What I Use: Germany 2017

What I Use: Germany 2017
Berlin TV tower

It’s been a great week in Germany, and I’ll be flying home today. Here’s a quick look at the tech products and services I relied on during this trip.

But first, a few links to similar “What I Use” and related posts. As you may know, I occasionally detail my experiences on various trips.

Notes from the Road: CeBIT 2017

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Project Fi in The Netherlands: Seamless, Inexpensive Connectivity

What I Use: Home Swap 2016

What I Use: International Travel Apps and Services

What I Use: Home Swap 2015

What I Use: Ireland 2015

What I Use: Road Trip 2015

What, where, why

This is my third trip to Germany following [a similar work/personal trip in May 2003](What I Use: Germany 2017) and then a three-week home swap in August 2010. As noted in Notes from the Road: CeBIT 2017, I was invited here by Huawei as a sort of introduction to the company, and I spent the first three days or so in Hannover attending CeBIT. On Wednesday, I took an intercity train to Berlin, and my wife flew in that night for a long weekend. Which we spent sightseeing for the most part, as we’ve never been to this part of Germany before.

There are trams and trains of all kinds in Berlin. Sadly, it’s also the most confusing Metro system I’ve ever used. Ever.

Travel philosophy and bags

I like to travel light. That means I always carry-on my bags, and that’s true now for both domestic and international flights. You can run into some issues doing this on some of the new low-cost airlines like WOW, but I’ve not experienced that (yet). And for this trip in particular, I was pretty well taken care of with Lufthansa.

Sobering Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

But the needs of this trip made traveling light a bit challenging by my standards: I needed to bring four dress shirts, two pairs of dress pants, and so on, and so I ended up stuffing the biggest carry-on bag I own that will work in (non-budget airline) European overhead bins, the Rick Steves Rolling Backpack. It was a tight fit, though I had a chance to readjust this for the train trip between cities here and got it a bit flatter. So I think the return trip will go better.


One thing I did avail myself of because of the purpose and duration of the trip was the laundry service at the hotel (see below) in Berlin: I had them wash a few dress shirts and other items, turnaround was less than a day, and it cost less than $30. That’s money well spent when you consider the need to bring more clothes, have a bigger bag, and/or check luggage.

As always, I used my trusty Rick Steves Velocé Shoulder Bag as a laptop bag. But this, too, was over-stuffed a bit thanks to my decision to bring the [HP Spectre x360 15 (2017)](HP Spectre x360 15 (2017)) along. This is the next laptop up for review, though, so it was due, but it just barely fits in the bag. More on the HP in a moment.

You need a reservation to go to the top of the Reichstag.

Also not great: While we’re transitioning between seasons, it was still very much winter when I left Boston, weather-wise, and the nights here in Germany have been cold. But the days were quite warm, and often in the mid-50’s. I have a winter jacket I’ve worn for years and really like, and it comes with a removable inner layer that adds warmth. Ideally, I’d leave the inner part home, but it was too cold to do so. So off I went, lugging all this stuff around with me. Jacket on, jacket off.


Microsoft just opened a coffee shop in Berlin. When I went, the coffee machine was broken.

That said, one of the nice things about traveling in Europe in the winter is that the jacket provides ideal cover for your wallet and phone. When I’m here in the summer, it’s a bit of a juggling act because of potential pickpocketing, and it’s harder to hide or protect valuables when you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt.


As noted, I brought the [HP Spectre x360 15 (2017)](HP Spectre x360 15 (2017)) with me. This is an excellent laptop overall, and my review will be available this coming week. I know from tests before the trip that it achieves about 8 hours battery life on average, amazing for a laptop with a 15-inch 4K/UHD display. And that the typing experience would be excellent.

Berlin Wall.

And it was mostly a great experience, two issues did come up: The overly-wide touchpad is far to easy to hit while typing, and I couldn’t figure out a palm detection setting that would fix that. And I had some very weird —and alarming—display glitch issues in Hannover that may or may not have been tied to power at that hotel. It hasn’t happened since.

Berlin Victory Column, Tiergarten.

Phone and connectivity

Thanks to the amazing Project Fi, which served me so well on earlier international trips, I knew I’d be connected normally in Germany and wouldn’t need to worry about that. For the most part, this has worked out.

However, I’ve had two problems.

The Pixel’s excellent camera is particularly good at night shots.

First, Project Fi only works with a select range of mostly Google-branded handsets, so I had to use the Google Pixel XL. This is a mostly terrible phone, because all Android phones are mostly terrible. I’m honestly not sure how any human being can use such a thing day-to-day, it’s just incredibly frustrating: Performance, durability, reliability, whatever, is just terrible across the board, compared to iPhone.

