4G Android phone megathread

SumnerH

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Could your storage needs be met with online storage?
No.
  • It's inaccessible without functioning network, which sucks because music and podcasts are often used when I'm flying, on the metro, or on the road in bumfuck areas with no bars
  • It increases network usage, which is both a power drain and an increased cost
  • It's much slower than local storage, both for access and for sync'ing new data.
  • It puts my personal data into an untrusted third party's hands
  • It's an overpriced recurring cost: even in the relatively expensive microSD format, it's cheaper to buy storage than to get even 9 months of drive space, and that ignores the fact that I already own the microSD card
  • It's much less convenient to use Google drive's API than standard file utilities, and many applications don't really work with it at all.
 

Joe Sixpack

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Oops, I missed that one.

Could your storage needs be met with online storage? It's 2.99/mo for 200gb of Google drive space. I have found that it's been more and more convenient to keep everything "on the cloud" anyway. I constantly use it to access files on any device and never have to worry about hardware failure.
I see you've never encountered Sumner on these forums, huh?
 

saintnick912

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The
I'm looking at options for a new phone. I was going to stick with Google despite them jettisoning the headphone port and SD card, but the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 6/6 Pro is getting panned: That's exactly the sort of little thing that is used all the time but under-emphasized in reviews that seems like it would drive me crazy.

Non-negotiable:
  • Full support for Fi including Sprint and T-Mobile switching (eliminates all Samsung models as far as I can discern)
  • 1080p or better display (Eliminates Moto G Power 2021)
Probable deal-breaker:
  • In-screen fingerprint scanner, especially a poorly reviewed one
Strongly prefer:
  • MicroSD card support (non-negotiable if the phone has less than 256GB storage)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
I don't care about the camera at all, and a curved/edge screen is a minor minus.

My 3 candidate ideas right now (none of which I love):
  • Suck it up and go with the Pixel 6 Pro and hope the fingerprint scanner is liveable
  • Get a Moto G Power 2020: This has all of the above, but I'm not sure it's really much of an upgrade over my Pixel XL.
  • Do yet another battery replacement for my current 2016 Pixel XL and keep going with it (it's running Lineage so I'm at least getting security updates).
I can't find the link now, but I think all phones sold on the Fi site support the network switching now, including the Samsung models.

The Moto G Power is a fairly low end phone, and the 2021 edition has been panned as a downgrade on the 2020 edition.

I definitely preferred the rear-panel fingerprint scanner on my XL and 3XL, but the scanner on the 6 Pro has been reasonably good. Both of them had their occasional misses. Losing the "target without looking" is my biggest factor, more than any speed/accuracy loss. The curved screen really isn't noticeable with a case on (I have a spigen clear TPU).

Overall, if you could squeeze into 128GB, I"d say the 5a is probably your best choice. It's a shame they didn't offer more color/storage options because it's quite a phone. I only went with the 6 Pro for the camera features.
 

SumnerH

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I can't find the link now, but I think all phones sold on the Fi site support the network switching now, including the Samsung models.
https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6224695?hl=en#zippy=,designed-for-fi-models says that the Samsungs don't support Sprint. They'll switch between T-Mobile and US Cellular, I guess.

The Moto G Power is a fairly low end phone, and the 2021 edition has been panned as a downgrade on the 2020 edition.
Yeah, that's why I listed the 2020 over the 2021 if I go that direction.

I definitely preferred the rear-panel fingerprint scanner on my XL and 3XL, but the scanner on the 6 Pro has been reasonably good. Both of them had their occasional misses. Losing the "target without looking" is my biggest factor, more than any speed/accuracy loss. The curved screen really isn't noticeable with a case on (I have a spigen clear TPU).

Overall, if you could squeeze into 128GB, I"d say the 5a is probably your best choice. It's a shame they didn't offer more color/storage options because it's quite a phone. I only went with the 6 Pro for the camera features.
That's where I was leaning, but it's on the no-Sprint list as well according to Google (unless there's a 5a without 5G, which I'll look into).

I'll probably suck it up and get one of the 6's.
 

saintnick912

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That's where I was leaning, but it's on the no-Sprint list as well according to Google (unless there's a 5a without 5G, which I'll look into).
Interesting on the no-Sprint thing. With the Sprint-TMobile merger, I think your next phone will outlive the distinct network in any case. It may just be the CDMA portions that the phones don't support? I was surprised to see the 5a on the list.

The 6 Pro does feel quite nice, the screen is much nicer than the 3XL was, and I never thought that was bad in any way. I'll have a regular 6 in the house this weekend also so I can peek at that.

