A Brief History of Every Google Device

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TechGadgets Staff

Google’s Pixel lineup is like the cool kid at a tech party – bold, stylish, and always up for a camera showdown. Google’s ingenuity doesn’t stop at phones; it stretches into your ears with Pixel Buds and even sets up camp in your living room with the Google Nest crew. Let’s dive into the dynamic universe of Google’s gadgets!

Section 1: Google Pixel Phones

Google’s Pixel lineup isn’t just a phone collection; it’s more like a signature dish on the tech menu. Cooked up with the idea of serving a flawless Android experience, these Pixel devices have become the rockstars of the smartphone world, flaunting their muscle-bound hardware, camera quality, and software integration. Let’s take a stroll down the tech memory lane as we follow the evolution of Google Pixel phones – from the OG Pixel and Pixel XL in 2016 to the freshest addition, the Pixel 7 in 2022.

Pixel and Pixel XL (2016)

The Pixel saga began in 2016 with the launch of the original Pixel and Pixel XL. These phones marked Google’s official entry into the hardware market, aiming to showcase the best of Android through a combination of software and hardware excellence. With a focus on camera quality, unlimited Google Photos storage, and a smooth, unadulterated Android experience, the first Pixel phones set the foundation for what was to come.

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (2017)

Building upon the success of their predecessors, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL arrived in 2017. These phones emphasized advanced AI capabilities, exemplified by the innovative Active Edge feature that allowed users to launch Google Assistant by squeezing the phone’s sides. The Pixel 2 lineup continued to excel in photography, setting new standards for smartphone camera performance and further solidifying Google’s reputation in this domain.

Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL (2018)

In 2018, Google unleashed the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, showcasing a refined design and enhanced camera features. The Pixel 3 lineup introduced Night Sight, a groundbreaking low-light photography mode that transformed nighttime photography. The devices also embraced a dual front camera setup for wider-angle selfies, enhancing the phone’s versatility in capturing memories.

Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL (2019)

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL took a swan dive into the pool of innovation, courtesy of Google. They flaunted Motion Sense, a wizardry of radar-based gestures that let you work your magic on the phone without even laying a finger on it. Additionally, the Pixel 4 lineup enhanced face recognition and photography capabilities, further cementing their position as powerful multimedia tools.

Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G (2020)

In 2020, Google introduced the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G, expanding its lineup to include more affordable options. These phones retained the core Pixel experience while offering a budget-friendly alternative. The Pixel 4a 5G, in particular, brought 5G connectivity to the Pixel lineup, catering to users seeking high-speed data connections.

Pixel 5 (2020)

The Pixel 5, launched in 2020, represented a departure from the previous flagship models. Focusing on a balanced approach, Google opted for mid-range hardware specifications while maintaining the core Pixel strengths: exceptional camera performance and pure Android software. The Pixel 5 also introduced features like Reverse Wireless Charging and a larger battery, aiming to provide users with a reliable and versatile device.

Pixel 6 (2021)

Google pixel 6 pro, review

In a market dominated by giants like Apple and Samsung, Google’s Pixel 6 has emerged as a worthy contender. Packed with a host of innovative features and a distinctive design, the Pixel 6 stands out in the crowd and offers a fresh smartphone experience.

Design and Display

The Pixel 6 introduces a unique design element with its horizontal camera bar, setting it apart from its competitors. This innovative approach not only provides a fresh aesthetic but also prevents wobbling when the phone is placed on a surface. The 6.4-inch OLED display boasts a 90Hz adaptive refresh rate, providing a smooth and immersive experience. While the 2400 x 1080p resolution is sharp, the colors on the display may not be as vibrant as some of its competitors.

Cameras and Photography

The Pixel 6’s cameras shine as one of its key highlights. The 50MP wide-angle main camera and 12MP ultrawide camera deliver stunning shots, aided by Google’s computational photography capabilities. The new Magic Eraser feature, which removes unwanted objects from photos, is particularly impressive. Additionally, the camera offers features like Motion mode for dynamic shots and improved skin tone representation. While the Pixel 6’s camera performance is commendable, some comparisons with the iPhone 13 reveal room for improvement, especially in low-light scenarios.