That said, the camera is fantastic, so my photos, at least, have been great. But I missed using the iPhone every day. Repeatedly.

Berlin Cathedral.

Secondly, Project Fi’s seamless connectivity resulted in a mistake on my part: On the second to last day of the trip, in Berlin, I received a notification that I had somehow managed to use over 4 GB of bandwidth in the previous 24 hours. That pretty much isn’t possible, normally, but I think I know the culprit: I downloaded Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on my PC so I could watch it on the way home, and the laptop must have connected to my phone’s hotspot when the hotel Wi-Fi ran out. That’s a nice way to turn a $20 movie purchase into a $60 movie purchase (since Project Fi charges $10 per GB.) Rogue One is a good movie, but it’s not that good.

A perhaps overly-enthusiast bird eyes my wife’s croissant.

Still, compared to how such overages would work on AT&T Wireless or a similar big US carrier, this mistake was still relatively non-painful. For example, my AT&T plan provides for 6 GB of data in a month, and I could have paid them $10 a day to access that in Europe. That overage alone would have cost me $600 on AT&T (if I understand the math; 800 MB of data is $120.) So $40 is embarrassing but survivable.

Ampelmännchen (Ampelman) pedestrian crossing symbol. Cute!

Put another way, on AT&T, I’d have to watch my data usage and the total cost of 7 days in Europe, assuming no overages, would be $70. For that much money, Project Fi will give me 7 GB of data, which is more than my AT&T allotment, and then just continue charging me at the normal $10 per GB rate if I use more data. Point being, Project Fi is a much better deal, period. You just have to use a Google phone.

In-flight tech

On a typical domestic flight, I’ll have my phone (music, audiobooks, podcasts), of course, a laptop for work—usually doable given JetBlue’s “Even More Space” seating—and an iPad mini for watching movies. This trip was no different—same bag, same basic tech—though I used my iPhone in Airplane Mode for entertainment instead of the Pixel, which I brought up when I landed in Europe. At that point, the iPhone stayed in the bag with data roaming off and didn’t really make another appearance until I was ready to go home.

German food is lots of whites and browns. But there is lots of ethnic variety in Berlin as well.

I usually fly with a JetBlue blanket, which makes hard and small seat dividers more comfortable, but I didn’t need it on this trip. I did bring an eye mask (with bulbous eye spaces so the mask doesn’t touch your eyes when sleeping) and an inflatable neck pillow, neither of which I used either. I brought two European-style power adapters in my laptop bag and a few more in my luggage, neither of which I needed en-route.

Because the main flight here was overnight, I basically only watched a single movie and then fell asleep listening to podcasts. I’ll have a lot more time to write and watch movies on the way home, which will take place mostly in the daytime. (That’s why I put the movie on the laptop; the bigger screen might make for a better experience for this kind of movie.) I always use, and strongly recommend, in-ear Bose noise-canceling headphones. They’re wonderful and necessary for any travel.

Amazing show at solidarity with London because of the recent terror attack, at the Brandenburg Gate.

I always keep three mini-USB cables (micro-USB, USB-C, and Lightning) in my laptop cab for charging or PC connectivity purposes, plus a portable charger, pens, and assorted other little bits. I always fly with a mouse, too, but I managed to forget that this time and really regretted it. (See the note above about the HP touchpad.)


Huawei covered my hotel in Hannover, and it was a delightful, old-fashioned spa-type place with quirky rooms, and in a very remote, agricultural area outside of the city. I never would have found that place myself, but it was really neat, and quite different from the typical downtown hotel tower experience I have on business trips.

Saint George slaying a dragon.

For Berlin, we booked four nights at Novotel Mitte: I’m a big fan of Novotel and other budget business hotels in Europe, and this was one of the best hotel experiences we’ve ever had. It was in a great location with very quiet and clean rooms, incredible staff, and a very positive vibe. Plus it cost just $80 a night.

Well, that’s about all the navel gazing I can handle at the moment. 🙂 See on the other side (of the Atlantic.)


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Conversation 70 comments

  • maethorechannen

    Premium Member
    26 March, 2017 - 5:00 am

    <p><em>"I’m honestly not sure how any human being can use such a thing day-to-day, it’s just incredibly frustrating: Performance, durability, reliability, whatever, is just terrible across the board, compared to iPhone"</em></p><p><br></p><p>Change the last word to Mac and you've said what Mac users have been saying about Windows for 30 years.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 6:20 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#92991">In reply to maethorechannen:</a></em></blockquote><p>I know. The irony is not lost on me. </p>

  • bbennett40

    26 March, 2017 - 5:34 am

    <p>"Microsoft just opened a coffee shop in Berlin. When I went, the coffee machine was broken." That made me laugh!</p>

