Google’s software support for its own-brand Pixel phones is second to none … well, except maybe Apple. But if you̵
The Pixel 2 runs on Android 11 and will not update to Android 12 when available (presumably sometime in the second half of 2021). So sometime between now and then you want a new phone. But which? There are a few straightforward answers.
Pixel 4a or 4a 5G: the obvious upgrades
The most direct analog to the Pixel 2 on the market is the Pixel 4a, which was released earlier this year. It has a similar size and feature set, and despite being a ‘budget’ phone, the improved hardware will greatly improve performance. It’s also amazingly efficient with its size, and it’s a battery champion among Android devices. Plus, its value is unbeatable, with a retail price of just $ 350.
The best pixel at any price
The Pixel 4a 5G is the alternative if you want the larger ‘XL’ screen size – it also has 5G and a second rear camera. It costs $ 500, a $ 150 upgrade over the smaller 4a, but that seems reasonable given the extra screen space and battery power. The 5G is the icing on the cake, although I doubt it will be a big factor in everyday use.
They really meant the Pixel 4a XL
Pixel 5: Premium edition
The Pixel 5 sounds like it’s a year ‘newer’ than the budget-focused 4a, but that’s just Google’s weird branding: it didn’t come out until a few months later. It’s a fantastic Android phone and it’s in the same price range as the Pixel 2 in 2017. That said, the extras you get over the Pixel 4a of similar size: wireless charging, 90Hz display, slightly better camera, and water resistance – it doesn’t seem like they justify the double price. But if you want the best Pixel phone in the market, this is it.
Google’s more affordable flagship
OnePlus 8 Pro: mix it
The best way to get clean software and fast updates on Android is to get a Pixel. But OnePlus’s custom software comes a close second – some users prefer it – and the OnePlus 8 Pro is a fantastic high-end phone. While it can’t quite match the camera quality of Google’s software sensors, it comes with a larger, smoother 120Hz display and great features like 30-watt wireless charging and an in-screen fingerprint sensor. It also has a noticeably faster processor than the Pixel 5, and it was quickly updated to Android 11. But beware, you’re paying for the privilege.
The superphone of the Android enthusiast
iPhone 12: Come to the dark side
If you’re not a die-hard fan of the Android platform, you’ve probably considered switching to the iPhone. This year is a great time to do it: the iPhone 12 rocks, in almost all of its variations. The iPhone 12 Mini is the closest in size to the Pixel 2, with the standard version being fairly close to the Pixel 2 XL. Spend on the iPhone 12 Pro if you want an unbeatable camera setup. While they are pricey, with that extra cash you get wireless charging and the very cool MagSafe accessory system, a new ceramic glass screen, and super-smooth performance.
But iPhones really shine when you’re all in on the Apple ecosystem, with particular emphasis on the Apple Watch. It is by far the best wearable on the market, years ahead of any of the options compatible with Android. Switching to Apple is expensive, even if you don’t care about tablets or computers.
Yes, it really is that good