Performance and Features

Powered by Google’s custom Tensor processor, the Pixel 6 showcases AI-powered capabilities that enhance photography and enable features like on-the-fly language translation and voice-powered typing. The Tensor chip brings machine learning features to the forefront, making the Pixel 6 more than just a camera phone. However, while performance is strong, it’s not quite on par with top-of-the-line flagship processors like the Snapdragon 888.

Battery and Charging

Battery performance is a mixed bag for the Pixel 6. The phone’s 4,614 mAh battery offers decent longevity on LTE networks, lasting around 10 hours and 52 minutes on average. However, the inconsistency becomes evident when using 5G, where the battery drains more quickly, clocking in at around 8 hours and 13 minutes. While not the best in its class, the Pixel 6’s battery performance is generally sufficient for most users.

Software and Updates

Running on Android 12 with Google’s Material You interface, the Pixel 6 offers a personalized and visually appealing user experience. The integration of software with hardware is reminiscent of Apple’s approach. Google’s commitment to five years of security updates for the Pixel 6 is a step forward in ensuring device longevity and security.

Final Thoughts

The Google Pixel 6 stands out as a remarkable device with its unique design, innovative features, and strong camera capabilities. While it may not quite match the top-tier offerings from Apple and Samsung, it holds its ground and caters well to Android enthusiasts who prioritize Google’s software and features. The Pixel 6’s competitive pricing, starting at $599, makes it an enticing option for those looking for a flagship experience without breaking the bank. In a sea of smartphones, the Pixel 6 is Google’s bold statement that it’s here to compete.

Pixel 7 (2022)

Google Pixel 7 smartphone review whats new

Google’s Pixel 7 steps onto the stage with impressive camera capabilities, a souped-up Tensor G2 chipset, and some standout features. While it may not topple the giants like the iPhone 14 or Galaxy S23, the Pixel 7’s combination of great value and impressive capabilities makes it a strong contender.

Design and Display

The Pixel 7 maintains the distinctive design of its predecessor, with a sleek camera bar stretching across the back. The new aluminum finish adds a touch of elegance, although the absence of the two-tone color strip is notable. The 6.3-inch OLED display offers a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and a peak brightness of 1,400 nits, ensuring visibility even in direct sunlight.

Cameras and Photography

Google’s strength in computational photography shines through in the Pixel 7’s camera setup. The 50MP main camera and 12MP ultrawide lens capture sharp and colorful photos. The new Tensor G2 chipset enhances Super Res Zoom and introduces Photo Unblur, a feature that can improve the clarity of blurry photos. The 10.8MP front camera offers a wider field of view, accommodating more subjects in your selfies.

Performance and Features

With the Tensor G2 chipset, the Pixel 7 delivers a solid performance, though it falls behind the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 found in some competitors. The Pixel 7 handles tasks well, from photo editing to video playback, and offers unique features like Photo Unblur and Smart Direct Call. However, it’s not the fastest performer in its class.

Battery and Charging

Battery life remains a concern with the Pixel 7, as it struggles to keep up with other flagship smartphones. The 4,355 mAh battery provides around 7 hours of screen-on time in our test, falling short of the average. Charging capabilities are advertised at 30W, but real-world results might be less impressive.

Software and Updates

Running Android 13, the Pixel 7 showcases the Android experience at its best. Google offers five years of security updates but limits software updates to three years, which could be a drawback for those seeking long-term support.

Final Thoughts

The Pixel 7 emerges as a strong contender with its excellent cameras, unique features powered by the Tensor G2 chipset, and a competitive price. While it might not be a game-changer in the flagship market, it certainly proves its worth. Improved battery life and extended software support would have been welcome additions, but the Pixel 7 still stands as a compelling choice for users looking beyond the iPhone-Galaxy duopoly. For those seeking a telephoto lens, the Pixel 7 Pro could be a more appealing option.

Shop Google Pixel 7a, Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro on Amazon

Section 2: Pixel Buds and Pixel Buds Pro

Google’s Pixel Buds lineup isn’t just about wireless earbuds – it’s a full-on concert for your ears. From the initial encore with the first-generation Pixel Buds in 2017 to the dazzling headliner, Pixel Buds Pro, in 2022, Google has been jamming to a new tune of audio excellence.

