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Showing posts with label silver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label silver. Show all posts

Thursday, June 29, 2017

First Impressions: Google's Silver Metal & Ivory Glass 128 GB Pixel XL

Pixel. Phone by Google.
Phone by Google
I am going to be straight with you, I honestly expected more from Google.

I have customized my personal Pixel XL, and I really like how there is room for 5 rows of 5 icons (or 1 x 1 widgets) in the UI. 
Yesterday, my 128 GB silver Pixel XL arrived (the new phone by Google).  But my first impression was of shock and disbelief.  It doesn't look silver at all, except the trim.  It looks a very girlie ivory white.  In fact, it looks like a carbon copy of an iPhone, without the big round button in the center of the bottom bezel (when holding the phone upright in portrait mode).

I never wanted an iPhone, I probably never will, unless I wind-up with more than a few phone lines, one day.  This really is a heartache.  I am hurt that Google went there, I am troubled that all of the marketing and media that I viewed prior to preordering this iPhone lookalike showed a silver metal frame phone with light gray glass.  I feel as if I am a victim of the old bait and switch.

It just, it looks like an older iPhone, with no special anything.  That isn't a bad thing for an iPhone, but I never wanted such a device.  I like the android platform.  I want it to be different, which is not unlike all of Google's Android platform marketing. But, this is neither different, individualistic nor even pretty.  It's just the same crap.  It's been over done, even iPhone has moved on.  It's crap.

To think I have been waiting on this blah looking gizmo with great anticipation for about 2 months or more since I preordered it, and this is all I got?  I expected so much more.

I suppose it didn't help that the stupid FedEx driver was in such a hurry to get done with his shift, that he didn't even bother knocking on our door.  He just stuck the delivery tag on the front door (directly next to the sign that said "Door bell doesn't work, Knock LOUD, please."  I was in the next room reeling an orange over the sink.  I had just left the front room, came back with my peeled orange, and spotted the tag on my door.  I HATE our FedEx driver, now.  No FedEx driver will ever receive a Christmas tip from my entire family anytime in this lifetime. I will never use FedEx, ever, no matter how desperate I get.  The delivery driver just booked back to the depot and left me still waiting and calling them, complaining.  It was even a couple more hours before they called back and it was sorted-out that I had to come and pick it up there at the FedEx office.  And I had been waiting there all day, not picking up my car from the shop, to take delivery.  What a rotten service!

It may not have helped that I have been waiting on this 'Very Silver' 128 GB Pixel XL model for two months since ordering it, and was supposed to receive it on the 19th of November.  The delivery date kept getting pushed back, and the very last I heard, I wouldn't get it until January 17th, 2017. That was so depressing. It seems like I have been waiting on it for forever, ever since I surrendered my Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (back in September, or maybe early October).

Now, that Note 7 was a very pretty phone.  Too bad it wasn't a very good Note platform phone, as when you used the SPen (a hypersensitive multi-pressure scribe), the curved glass edges became an obstacle that hindered my art and even harassed me with my note-taking.  It was really just an explosive gimmick with no business in a business environment, nor in a creative market.  But enough about that catastrophic failure, back to the Pixel XL...

A Highly Anticipated Phone & the Big Deal...

Pixel XL and Daydream View product boxes.
My Pixel XL and Daydream View product packaging.
As I have said, it seemed to take forever to arrive.  And Google kept pushing the delivery date out.  So, I was absolutely surprised to get the phone when I did, I think it was the twelth of December when it arrived.  It was supposed to be here the 19th of November.  Then pushed back to December 26th.  Then January 17th.

Perhaps this was all a mind-game that Google, or Verizon, was playing on me, thinking I'd be happy to have it late if they acted like it was really early?  It was late, Google.  It was late, Verizon.  By the time I actually received it, the promos that I had signed-up were well hidden on the site, because they were so old.

Of course, the Pixel XL arrived first.  I wasn't even allowed to get my bonus Daydream View for preordering the Pixel until it arrived.  Then, I could enter in the IMEI numbers on the Verizon website that were required to get the Daydream View as a bonus.