One thing I did (this is the 4G thread after all) was reboot into safe mode and switch to "prefer LTE" (over 5G). At least with the initial build, it seems to buy you 20% or so more battery life, and I really don't care about 5G at the moment.
 

johnmd20

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The Pixel 6 fingerprint scanner is certainly worse than the 5. It's just a more awkward and it misreads my finger maybe once every other time. On the 5, it would misread maybe once every 200 times. I don't get why these companies take something that works perfectly and is intuitive and then change it to make it worse and more clunky.(and less reliable)

Outside of that, the phone is beautiful, sturdy, and fast. The screen is phenomenal, much better than the 5. I am happy with the upgrade, despite the fingerprint.
 

changer591

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So I've only had a few hours with my Pixel 6, but the fingerprint sensor has worked flawlessly for me with only my thumb scanned. We'll see how long that lasts...but I would say the sensor on the Pixel 3 was probably only good 75% if the time.
I'm shocked how big this phone is compared to my old one...but I'm sure I will get used to it.
 

Rod Becks Mullet

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I'm 0 for 2 today. FedEx late delivering, hoping I get it tomorrow. Tried to order the Pixel Buds but the promo code Google sent isn't working.
 

johnmd20

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So I've only had a few hours with my Pixel 6, but the fingerprint sensor has worked flawlessly for me with only my thumb scanned. We'll see how long that lasts...but I would say the sensor on the Pixel 3 was probably only good 75% if the time.
I'm shocked how big this phone is compared to my old one...but I'm sure I will get used to it.
Yes, it is definitely bigger. Noticeable in the pocket but not overly heavy and I'll get used to it. And the screen is phenomenal and I don't mind fitting more on the screen with a not so much bigger form factor.

I'm up to like an 80-85% success rate on the finger print, which is solid. You really just to jam the finger down hard to get a reading but doing that has made it better. I charged my phone at noon yesterday. Pretty moderate to heavy use with a lot of texting and bluetooth podcast listening. And I am currently at 72% 21 hours later.(location, as always, is not turned on)

That is a great battery, very happy with that.
 

Rustjive

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I hate the fingerprint scanner. I've re-registered my right thumb multiple times, I have it registered 3x, have tried following the directions exactly, registered just the tips and just the edges for their own fingerprints, turned off animations, tried soft and hard pressure and I don't think my success rate is > 20% (4-5 tries every single time, sometimes getting locked out). My only explanation is that my TPU film screen protector is causing issues, which seems fairly plausible but is frustrating nonetheless.
 

changer591

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I hate the fingerprint scanner. I've re-registered my right thumb multiple times, I have it registered 3x, have tried following the directions exactly, registered just the tips and just the edges for their own fingerprints, turned off animations, tried soft and hard pressure and I don't think my success rate is > 20% (4-5 tries every single time, sometimes getting locked out). My only explanation is that my TPU film screen protector is causing issues, which seems fairly plausible but is frustrating nonetheless.
That's weird...I've actually got 100% success rate so far, but I definitely do not use a screen protector. I can see how you would be pissed if that is what is causing your issue...or maybe you just have weird fingerprints haha. I initially thought I'd be annoyed at having it in the front, but I'm starting to realize that I prefer it there than on the back...not to mention the issue I used to have where moving your finger over the sensor on the back would cause my videos to stutter.
 

johnmd20

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That's weird...I've actually got 100% success rate so far, but I definitely do not use a screen protector. I can see how you would be pissed if that is what is causing your issue...or maybe you just have weird fingerprints haha. I initially thought I'd be annoyed at having it in the front, but I'm starting to realize that I prefer it there than on the back...not to mention the issue I used to have where moving your finger over the sensor on the back would cause my videos to stutter.
I do not prefer it at all. First off, the reader is much slower. Noticeably slower. So that stinks out of the gate.

But it misreads the print a lot. Especially if you're moving. Actually, I should clarify, if you are moving, you cannot unlock the phone. I'm with Rust. I hate the new scanner. I pray it gets better and faster. I would really like an update.

It is hilarious that Touch ID, always flawless, was introduced in 2013. And here we are 8 years later and it's somehow much worse.
 

Rod Becks Mullet

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So I'm not having the same issues with the touch ID, already getting used to the thumb moreso than I ever did the finger imprint (I found myself typing in my code more often). For some reason it's taking FOR-EVER to update all my apps. To the point where I have them updating one at a time. Not sure if it's normal, my old 2 couldn't do a hard-wire transfer so I installed a backup from Google One when I booted up.
 

saintnick912

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On my Pixel XL, 3XL, and now on the 6 Pro I set the animation scales to 0.5x in Developer Settings to make the phone feel more snappy. It never caused a problem on the XL or the 3XL, but it caused big problems on the 6 Pro. I set the Animator Duration Scale back to 1x.

