Google’s new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones represent an important step in the company’s mobile market strategy, as these two devices – unlike the Nexus smartphones – are full-fledged Google handsets designed by the company inside and out. Unsurprisingly, the Pixel smartphones run the latest version of Android – 7.1 Nougat – and in addition, they include a number of new features reserved for the series. Either way, here are the top 20 tips for Pixel users who may want to get more out of their devices.
The Pixel smartphones offer new display options in different areas including a new setting for changing DPI, or the size of UI elements on the screen. The option is represented by a slider and can be found under “Settings” > “Display”. While in this menu, users can also enable the new ambient display feature which allows them to view monochrome notifications at a glance, as well as the “Night Light” option which changes the screen tone in the evenings to offer a more comfortable reading experience. The Night Light feature can be set manually or automatically. Moving on to other options, this is related to multitasking rather than display settings, but users can take advantage of split-screen multitasking by pressing and holding the “recent apps” button and selecting an app for the second half of the display area. Of course, one of the most notable exclusive features on the Pixel smartphones is Google’s new Assistant, which can be summoned either by long-pressing the “home” button or by saying the hot word “OK Google”. The new Google Assistant is quite clever and users can ask it to open applications or show specific photos captured at particular times and places. Lastly, Google’s Assistant has its own Easter Egg in the form of a trivia quiz, which can be triggered by saying “I’m feeling lucky”. And speaking of Easter Eggs, Android Nougat comes with its own Easter Egg which can be enabled from “Settings” > “About phone / tablet” by tapping the “Android version” section repeatedly.
Android 7.1 Nougat allows users to reorganize the Quick Settings panel by rearranging and adding tiles. Simply drop the notification shade down and tap “Edit”. While you’re at it, you can tap “Settings” for additional language and keyboard options. Go to “Languages & Input”, select Languages > “add a language” and choose a new language. Furthermore, users can change keyboard themes from the “Virtual keyboard” > “Google Keyboard” settings screen. From the same menu, users can also hit “Preferences” and select a different keyboard height. Additionally, when the on-screen keyboard is shown, users can switch to one-handed mode by tapping and holding “Return” and tapping the icon depicting a hand holding a smartphone.
Moving on to more advanced options, this isn’t among the new additions but nevertheless, users can choose to create a Guest profile from the “Settings” > “Users” settings screen. Furthermore, they can see how much storage is used by other profiles in the “Settings” > “Storage” menu. Speaking of security options, you can add, remove, and manage fingerprints by heading down to “Settings” > “Security” > “Pixel Imprint”. Additionally, users can choose to enable Bluetooth unlock from the “Security” > “Smart Lock” screen, where they will be given an option to choose trusted Bluetooth devices. When connected to these devices, your Pixel smartphone will unlock automatically.
Users may also be interested in a couple of camera features, such as the Jump to camera option which, again, may not be entirely new, but can be quite handy. To use the option, double-tap the power/sleep button to launch the camera app from any screen. While in the camera viewfinder, you can adjust white balance by tapping the thermometer icon and selecting a lighting preset. You can also adjust camera exposure to some extent by tapping the area you want the sensor to focus on, and dragging the slider on the right-hand side of the display. It’s also worth knowing that Android 7.1 Nougat stock applications now take advantage of App action shortcuts, similar to Force Touch quick actions in iOS. Tap and hold a stock app shortcut to bring up a new list of quick actions for the said application. Last but certainly not least, fiddling with all these settings might cost battery life, but thankfully users can enable Battery saver for better autonomy. Swipe to the Quick Settings screen, tap the “battery” icon and the Battery saver toggle.