My first impression is that it is thinner and sleeker. The fingerprint reader on the back is an interesting choice. It seems an awkward place to put it but something that I’ll get used to.
It has a good feel to it and is a good size. It feels about the same as my 6+ does with the 6+ in a case. I have a case for the XL coming but may find it to be a bit too bulky with it. I may go without a case.
Firing it up for the first time it prompts me with a “LET’S GO” button to tap. Ok, why not!
- It asks to insert a SIM card using the SIM ejection tool included with the phone. Well, it’s not in the Google Pixel XL box. They probably assume it was purchased via a carrier and came with a card and tool. Since I bought this unlocked not through a carrier I grab a paperclip, the true SIM tool, and remove the SIM from my iPhone and pop it into the Pixel. It only takes a few seconds for it to register the SIM.
- Note: I found that there was a SIM ejector tool in the box. It was well hidden, part of the packaging that held the instructions. However, a paperclip works fine!
- It provides the option to copy data from an iPhone or Android, or set up as new. Normally I’m a “set up as new” kinda guy to be more in control of things, but from what I’ve read this migration tool lets you pick what you want and don’t want every step of the way so I tell it to go ahead with the data copy route.
- It prompts to connect to my WiFi, easy enough. This is the first time to type on it’s virtual keyboard. It responds well enough. Perhaps not as comfortable as the iPhone keyboard, but it is much better than the prior touch-screens I’ve used on other Android devices.
- The data copy wizard provides good guidance to do the transfer – make sure you have your phone, get the right cable, connect it to your old phone, connect that to an adapter that came with the Pixel, unlock the old phone and then plug into the Pixel.
- The iPhone then prompts me to trust the Pixel or not. I tell it to, and the Pixel confirms it is connected.
- The Pixel reads the iPhone’s data to identify what is on there. Then it asks me to sign in to a Google account. I already have one. Who doesn’t right?! That is easy enough.
- A nice spinning animation tells me it is preparing to copy. Umm, around now I’m wondering why it hasn’t prompted to select what I want to copy or not. There is a “Don’t copy” button. I won’t hit it just yet. Since it is a copy, nothing on my iPhone will be changed, and if the Pixel gets messed up I’ll just factory reset it and start over.
- Not that I’m impatient, but the spinning is still going and it’s been 3 minutes with no change on the screen. Sure, I have a lot of data on the iPhone, but still, tick-tock-tick-tock
- There is what may be a progress bar on the screen with barely a hint of a fill, if that it a progress bar, the batteries will run out on these phones long before this step is done.
- After forever, which was probably, 2 more minutes, the progress bar moves and it says “8 minutes left”. There still has been no options of what to copy or not. I am slightly worried it will mess up my rather complicated photo management situation, but that’s fine, everything is fixable, in theory.
- The time estimate was as good as any. Better actually, as the 8 minutes really only took 9 which is way closer than the typical Microsoft or Apple time algorithm where 8 minutes is generally closer to 43.
- Finally, a screen to select what to move. Here is what I select and why:
- Apps – it finds 65 apps that I have on the iPhone that can be installed for me. It lists them individually, noting if there are in-app purchases or special permissions needed. I take almost all of them, 48 of the 65. A few were things my kids used and I will let them use them from the iPhone still, no need to be on my new device. A few I will drop as part of my digital clean-up goals of the migration. It doesn’t mention anything about costs, and I know some were for-fee. I select not to copy some of the for-fee ones. It doesn’t say if they are free to copy now versus needing to be re-purchased later, but I opt not to take some of the for-fee ones at the moment. Worst-case I can re-buy or wipe and re-migrate to the Pixel.
- Calendar – I opt out of this as I want to set up a two-way sync with Google and iCloud calendars, not just import, and an import may mess that up
- Contacts – I opt out of this as well, as I want to do a two-way sync later
- Email – this was off by default, and I left it off
- Messages – I choose to bring these over since there is no secure iMessage option on Android I will be back in SMS mode with the default Android messaging app
- Message attachements – I take these as well
- Music – I turn this off as I’m not sure what music I have locally and shouldn’t need it. I use Apple Music for streaming and will install the Apple Music Android app as soon as I can.
- Photos & videos – I turn this off so it will not mess up my photo and video syncing plans
- After double-checking what I picked, I hit “COPY” and get to see some animated workers moving some icons. I end up copying 1.6GB instead of the 4.5GB it would have defaulted to. I’m saving space already!
- It says to leave the phones connected and turned on but that I can keep going ahead with the setup while it copies in the background. Woo-hoo.
- The next step is fingerprint setup. First I have to pick a backup unlock method. I chose a PIN, which is probably the least secure, but it is what I had on the iPhone. I may change it later. I add two fingers from each hand, just in case. The setup seems faster and less accurate than iPhone’s TouchID but it goes smoothly.
- The next screen mentions that it will backup to Google Drive and allows you to opt-out if you want. I leave it on.
- Then it asks you to select what services you want enabled, like location services, auto-photo backup, sending diagnostic data to Google, … I leave them all on for now.
- The next screen talks about using Google Assistant by saying “Ok Google” or holding the home button. Umm, I don’t see a home button, or any button other than power and volume, but ok..
- It asks what data Google Assistant can access. Again, I’m all-in across the board for now.
- More Google Assistance screens, to learn my voice. Ok.
- Almost done. A final pin/fingerprint check, and then an option to review suggested apps to install. I take all the recommended apps, which all seem to be Google’s. It also confirms if I want full notifications, or limited notifications to hide potentially sensitive content. I take the full notifications, thank you.
- It’s back to the “copying” screen where it tells me I have 8 minutes left. I’m not sure what it is about 8 minutes with this thing, but that’s not too bad.
- What, what what? 7 minutes in and it says “less than 1 minute left”. Google, you time estimating geniuses! Oh, wait, it continue to say that for, …
- 9 minutes later, DONE! So much for the track record of good time estimates.
Well, I’m in. As I stare at this foreign home screen, I realize there is probably a lot to learn. That’s all I’ll cover here though, as this seems like it is more than long enough. Tune in for my first steps on the new Android in another posting.