OneMonth with the OnePlus - almost

Okay, I'm calling it.  I'm sorry, I tried.  Now, don't let the fact that I'm ending this experiment early mean that I wouldn't recommend the OnePlus.  Not at all.  I really like the phone and its ecosystem, and I'll get into that all in a bit.  

But, essentially, I use my phone in a particular way, and because of this particularity, having one thing out means that it's very frustrating to me.  

It's more of a reflection of me, than of the phone.

Think this will be a long post (it will be), and don't want to read to the end... fine, here's the Coles Notes:

  • Awesome battery, good display, great performance-wise
  • Poor network connection (primarily GPS for tracking activities)

And that's it.  What will be a probably long and in-depth article (debating if I want to truncate this into a few to separate out the phone / watch / tablet... but let's be honest, we tend to really use the phone and the others are ancillary) boils down to the fact that I get annoyed when it wouldn't track my bike rides consistently.

That's an oversimplification, let me dive in.

Okay, so over my ... what 15 years in the Android realm, I've never really strayed too far from the "google dream".  I've had a few different manufacturers fill my daily driver needs over the years; LG being a big 2nd place (I've had a few Samsungs, and Motos, HTCs).  But primarily, my main devices have been Pixel (and in earlier years Nexus).

I don't know what it is about having the device right from el Goog's hands that has drawn me towards it, despite how many other manufacturers so many upgrades and extra features.  Maybe it's price - it is slightly cheaper for Pixel devices than the full fledged flagships from Samsung (and full disclosure, Google and OnePlus have provided me these phones for free).

Whatever my reasoning has been, I felt for at least the past 7 iterations of the Pixel (I've had the 2, the 3XL, 4XL, 5, 6, 7Pro, 8) I might have been going blind to others.  Sure, I've reviewed plenty of other Samsungs, or TCL, or others in that time, but Google has been my go-to - and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't losing sight of other devices and 'cleanse my palette' so to speak.  

OnePlus has really been stepping up.  The OnePlus 12 device has really been a breath of fresh air, for even less than the Pixel, the Pad is really what I want in a tablet (what I was hoping the Pixel Tablet would have been).  It has enough of an ecosystem to replace what I've been using.  I've reviewed each individually, but it was time to really put them to the test together

Here's what I'm putting together for comparison.

PhonePixel 8$949.00OnePlus 12$1,079.99
WatchPixel Watch 2$479.99OnePlus Watch 2$399.99
TabletPixel Tablet$549.99OnePlus Pad$649.99
BudsPixel Buds Pro$259.99OnePlus Buds 3$139.99
Charging standPixel Stand 2$109.99AirVOOC$69.99

Okay, so there you have it, not exactly a 1 for 1 swap with the devices (should be comparing 8Pro to the 12, or the Buds Pro to the OP Buds Pro2, or there's no dock for the tablet), let alone there are a lot of sales on that reduce the prices on both sides etc...

Regardless, the elements are very close and the overall pricing is pretty close too.

So let's dive in.

Let's talk about the easy things to talk about first.

Charging stand:

I absolutely have to have Qi charging.  I rarely, very rarely, ever plug in my phone, and those are in those emergency type moments.  Those that know me, know that I can't stand seeing a phone below 80%, so a wireless charger is something I have near me at all times.

For the Pixel Stand I have it next to my computer downstairs, and it charges my phone pretty darn quickly.  Plus, for Pixel devices, it puts them into a photo display mode while charging.  It's something I don't think about and it just does.

Now, for the AirVOOC, you need to buy the charger separately, you could use the one that comes with your OnePlus 12, or any other 65W charger.  I tried using the one from the Pixel Stand and it didn't deliver enough oomph to get the true VOOC out of it, but when you use the right charger, it does charge fast.

Definitely faster than the Pixel Stand 2... noticeable, but hardly needed.  Again, this is for my use case.  I'm not like my 16 year old where his phone is consistently at like 5% ("it's fine, it'll last another hour").

For the this, I give the nod to the Pixel Stand 2.  It comes with its own charger and has extra Pixel features.


I do like the Buds3 from OP, they fit well and they have good sound, and you can't argue that you're not getting GREAT value for the price, almost half the price of the Pixel Buds Pro.

They are both equal in my 'complaint' about volume, they just don't seem to be as loud as I'd want, and I get it.  I'm biking around I don't want to totally close out the world for safety concerns.

They both do a great job of the noise cancellation.  I like just putting either in now and again for just that silence it offers.

I prefer how the Buds3 fit, with the stem, versus a 'plug' style of the PBP.  But the 'plug' does give the bud a bigger spot for me to 'tap' for any of the gestures, whereas the OPB3 tend to have a smaller 'spot' to hit for double taps etc... I often find on my rides that when I want to skip a song, I'll double tap, but seems like I missed one and it just pauses.

I do also appreciate how the PBP will pause playback as soon as I start talking to someone, saves me from pulling them out of my ear.  It's a small thing, but I like it.

So, in the end I'm giving the nod to the Pixel Buds Pro here; but still, if you're shopping on price you cannot ignore the Buds3.


This is tricky, because of the nature of how I use these 2 different tablets.  I LOVE the OnePlus Pad.  It is exactly what I want in a tablet, and the only thing that's missing on it is HDMI out.

The Pixel Tablet doesn't come close to that utility (no keyboard case, no stylus); but it does have that dock, which allows it to be that proper position for passive use... however, that's now how I like to use a tablet, I want it to be mobile, and the dock (easy as it is to remove) doesn't lend itself to that, and without matching accessories for use on the go, it is a glorified Nest Hub.  And it also doesn't have HDMI out (but maybe that's coming... the 8 just got the update to allow it, maybe the Tablet has it hidden away too just waiting to be unleashed).