    • Gardner

      Premium Member
      26 March, 2017 - 6:28 am

      <blockquote><a href="#92993"><em>In reply to bbennett40:</em></a></blockquote><p>Reminds me I have to check over at the Starbuck's notebook store and see how my venti double-shot notebook in coming along.</p>

      • Waethorn

        26 March, 2017 - 12:33 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#92997">In reply to Gardner:</a></em></blockquote><p>The difference is, Starbucks is smart enough not to.</p>

    • Darmok N Jalad

      26 March, 2017 - 9:09 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#92993">In reply to bbennett40:</a></em></blockquote><p>Speaking of broken, anyone else having trouble editing a comment? I can't get the "Update comment" button to work. </p>

    • mjw149

      27 March, 2017 - 8:43 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#92993">In reply to bbennett40:</a></em></blockquote><p>The very definition of YOU HAD ONE JOB! That said, I went to a starbucks like that once. But, it was in a Target and those always suck, might as well rebrand them as starbux.</p>

  • Subhadip Sen

    26 March, 2017 - 6:29 am

    <p>Paul Thurrott, the Apple shill – who woulda thunk it? ;)</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 6:17 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#92998">In reply to Subhadip Sen:</a></em></blockquote><p>No. What I "shill" is technology that just works. It's called common sense.</p>

    • anchovylover

      29 March, 2017 - 10:08 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#92998">In reply to Subhadip Sen:</a></em></blockquote><p>Are you serious? Have you ever read Paul's Twitter feed on Apple events, it's comedy gold. He ruthlessly takes the piss out of them. IPhones are an excellent device and stating that doesn't make you a shill.</p>

  • Darmok N Jalad

    26 March, 2017 - 9:06 am
  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    26 March, 2017 - 10:15 am

    <p>Whenever there is a terror attack in Europe, the Brandenburg Gate is usually lit in the colour of the flag of the nation that was on the receiving end of the attack. It has had the German flag (Berlin Weihnachtsmacht attack in December), Belgium and French flags (attacks last year in Marseille and the football stadium attacks).</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 6:19 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93003">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>Classy. It was very well done.</p>

  • Watney

    26 March, 2017 - 10:16 am

    <p>Paul, tell us how you really feel about your Pixel XL!</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 6:19 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93004">In reply to Watney:</a></em></blockquote><p>What is most amazing to me about this phone is how often I see reviewers describe it as the best-ever Android phone. This, to me, says more about the state of Android than anything. It is not that good, and is absolutely not worth the price I paid for it.</p>

      • wolters

        Premium Member
        27 March, 2017 - 10:51 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93156">In reply to Paul Thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>Not worth the price and while the camera is good, I think it is overrated. </p>

  • landoflivingskies

    Premium Member
    26 March, 2017 - 10:18 am

    <p>Really enjoyed the way that you interspersed pictures throughout this particular post. Looking forward to the full review of the HP.</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    26 March, 2017 - 10:23 am

    <p> I gave up on the iPhone a while back. My first iPhone spent 6 of its first 7 weeks in the repair shop. I had it about 48 hours, before it randomly shut itself off, then wouldn't power on again for around 8 hours. After 2 weeks at the repair centre (they returned it saying there was no problem), it crashed again, within a day. Back it went again, 2 weeks at the repair centre (they returned it saying there was no problem). This time, it crashed while I was still in the T-Mobile shop and I was very loud about the level of service I was receiving and I wanted a replacement device. The phone went away for 2 weeks again, this time I got a replacement phone sent back, with a not confirming they had found a problem with the memory on the phone!</p><p>After that, I switched to Windows Phone, but due to the fact that 2 of the three apps I use most were unreliable on WP, I bought a Nexus 5X.</p><p>It works fine, certainly better than my iPhone ever did, but I still prefer WP. </p><p>Personally, I don't think any of the smartphone platforms are particularly good. I would class WP as the best of a bad bunch, but without the app support, it is, unfortunately a non-starter.</p>

  • pwaggs

    26 March, 2017 - 10:54 am

    <p>@Thurott "the laptop must have connected to my phone’s hotspot when the hotel Wi-Fi ran out." I have had this problem several times recently with my SB. If I have purchased a TV show or Movie through the Windows Store and started downloading it, it used to be that if you closed the TV&amp;Films app the content would stop downloading until the TV&amp;Films was reopened. After an unknown update it now continues to download over any available WiFi connection, even if that connection is 'metered' similar to Paul's situation. Anyway, a bummer.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 6:18 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93008">In reply to pwaggs:</a></em></blockquote><p>This is something I need to look into. Obviously, it's easy to not check the "always connect" button in Windows 10. But I'm sure I did not do that.</p>

