After rocking a Google Pixel 2 as my primary smartphone for the past three years, I took advantage of a Google Fi Black Friday promotion and traded in my phone for a brand new Pixel 4a 5G for $298 after trade-in.
There were two reasons I decided the time was right to upgrade. First, my aging phone’s battery was toast – I often had to plug it in to charge multiple times each day. And second, it was reaching end of life. Today Google rolled out the final official OTA update for Pixel 2 phones, but my new phone should receive OS and security updates for the next three years.
It also has stellar battery life. I’m probably not going to post a full review of my new phone, but I will say its cameras are pretty great (although I would have liked a telephoto lens), and so far I typically only have to charge the phone every other day. It can easily last for 36 hours on a charge with 5+ hours of screen on time, and sometimes it goes for as long as two full days between charges.
The Pixel 4a 5G is also the largest phone I’ve ever used as my daily driver. That makes it a little harder to use with one hand than the phone it replaces. But I’m getting used to the 6.2 inch display, and I don’t think paying more than twice the price for a Pixel 5 with a slightly smaller screen and body would have been worth it.
Oh, and my new phone has a headphone jack. I haven’t had one of those on my daily driver in years.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Google rolling out the final Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL update [9to5Google]
The last OTA updates for the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 Xl are rolling out now. It includes several bug fixes and the latest security updates, but brings no new features. For that, you’ll have to rely on custom ROMs (or a new phone).
- Librem 5 Evergreen vs. Pinephone [ThatGeoGuy]
This is one of the most detailed comparisons of the PinePhone and the Librem 5 Linux smartphones to date, from someone who owns and uses one of each (although there are some key features – like phone calls & SMS – that aren’t covered). While Linux phones aren’t really ready for daily driver status yet, there’s been a lot of development in this space over the past year or so, and these are two of the best phones so far for developers, early adopters, and enthusiasts interested in Linux on mobile devices.
- elementary OS on Raspberry Pi [Elementary OS]
Elementary OS adds experimental builds of the Linux distribution for Raspberry Pi 4 series devices (including the new Raspberry Pi 400 computer-in-a-keyboard).
- Debian Installer Bullaseye Alpha 3 release [Debian]
The latest alpha of the Debian Installer adds support for installing the GNU/Linux distro on some devices with ARM-based processors including the PineBook Pro laptop and and other devices from FriendlyELEC, Pine64, and Olimex.
- December photography updates (Lightroom for ARM) [Adobe Blog]
Adobe Lightroom is now available for Macs with apple M1 chips and Windows on ARM PCs with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. There are already beta version of Photoshop for the platforms as well.
- Nokia PureBook laptop landing page [Flipkart]
Nokia PureBook ultralight laptop is heading to India soon. While it will be a Nokia-branded device, that doesn’t mean it’s made by Nokia or HMD Global. Flipkart already licenses the name for a line of smart TVs sold in India.
- Galaxy S21 series teasers [Android Police]
Leaked Samsung Galaxy S21 teaser GIFs new colors, camera design, and at least three variants: Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra.
- Google Recorder 2.1 supports external mics and Bluetooth headsets [Android Police]
The Google Recorder app can now record voice memos (and make transcripts) with external mics and Bluetooth headsets.
- Star Wars: KOTOR II coming to Android and iOS this month [Android Police]
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II is coming to Android and iOS Dec 18 for $15. The first game in the series has been available on mobile devices since 2014.
- Look to Speak helps people communicate with their eyes [Google]
Google introduces experimental Look to Speak app for Android that uses a phone’s front-facing camera (and machine learning) for eye-tracking, allowing users with speech and motor impairments to choose phrases to speak aloud by looking at them.