What really seals the deal on the Pad is the ecosystem it shares with the phone, being able to bring up a mirrored version of the phone on the tablet so you can interact with it, see your notifications, check apps you don't have on the tablet, all as a floating window?  That is so baller.

For this the nod goes to the OnePlus Pad, and I'm going to continue to use it even if I wasn't using a OnePlus phone for that screen mirroring trick.


Here I was so caught unawares.  I'd always thought of a watch as just that 'extra thing' I had on that would just be an adjunct and bonus my tech.

This test really showed to me how much I relied on this device.

To start out, I do have to say I really loved the size of this watch.  It's ideal.  And I've received a lot of notice for it and compliments.

Let's use it and as I noted in my initial review, it works just like a WearOS watch should, just so odd that I had to use 'their' app to set it up and not WearOS.  But outside of that, it worked, ... notifications came in and you'd interact and be on your way.

Except, after a while I started noticing some issues with the notifications.  Specifically with some that I thought I had swiped away on the phone would still be on the watch.  Or, I'd see a Gmail notification and choose to delete it.  It'd disappear from my phone, but the notification on the watch would stay there for a few minutes.

Not a major issue, but something I noticed after longer use, it was something that just kept popping up.

Another thing I noticed was that as the weather was getting better, and I'd go for bike rides ... and then  I noticed it wasn't tracking the activity.

When I was reviewing the watch it was tracking steps and movement, but I didn't notice how rudimentarily it was doing so.  Looking at the data it was using, and I use Fit for everything, was so vague, barely any proper GPS.  It was very frustrating.

A 30 minute bike ride it didn't even register.  I set every setting I could but still nothing ... only way I could get it to work properly was by manually setting / starting the activity in Fit.  It was frustrating.  I have a terribly specific way I like to do things, and it wasn't fitting it.

I mean, it was rough, because the watch has an absolute kick ass battery.  I'd go a full day, with bike rides and it'd still have like 60-70% remaining by the morning.  The charger is good and back to 100% with just a couple minutes.

The battery on the Pixel Watch 2 never lasted this long, not unless I was using it lightly.  But, it readily tracked all movements with great GPS accuracy.

In the end, as much as I loved the OPW2, the style, the battery, just how it didn't match up to my needs for the activity tracking, I have to give the edge to the Pixel Watch 2.


Okay, so the phone.  Start off, the 12, it's ... got great performance, and the battery is just killer.  It lasts easily all day.  Like I didn't really realize how much that RAM plays into usage.  It's surprising (it shouldn't be tho') that whenever I'll be using music app and then come back to it hours later and it remembers wha song you're on.  Or to go ot a website in the browser and it doesn't have to reload it.  It's got ht eRAM to spare.  Going back to Pixel 8, I'm noticing those things quickly.

And there's something to be said about having a lot of space on the phone.  Freeing... no worries about how many apps, or just record as much video as you want.

You feel cramped on the 8, whereas the 12 has the space.

And the size, it felt proper.  It was a great phone with all the chops any device should need.

But, I missed some of my Pixel features.  Call Screening, Circle to Search, ... it was weird not having any way to select text on a screen if you couldn't select it in the app.  On my Pixel we could just select from the multi task screen, or use circle to search to bring up the ability to copy anything.

Just wasn't there on the OnePlus ...

That being said, they have their own tricks and features.  The 12 has HDMI out!  IR remote.  And I loved how if you were typing something in an app, like Keep, and then rotated it, instead of the keyboard taking up half of the now rotated screen, it'd be a floating keyboard.  Or sometimes when you'd share a photo from an app and choose text the messaging app would show up as a floating app instead of just leaving entirely.

So there are tradeoffs, and I just got used to the Pixel options that eventually draws me back to the Pixel.

Then, there's the GPS data that I saw in the Watch.  Days where I could rely on my Google Map history to see where I went, or walked, ... nothing would track.  It would show that I was at home, and then at work, and then home.  Not showing me the route I took, or that I stopped at a cafe on the way home.  

here's an example of how my Pixel would track my movement with accuracy on the left, and then what a garbled mess of tracks with the OnePlus 12

It was like it was missing all the minutiae of movement.  I guess that's where the tradeoff in the battery was, but still.. I tried settings and everything to try to get it to be more accurate, and nothing worked.

Speaking of connectivity, it would be fine for the longest time and then it wasn't.  I'd narrowed it down to a specific quirk at work.  Where the Pixel would struggle for some 5G where my office was, the 12 would think none existed at all.  I would connect to Wifi and live with that, but I would leave work and get to some store and notice my phone was saying no internet.  I'd have to double check the settings and it's like it suddenly would 'wake up' and then start working and a flood of messages would come through.  So odd.

Then there's the camera.  There's just no way to beat the Pixel camera.  As much as the Zoom is cool on the 12, its selfie camera is pretty meh.  

Overall, there are some pretty fair tradeoffs, but at the end of the day the frustrating feature of the GPS really bothered me.

For me, despite the smaller size (physically and storage), I prefer the creature comforts of the Pixel.


So... I tried it and got 3 weeks into using it.  Probably the fact that the VPN dropping for non-Pixels was coincidental.

The OnePlus ecosystem was everything most people will want.  It's got fantastic performance for a decent price.  I absolutely love some of the features they have.  Linking tablet to phone with screen sharing...

Ultimately, the way I've gotten used to using my devices in a specific way, means that finding the right replacement is hard.  Could I have eventually gotten used to the OnePlus system?  Sure.  If I didn't have my Pixel, I would have stayed on and found new ways to adapt.  But, I didn't have to, so I relaxed back to what was familiar to me.