  • Lateef Alabi-Oki

    26 March, 2017 - 11:35 am

    <p><span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87); background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250);">"First, Project Fi only works with a select range of mostly Google-branded handsets, so I had to use the Google Pixel XL. This is a mostly terrible phone because all Android phones are mostly terrible. I’m honestly not sure how any human being can use such a thing day-to-day, it’s just incredibly frustrating: Performance, durability, reliability, whatever, is just terrible across the board, compared to iPhone."</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87); background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250);">It's going to be hard for me to take your opinions on Android seriously henceforth. </span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87); background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250);">For such a terrible phone, one wonders why you didn't take the Nexus 6P on your trip instead. After all, you claimed it's a better phone than the Pixel.</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87); background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250);">But seriously, are you really trying to convince your readers that the phone that has been unanimously considered the best Android phone ever made, by any reviewer worth following, is, as you eloquently put it, "mostly terrible?"</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87); background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250);">GTFOH</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87); background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250);">Your schizophrenia when in comes to Android is both confusing and confounding. One day is the best platform for Microsoft services. The next day it is terrible and iOS is better. </span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87); background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250);">Make up your mind. Which is it? </span></p>

    • jrickel96

      26 March, 2017 - 3:15 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93016">In reply to Lateef Alabi-Oki:</a></em></blockquote><blockquote><em>Android is garbage. </em></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote><em>I was an avoid Windows Phone user for years. Switched last year to the Nexus 6P. Despite the large battery and the fact it had stock Android, the battery was unpredictable. I grew weary of having to track the apps and weary of an OS that did little to get app developers to care much about battery, memory, and CPU usage.</em></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote><em>Prior to the 6P, I owned several Windows Phone devices, the last being a HTC One M8 with W10M loaded on it.</em></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote><em>Got an iPad Pro 9.7" and was pleasantly surprised. </em></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote><em>I then decided to get an iPhone 7 Plus with 128GB of storage. Battery life is amazing. The phone doesn't get hot like my Nexus would. I don't have to worry about tracking the apps. It's just works. </em></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote><em>Android is a terrible experience, even in its pure form. I thought it was okay for a while, but the iPhone is so much better. </em></blockquote><p><br></p>

      • Ugur

        28 March, 2017 - 9:33 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93052">In reply to jrickel96:</a></em></blockquote><p>i use both iOS and Android devices and also develop things for them (next to also for desktop and other options).</p><p>iOS and Android devices just have different pros and cons, what is a better choice is different from person to person.</p><p><br></p><p>With iOS devices, yes, one gets better battery life, especially better standby time in average.</p><p>But that doesn't come without a reason, the main reason for this is that Apple/iOS "pauses" most apps in the background very quickly after being pushed to the background as in a memory dump is made and the app not run onwards.</p><p>There are exceptions when an app uses certain functionalities, like play music, voip, gps etc, so the app has to declare using those and Apple tests that and if approved it can run (longer) while in bg.</p><p><br></p><p>This has different pros and cons.</p><p><br></p><p>The iOS system also allows apps to do way less on several ends, that, too can save battery and can also be a help in security aspects, but on the other side also limits way more what type of functionality an app can have on iOS.</p><p><br></p><p>What i personally really hate about iOS is very poor data transfer options besides via cloud services.</p><p>Really, the main saving point for it to me is that there are meanwhile many good cloud services.</p><p>Still, when i want to move bigger files around, then that is not ideal on cloud services and then on iPhone one would have to connect it to a computer and deal with iTunes or some adapters and more finnicky ways.</p><p>Whereas for example on Android i can just plug it to a computer and access the file system easily.</p><p>That to me is a hugely important aspect, that i can quickly get files on and off from it, even large ones. </p><p>But i know, yeah to some that is not as important.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p>Me personally i also really dislike it that Apple still has that huge tax for every storage size increase level.</p><p><br></p><p>Overall i find iOS devices more easy and intuitive to get into and as such i buy my Mom the newest iPhone every 1-3 years.</p><p>(I have the excuse i also borrow it in between for testing my Apps on it =) )</p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p>But me personally, i like the more freedom, flexibility and possibilities on Android more for my own daily driver usage.</p><p><br></p><p>Yes, one has to watch out not to install nonsense and close apps in the bg more often on Android to not have performance degrading as much, but yeah, that comes in exchange for the bigger capabilities and freedom on other ends.</p><p><br></p><p>To each his/her own =)</p>