I even had to wait for my Pixel XL to arrive just to trade-in our older Galaxy S3 to knock the payments down a bit.  But that was a good deal for us, it reduced the payment down to just under what I was paying for the Galaxy Note7 that I had to surrender.

What's in the box?

Inside, there is the Pixel, wrapped in a frosted plastic protector.  Mine was wrapped rather loosely, so I wonder if someone else didn't like the color and returned it, so I wound-up with it (and I still don't like the color, but got it 2 weeks before Christmas, so I didn't wait in the Xmas lines to return it).

There is a charger & data transfer cable (USB-C male to USB-C male), an AC/DC power adapter (USB-C female), a USB-C male to USB-A male data transfer cable, and a USB-A female to USB-C male adapter.

The charger and cables are a light gray (which would have looked good with the phone if the glass was light gray).  But at least I can easily distinct these from my white Samsung power supplies and cables.

There is no inventory sheet to check off all of what's included in the box.  I always feel this is rather stupid and odd when a manufacturer doesn't tell you what you were supposed to get.  There is simply a quick little guide that tells you how to get started.

Does it work?  

Well, I have to tell you, there have been all sorts of hiccups in the past couple days.  So many that it is beginning to wear on me and get me really frustrated.

  1. Using my old charging and data transfer cable with the provided adapter approach was actually quite pointless.  I had spent hours backing up everything to Verizon Cloud on Monday, just in case, but thought that using the supplied transfer cable might speed the process of transferring everything over up.  Unfortunately, as I used the Pixel XL (as it had told me that I could use the phone while the data transfer would take place in the background), the cable kept losing connection, and I would have to restart it on my old phone.  My old phone is a Galaxy Note 3, which supports USB 3, so that should have sped things up, but I waited for hours, into the wee hours of the next morning, before all the apps were installed.  But it did work better if I just left the phones alone on the desk, even though the cable was connected solidly.
  2. The setup wizard installed all the apps I had on my old phone, but the setup wizard told me that none of my app data made it.  So now I have to manually go though each and every freak'n app (over 270 of them), and reconfigure each one.  That will take weeks to accomplish, wasting countless hours trying to get it done.  I'll see if I can find a way to recover the app info some other way, but this is currently a depressing turn of events for me.
  3. Things are different in Android 7.1 (Nougat).  Some things in the UI are different in a good way, I'm just not used to them, yet.  I will.  Some are not so good.  It seems there is no folder support in Android Nougat on the home screen, anymore.  I asked the "OK Google" assistant and she told me how to add a folder, only, by dragging an icon to the top of the screen that has no create a "New folder" option (according to her instructions) just won't work.  The assistant can't even tell me what version she is.  That seems very odd.  But losing folders will ruin my organization methods, and I may well be doomed to fail without that organizational feature.  There sure as heck can't be enough home screens to organize all my apps (over 270 of them).
  4. The back button is on the left now, in Android Nougat.  This is exactly where I wanted it all the time, because it makes sense that way.  I was constantly accidentally hitting it and losing my place, filled forms, etc... because I am right handed and poking keys with my index finger.  As I pause to check things, my right index finger would often accidentally hit the back key.  This is a great improvement for me, but getting used to this new UI is a chore because of my old habits and muscle memory.  Just like I am always looking for the apps drawer, but now it is a tiny caret/arrow, or I have to remember to swipe up.  And there still isn't a forward button like I would really appreciate.
There are some very positive things about the Google Pixel XL phone, though...