The problems I was seeing:
  • The fingerprint scanner icon didn't always draw properly and intermittently didn't register properly
  • The battery % didn't show up all the time on the always on screen
  • The recent apps gesture was really inconsistent and I'd have to "hunt" to make it "grab on" sometime
 

ThePrideofShiner

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The Android 12 update has made my 3A XL and my wife's 5A extremely choppy. Apps freezing and crashing, stuff not opening right away, etc.

Hopefully that smooths out soon.

Edit: This post led me to seeing if there was an update and there is! And it is taking forever ...
 
Last edited:

TallerThanPedroia

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The Android 12 update has made my 3A XL and my wife's 5A extremely choppy. Apps freezing and crashing, stuff not opening right away, etc.

Hopefully that smooths out soon.

Edit: This post led me to seeing if there was an update and there is! And it is taking forever ...
It's annoying me a lot on my Pixel 3 since I downloaded it this morning. I've already accidentally called the Mass State Police twice from clicking the power button wrong. I don't like how there aren't separate toggles for WiFi and cellular data. And I really don't need my screen to shimmer when I plug my phone in.
 

Silverdude2167

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It's annoying me a lot on my Pixel 3 since I downloaded it this morning. I've already accidentally called the Mass State Police twice from clicking the power button wrong. I don't like how there aren't separate toggles for WiFi and cellular data. And I really don't need my screen to shimmer when I plug my phone in.
Untill this update, I had never almost called the police. Now I have done it twice in a week.

Is there a way to turn off or move the feature?
 

TallerThanPedroia

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Untill this update, I had never almost called the police. Now I have done it twice in a week.

Is there a way to turn off or move the feature?
It's meant to happen when you press the power button five times. But my power button has been janky lately (since I ran the Boston Marathon, so probably got some sweat in there) so I'm constantly opening the camera app (double click) which was already annoying enough.

Anyway go to your settings and search Emergency SOS and you can turn it off.
 

SumnerH

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Oh and they're going to stop supporting my phone soon:

https://gizmodo.com/rip-pixel-3-1847985883
Yeah it's pretty shitty the short support span they have on their phones; 5 years should be a bare minimum.

I installed Lineage on my Pixel 1 XL a couple of years ago. Works fine after some initial tweaks (I had to manually grant permissions to the Project Fi app for network switching to work properly), but it's not for the faint of heart.
 

PortlandSoxFan

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Finally got my 6 pro yesterday, and I love it. I also miss the rear fingerprint scanner, but I've been fine with my thumbs on this one. Coming from a 4XL (I bought the 5 and returned it after a week because I hated the size), I freaking HATED face unlock. Never worked consistently for me.

Thanks for the tip above about reverting to 4G...5G is fine everywhere but my house; and at my house it is terrible and makes the data work poorly...I'm going to give that a shot tonight.
 

PortlandSoxFan

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Update: tried switching to 4g (absurd that the change is only in safe mode) and still had issues at home. Looked around in the settings for my home wifi and made this change, and everything works perfectly at home now. Switched back to 5g and also works fine at home. Strange thing is, I have the same Google mesh system in the office, but I have zero internet issues with the phone (much stronger 5G signal here, though)

46128
 

johnmd20

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how are people liking the PIxel 6 now that you've had and used a few weeks?
It's awesome. The fingerprint isn't as good as the 5 but it is decent enough, especially when you're practiced in what works to unlock the phone with your finger. Great scree and very fast. My battery lasts two days with constant texting and 2-7 hours of bluetooth streaming every day.(but no video streaming or anything else, I use my phone only for texting and podcasts) But it's not like I'm on the end with the battery after two days, as I'm usually between 20-30% after two days. So the battery is solid.

One thing, the phone is much heavier than the 5. It's not heavy and it's still easy to carry but it is bigger and heavier. It takes up a lot more pocket space. It also have a very glossy back, which is a bad design choice because it falls off a couch ledge 80% of the time.(I had to add a shelf pad on my couch arm to stop the slipping)

The phone is great, I love it way more than the 5. Highly recommend.
 

Fratboy

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I'd be coming from a 3 :wooper:
Ditto. Hoping to score a similar deal to the absolutely amazing Best Buy Black Friday deal I got when I got my first Pixel 3XL (before the battery swelled this past May), which is why I want to get a new one, just in case. Otherwise, the 3XL has been a great phone.
 

