In April 2023, I got my new phone, the Google Pixel 6A. I can say that I am very impressed with this phone. It has a Google Tensor processor, 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. It runs very fast and it's battery lasts quite long, and the quality of its camera is excellent.
Google Pixel phones have never been officially sold in Malaysia. I had to buy the Google Pixel 6A online through Lazada. It costs a total of RM1400 including delivery, mobile protection service, screen protector, phone case and some free gifts, and the phone is a brand new set. I certainly think it's a very good value for money. Just like the latest iPhones and Samsung phones, it doesn't come with a charger, but I can use my old phone's charger.
My previous phone was the Google Pixel 2. I had used it for more than 5 years since December 2017, and it had been functioning well. However, its camera stopped working in April 2023. Since the camera is an important feature which I use a lot, I had to get a new phone.
In 2021, someone hacked my Google account and used it to create several Google Ads accounts, trying to make me pay for that. When I seeked help from Google, they were extremely unhelpful. They stated that they could only help me after I provided them with the IDs of those Google Ads accounts, but when I gave them the IDs, they insisted those IDs were invalid and refused to proceed with helping me resolve the issue. I was really upset with Google over that.
Google Pixel phones didn't support VoLTE in Malaysia, as they are not officially sold here. Worse still, 3G networks in Malaysia were shut down in late 2021. Consequently, Google Pixel phones could only use 2G for making and receiving phone calls. If I received a phone call while browsing the internet, the phone would automatically switch the network to 2G, and the low speed of 2G would interrupt the internet connection. The aging infrastructure of 2G networks also resulted in a subpar call quality.
Consequently, I decided in 2021 that I would never get another Google Pixel phone again and my next phone would be an iPhone. However, the circumstances changed over the course of 2022 and 2023.
Apple introduced iPadOS 13 in 2019. It introduced a lot of new features which brought the iPad much closer to being a laptop replacement. That contributed heavily to my decision to buy the iPad Air 3 in August 2019. I was hopeful that future versions of iPadOS would make the iPad even more useful, eventually becoming a true laptop replacement. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. iPadOS 14 didn't bring any significant new features apart from Universal Search which is just a glorified Spotlight search. iPadOS 15 introduced a much needed new multitasking interface, but didn't go far enough.
iPadOS 16 in 2022 finally introduced Stage Manager which gives a multi-window interface similar to those in desktop operating systems. Unfortunately though, Stage Manager was only available for the iPad Air 5 and iPad Pro 3 and later. My iPad Air 3 will never get the Stage Manager, neither will the iPad Air 4 or iPad Mini 6. I was deeply disappointed with Apple about that. It wasn't even the first time something like this happened. Previously in 2015, Apple introduced the Split View feature with iOS 9, but only made it available for the iPad Air 2, leaving out my iPad Air 1.
In August 2022, the power button of my iPad Air 3 stopped functioning, while issues with its Lightning connector port made changing more and more difficult. This was despite the fact that I always took good care of my iPad. Knowing that an official Apple service centre would charge a hefty price for repairing due to my iPad being out of warranty, I got my iPad Air 3 repaired at a third-party repair shop.
While the repair went well, just a few months later in April 2023, my iPad Air 3 started having another major issue. Every few minutes, it will display a purple screen and then restart on its own. I had tried resetting the iPad, upgrading to the latest iPadOS version and even erasing all data on the iPad, but the issue persisted. My iPad Air 3 is less than 4 years old and it's already having so much issues. In contrast, my Google Pixel 2 lasted more than 5 years without significant issues. This indicates that the quality of Apple products is going down the drain. How can I be confident that an iPhone will last long if I buy one?
Apple has insisted on using the Lightning connector port on iPhones, even though iPads, Macbooks and most Android phones have switched to USB-C ports. The Lightning connector port is an outdated technology. It only supplies a very small amount of power to connected accessories which is often insufficient for them to function properly. The data transfer speed of Lightning cables is also significantly lower compared to USB-C cables.
iPhones are very expensive. Even the most basic iPhone 14 costs RM4200. I bought my Google Pixel 2 phone for RM4000, which was very expensive as well. However, Google later introduced the cheaper A series of Pixel phones, starting with the Google Pixel 3A in 2019. The A series of Pixel phones are often available for sale on Lazada at a price less than RM2000.
I have considered Android phones other than Google Pixel. Samsung is the most popular brand of Android phones. However, I don't like the fact that Samsung heavily modifies the interface of Android and adds a lot of bloatware in its phones. I used a HTC phone before and I really liked it, but HTC hasn't produced a flagship phone in quite a while. While Huawei phones are great, they are banned from Google apps and services which are essential for me. Nokia was initially doing well after it started producing Android phones, but it has been struggling to keep up with Android updates for some time. Meanwhile, I have little interest in Asus, LG, Lenovo, Motorola, Sony, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi.
There are 3 things I have always liked about Google Pixel phones. First, Pixel phones, including the cheaper A series, have excellent hardware specifications. Second, they receive Android version updates and security updates as soon as they are available. Third, they offer the pure Android experience, without any user interface modifications or addition of bloatwares.
In late 2022, in response to popular demand, Google finally released an update which added support for VoLTE for Pixel 6, Pixel 6A and Pixel 7 in Malaysia. However, older Pixel phones including the Pixel 2 aren't supported. With that, I was once again interested in getting a new Google Pixel phone for my next phone. This eventually culminated in my decision to buy a Google Pixel 6A in April 2023.