  1. Even though the Note7 had a fingerprint library scanner, I was pretty much using the iris scanner to open the phone and unlock things.  With the Pixel XL, the fingerprint scanner is much more conveniently located, accessible, and reliable.  I can easily simply press the fingerprint scanner to wake the phone and unlock things.  And because of where the fingerprint reader is, it is just ultra convenient and it turns out, a whole lot more reliable than that iris scanner on the Note7, because it didn't fair well in the bright light of day outdoors, which I tend to enjoy in the summer.
  2. Pixel isn't much of a conversationalist, but it does know some cute jokes and you can order it around a bit or ask it for information a whole lot faster than looking for the apps.  "OK Google, play my Thumbs Up playlist." and "OK Google, skip to the next track" are among my favorite voice commands.
  3. The Pixel doesn't seem to lose stuff when I zoom into read small text and then scroll sideways.  My old Samsung devices would completely lose it, take me to the next post or app or web page, who knows where I might end up, and then I had to try and figure out how to get back to what I was doing.  Thank you for getting me, Google.

Fast Wireless Charging?

I haven't actually had the phone long enough to test its charge life capabilities.  But I do use it a lot, and I enjoy listening to my Google Play playlists a lot.  This doesn't seem to drain the battery too much at all.  

Although I have only used the included AC power adapter to charge the Pixel device a couple of times, it really didn't seem to fast charge to 75% power in 15 minutes.  Perhaps this is because it is brand new?  Usually new batteries take about three to half a dozen times to charge up well when they are new so that they remember where 100% charged actually is.  The day after I got it, I put it on Qi fast wireless charging, though.

I had already become enamored with Qi compliant wireless charging when I had that capability with my Galaxy Note 7.  My wife and son even got in on the fun and commandeered the first Samsung wireless charging stand I bought for it after I returned the Note7, to use with their Samsung Galaxy S6 phones.  I wound-up adding a Qi compliant wireless charging receiver coil to my Note 3, I'll be adding one to my son's old S3 that I will wind-up using for work (when the receiver coil gets here), and I even grabbed a USB-C type fast charging Qi plug-in receiver coil kit for the Pixel XL.  

I had to go online and purchase another couple Qi wireless chargers (one very similar fast charging stand from the Geek app by, and one slower, -not fast charging, that is- Samsung mini Qi wireless charging pad from Amazon). 

To get the Pixel XL in on the fun, I grabbed that USB type C plug-in fast charger receiving coil adapter I got from Amazon.  But when I put a case on the Pixel XL, I could only charge it with the Samsung Wireless Fast Charger stand or the Samsung mini charger pad, as the other not Samsung wireless charger that I grabbed off the internet didn't work with the Pixel XL unless it was naked, though it did work with all our Samsung smart phones that already come Qi charging enabled (3 Galaxy S6's & the Note 7), when they wore a case.

Getting used to Nougat

I have already mentioned that there are some differences in the new version (7) of the Android OS, commonly referred to as Nougat.  And I really do like how the back button is on the right hand side, now, even though it takes some getting used to.  But the lower 3 buttons are actually a part of the multitouch screen, now.  They aren't buttons or touch sensors, so I am constantly poking the bottom bezel (and of course nothing happens).  What's strange is that I keep doing it, because this was the area the old buttons were in, and because after coming from the Samsung Galaxy device platform, those button/sensors are not exposed until you poke them.  So, I am used to seeing a blank bezel.

The biggest difficulty for me is not having any folders right now.  It seems that Google wants to force everyone into using its own assistant to launch things.  But heck, I can't remember the names of all of my 270+ apps, which is why I categorized them in folders.  That way, they were much easier to find.  And it would only take one home screen to categorize them efficiently enough for me to easily find everything quickly.  Besides, "OK Google" does not return an intelligent life.  The 'personal assistant' doesn't understand a whole lot right now.  It tends to miss half of what I said after "OK Google," so I have to slow down and pause, just for it.  And the results are often the same, "Here is what I found..." and then it lists one top search result on the screen.  That is often not helpful at all.

Google Home acts a bit differently, when I was in the Verizon store trading in my wife's Galaxy S3 for the trade-in promo, a sales person demonstrated it.  Since Google Home has no screen, it is understandably more conversational, it has to be.  But Google assistant is not.  And because of this, and its inability to interpret my questions more appropriately, it isn't actually very helpful at all.  I do expect this to change, though.  Since my Pixel XL was delivered, I have had to update it twice, and I haven't even had it more than 4 full days, yet.

