With only three workdays at home this week before leaving for Seattle on Monday, each day filled with podcast recordings, meetings, and other distractions, time was of the essence: I wanted to get up and running with the Pixel 8 Pro. And, ideally, a Pixel Watch 2, as soon as possible. And I did.
We flew home from Mexico on Tuesday, and after we got home in time for dinner, I didn’t waste any time Unboxing the Pixel 8 Pro and moving through the initial configuration, Unfortunately, this configuration did not include moving my T-Mobile eSIM to the phone This process requires me to involve the carrier’s customer support systemWhich in itself is an unnecessary waste of time.
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Between Windows Weekly, which turned into a three-hour commitment, and my normal work, Wednesdays are always busy, but I found some time to install most of the apps I use and configure some of them. However, that night, we had a prior commitment, so I didn’t have time to complete that process, let alone transfer the eSIM.
On Thursday, I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning that was further away than expected, with a 40-minute drive in both directions, a meeting, and another podcast to record for Hands-On Windows. And He This turned into an unexpected interruption due to some technical problems, and I was late for another prior commitment that night, which meant I had very little time to do anything on the phone. But at least I got up early that day, so I used that extra time to configure the Pixel Watch 2And that was really needed, because that process was surprisingly involved.
And then came today: I woke up early again, took pictures I wrote about the Lenovo ThinkPad T14s later that dayStarted My photos are being backed up to Google Photos linked to my personal Gmail accountAnd Started work on Ask Paul Early so that it doesn’t take the whole morning, as it often did (and failed, but whatever). So it was: At about 12:45, I had less than an hour before a Microsoft meeting, and I was bulk installing my apps into the T14 as described Roll Your Own Windows Time Machine (Premium), and a crazy idea came to my mind.
Was this enough time to transfer the eSIM?
It was, but only because my wife didn’t need her phone during this time, allowing me to use it to talk to T-Mobile customer support so they could do the switch remotely. Which, to be honest, happened in a reasonable amount of time, considering how difficult it can be. Less than half an hour later, the eSIM was up and running in the Pixel—I had previously taken the proper steps to separate the links to iMessage and Facetime, which always causes problems during such switches—and After a surprisingly short meeting, I finally had some time to do a little writing and finalize the pixel configuration.
Or, I think, at least bring it to a reasonably practical state. Google offers a great range of features and options to configure in its highly customized and highly modified Android version for Pixels, and it would take me a while before I could access them all. (For example, one of my favorite Pixel features is jokingly called “Flip to Shush.” It’s not enabled by default, but when it is, it’s when you flip it face down on a table or other flat surface.) If you keep it aside, it puts the phone in silent mode.
But I’m doing great here, and should be relatively done by the time I go to the airport on Monday. At some point, I installed the rest of the apps I’d need, set up the home screen – I always use the same home screen – ran each app with a user account, phone number, or whatever was needed, and Configured, downloaded some content to YouTube Music for offline use on upcoming flights, and did all the busywork required on a clean install as I prefer.
And that means tonight, when we go out again, for the third night out of three in a row, I’ll finally be able to take the Pixel 8 Pro with me. I waited three weeks to receive the device and the three more days it took me to fully configure it felt like an eternity.
Of course, the Pixel is familiar. And in the last few days leading up to it, I’ve been missing the things I love so much on Android/Pixel, and the things that are better on the iPhone, I’m leaving them behind. Android’s notification system is a vast improvement over what Apple offers, though I will miss the elegant Dynamic Island and the iPhone’s better gesture navigation. And airplay, of course.
But I use a lot of Google apps and services and very little Apple apps and services, and that makes this kind of transition easier. I went into a mix of Google and Microsoft Authenticator apps, and because Google Authenticator now supports account sync, moving all those accounts, usually a manual and time-consuming process, happened in the blink of an eye. amazing.
Of course, this Pixel is also unfamiliar in some ways. For example, the updated camera system, with its three higher-resolution lenses and the more complex but powerful Pro Camera app, will require some time. But I took shots of the ThinkPad T14s with this phone, and am quite happy with the results, especially portrait mode content. And when using the Pixel camera system, even a little, I miss all the things I like about it compared to the iPhone: It feels easier to get the pictures I want on the Pixel.
Google previously introduced a Magic Eraser feature in Google Photos, but with the Pixel 8 Pro, you get an even more advanced feature called the Magic Editor that lets you select objects in a photo (by tapping or circling them). And then gives the facility to move or delete them. , and yes. After just a few short tests, it’s quite clear that this AI-based functionality is legitimate: the editor usually fills the area where an object was very accurately, without any obvious stains or other signs of editing. It makes me want to look back at photos from the past and see what I can do to make them better.
And so I did just that, using the recent past as a test. Consider this photo of a large Day of the Dead character in the Zocalo of Mexico City, in front of the National Palace. Can Magic Editor really remove it from the photo and recreate the background accurately?
Why yes it can.
I also noticed that the Pixel 8 Pro was charging much faster than its predecessors, which has long been a sore spot for this product line. For example, the Pixel 7 Pro can only charge at 22 watts, and can take up to two hours to fully charge. But the Pixel 8 Pro seemed to be charging at the same speed as the iPhone, and so I took notice. According to Google Store websiteThe Pixel 8 Pro can charge at up to 30 watts, which is a nice improvement, and since I am using a 30-watt charger with USB-PD 3.0 (PPS) I want to get the best possible experience, as Google recommends. Good.
Of course, it’s not yet clear whether the Pixel 8 Pro’s battery life also stands up to the challenge, another area in which recent Pixels have lagged behind the iPhone competition. But I’ll figure it out with some real world usage. (And then also find out what a full charge looks like.)
still. There is a lot to check out here. And now, finally, I will.