Google Pixel Watch 2 ideal assistant but at a high

The pros and cons of switching from Apple to Google products

Many Apple users shudder at the thought of leaving behind Apple’s familiar ecosystem because all their Apple devices work so nicely together. But do they really? And is the alternative really that problematic? Or has the competition not sat still and solved all the problems by now? We test it with some Google products and list the pros and cons for you.

WANT guest writer Maarten Verkoren has been using Apple products exclusively for decades and is therefore an extremely interesting guinea pig for this test. If anyone is used to Apple’s operating systems, software and hardware, it is him, so we are curious.

We try out Google’s latest tablet, smartphone, earbuds and Chromecast. Since not many people will swap out all their hardware in one fell swoop, and to keep the test realistic and even make it a little more difficult, we’re going to use the Google products in combination with a MacBook.

The Google Pixel Tablet

To begin with, the Google Pixel Tablet. This tablet recently also came with an accompanying docking and speaker station, and we try it out as well. Google’s research found that tablets are mostly used at home and often sit there in a drawer when not in use. When people need them, they are then often empty.

I swapped my Apple devices for Google hardware and this happenedThe docking station makes it much easier to charge the tablet and watch video (Image: Google)

The solution? A docking station. This station not only provides an elegant place to store your tablet when not in use, but it also has built-in speakers that take the sound experience to the next level. This allows you to listen and watch music, podcasts and movies with clear and powerful sound, without purchasing additional equipment.

My family finds it particularly convenient that it always puts your tablet in the right position so you don’t have to fumble to put it down properly when you want to watch video. The docking station also acts as a charging station for your tablet. The only downside is that you have to be near an electrical outlet.

Competing with Apple’s iPad

The Pixel Tablet stands up to competition with the iPad, although it takes some getting used to for us iOS users. I also miss the flawless synchronization between tablet and MacBook, although in fairness, our iPad and MacBook don’t always work together flawlessly either. The docking station is handy, especially also if you want to position the tablet to watch hands-free video. It snaps securely to the magnet, even my kids don’t easily knock it over as a result. A few times we make the mistake of pressing the volume buttons while the tablet is docked. And that does cause it to fall off. If you want to stream video, you can also connect the tablet to your TV.

For this you will need a Chromecast dongle. Fortunately, that turned out to be easy to install. We tested it alongside the Apple TV. We unanimously find the Chromecast’s interface nicer and the use of the remote control more intuitive than with the Apple TV. Also, the connection seems a lot more stable. During testing, streams never crash via the Chromecast whereas on the Apple TV alone Netflix crashes several times a week.

The Google Pixel 8 Pro as Apple’s iPhone replacement

Then the Google Pixel 8 Pro. This is a very high-end smartphone that can effortlessly compete with most high-end models. We are extra excited about the camera which is even better than the camera of the Pixel 7 which I was already very excited about. Although I have always continued to use my iPhone as my default smartphone, I was already regularly taking the Pixel 7 with me for when the photos needed to be really nice. Google has further upgraded the camera with the Pixel 8 Pro. The photos I take are sharp even when I zoom and also in the dark.

I swapped my Apple devices for Google hardware and this happenedI photographed these desert oryxes from the car and behind a fence; so heavily zoomed in, but the result is still very good (Image: Maarten Verkoren)

In addition, Google has added some useful AI features that are more than a gimmick. They really add value, I use them regularly and they improve photos. The nicest one? The ability to erase or move objects out of your photos. Also added is a feature that allows you to use AI to edit your videos and filter out background noise easily. I tested it on videos I made in the wind and through the AI I managed to get rid of 90% of the wind noise.

The 8 Pro has been given a lovely satin feel on the back and nice rounded corners. I really like it. The screen has nice colors and good lighting, even outdoors. As an Apple user, I had to get used to the Android OS, but it was quicker than expected. The 8 Pro performs well, is fast and has good battery life. Even when I demand a lot, it lasts a long time.

To switch or not to switch?

But the big question is: Do I dare to take the step of dropping my iPhone as the first option in favor of the 8 Pro? The first hurdle is transferring my apps and settings and data. That can be done by pairing the devices together with your iPhone cord. It copies the profile within half an hour. But then I still stumble. Transferring Whatsapp turns out to be a problem.

In the Whatsapp settings on your iPhone, I find an option to copy my profile to Android. It seems to go well, but the last 25% takes a long time. Very long. I also regularly get notifications that it failed and have to redo it several times. Then when it finally succeeds, I still discover bugs. Chats are missing and also parts of transferred chats are missing. For example, I miss the chat history of several contacts. It’s also gone in Whatsapp web version. Fortunately, I have a backup in my iCloud. But how to solve this now? Anyone who knows, please tell me.

I swapped my Apple devices for Google hardware and this happenedThe Google Pixel portfolio has a lot to offer, even for Apple users (Image: Google)

Most of the apps and features of the Google devices are very similar to Apple’s. Occasionally I run into differences that I have to overcome, sometimes I miss something but regularly I discover smart features that I find better and more enjoyable than Apple’s. For example, on the Pixel 8 Pro you can screenshot an article in a way similar to how you do it on the iPhone, but then the Pixel asks if I might want to screenshot the whole article?

The Pixel features

Yes, I didn’t know that was possible, but convenient! Google’s earbuds, the Pixel Buds Pro, also work well with the Pixel devices. Cooperation with the iPhone is also fine, but on devices that use Google’s operating system, you can also see the battery status of the buds and case. It also allows you to change settings more easily.

The two Pixel features that I have the most trouble with are facial recognition, which I find a little worse for wear, especially in the dark, and notes. In iOS and Mac OS, I really use the Notes app a lot. Convenient and fast and syncs perfectly between devices.

I’m still debating whether to do that on the Pixel devices via iCloud Notes (which in Android is slow and cumbersome and lacks features) or by transferring everything to Google’s Keep Notes app. But whether that works conveniently with my MacBook? I’m open to suggestions! Then again, I find the Google Calendar syncs much better with all my devices, even with my MacBook and iPhone I never have problems while iCal and iCloud very often don’t sync well between devices.


All in all, I can conclude that switching from iOS to the Google ecosystem in terms of hardware is not a problem. I find Chromecast performs better than Apple TV, the Pixel Tablet is a good product, and the Pixel 8 Pro also performs significantly better than my iPhone*. After I updated my iPhone to iOS 17.1.2, performance got much worse.

My iPhone suddenly runs out of power after two hours, freezes every so often, regularly fails to connect to wifi and has become very slow. Now the decision to switch to the Pixel 8 Pro is quickly made. Just need to fix that WhatsApp problem….

*Note: I used the iPhone 13 mini, this is my private device. Apple has newer and better iPhones available that will compete better with the Pixel 8 Pro in terms of specs.

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