Picture this: real-time translation, active noise cancellation, and a dash of Android magic – it’s like having your personal DJ on standby.

First-generation Pixel Buds (2017)

Google’s debut wireless earbuds, the first-generation Pixel Buds, were unveiled alongside the Pixel 2 in October 2017. Featuring an “open-air” design and a fabric-covered cord, they introduced Google Assistant and real-time translation through Google Translate. Available in black, white, and blue, they were known for their unique fit.

Second-generation Pixel Buds (2020)

In April 2020, Google launched the second-generation Pixel Buds, improving on their predecessor. These earbuds had touch controls, passive noise cancellation, and “Hey Google” voice activation. Despite connectivity issues, they offered enhanced design and colors, including orange and mint.

Pixel Buds A-Series (2021)

The mid-range Pixel Buds A-Series arrived in June 2021, retaining the design of the second-generation. They improved connectivity, comfort, and came in white, green, and later, charcoal.

Pixel Buds Pro (2022)

Google Pixel Buds Pro review

May 2022 saw the introduction of the premium Pixel Buds Pro with Active Noise Cancellation. Released in July, they boasted customizable gestures, silicone tips, and enhanced sound. Updates added an equalizer and spatial audio with head tracking.

ANC and Audio Precision

The Pixel Buds Pro impress with their active noise cancellation, effectively combating low-frequency ambient sounds. Their 11mm dynamic drivers deliver robust bass and crisp highs, providing an immersive sonic experience.

Intuitive Design and Controls

Designed for a secure fit without extra accessories, the earbuds boast intuitive capacitive touch controls. These controls allow easy playback, call management, volume adjustments, and ANC mode changes.

Android Synergy and Codec Limitation

Android users benefit from seamless integration and Google Assistant interaction. However, the omission of the AptX codec limits audio quality on Android devices, relying mainly on AAC and SBC codecs.

Innovative Features

Real-time translation via Google Translate and hands-free Google Assistant usage exemplify the Pixel Buds Pro’s innovation, enhancing overall convenience.

Battery Efficiency and Casing

Offering 7-11 hours of playback and 20-31 hours with the charging case, the earbuds balance battery life and portability. IPX4-rated earpieces and IPX2-rated case cater to average water-resistance needs.

Final Thoughts

The Google Pixel Buds Pro combines advanced ANC, versatile sound profile, and seamless Android integration, though lacking AptX support. They excel in functionality and audio precision, making them a compelling choice for tech-savvy users. However, users who prioritize comfort, stability, and neutral sound may prefer the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless but the AirPods Pro doesn’t match the Pixel Buds Pro in noise isolation.

Shop Google Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series on Amazon

Section 3: Google Pixel Watch

google pixel watch

Finally hitting the market in October 2022, the Google Pixel Watch, crafted through a Google-Samsung collaboration brought with it a wave of anticipation, aiming to be the ideal companion for Pixel phone users. Its minimalist design, complete Google services lineup, and Wear OS 3.5 painted a promising picture. Teaming up with Fitbit for fitness tracking and integration of Google Assistant added to the excitement. However, as with any first attempt, there are a few wrinkles to iron out.

Specs

With a stainless-steel case (80% recycled material) and a 1.2″ AMOLED display, the Pixel Watch’s design combines elegance and durability. The display boasts 320ppi pixel density and a 3D Gorilla Glass 5 cover, ensuring a clear and vibrant visual experience.

Design

The watch’s emphasis on comfort and style is evident in its flexible fluoroelastomer Active Band. The band, resilient and comfortable, caters to different wrist sizes. The watch’s minimalist design aligns with Google’s aesthetic sensibilities, providing comfort and a sleek appearance.

Display

A sharp circular AMOLED display, encased in Gorilla Glass 5, shines at 1.2 inches with 450 x 450 px resolution. With adaptive brightness, the watch ensures excellent visibility even under sunlight. Features like always-on and sunlight boost enhance usability.

Performance and Connectivity

Powered by the Exynos 9110 chipset, complemented by the Cortex M33 co-processor, the watch offers efficient performance and power management. Connectivity features, including Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, and LTE in the LTE model, ensure seamless interaction.

