Both Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL are amazing, mind-blowing and super cool. But, they lack some really important features. No, we are not talking about its screen issues or the lack of the headphone jack and wireless charging. A lot has been said about them and no, this post isn’t about them. They have had enough publicity already.
What I am going to talk about are the small yet significant features that I feel are missing on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Although, some of them are stock Android features, but since the Pixel 2 has stock Android, so it makes sense to include them as well.
I really love my Pixel 2 XL, but, here are some features that I really wish Google had incorporated in the Pixel 2, which BTW can still be done by a software update, if only Google wants to.
However, like other companies, Google is also going to focus on stupid things that nobody wants. For instance, Instagram recently introduced the Last Active feature. I mean why? Who asked for it? NOBODY!
Anyway, let’s keep Instagram features grudge aside for now, and get started on 11 features that I wish Pixel 2 and its sibling had.
1. Shortcut to Take Screenshots
If you don’t take even one screenshot a day, what are you even doing with your phone? Nobody likes to use two hands just to capture a screenshot, yet, that's how it is. Pressing the power and volume down button at the same time is awkward and tough. All devices have it this way, but, they do provide a shortcut as well.
Some devices have a screenshot shortcut in Quick tiles, while others provide an option under Power key long press. Brands like Samsung and Huawei have gesture support for screenshots. THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE, GOOGLE!
Pro Tip: Install Button Mapper app and assign take screenshot option to long press volume down button.
2. Separate Control for Notification Volume
For reasons known to Google, many Android phones including Google Pixel have linked notification and ringtone volume as one. By doing this, if you increase the ringer volume, the notification volume also increases and vice versa. It has been like this for many years now on Google devices (Nexus, Pixel), and it’s freaking annoying.
Does Google even know the number of notifications a person receives per day as compared to phone calls? It would be great if Google separated the two like this:
Pro Tip: Install Volume Butler app and separate the two volume controls on your Android phone. No root required.
3. Show LED Notification Light While Charging
Dear Google, if you have added an LED notification light up there, then why not use it for all good things? Pixel users would really appreciate if the LED would lit up also while charging.
A quick glance at the phone, even from a distance and one would easily know if it’s charging or not or when it is fully charged. Ambient display does show when the phone is charging, but, you can’t view it from a distance. Duh!
Pro Tip: Install Light Manager app and enable LED notification light for charging and battery charged. No root required.
4. Exhibit Some Response When Plugged In
Okay Google, if you don’t want to show LED light while the device is charging, fine! But, at least show some response when we plug in the charger. A soft charging sound or some vibration, anything will do.
In addition to the above-mentioned charging feature, it would be cool if Pixel devices could display battery percentage on the ambient display, both while charging in and when not plugged-in.
As of now, ambient display only shows the charging indicator next to the time, with no indication of the time left for full charge or current charge level.
There is already a feature request created for this purpose on Google Forum. This is what Google has said about it:
We have deferred this to a future release, but leaving this open for now.
Pro Tip: Download Battery Active app to enable battery percentage on Pixel 2 ambient display.
6. Notification Count
One much-needed feature that users have been asking since years was finally implemented in Android Oreo. We are talking about notification dots or badges. Notification dots are small dots that sit on icons and let you know when an app has a notification by just glancing at them, like this:
The feature is significant. However, it lacks one major attribute. It doesn’t show notification count - as in the number of unread notifications on app icons, like this:
If you have ever used a Samsung device or an iPhone or even a third-party app that supports notification count, you would be familiar with its convenience, yet Google chooses not to include it. Duh!
Pro Tip: Download Nova Launcher (Prime) to get notification count for app icons on your Pixel 2.
7. Ability to Swap Back and Recent Key
Many users, like me, who have switched from a Samsung device, had a back key on the right and the recent key on the left, or from other brands that let you choose the location of back and recent keys find it difficult to adjust with the Google Pixel 2. The reason is that on Pixel 2 you have back on the left and recent key on right.
I really don’t understand that why doesn’t Google give us the option to swap keys, similar to other brands. While you can achieve the same by ADB, having a native setting would be more appropriate.
Inspired by HTC U11, Google embraced the Edge Sense feature of the U11 on Pixel 2 and 2 XL and launched it as Active Edge. For the unaware, Edge Sense lets you perform a custom action by squeezing the phone.
It’s a cool feature but, unfortunately, while the U11 allows for custom actions, Active Edge on Pixel 2 is restricted. On Pixel 2, Active Edge is limited to Google Assistant, which means we can only launch Google Assistant by squeezing the phone. I so wish that Google had allowed us to customize the behavior of Active Edge.
Pro Tip: Follow the instructions here to remap Active Edge on your Pixel 2. ADB required.
9. Display Contacts with Phone Numbers Only
Unlike Samsung and HTC who provide an option in contact settings to filter contacts with phone numbers only, stock Android lacks this basic feature. Google Contacts shows all contacts — with or without phone numbers, which makes the contact list messy and awkward.
All I want is Google should introduce more intuitive options to filter contacts without a number. I don’t want a huge list of contacts that has everyone including the person with whom I just interacted once via email — aargh!
However, the thing that is exasperating about the Portrait mode on Google Pixel 2 is the creation of separate folders for each photo taken in the Portrait mode.
This is what my Camera folder looks like:
Imagine the work involved if you have to copy these photos to your PC. What’s worse is that if you view photos in any third-party app other than Google Photos, they will display portrait mode photos in separate folders too.
Pro Tip: To open hidden File Manager on your Pixel 2, go to Settings > Storage > Files.
Stop It, Girl!
Oh! Okay. While these were some of the lilliputian features I wish Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL had, I’m also craving for other features such as an alert slider (similar to OnePlus and iPhone), face unlock and dual apps.
What are the features that you wish Google Pixel 2 had? Let us know in comments below.