rants technology

Technology Woes

Folks, I think I made a mistake. See, a few months back I decided to trade my Samsung A71 in for a Pixel 7 Pro. I was enticed by Google Fi’s “Pixel Pass,” a $50/month option in which you get a free phone upgrade after two years. I liked the Pixel 4 so I decided to give it a shot.

That, so far, had been fine. The Pixel 7 Pro is pretty cool and fast and good. I’m starting to have a more existential objection to the size of the phone itself, but that’s a topic for later. The phone works and is good.

Then, a couple months after that, I took the plunge and got a Pixel Watch. At this point, I had decided: I am a Google Boy. I will get all the Google things. Why not. The Pixel Watch seemed neat and I’d never had a smartwatch before (aside from a very cheap, very defunct watch I bought from China a few years ago). So I bought it. It is the crux of this conversation so I’ll come back to it.

Month or two later, I bought the Pixel Buds Pro. These I like, and I hate earbuds. I really had to hype myself up for these, but they sound great and they don’t make me feel like I’m compacting my ear canal with wax, which is what other, cheaper earbuds feel like. I like this.

Now, as you may know, I am in my 2023 Marie Kondo mode, getting rid of stuff and trying to make my space simpler and sleeker. I’ve also been running, which you definitely know about because I won’t shut up about it. One of my problems with runs is that I have this Pixel phone which is pretty big and heavy, heavy enough to notice when I’ve got it in my pocket for runs. Long story short, the damn thing pulls my joggers down when I’m running and it’s kind of obnoxious. I even bought one of those armbands that holds your phone but that is also a pain in the ass. So, know that that was in the back of my mind when I thought, “Why did I get such a big phone?” which turned into “Why did I get such an expensive phone?” which turned into “Why did I get a Google phone?” etc etc etc.

And so I went to Google Fi, my carrier (which is a good carrier, btw, never had a problem with it). This is when I realized that I was locked into all this stuff: Pixel Pass means I can’t trade in my phone. In fact, Pixel 7 phones aren’t even listed among the items I could trade in. If I cancel Pixel Pass, I have to pay the remainder of my phone’s cost. Which is absurd–why not just switch it over to month-to-month, like you do with every other phone?

That’s alright; the phone is good, if big. I can deal with that. Pixel Pass is nice, and the added features (device protection, YouTube Premium, Google One, and $5 off my plan) are worth it. I just wish I had a smaller phone! Never thought I would think that, but now that I’m running I need something a little smaller and lighter.

The Buds I don’t want to trade in. They are great, no issues.

The watch. The damn watch. I can’t trade it in because there’s nothing to trade it in with. It’s a fine smartwatch but here’s the thing, the wrinkle that helped spur my desire: my health insurance include Rally, which is a whole service dedicated toward fitness and health and wellness. Part of this includes “coins” you can earn which go toward rewards. One of the recent rewards is 25% off a Garmin smartwatch (and $60 off an Oura ring, which is also kind of tempting). This made me think of recent YouTube videos I watched from the Running Channel, in which they tested Garmin’s “suggested” feature for runs based on your activity, which I thought was pretty neat.

Fitbit does this too, but not to the degree Garmin does. And then this morning I was thinking: What do I want out of a smartwatch? Like, what do I use my Pixel Watch for? Heart rate, Strava, Fitbit, and sometimes I use the voice recorder if I had a particularly weird dream. But … I realized I don’t even look at the watch for the time of day. Thus, it dawned on me: I don’t need a smartwatch, I need a fitness watch. I need a Garmin. I barely ever wore a watch in my entire life and I certainly don’t need a watch to tell time. It’s the long battery life and the nuances of exercise that the Garmin offers that I want. Curses!

Honestly, the problem is less that I have this watch and not that watch. The problem is that I locked myself into something I ultimately don’t want, which is frustrating for anyone. And the truth is that I probably will end up getting a Garmin watch and wearing both when I run like one of those dorks. A first gen Pixel Watch will depreciate in value pretty quickly, especially when V2.0 inevitable releases in the future. I think I made a costly error. Thankfully, at least the Pixel Watch still does a good portion of fitness monitoring and does it well. I just wish I had the added features of a Garmin.

My point is this: Don’t be a Google Boy/Girl/Person. Or an Apple X/Y/Z! Just get the stuff that works with what you want. All these brands talk about “seamless integration” but it’s all seamless. It all works together, more or less. Get the iPhone and the Garmin watch and the Pixel earbuds. It won’t be as difficult to pair them as the brands would make you believe! Meanwhile, I’ll just keep using this Pixel watch until I inevitably get the budget Garmin Forerunner and then end up wearing that all the time instead. LOVE TECHNOLOGY!

By Josh

I'm the guy who owns this site, ya dummy.

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