Wear OS 3.5

Running on Wear OS 3.5, the Pixel Watch benefits from an improved user interface, snappier interactions, and refined animations. The rotating dial facilitates easy navigation, while the integration of Google Assistant ensures a seamless experience.

Fitbit Integration

The integration of Fitbit functionalities brings a comprehensive suite of health-tracking options. Fitbit Premium’s inclusion offers advanced tracking and access to a library of exercise videos and mindfulness content, boosting the watch’s health-conscious features.

Charging and Battery

Sporting a 294 mAh battery, the Pixel Watch provides “All day” usage, with quick charging capabilities. In 30 minutes, the watch can recharge up to 50%. However, usage patterns and features like sleep tracking affect battery life.

Final Thoughts

While the Google Pixel Watch shines as a first-gen product, it faces challenges like battery life, compatibility, and pricing. Its potential lies in the promised feature drops, indicating a commitment to improvement. As a pioneer, the Pixel Watch offers a glimpse into the future of Wear OS, poised to shape the smartwatch landscape.

Shop Google Pixel Watch on Amazon

 

Section 4: Google + Google Nest Smart Home

Imagine a home that listens to your needs, entertains your whims, and creates an ambiance that suits your mood. That’s the magic Google Nest devices bring to the modern living scene.

Google Home (2016)

Back in 2016, Google introduced the original Google Home speaker, marking the inception of a voice-activated smart speaker. It was a revelation, capable of setting timers, playing music, and controlling various smart home devices. Over the years, its capabilities have only expanded, making it an essential companion for managing tasks and enjoying media.

Google Nest Mini

The evolution of the Google Home Mini, the Nest Mini carried the torch forward. Under its unassuming exterior lies the power of Google Assistant, ready to assist you in your daily activities. Despite its compact size, it’s a potent device that seamlessly integrates into your smart home ecosystem.

Google Nest Hub

google, nest hub, 2nd gen, review,

With the Google Nest Hub, the smart home experience became visual. Sporting a 7-inch display, it transforms into a dynamic dashboard for your life. From recipes to reminders, it’s a versatile device that lets you interact in new ways, all while complementing your home decor.

Google Nest Hub Max

Going big in 2019, Google unveiled the Nest Hub Max. Boasting a 10-inch screen and a front-facing camera, it’s not just a smart display, but also a communication hub. Video calls, smart home control, and multimedia consumption are all wrapped into one.

Google Home Max

When audio quality is paramount, the Google Home Max steps in. An audiophile’s delight, it pumps out sound that resonates throughout your space. With its impeccable audio engineering, it strikes a chord with music enthusiasts.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest learning thermostat, how to, review, worth it

Nest Learning Thermostat

In 2011, the Nest Learning Thermostat redefined temperature control. Its ability to learn your preferences and adapt to your schedule optimizes energy consumption. This clever device not only enhances comfort but also promotes energy efficiency.

Nest Thermostat E

A cost-effective alternative that retains the learning capabilities of its larger sibling, the Nest Thermostat E is perfect for those seeking efficient temperature control.

Nest Temperature Sensor

Addressing temperature discrepancies, the Nest Temperature Sensor ensures even comfort throughout your home. By relaying information to your thermostat, it creates an environment that suits your needs.

Shop Google Nest Hub on Amazon

Shop Google Nest Learning Thermostat, and Nest Temperature E and Sensor bundle on Amazon



Conclusion

From the catwalk-worthy Pixel phones to the harmonious Pixel Buds and the smart choreography of Nest devices, Google orchestrates a symphony of progress. The Google Pixel Watch joins the ensemble as well, syncing effortlessly with your digital life. As Google continues to push boundaries and redefine the possibilities, the significance of its devices in our modern lifestyles will only continue to grow.

**A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgetsCanada & TechGadgetsInternational is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

2 Comments

  1. J. R. Damon on September 12, 2023 at 8:13 pm

    you didn’t mention the Nexus Phones or Google Glass, how disappointing.

  2. Fred on September 8, 2023 at 10:18 am

    Nexus ??

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