    • Polycrastinator

      26 March, 2017 - 3:35 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93016">In reply to Lateef Alabi-Oki:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think Paul has been mostly consistent: even when saying that perhaps Android is the best platform for Microsoft's services, because of the ability to customize items Apple won't let you modify, he's been open he doesn't like it.</p><p><br></p><p>FWIW, I don't agree, and I wonder if maybe the poor performance he's seeing is launcher issues (I've never used Arrow, is it all that reliable?), but I do understand the appeal of iPhone. I have both, and every time I move back to Android I think "this interface and customization is so much better," and I feel more productive, but when I go back to iOS I'm reminded that the app quality on that platform is <em>so</em> much better.</p>

      • JR347

        26 March, 2017 - 4:22 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93053">In reply to Polycrastinator:</a></em></blockquote><p>I was thinking the same thing. I used Arrow for a couple months and while I appreciated some of the thoughtful UI choices and how lightweight it was compared with some other launchers, it honestly couldn't compare performance or feature-wise with the stock Google Now launcher that came with my Nexus 5X. Not to mention the desktop redraws and slight — but noticeable — delay in app launching common (to me, at least) with most non-stock launchers (despite this I still use NOVA prime for it's customization options). I also gave swiftkey a solid try and found it to be laggy/slow with poor predictions, and thus switched back to the superior Gboard.</p><p><br></p><p>My wife and I abandoned ship from our Lumia 950s last fall for Nexus 5Xs (so for experienced Android users, I admit my experience is limited), so while I definitely consider myself a Microsoft fan and use their apps when it makes sense, the best Android experience honestly does not involve "Redmondizing" your phone in my opinion. Similar to Windows, Android's customization options and its flexibility are powerful, but at the expense of also giving you the ability to ruin it.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

      • Darmok N Jalad

        26 March, 2017 - 7:19 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93053">In reply to Polycrastinator:</a></em></blockquote><p>I tried Arrow, and I just didn't like it. If I can't have Live tiles, then I prefer a simpler layout that what Arrow Launcher offers.</p>

        • Paul Thurrott

          Premium Member
          27 March, 2017 - 6:16 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#93094">In reply to Darmok N Jalad:</a></em></blockquote><p>Way too much commentary on Arrow. Given that I didn't use it this week. :)</p>

          • jbuccola

            27 March, 2017 - 10:24 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#93153">In reply to Paul Thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>Paul,</p><p>I've tried to migrate from iOS to Android several times but reluctantly found Cupertino's products more polished and consistent than the alternative.</p><p><br></p><p>In short, iOS has a way of elevating whatever it is you're doing and gets out of the way.</p><p>Android reminds you it is there in nearly every task, configuring/tweaking/adjusting or rebooting.</p><p><br></p><p>There are puts and takes, of course– Siri is awful, for instance — but the platform as a whole is remarkably consistent and delightfully uneventful.</p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        27 March, 2017 - 6:15 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93053">In reply to Polycrastinator:</a></em></blockquote><p>I've been using the Pixel launcher for the past week or so, so that's not it. That said, I am going to wipe this thing. The performance issues are nuts.</p>

    • MTrimmer

      Premium Member
      26 March, 2017 - 4:04 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93016">In reply to Lateef Alabi-Oki:</a></em></blockquote><p>Having followed Paul for some time, I've learned to tune out most of his assessments of Android. Just like I don't listen to Macbreak Weekly to get their insights on Windows 10. </p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        27 March, 2017 - 6:16 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93056">In reply to MTrimmer:</a></em></blockquote><p>That makes tons of sense. You should never challenge your worldview with other opinions, nor open up your mind to people with more expansive experiences than your own. Nothing bad ever happens by following your very simple—sorry, simplistic—advice. </p><p><br></p><p>You're smart!</p>

        • MTrimmer

          Premium Member
          27 March, 2017 - 9:12 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#93152">In reply to Paul Thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>"This is a mostly terrible phone, because all Android phones are mostly terrible. I’m honestly not sure how any human being can use such a thing day-to-day . . ."</p><p><br></p><p>And I'm the simplistic one??</p><p><br></p><p>I actually read a wide range of sources, both pro and con, for any source of info on tech or any other subject. I just find your views on Android to be out of synch with others (and not just Android fanboy sites). Anandtech is my go to source for any technical review for their thoroughness and level of detail. </p><p><br></p><p>I don't view PIxel as ultimate phone or even equal to iPhone. Pixel has serious speaker issue that is apparently hardware related, a Bluetooth issue that has only recently been addressed by Google, and a so-so screen. Plus it is overpriced. But it does have a very good camera, prompt updates from Google, and is far from a "terrible phone".</p><p><br></p><p>You are obviously entitled to your honest opinion. I just look at the weight of evidence with all other sources and view yours as the one that is outside the standard deviation for all reviews on this device. And if you'd like, I'll run the statistics for you on that. I have the PhD to back up the analysis.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 6:14 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93016">In reply to Lateef Alabi-Oki:</a></em></blockquote><p>I sold the Nexus 6P. I can't just keep a collection of phones around. I use the latest from Google. Which, again, I find lacking.</p>

