The Pixel 5 is a great value proposition in this era of $1,500 phones. With its reasonable price tag, fully open-sourced software, and unlockable bootloader, it's also an ideal phone for rooting.
Google doesn't get enough credit for it, but they definitely make some of the best phones for rooting and modding. Heck, if you want to replace the entire operating system on a Pixel, you can do it pretty easily. It all starts with the bootloader.
Every year, Apple adds some old technology to the iPhone and gives it a catchy marketing name, then like clockwork, it becomes the next big thing. Google, on the other hand, creates some truly innovative features, doesn't really bother naming them, then lets them languish in obscurity until Apple reinvents them at a later date.
In a tradition dating back to the Nexus days, Google has always used fish-themed codenames when communicating internally about their phones. Their laptops and tablets are usually named after video game characters. These names often give us the first evidence of an upcoming device when they're used in software commits in Android's open source code.
Android updates don't have as many headlining features as they once did, but that's the point. If you keep updating software to add features and fix bugs, you'll eventually reach a point where the main focus is polish. That doesn't mean you can't get excited about a fresh coat of wax.
How To: Use Portrait Lighting in Google Photos to Add an Adjustable Key Light to Pictures You've Already Taken
Google's Pixel smartphones have earned a reputation for taking great photos without relying on top-of-the-line camera sensors. Instead, Google leans on the software side to squeeze super images out of its camera. This also enables them to roll out new features out to previous-generation devices.
One thing about the small round little Pixel Buds — they might get lost easily if you have a terrible habit of misplacing stuff. Or worse, imagine someone taking a liking to them a little too much and stealing them when you aren't looking. Google thought ahead about these issues, so just like your smartphone, you can track your wireless earbuds from anywhere with ease.
Android 11 has plenty of new features as you'd expect, including a fancy new embedded media player. Rather than a constant notification, your audio controls now get pushed up into the Quick Settings panel when playing music. However, to make way for this new media player functionality, your total number of quick settings tiles had to be cut from nine down to six.
Android's status bar is ever-present. It sits at the top of almost every screen in every app, making it the most prominent part of your Pixel's theme. So it only makes sense that Google would give you a way to change the icons it uses.
The Pixel 5 is the first mainstream phone with perfectly symmetrical slim bezels. Most other "bezel-less" phones have had a disproportionately large bottom bezel, and while the iPhone's side and bottom bezels are symmetrical, there's a huge notch across most of its top bezel. The downside to the Pixel's approach is it has a pretty big display cutout for the front camera.
Google's version of Android is best described as AOSP with extra features. But while the Pixel's UI is rightfully praised for its simplicity, those "extra features" aren't as numerous as they are on other OEM skins like Samsung's One UI. Case in point, there's no real system-wide audio EQ.
Pixels don't have a "Download Mode" like Samsung Galaxy phones, so there's not an easy, point-and-click way to send firmware files and low-level commands from your computer. What they do have is an even more powerful tool: Fastboot Mode.
Android's hidden Developer Options menu, sometimes called "Developer Mode," has a ton of cool settings inside of it. You can enable wireless ADB, spoof your geolocation, make the Pixel 5's screen always run at 90 Hz, or even force incompatible apps to work with dark mode.
Google is making its Phone app, the default dialer for Pixel and Android One devices, available to many other smartphones via the Play Store. If you're enticed to replace your factory-installed dialer to take advantage of the spam-filtering capabilities, you don't want to miss out on other features like the ability to customize canned responses for declining calls.
I think it was about Day 3 of working on our massive, all-encompassing Pixel 4a root guide for beginners when I realized something: Not everyone needs their hands held through each tiny step. If you just need a quick refresher, some links, and maybe a fastboot command to copy, this Pixel 4a root guide is for you.
How To: Install Dirty Unicorns on Your Pixel & Get Custom ROM Features Without Losing Motion Sense & Active Edge
If you've ever been into custom ROMs, you likely know the Dirty Unicorns name pretty well. It's been synonymous with unique features and awesome tweaks when compared to stock. Recently, Dirty Unicorns has returned again in a big way with some neat features for Android 10.
If you live in the US, it's pretty simple: The Google Pixel 4a is the best phone for rooting and modding in 2020. Its price keeps the risk-reward ratio nice and low, and its unlockable bootloader makes it easy to modify virtually any aspect of Android.
When compared to last year's model, the Pixel 4a has upgrades that go beyond the spec sheet. But since it's one generation old, 2019's Pixel 3a can be had for one hell of a discount right now, and it's still got two full years of software updates coming its way. So which one really is the better buy?
Google always sets aside a few cool software features to remain exclusive to its Pixel phones. But that's the thing about Android: software features can be ported to other devices.
You may be wondering what exactly makes the Pixel 4a's camera so great. Compared to its predecessor, it has the same Sony IMX363 sensor and no additional hardware. Well, beyond stellar image processing, it also has several great new features that Google has added since they released the Pixel 3a last year.