SumnerH

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how are people liking the PIxel 6 now that you've had and used a few weeks?
I broke down and went with the 6. It j (coming to it from a Pixel 1 XL). It just arrived yesterday so I'm still adjusting to it. Things I don't like:
  • The fingerprint scanner is okay at recognition: I had to retrain once to get it recognizing well, but now it's good. But the front position is much more awkward than the rear scanner (I have to reposition my hand away from how I naturally hold the phone to unlock, and then back to holding position afterward) and I'm finding that I often have to hit the side button to wake the screen before I can scan my thumb. That's overall a lose.
  • The form factor is just a bit awkward: it's a more vertically stretched aspect ratio than my last 3 phones. That makes it just a little uncomfortable in the pocket. More importantly, it results in a fair bit of dead black space to the sides of your video if you're watching 16:9 video, and makes web pages long and tall. You're toting around extra size/weight that's not actually buying you a usefully bigger screen. It's not horrible, but I'm definitely glad I went with the 6 over the 6 Pro (which has an even longer/narrower aspect ratio).
  • My personal foible rants (no headphone jack, no sdcard).
Otherwise it's pretty good, basically what you expect from a new high-end phone. Quick and responsive, battery life looks good so far, etc. As johnmd noted, the back is kind of slick but if you use a case then that doesn't really matter.

I have more quibbles with Android 12 (the lock clock sucks as well-documented elsewhere), but they're not particular to the Pixel 6 and I'm hoping some of those are just a matter of adjusting to differences.
 

johnmd20

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I have more quibbles with Android 12 (the lock clock sucks as well-documented elsewhere), but they're not particular to the Pixel 6 and I'm hoping some of those are just a matter of adjusting to differences.
Yeah, the lock clock is extremely stupid.
 

SumnerH

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What is the lock clock? Just the giant digital numbers?
Yes, but it's broken onto two lines which makes it much harder to read. At 3:26 it looks like this:

androidlock.jpg

It turns into a single-line readable clock if you have any notifications, and Tasker can force that mode always (among other workarounds), but it's annoying that you have to work around it at all.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Yes, but it's broken onto two lines which makes it much harder to read. At 3:26 it looks like this:
It turns into a single-line readable clock if you have any notifications, and Tasker can force that mode always (among other workarounds), but it's annoying that you have to work around it at all.
Thanks. I hadn't realized that notifications were the toggle, but had been moderately confused by the varying behavior (and when it's single line, it's like 1/4 the of the jumbo size)
 

changer591

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So I've had it since launch, and, while I haven't had any issues with the fingerprint reader (in fact, I like it a lot more then the one on the back), I have had cases where it keeps on saying I locked the phone manually even thought I didn't, and I have to enter in my PIN instead...not a big deal, but kind of annoying.
And the lock clock suuuucks. I hope they provide a way to change it in the future, because I think a lot of people hate it.
 

johnmd20

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So I've had it since launch, and, while I haven't had any issues with the fingerprint reader (in fact, I like it a lot more then the one on the back), I have had cases where it keeps on saying I locked the phone manually even thought I didn't, and I have to enter in my PIN instead...not a big deal, but kind of annoying.
And the lock clock suuuucks. I hope they provide a way to change it in the future, because I think a lot of people hate it.
"Guys, I have an idea. A clock, but shitty and hard to read and worse than any other clock in the history of time."

"I like it, let's do it."
 

changer591

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Seriously...it's almost like they are planning to release a fitness tracker using the same Android OS that has a very tiny screen, because that clock is exactly the same shit clock that was default on my Fitbit.
 

Fratboy

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I have the 3a XL and reading this thread has me seriously considering Pixel Pass. Thanks, I guess!
Just came here to ask about Pixel Pass and people's thoughts about it. Not sure if the numbers make sense, but the 6 has me seriously thinking about finally dropping Verizon and heading over to Fi, and I'm mulling the Pixel Pass. I'm not entirely sure it's worth it, but I'll have to crunch some numbers.
 

The Napkin

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how are people liking the PIxel 6 now that you've had and used a few weeks?
so I bought one. Yay!

They sold me a 30W adapter and told me not to use all the 18W ones I have. Boo!

Do I really need to buy 3 more new adapters? (One in bedroom, one in living room, one at work, one in travel bag)
 

Fratboy

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so I bought one. Yay!

They sold me a 30W adapter and told me not to use all the 18W ones I have. Boo!