Day 5 with the Google Pixel XL

Last night my Samsung Galaxy CORE Prime that I use for work went on the fritz.  It's simply too underpowered.  I made sure that it only had the apps I need for work and a few extras I like, but each app developer advances his programming to support more stuff and offer more features.  As the app gets more robust and the feature set grows, so do the memory requirements of each and every app installed with each update.  And since there is no common shared notification app or libraries, every damn application thinks it has to run at startup.  So even though I only got the CORE Prime a couple of months ago, it was a cheap phone meant to take care of me until I had something better (which the Pixel XL will allow me to do, use the phone I took I upgraded the Pixel XL from to replace the business line.

Unfortunately, I hadn't upgraded the business phone from the Galaxy CORE yet, because I was busy getting used to Nougat and checking out the Pixel XL.  But when the CORE went wonky on me, I needed to grab a phone to use for work.  So I took out my Pixel XL.  During the course of business, I noticed a few things that concern me...

Getting Directions

When I ask the Pixel "OK Google, where is 300 North Dakota Avenue, Sioux Falls?" It shows me a map, but I didn't think that I could touch the map to open Maps to see a map I could zoom in and out on.  Until just now, I kept looking for a Maps button or link.  Some things just aren't as clear as they should be.

However, it will throw me right into Maps when I ask it, "OK Google, give me directions to 300 North Dakota Avenue, Sioux Falls."  But I still have to click on the start button.

Opening the Phone for Use

It is difficult for me to remember to swipe up in order to open the phone from the lock screen, instead of swiping across to the right, right now.  Obviously, this is a habit I am used to doing completely differently.  I will get used to doing it right, but I have to wonder why it has to be different.

I used to be able to wake the phone by hitting the home button, but without an active screen, there is none.  I get that Google is saving a little money using the touch screen, but in this case I actually think this is a plus, because I am often accidentally hitting the home button almost every time I pull the device out of a pocket.  This way, I am not accidentally turning on the device, using too much power.

Power Consumption

As far as power goes, the Pixel XL does well with it.  I used it a lot to get delivery directions to a few places I was unsure of because of unusual addresses last night, plus I showed it off to my fellow workers since I had it.  After approximately 7 hours of moderate use, the battery shows 85% power and the Pixel is estimated to have 1 day and 12 hours of use left (provided the usage rate stays about the same).

Now, after charging on my Samsung wireless charger, it went from 100% to 69% in 7 hours under moderate use while playing my Play Music playlist.

Fingerprint Registration

I have been looking for a way to register more of my fingerprints in the settings all week, now.  When I ask my 'assistant' how to do this, she looks up info and directs me how to do it on a PC or on an older version of the Android OS.  From what I was told, I can register 5 fingers.  And it is paramount, at least for my convenience, to be able to register more than a few.  I'll explain why...

When I was moping the floor at work, I cut the index finger of my left hand when it came in contact with the metal parts of the map squeezer thingamajig.  I cut it not so bad, but was trailing blood everywhere until my boss gave me a Bandaid for it. Then, later, I went to open my phone, but I couldn't because it was all bandaged up.  I had to remove the Bandaid to open it unless I used my password.

Another reason I need more than one fingerprint registered, is that I am often doing the dishes at my part-time job.  They are sort-of (really) cheap there, and no one buys dishwashing gloves.  So my hands and fingers are dry, chapped and cracked almost all the time.  I have to be able to find one finger that will work, after all.  And of course, if a finger is cut, as in the instance above, but over the print area, we will probably need to use a different finger.

As I am right handed, I usually hold my phone with the left hand and poke the software keyboard with my right.  In this instance, my left index finger is perfectly situated to unlock the phone.  But sometimes, I hold the phone in my right hand, especially if I don't need to 'type' anything, so I need to register the index finger of my right hand as well, for sure.

