If anyone can create the ultimate Android, it’s Google. It is he who is in charge of the development of the operating system, and in Google Pixel the aesthetics of the user interface and the functionalities are completely exclusive. Since 2016 we’ve seen the different generations of Google Pixel, phones that made us fall in love by making us forget the layers of personalization and showing us the Google experience as designed by the creator of Android herself.

However, it is curious that all Pixel generations have experienced errors, failures or problems whose common denominator has always been clear: everything could have been avoided. We’ll review them for hard-to-explain errors that have kept Pixels away from that finger-rubbing crown year after year.

Google Pixel XL from 2016, the beginning of an era

The original Google Pixel, oddly enough, was one of the Pixels with the fewest issues. Its design has been highly criticized, although the aesthetic part is still somewhat subjective. It came to take the first steps that laid the foundation for the Pixel ROM, like a Google Assistant that only came in English. Other than that, there weren’t too many software issues and overall it was a great device with top of the line hardware.

The distribution of the Google Pixel has been marked from the first model: Spain has never been a priority country

Rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 lacked water resistance and had very limited distribution. You could buy in Spain through websites like Amazon, but from the first generation Google made it clear that our country was not a priority market.

Google Pixel 2 XL, the famous cursed screen

With the second generation of the Google Pixel, these issues started happening which, with tougher quality control, would have saved the wave of criticism. In 2018 we titled our analysis with a “Pixel 2 XL, the best camera of the moment deserved a better screen”. Despite being a 2K panel with OLED technology, the Pixel 2 XL had one of the worst (if not the worst) high-end displays.

It turned blue without tilting it, the colors were weird and unnatural. Complaints were so numerous that Google released specific updates to try to improve the calibration, but the quality of the panel was what it was. The mobile cost 959 euros, a price for which a slab at the height of rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the iPhone X was essential.

Here’s just one example of what I described as “a devastating and embarrassing lag” on my Pixel 2 XL.

And it happens all the time and not just on camera (camera is just one example). pic.twitter.com/qhShInB4YS

— Artem Russakovskii (@ArtemR) August 9, 2018

Along with the panel issue, with the Google Pixel 2 XL, a long history of random bugs started which was widely reported by users, in this case the lag after a few months of use. Some units of the Pixel 2 XL had noticeable lag. From Google support, they assured that it could be caused by an “app not optimized for Android 10” and encouraged to perform a factory reset if it continued to malfunction, an unorthodox solution.

Two errors that eclipsed one of the pixels with the best autonomy, an enviable performance in units without lag problems, and a camera that marked a before and after. With the Pixel 2 XL, Google made it clear that it had the best camera on the market, and they managed to maintain their position for a few years.

Google Pixel 3 XL, what does this notch do?

You may like the notch, you may not like the notch, but if the mobile has a 3D face recognition system, it is understood that it is there. Now, if the mobile doesn’t even have face recognition, what is it doing there? Similarly, the competition was already starting to cut bezels (even Apple, the slowest to move with designs), while the Pixel continued with almost the same bezels as the Pixel 2 XL, but with a notch.

It was another one of those weird moves from Google because they never put the notch back. The Google Pixel 3 XL had it for some reason and was never heard from again. Apart from the question of design, the inexplicable notch and autonomy that was also not up to such a large mobile.

Despite the huge notch without facial recognition and poor battery life, the Google Pixel 3 XL was one of the best phones of its generation

Despite these points, which did not go beyond the aesthetics and the autonomy lost compared to the previous model, the Google Pixel 3 XL was one of the best phones of its generation, with good performance and a camera that continued to teach the skill.

Google Pixel 4 XL: mediocre battery life and resources in a biometric system that came to nothing

“It’s not just photography that lives high end” was the title of our analysis of the Google Pixel 4 XL. This generation, we saw yet another strange move from Google: the development of a facial recognition system that we never heard of again. To compete with Apple’s Face ID, Google has implemented a front camera system plus a “radar” that captures movement.

The Pixel 4 XL came out with a serious security issue: it unlocked with its eyes closed and it took months to fix the issue

This unlocked the phone even with our eyes closed, a serious security hole through which anyone who brought the phone close to our face, even when asleep, could access it. Months later, they fixed this bug with the April 2020 patch. If that was the only issue with the device, everything would be fixed, but it wasn’t.

Although this is the XL model, again the range was very fair. In full swing of UFS 3.0 memory Google was still using UFS 2.1 memory and the price started up again around 1,000 euros, despite the problems.

Google Pixel 5: Pixels are now mid-range

The Google Pixel 5 was my personal phone for a while. A round mobile to which I did not find many faults, but the concept was a bit difficult to justify. The Pixels had always cost close to $1,000 and their flaws prevented them from competing with the high end in that price range, so Google decided to cut it and make it mid-range to adjust the price.

The Pixel 5 has not arrived in Spain, again with this strategy of models arriving and models not arriving, but it could be imported from Germany for around 650 euros. Although the hardware set might be “enough” for most users, the downgrade was noticeable. The panel lacked brightness in the sun, the processor suffered if you demanded what you ask of a high-end and the sound was not of great quality.

Despite this, the Google Pixel 5 is positioned as one of the best Pixels ever, the first and only one with completely symmetrical frames, a restrained size and good battery life. An imperfect mobile, but level.

Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro: touch the sky with your fingers

And we come to the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the best Pixel generation in history, with its corresponding reason for small errors that are difficult to explain. The first is auto-brightness, which doesn’t ramp up or save user data. In other words, as much as we train it to go up to the maximum in direct sunlight or to go down to the minimum in the dark, it does not work well.

The fingerprint reader of this Pixel is also a small downside. It doesn’t work as badly as one might think, but a mobile at almost 900 euros deserved a fast and precise reader. The error rate is higher than usual, and unlocking is a bit slow.

The third are small bugs in the operating system itself. For the first time in years I had UI crashes. The most curious and “fun” bug was opening the battery settings, then opening the wallpaper settings and merging the data from both menus into one screen.

Battery life is also mediocre, a point that’s been dragging on since the Pixel 3 XL (and oddly improving on the Google Pixel 6). In addition to a set of “buts” that make a mobile that, as a whole, is exceptional, it is not perfect simply for not having mounted a good reader and having further optimized the system.

Close to perfect Android

Google has everything to create the ultimate Pixel. Indeed, if the Google Pixel 6 had a better fingerprint reader and fixed the bugs, it would be a practically perfect mobile for the 649 euros it costs. But for some reason, in every generation of Pixel there is a little bug that spoils the experience.

A separate case is distribution. In Spain the Pixels will arrive in a limited way, in a mono color and storage version, a complicated launch for the top of the range of Google. Step by step, Google is getting closer to that 100% round Android that we expect from the company, hoping that in a generation nothing will be left behind.