  • Darmok N Jalad

    26 March, 2017 - 12:58 pm

    <p>I guess I need to re-comment since whenever you edit a comment, it appears to just delete the contents entirely.</p><p>While I never used a Pixel, I did have a Nexus 5X (and I tried a few other Android devices as well). I'm just not a fan of Android and ended up getting an iPhone after having to leave Windows Mobile. </p><p>As for international mobile plans, I'm curious if the T-Mobile One Plus plan would work? It adds $25/mo to the plan, but you get unlimited data and free in-flight wifi in participating countries (and I would assume Germany would be one of them!). Once you got back the USA, you could just drop back to the standard One plan again. </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 6:14 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93022">In reply to Darmok N Jalad:</a></em></blockquote><p>I really liked the Nexus 6P and in fact prefer it to the Pixel XL. Which I wrote about when the Pixels came out. Wish I had just kept it.</p>

      • mjw149

        27 March, 2017 - 8:41 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93147">In reply to Paul Thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>And I was going to say, I never had an issue with the 6p and post-Lollipop the Nexus 6 was better than iphone, too. I guess the Pixel team inherited HTC's worst habits (price and software).</p>

        • Mharm

          12 April, 2017 - 10:16 am

          <blockquote><a href="#93168"><em>In reply to mjw149:</em></a></blockquote><p>…and the 6P was a Huawei device, which only have a bad rap for software (EMUI -blech!) They make damn good hardware, even if the Chinese govt is spying on me with it! ?</p>

      • Mharm

        12 April, 2017 - 10:13 am

        <blockquote><a href="#93147"><em>In reply to Paul Thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p>Yes! I'm holding on to my 6P until my hands are cold and dead (amongst my annual iPhone upgrade AND my Elite X3…) I'm a glutton for punishment but I'll admit that even the 6P and X3 are just tinker toys for me… My 7 Plus does the heavy lifting. BUT I have spent a few weeks at a time with the 6P alone and it's very nice with the right launcher and MOST apps are caught up in caliber to their iOS counterparts these days. I abhorred Arrow Launcher in the Garage days but admit I haven't used it in a year or more… Time to blow off the dust!</p>

  • openmisere

    Premium Member
    26 March, 2017 - 6:48 pm

    <p>While I respect your views a lot Paul, I just can't buy into your comments about Android on the Pixel XL. Since reluctantly moving from Windows Mobile a couple of years ago, I have used a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and now the Pixel XL. The Pixel XL is my daily mobile computer/phone and for the vast majority of time it is stable, fast, flexible, huge storage (128GB version), plentiful apps &amp; widgets, excellent notification system, I can use a launcher of my choice (Arrow), it's well supported by Microsoft (especially Office apps) – and as you do say it has a fantastic camera. I would absolutely recommend it to friends and family.</p>

    • Darmok N Jalad

      26 March, 2017 - 7:23 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93084">In reply to openmisere:</a></em></blockquote><p>I'm curious how much Google will have learned from Pixel when it makes its next phone. The giant bezels just don't make sense, and will look even more chunky with the likes of the G6 and S8 being almost entirely display on front. If they slap speakers there, then they may have something. I bet the camera doesn't sit behind glass in the next model either. </p>

  • Bats

    26 March, 2017 - 8:26 pm

    <p> Paul's problem is very simple, clear, and obvious. He is using Arrow Launcher. No tech blog, perhaps for the except for Apple, has killed the Pixel in their reviews. The only criticism of the Pixel has been the price, but you get Apple-like quality for it, using the Google services, like the Assistant. I have said this in the past,….ARROW LAUNCHER is a terrible launcher. It's a resource HOG. In the time-honored tradition of Paul always being wrong, the ARROW LAUNCHER is not the best launcher for the Pixel or any other Google device. PERIOD. No…EXCLAMATION POINT. You know what? To make matters even worse, I bet Paul even had Cortana working in the background with the Google Assistant on as well. LOL. It has to be that, because I spent one month in Asia (Feb 2017) and I never had a single issue with my Pixel. If it weren't for Google Maps and the Assistant I would've been lost in South Korea, Japan, Philippines, and Singapore. If Paul really had problems with his Pixel, that's IT. He can lie about all he wants, but I am very certain that has to be it….the Microsoft Arrow Launcher. </p><p>Reliability issues? That's impossible! LOL. He's clearly making it up OR he's probably jam packed his Pixel with apps and used all the resources at an unreasonable manner to force the issues he is so-called having. Clearly he is making this up.</p><p>Let's face it…..Paul hates anything but Microsoft and he's not very good at technology. I think he's just making stuff up about Android. He doesn't even tell us how the Pixel failed him. Did he not love the Nexus 6p? It's pretty much agreed across the board by almost all technologist that the Pixel is a technological improvement over the Nexus 6P and every Android device. I think Paul knows that and I think he sees that with the Pixel and he's just writing about it. He does that with all Google products. </p>