OK, here's where it is (my 'assistant' pointed me to the wrong place. It's under:

Settings > (in the "Personal" section, see...) Security > Pixel Imprint

A little bit of a UI communication hiccup there, I have other ideas about what an imprint is.

This seetting will allow you to setup 5 more fingerprints (for a total of 6).  The fingerprints you register with the device do not always have to be your own, but if you do share your device with anyone, their fingerprint can authorize a payment from your account's default payment method.

Interestingly, my old Core2 PC can read my right index fingerprint and right thumbprint, but the Pixel can not.  I have worked with my hands all my life, so I wonder if the prints are too wore down for Google?  I don't do hard labor or burn myself cooking, just driving and washing dishes, tapping on the keyboard, using the mouse.

Too bad my Google Pixel can't read it, using my left index finger was comfortable and convenient for me.

Day 6 with the Google Pixel XL

I have been listening to my playlists almost non-stop, and the Pixel XL's battery does real well.  After 16 hours, I have 23% battery charge and should last another 6.

Touch Sensitivity

The Google Pixel XL is, in my opinion, offers the very best touch sensitivity I have ever experienced.  It is better than Apple iPhone 6s, which was (just barely) better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.  I have less typos, less frustration and a very nice user experience using the Google soft keyboard on my Pixel XL.

Google Keyboard

Unfortunately, there is a flaw in the soft keyboard where, when I enter a series of numbers, I have to access another set of keys, but after selecting each letter, the keyboard goes right back to the letter keys set.  Very unusual, and needs to be fixed for people entering serial numbers and numeric data.  WOW, what a fluke.  No one saw this but me, yet?  You have to be kidding.

Week 2 with the Google Pixel XL

I love the new layout.  This was actually my suggestion when I got my first Android phone, the DroidX.  In portrait mode, my right index finger doesn't actually hit the back button by accident all the time, and if it does hit the button located there, that just brings up my active programs index.  So I can get straight back to what I was working on.

When the display is oriented in landscape mode, the back button placement makes more sense to me, as well.  In the upper right my hand crosses the screen when accessing it, disturbing my view.  When it is in the upper right, my hand does not interfere with my viewing pleasure.

I definitely prefer this new button location format and wish I could convert the buttons on my other Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets over to it.  That might actually be a good project for some developer.  The Samsung phones I have allow you to turn off the touch sensor lights for those buttons, anyway.

Although I am still hitting the middle right of the bottom bezel on my Pixel XL, I am getting used to it more and more.  I have actually started poking my Samsung Galaxy phones and devices that I use for business in the same spot as I would for the new button format on this Pixel XL.

I finally got the fingerprint scanner to recognize my right index finger by using different part of it, a part that I don't wear out my fingerprint grabbing things so much.

My VR unit showed up, I am so impressed.  The Google 'Dream' app is highly interactive as opposed to any other VR.  I can't wait until the bank opens on Tuesday so that I can put my Christmas money in my account so that I can grab the Need For Speed No Limits VR game.  If I'm going to enjoy VR gaming, I might as well do it right.  I love racing games (especially the NFS series) and this $14.99 USD game looks good.

While "OK Google" does seem to wake-up the Pixel from any screen, it doesn't always seem to wake it up from sleep or the Lock Screen.  I have it set to unlock with my voice, so something is a bit off.

I had to have a chat with customer support in order to learn how to turn notifications on for the lock screen, and I was pleasantly surprised.  Google has notoriously poor tech support with its software products ("here is our online support page for that, did it help?"), but I was pleasantly surprised to be number 1 in line when I connected and in a minute the polite support person (or possibly robot, it is just text chat, after all) pointed me to the right place, and the issue resolved.

Voice communications are considerably better on this Pixel XL over any other phone I have previously owned, save for the Galaxy Note7 that Samsung ripped out of my hands.

