seen. What am I getting excited about here, a skin temperature sensor?
Couple the already-played design with Samsung’s meh One UI Watch software and I’ll pass. Give me the Pixel Watch, please.
The Pixel Watch is a fresh take on a smartwatch design that is about as clean as it gets, with its rotating crown poking through its curved bottom and top, and that domed glass with stainless back. Google managed to build a smartwatch that looks like a watch, not just another piece of wearable tech. The case size appears to be for the normal person’s wrist, it’s slim, we’re told that it’ll run a “new Wear OS experience,” and that Fitbit will have deep integration. It should quickly pair with your phone and fit perfectly within the Google Pixel ecosystem, which I happen to enjoy over others.
There is some worry about the old Exynos 9110 chipset that Google has chosen to use, but if another rumor of Google customizing the experience by adding a co-processor is correct, it should still provide a better experience than Qualcomm’s 4100 line. We also know that Google has been working on this thing forever and the expectation then is that it’ll be dialed in at launch, unlike their yearly phone releases.
Did I just fanboy out there a bit and come off like a spoiled tech brat? You betcha. But I still like to get excited about new products and the Pixel Watch is our last hope, Obi-Wan.
How Good is Android 13 on Pixel Phones?
The stable Android 13 update has been out since the beginning of the week and that means a couple of days for you to run it and establish first impressions. I’m curious what those are, as the update is somewhat minor in new features, but huge in terms of bug fixes from Android 12.
To recap, Android 13 dropped on Monday for the Pixel 4, Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, and Pixel 6a. The update was available immediately if you felt like playing in adb, plus we’ve seen it rollout over-the-air as well to some phones. Tim, for example, says he can pull it yet I can’t on my Pixel 6 Pro. Rude, Google.
We talked about all of the new features in Android 13 that you’ll want to be on the lookout for and then spent a lengthy amount of time looking through the list of 150 bugs that Google fixed. Google says it was able to improve “performance, stability, and reliability,” fixed bugs related to charging and Gboard and touch screen palm detection and so much more. Google even says it addressed fingerprint reader performance on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a.
After browsing through reddit, I can see that a number of folks have been quick to share that their fingerprint reader is indeed faster (Do people really believe this?) and that overall performance and stuttering has improved, especially on older Pixel phones.
What about you? How has Android 13 been running on your Pixel phone this week? Or are you still waiting for it?
Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro Get Major Approval Ahead of Launch
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro stopped through the FCC this week, marking a big step towards launch that should happen around October, if previous launches are any indicator. The filings don’t reveal much, other than supported network bands and the presence of UWB again, but they do give us model numbers to pin on each phone going forward.
There are four FCC filings of note to dip into under Google’s FCC ID. Those filings give us model numbers of GVU6C, GQML3, GP4BC, and GE2AE. After looking through several of the documents at the FCC, I’m pretty confident in saying that the first two are the Pixel 7 and the last two are the Pixel 7 Pro. The GVU6C Pixel 7 also has an alternate model number of G03Z5 alongside it, as does the Pixel 7 Pro’s GE2AE, where GFE4J can be added to its list.
To recap, we have Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro model numbers as follows:
- PIXEL 7: GVU6C (G03Z5)
- PIXEL 7: GQML3 – mmW
- PIXEL 7 PRO: GP4BC – UWB
- PIXEL 7 PRO: GE2AE (GFE4J) – UWB, mmW
Each phone has all of the proper network bands to work well here in the US, with select models also supporting 5G mmW. The two models supporting mmW are GQML3 (Pixel 7) and GE2AE (Pixel 7 Pro). The others support sub-6 5G, just not the super speedy 5G mmW that you’ll never attach to anyway.
To tell the difference between Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro devices, we really are guessing (assuming) based on the fact that GP4BC and GE2AE have UWB or ultra-wideband support. In the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, only the Pixel 6 Pro had UWB and it looks like that’ll be the case again this year. UWB is used for short-range communications in things like luggage trackers or to help a digital car key talk to a car.
The rest of the big network stuff can be see below, where you’ll find WiFi 6E, NFC, and WPT (wireless power transfer aka wireless charging).
Pixel 7 network bands
Pixel 7 Pro network bands
There isn’t much else to take from this because Google already announced each phone. We’re really just waiting for them to go official, so that we can start playing with their cameras, test Google Tensor 2, and see if Google took are of all of the Pixel 6 line’s modem issues.
If you were hoping this arrival at the FCC would tell us when the Pixel 7 will launch, I’m not sure that it does. The Pixel 6 line hit the FCC in September 2021 and then arrived in October. The Pixel 6a showed up at the FCC in April 2022, was announced in May, and then didn’t ship until July.
Verizon’s Visible Added a Sweet New Visible+ Plan
From the day it launched back in 2018, Verizon’s Visible has had a single plan that costs just $40/mo. Visible has continued to update and upgrade the plan over the years, but that price has always stuck and it remained the only plan option for those looking at Verizon’s “all-digital wireless carrier.” Today, Visible is making a big move – we now have 2 plans.
Visible announced today that they offer two plans: Visible and Visible+. Visible is a similar offering to the old Visible plan, only now it costs $30/mo instead of $40. For Visible+, a couple of additional features and upgrades will cost you $45/mo.
So what are the differences between Visible and Visible+? I have the visual breakdown for you below, but the basics are that the regular Visible plan is going to be for those who don’t need a super speedy 5G experience and who don’t travel outside of the US much. The only network access you get is on 5G nationwide and LTE, where your connection could be slowed if in heavy trafficked areas. It still has talk and text to Mexico and Canada.
The Visible+ plan adds unlimited calling and texting to Canada and Mexico, roaming use when in those two countries, calling from the US to 30+ other countries, texting to 200+ countries, and premium 5G connections. The “Premium Network Experience” from Visible+ means access to 5G Ultra Wideband (both mmW and C-Band) from Verizon’s network in an unlimited capacity. When on the 5G Nationwide of LTE networks, you’ll get 50GB of data to use before possibly being slowed.
Both plans also offer unlimited mobile hotspot with a 5Mbps speed cap and Spam Protection.
Visible vs. Visible+ Plans
Taxes and fees are included in both prices on these plans, so you’ll pay $30 or $45 each month. Both plans are also live right away, in case you want to sign-up. Visible supports eSIM now as well, so if you were interested in trying them, you can do so without a physical SIM card.
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