    • gregorylbrannon

      Premium Member
      26 March, 2017 - 10:49 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#93098"><em>In reply to Bats:</em></a></blockquote><p>Completely agree!!&nbsp;I'm a Microsoft fanboy and last fall after supporting Windows Mobile since 2011 HTC Arrive, HTC8XT, Lumia 530, 640 and 650; I went with a Pixel. I recently read how the ARROW LAUNCHER is good for the Microsoft fan that has an Android. I've been pleased with the performance of my Pixel so I was hesitant to add the ARROW LAUNCHER. So I added it to 2015 Moto G that I had laying around. And I could not agree more with you that the ARROW LAUNCHER depreciated the performance of the Moto G which had been pretty good. Not Pixel good but all things considered good. So I was glad that I did not install the ARROW LAUNCHER on my Pixel. Unfortunately if you want a good Microsoft experience it'll have to be on a high end Windows phone sans that apps that you'd find on iOS or Android; personally I think the best Android experience is on a Pixel and not to put any launcher on it.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 6:13 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93098">In reply to Bats:</a></em></blockquote><p>I haven't been using Arrow Launcher this week, actually, I've been using the Pixel launcher.</p><p><br></p><p>What else you got?</p>

      • openmisere

        Premium Member
        27 March, 2017 - 8:46 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93144">In reply to Paul Thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>I am going to be much less shouty than a few others … but … while I respect your views a lot Paul, I just can't buy into your comments about the Pixel XL. Since reluctantly moving from Windows Mobile a couple of years ago, I have used a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and now the Pixel XL. The Pixel XL is my daily mobile computer/phone and for the vast majority of time it is stable, fast, has great storage (128GB version), plentiful apps &amp; widgets, excellent notification system, I can use a launcher of my choice (Arrow v3 and above), it's well supported by Microsoft (especially Office apps) – and as you do say it has a fantastic camera. Sure, I'd like thinner bezels, waterproofing, and better speakers, but these aren't deal breakers (especially as my phone is covered by a rubber case and screen protector anyway, I try not to get it wet, and I usually listen to music/video via headphones). I absolutely have, and will continue to, recommend the Pixel XL to friends and family. </p>

      • Nicholas Kathrein

        Premium Member
        27 March, 2017 - 5:28 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93144">In reply to Paul Thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>Hello Paul. I'm thinking you where on the the Android Beta OS? I do remember you said you went to the google webpage to add your device and I'm not sure if that was the 6p or the Pixel. I can tell you that I'm on a 6p and the beta of 7.1. whatever the beta is has issues where it's not smooth like the stock OS. I'd bet if you had issues that was it because on the beta i'm seeing lag on the launcher and a few other places I didn't have previously.</p>

    • Delmont

      27 March, 2017 - 10:25 am

      <blockquote><a href="#93098"><em>In reply to Bats:</em></a></blockquote><p>Do you really expect anyone to read your post? And/or take you the least seriously? Grow up.</p>

    • Durishin

      05 April, 2017 - 10:42 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93098">In reply to Bats:</a></em></blockquote><p>Meh. I use Arrow – from time to time. It certainly doesn't have any adverse effects on my V20 relative to either LG's in-built ones or Nova Launcher. But, it is from M$, so some folks gotta hate it. I hated M$ too…back when I carried a Psion…</p>

  • bbold

    26 March, 2017 - 11:09 pm
  • jamiet

    27 March, 2017 - 3:21 am

    <p>So many Android defenders in here. Or maybe just fans of the Pixel. Long story short, Android is ok but has flaws; even in the flagship phones it can have poor performance. iPhone does perform better overall. Maybe the Pixel isn't as bad as Paul makes it seem (I've never tried one), but comparing the Galaxy S7 work phone I use, and basically everybody I know having an iPhone 6 or 7, the iPhone just performs better. </p>

    • anchovylover

      27 March, 2017 - 9:53 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93126">In reply to jamiet:</a></em></blockquote><p>Of course there are Android defenders here. Paul called all Android phones " mostly terrible " and questioned how could " any human being can use such a thing day-to-day "! What a bitter attack against Android and a nasty sleight against Android users. I have never seen Paul make such a statement and am quite taken aback by it. I expect more out of him!</p>