I would have liked to compare the cameras, as well, but I barely took any photos with the Note7.  All the photos on display here of my Pixel XL were taken with a Galaxy S3 or Note 3.  But I am impressed with the Pixel XL camera

I do wish I had more RAM.  Even though I purchased the 128 GB model, I only have less than 4 GB of usable RAM, and Nougat still allows everything that wants to run at startup, to run at startup.  And if I shut apps down, they still appear as running programs later.  How apps manage to run constantly on the Android OS is absolutely insane.  One would think that a single common push notification service could simply monitor all news for all apps and then every damn app and its sister wouldn't have to run all the damn time.  Maybe Android needs to license shared libraries from the Amiga OS?  Really though, something needs to be done.  All these apps running willy-nilly, all at the same time really weigh the Android OS down.

Android still does a poor job of managing garbage apps, data and temporary files.  Nothing seems to get deleted after an install, and temporary files just hang there, taking up space in the Flash memory for no reason.  Just because I purchased the 128 GB version of the Pixel XL does not mean that I want apps running all the time or growing in my external storage.

The fact is that Android, as an OS, still needs a lot of improvement.  And these issues I just mentioned have been around since the beginning.  I really feel the hit with older devices that have limited resources.  For instance, my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 came with an IR blaster and I specifically bought it with my Samsung Smart HDTV just to use it as a dedicated remote, but Samsung decided to stop supporting the remote capabilities of the tablet within a few months of my purchase after heavily marketing those very same capabilities.

So, instead of a really cool remote, I wound-up with a limited 8 GB tablet and filled it up with crap apps extremely quickly as I looked to give it a purpose.  Now, all of the apps need to be updated, but they are all improved with greater features and capabilities, using more code and taking up more room, so that now nothing will update unless I uninstall a couple of other things.

I mention this because the 128 GB internal storage still isn't going to be enough storage in the future if I try to make my Pixel XL purchase last a long time (as I did my Note 2 before I upgraded to a Note 7).

So, the Android OS still has flaws in Nougat, but I do like the User Interface improvements.  At least it's a start and shows that Google is actually listening to me... Ahem... I mean us.

Week 3 with the Google Pixel XL

I am quite surprised that Blogger incorporates so cleanly with the Google's Android app, Photos.  But it does always seem that I am awaiting things to get backed-up to the online cloud part of Photos, where I am supposed to have unlimited storage of my photography, images and video on my device.  Right now, I am awaiting 25 photos to be uploaded so that I can access some of them here, for this very article.  

I wasn't going to wait so long before posting this article, but I have been trying to get photos that I took with my Note 3 which were uploaded to the Dropbox cyberdrive, downloaded onto my Pixel XL.  These, of course, are all photos of the Pixel XL itself (and I can't very well take those photos with the Pixel).  The problem is that I cannot find them on my Pixel XL after downloading them through Dropbox (for the past week).  

So, I dug-out my trusty File Manager Plus app (5 stars from me for being free while running no ads, and being a solid, easy-to-use program that can access your registered cloud devices), authorized the necessary permissions for this new device, and copied them over from Dropbox.  Now I am just waiting for Photos to upload them to the cloud, and then update so that I can access them in Blogger.

At least it seems like I have gotten around the issue I was having with Dropbox.  But I do wonder why Dropbox is having trouble with my Pixel XL?  Is it the fact that the device has no microSDcard available, or is it that it is having trouble with Nougat?  Certainly, Dropbox doesn't think that I wanted to re-download those photos onto my old Note 3?  

Strange.  I expect more from Dropbox.  It has been the staple cloud device that I have used from the beginning without ever an issue, until now.  It could be a user mistake, but as I design website UIs for the best User eXperience possible, I think there may be an issue, there.  At least File Manager Plus allows me easier and more complete control over the Dropbox cloud drive.

Still awaiting those new photos on my phone to show-up here in my Blogger phone photos, though...

OK, here it is, 3 days later, the near the end of week 3 with the Google Pixel XL, and photos I have taken with the Pixel XL, as well as photos of the Pixel XL that I have sent to the Pixel XL via Android Beam (which have specifically been configured to share in Google Photos), as well as photos that I have taken and copied to the Pixel XL through Dropbox, and none of them, not even the ones I took of the Pixel Box and my Dream VR, are showing up here.