Do I really need to buy 3 more new adapters? (One in bedroom, one in living room, one at work, one in travel bag)
Who's your provider and where did you get it? Verizon?

Still mulling Pixel 6 Pro/Samsung S21 Ultra and a move from Big Red to Fi.
 

jayhoz

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so I bought one. Yay!

They sold me a 30W adapter and told me not to use all the 18W ones I have. Boo!

Do I really need to buy 3 more new adapters? (One in bedroom, one in living room, one at work, one in travel bag)
No. The phone will just charge at a slower rate than it would with 30W.
 

The Napkin

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Who's your provider and where did you get it? Verizon?

Still mulling Pixel 6 Pro/Samsung S21 Ultra and a move from Big Red to Fi.
yes sir, grabbed it at the store on Boylston

No. The phone will just charge at a slower rate than it would with 30W.
beautiful. I don't mind a little slower, was worried it'd screw up battery life or faster charging under 30 or whatever going forward
 

saintnick912

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The fun part is that it only draws like 22w in any case. I'm still using my 18w primarily.

The latest update killed my battery life, I was over in Iceland so I didn't notice until I got back that it had re enabled 5G. Really a shame how much of a difference it makes, between a one day or two day phone.
 

Fratboy

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I ditched Big Red for Fi and got the Samsung S21 Ultra at a $400 discount. I'm pissed I missed the early Black Friday deal to get it for $700 off, but I'm still happy. The phone's snappy, responsive, and has great coverage. I should have ported to Fi long ago, probably, but sticking with Verizon made sense for me at the time.

Verizon offered no real device discounts for existing customers, only for customers switching providers. To get a Pixel, I'd have to upgrade to an unlimited plan and spend a lot more out of pocket per month for essentially the same service with a new phone. If that's how they're going to take care of me, who's been with Verizon/Bell Atlantic mobile since 1995 for crying out loud, I'll take my business elsewhere, and I did.

Fuck you, Verizon.
 

JerBear

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I ditched Big Red for Fi and got the Samsung S21 Ultra at a $400 discount. I'm pissed I missed the early Black Friday deal to get it for $700 off, but I'm still happy. The phone's snappy, responsive, and has great coverage. I should have ported to Fi long ago, probably, but sticking with Verizon made sense for me at the time.

Verizon offered no real device discounts for existing customers, only for customers switching providers. To get a Pixel, I'd have to upgrade to an unlimited plan and spend a lot more out of pocket per month for essentially the same service with a new phone. If that's how they're going to take care of me, who's been with Verizon/Bell Atlantic mobile since 1995 for crying out loud, I'll take my business elsewhere, and I did.

Fuck you, Verizon.
Only reason I'm still with Verizon rather than switching to Fi (now they've added USCell and cover Maine) is because I carry my sister and mother in my plan so the line prices are reasonable. I don't understand how they manage to keep single or even double line plans with their current pricing models.
 

Joe Sixpack

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  • The form factor is just a bit awkward: it's a more vertically stretched aspect ratio than my last 3 phones. That makes it just a little uncomfortable in the pocket. More importantly, it results in a fair bit of dead black space to the sides of your video if you're watching 16:9 video, and makes web pages long and tall. You're toting around extra size/weight that's not actually buying you a usefully bigger screen. It's not horrible, but I'm definitely glad I went with the 6 over the 6 Pro (which has an even longer/narrower aspect ratio).
What's interesting is the 6 has the taller/narrower aspect ratio despite the 6 Pro being physically taller.

Pixel 6 is 20:9
6 Pro is 19.5:9

6 Pro screen having curved edges would be a deal breaker for me, though.
 

saintnick912

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What's interesting is the 6 has the taller/narrower aspect ratio despite the 6 Pro being physically taller.

Pixel 6 is 20:9
6 Pro is 19.5:9

6 Pro screen having curved edges would be a deal breaker for me, though.
Not looking to change your mind on this, but I didn't even remember the edges being curved until I read this post. I put a slim/clear case on and forgot about ten minutes later.

It does support the argument that curved glass is a useless expense/"feature", which I'll agree with all day. But I don't find it distracting in any way in day to day use.
 

Fratboy

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I gotta say I'm thrilled right now with Google Fi and the Samsung S21 Ultra. Battery life is RIDONKULOUS. I unplugged at about 8pm on Wednesday, and I'm at a 50% charge, 2d 3.5h later.

I'm not on Android 12 yet, but I'm very happy with the build quality and piggybacking on the T-Mobile network. And paying a fraction of the price I did with Verizon. If anybody wants a referral, hit me up :)