      • Tallin

        27 March, 2017 - 6:33 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93185">In reply to anchovylover:</a></em></blockquote><p><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">You haven't been paying attention to what he's been saying about Windows phone users, then. Except they don't matter because they only count in the millions…</span></p>

        • anchovylover

          29 March, 2017 - 10:00 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#93446">In reply to Tallin:</a></em></blockquote><p>Sorry Tallin, I've just seen your reply. Hopefully a notification system is in the works. You're right, I've often chuckled at Paul's backhanded slaps to WM users. It's a different feeling with the shoe on the other foot I must admit.</p>

    • wolters

      Premium Member
      27 March, 2017 - 10:53 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#93126">In reply to jamiet:</a></em></blockquote><p>I can agree with that. I've used a Pixel XL and Moto Z Force Droid and the Pixel XL just flies but it isn't as feature rich as the Moto Z Force. </p>

  • Rahmonic

    27 March, 2017 - 8:00 am
  • anchovylover

    27 March, 2017 - 9:47 am
    • Vuppe

      27 March, 2017 - 11:50 am

      <blockquote><a href="#93178"><em>In reply to anchovylover:</em></a></blockquote><p>It's difficult for an Apple fan to admit the iPhone is just another top-of-the-line phone in a sea of top-of-the-line phones these days. Perhaps his trip sponsor is also a little annoyed at the comment, since they're one of the world's largest manufacturers of Android phones…</p><p><br></p><p>"Thanks Huawei for sending me to Berlin, by the way, your hardware is crap." –Paul</p><p><br></p><p>I have a Pixel XL myself and it's a fine phone. It's just as well-built as any iPhone I've ever held.</p>

      • anchovylover

        27 March, 2017 - 12:43 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#93217">In reply to Vuppe:</a></em></blockquote><p>Damn site is so buggy. Went to edit a grammar error in my post and now it's disappeared.</p>

        • Vuppe

          27 March, 2017 - 12:58 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#93238"><em>In reply to anchovylover:</em></a></blockquote><p>I feel like they should have stuck with Disqus for comments, but that would prevent the&nbsp;Premium paywall…</p>

          • anchovylover

            27 March, 2017 - 1:28 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#93241">In reply to Vuppe:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yeah, I understand the issues they had with Disqus. Brad mentioned last week in a podcast they were starting to spend more time on the site bugs. Just need to be patient but it's annoying in this case for me as I felt especially strong about my post. </p>

            • Vuppe

              27 March, 2017 - 1:39 pm

              <blockquote><a href="#93254"><em>In reply to anchovylover:</em></a></blockquote><p>Was a&nbsp; good one. Rewrite it.</p>

          • wolters

            Premium Member
            27 March, 2017 - 2:01 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#93241">In reply to Vuppe:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, I had a long post that I updated and bam…it's gone…I do like Disqus better but I do know why they changed…</p>

  • KingPCGeek

    Premium Member
    27 March, 2017 - 4:57 pm
  • Belralph

    27 March, 2017 - 11:28 pm
  • QuantumC0mputer

    31 March, 2017 - 12:51 pm
  • paebischer

    06 April, 2017 - 10:59 am

    <p>&gt;&gt;<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">I’m honestly not sure how any human being can use such a thing day-to-day, it’s just incredibly frustrating: Performance, durability, reliability, whatever, is just terrible across the board, compared to iPhone.&lt;&lt;</span></p><p><br></p><p>I am confounded by your opinion of the Pixel. Is it the perfect smart phone? No, and either is the iPhone. But your comments just ring of fanatical Apple fanboyism. I use my Pixel as a daily driver and I do not have no where near the displeasure you seem to be having with the experience. And I recognize that our use cases are probably polar opposite, but for crying out loud your comments come across as just amateurish and anecdotal.</p><p><br></p><p>I guess as I am a subscriber I expected more than this.</p>

  • Minok

    12 April, 2017 - 7:15 pm

    <p>Do tell… whats the bad on the Berlin metro system? I've never been that far east and am mainly familiar with the decent functioning systems in Frankfurt a.M. and Mannheim/Heidelberg/Ludwigshafen.</p>

  • RLAbbott25

    23 April, 2017 - 12:14 pm

    <p class="ql-indent-1"><img src="">Pixel XL phone it the Best phone in the whole……….. world. It is rectangular, it is soft, it is a phone.</p><p class="ql-indent-1"><br></p><p class="ql-indent-1">Apple iPhone is a peace of CRAP , it is for all the dummies , that can't program a Phone, and just want Apple to do it for them. AHHHHHH</p>

  • mortarm

    05 May, 2017 - 10:56 am

    <p>&gt;…the coffee machine was broken.</p><p>The brown screen of death.</p>

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