I am starting to believe that the unlimited photos and video storage, which is supposed to be a benefit of owning and using a Pixel XL, is pure gimmick, and Google is not delivering on that promise.  That promise is the very reason I decided to get a 128 GB Pixel XL anyway, despite the fact that it lacks any microUSB support.

Furthermore, I have had purposely kept my Pixel at home, with a great connection to the internet, in the same room as my dual band WiFi router, and still can't get to the very same images I have been trying to access for this blog.

This is a shame I wanted to have this article done before the New Year.  Unfortunately, I can't access the photos I need to complete the article, and it's December 31st, 2016.  It looks like my lifetime of original quality photos and video storage in Google Photos is nothing but an advertising campaign.  Heck, I have been trying to get photos uploaded for this article for more than 2 weeks, now.  


I do have photos available of the Pixel XL with a Qi wireless charger while sporting couple of different cases from my other blog article, though:

As you can see, the Fast QI charger simply plugs into the USB-C port, which could be problematic if you enjoy using USB-C accessories. But, I have none, and I don't want any.

This is the promised  shot of the back of the Pixel XL wearing the spigen case.

As you can see, the spigen case molds itself around the small USB-C plug protrusion well. From this angle, you can't even really notice the Fast QI card or plug. 

I had a hard time hunting down those photos of the Pixel XL wearing the spigen case, and I am finishing up this blog post some 6 months or more later. 

I also purchased and kept the ultimate case, that good ol' reliable Otter Box Defender...

The issue with the Otter Box Defender case is that the cover for the USB-C port doesn't have any place to go and winds-up protruding way too much.

I won't cut that USB-C port cover off, because the Pixel XL is not waterproof, and if I ever go somewhere I won't be bringing along the Samsung Fast Qi wireless charging stand for it, I'll use the stock charger alone.

The Otter Box Defender case on my Pixel XL with USB-C implemented Qi Fast Charger card, front view.

Needless to say, I don't use the Defender case much, but if I was traveling, hiking or simply being adventurous, I would switch cases.  Still, the Qi Wireless Charging system that I have setup works well with that Samsung Fast Wireless Charging stand that I had grabbed for my old Note7.  In fact, my Google Pixel XL 128GB has only visited the stock charger once in its lifetime to-date, and that was the very first charge. Ever since then, it has been performing like a champ with long battery life under this wireless charging configuration.

The blog post about implementing the Qi Fast Wireless Charging card on a variety of smartphones without those capabilities is a post that is still available on this blog. It gives details on the parts I bought to set that up, so you don't have to guess.

The Dream & VR

I had received my Dream VR adapter with controller and I was planning on writing about my experience trying it out the last week.  I purchased the Need For Speed VR game in Google Play, and I did enjoy the game, for a while.  I did play it all that week, not just to review the Dream headset and controller, but because I did enjoy the game.

However, after 45 minutes, that I was later able to stretch to 60, then to 90 minutes of playtime, I would feel a bit queezy and have to relax my eyes.  It seemed as if the light was a bit too bright for me, as they were so near the screen, and after a long stint racing around my eyes needed to relax because the real world was a bit blurry and I had the effect of having double vision, like when I drove a semi-truck at night and needed to pull-over and get some sleep because I was tired.  But in this case, it was just that my eyes were dry and tired.

Furthermore, the remote control for the VR game system was constantly drifting to the right.  It was almost impossible to steer my VR cars effectively, because even though I reset the controller before the race, it would never reset properly and it would drift so far throughout the harder races it seemed I was pointing at myself as I curled the controller around to direct the steering and make up for the rapid controller drifting as the system sort of grew unusable when the road courses got harder.  

In the end, I wound-up with more of an on and off turning function that was incredibly difficult to control and I just gave-up with all the pointless resetting, as nothing worked and I could no longer even pretend that the simulation racing game was fun.