Julie’s gadget diary – Thoughts after spending a week in paradise with a Pixel 2 XL, LG V30, and a Nextbook Flex 11a 2-in-1 laptop

We just returned home last night from a week on Sanibel Island, Florida where we vacation almost every year. This year I packed pretty light tech-wise. I only took 3 smartphones and a Windows 10 2-in-1 laptop. The phones were my new Pixel 2 XL, the LG V30 which I’m reviewing and a tiny Android smartphone called the Jelly which I’m also reviewing. For this trip, I left my 12″ MacBook at home so I could spend a full week using the Windows 10 Nextbook Flex 11a convertible laptop/tablet which I’m also reviewing.

When we checked into our condo, I tried to make a call only to notice that my Pixel 2 XL and no signal. My heart sunk because we had just switched from Verizon to T-Mobile and I was bracing for Jeanne to give me grief about the switch. So I grabbed the LG V30 which is on loan from Verizon Wireless and checked the signal on it and it only had one bar.

I don’t remember having issues with cellphone coverage other times that we’ve spent there on the island. But this time both the LG V30 on Verizon and my Pixel 2 XL on T-Mobile had really crappy coverage. Maybe it was due to Hurricane Irma, but we could barely get a signal in our condo. Luckily the condo had decent WiFi. When we were out and about on the island, the signal of both Verizon and T-Mobile was fine (for the most part).

During the week all the news about the Pixel 2 XL screen problems starting coming in and I read several articles, but honestly, I think the issues are blown out of proportion. I hadn’t noticed any of the issues until I read about them. The blue tint problem when you tilt the Pixel 2 XL screen is the only issue so far that is the most obvious to me. I can see the same issue on the LG V30 and very slightly on the original Pixel XL. But I don’t tilt my phones back and forth when I use them, I look directly at the screen. I feel like this is a non-issue (at least for me).

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The issue with the non-vibrant colors is also a non-issue for me. I can understand if you were a Samsung phone user going to a Pixel 2 that you would notice a difference. But I had been using an original Pixel for a couple of weeks before getting my Pixel 2 XL and I didn’t notice any problems with the colors. When Google releases the 8.1 update to Oreo, which is supposed to have a toggle to fix the vibrancy issue, I’ll see if I can tell a difference. But for now, I’m fine with the colors.

I also haven’t noticed the “dirty screen” issue in low light or the burn-in issue with the virtual nav buttons at the bottom of the screen. Neither of those issues is obvious to my eyes, but I’ll definitely make sure to look into this issue as I work on my Pixel 2 XL review.

In my last gadget diary post, I mentioned that I had recently switched from an iPhone back to Android and from Verizon to T-Mobile and that I was even thinking of switching from a MacBook to a Windows laptop. But before I pulled the trigger on that switch, I wanted to do a trial run first so instead of taking my 12″ MacBook to Sanibel with me, I took the Nextbook Flex 11a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet with me. I figured it would be a good test to see if I could live with a Windows 10 device and a convertible device before committing to switching.

So how did it go using the Nextbook and Windows 10 all week? Let’s just say that I’m so glad to be back home on my little 12″ MacBook. The Nextbook (full review coming soon), packs a LOT of features into a very inexpensive laptop/tablet, but oh my goodness is it slow. At least it was at the condo and at the Fort Myer’s airport. I still need to use it here at home before passing my final judgment. But for now, I am glad to be home and back on my MacBook. So soooooo glad. I’m not looking forward to going back to work next week though. 😉

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16 comments… add one
  • Brad Haakenson October 28, 2017, 12:56 pm

    I agree with everything you said about the Pixel 2 XL display. I’ve had mine since the 18th and the screen is fine.

    Gee, what a coincidence, I use my phone from straight on, too, and didn’t even notice the blue shift until I read about it. Obviously not a big deal. Occasionally, I tilt the phone to one side to make sure the shift is still there, because it’s a complete non-issue, for me, during regular use.

    The colors are a bit muted, especially reds, and it will be nice if Google does tune them a little bit. But even now, they are better than the colors on my Note 8. The oversaturated colors on any Samsung phone, just look wrong.

    Also, no burn-in yet, but I will keep an eye on it. But I do have signs of burn-in on every other OLED screen phone that I have, though, so it’s probably only a matter of time.

    Otherwise, the Pixel 2 XL seems like a great phone, comfortable to hold and nice to use. My biggest concern, long-term though, is how long it will take for the grippy coating to start wearing through.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 28, 2017, 2:28 pm

      No case for you huh? I haven’t decided if I’ll do a case or just go naked. I still might put a screen protector on it.

      • Brad Haakenson October 29, 2017, 12:44 pm

        I used to hit eBay as soon as I got a new phone, to find a case. But over the last few years, coins, and other metal stuff have migrated out of my righthand front pocket and the phone lives there all alone, so no case.

        • Julie Strietelmeier October 29, 2017, 1:57 pm

          Do you protect the screen with a glass protector?

          • Brad October 29, 2017, 10:12 pm

            I like to live dangerously…

  • theragtopman October 29, 2017, 11:45 am

    Please post your thoughts on the differences between using the Pixel 2 XL and the V30. I really struggled with my decision and decided on the V30 and I really like everything about it, but I’m having 2nd thoughts just to get the supposedly buttery smooth performance and the amazing photos from the Pixel 2. And judging from several posts I’ve seen on the V30 and Pixel forums, make others are struggling with the decision too. Thanks!

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 29, 2017, 11:52 am

      I can understand the struggle to choose between the V30 and Pixel 2 XL. I had the same problem. I ultimately decided on the Pixel 2 XL due to ultra fast OS updates for 3 years, full resolution image backup to cloud storage, and now the XL gets a 2yr warranty. I do miss the wireless charging and then microSD card slot that the V30 has to offer, but for me, the features I mentioned trump wireless charging and a microSD card (for me). Hope this helps.

  • David Conrad October 29, 2017, 8:11 pm

    You describe considering a switch from “Mac” to “Windows” but it doesn’t sound as though you tried a Windows machine that was in any way comparable in specs to the Mac machine. To make a fair comparison, you need to get either a comparably spec’ed Windows machine, or spend about the same amount of money on the Windows machine as you did on the Mac. Otherwise, you’ve implied that “Windows” is slow compared to the Mac O/S, but it’s much more likely to be the particular model of hardware machine that you tried that’s slower, isn’t it?

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 30, 2017, 6:23 am

      I didn’t do the best job explaining things. Using Windows is not a foreign concept to me. I use a high end portable Windows workstation at my day job and I have a nice 13″ Dell XPS laptop at home that I sometimes use. My reason to take the Nextbook on vacation with me was to see if I minded using Windows for a full week AND if I’d like a 2-in-1 style laptop that could convert into a tablet. I’ve wondered if I’d like using Windows in the tablet form factor. I’ll cover all this in my actual review of the Nextbook which I hope to post in the next day or two.

  • Mark Troy October 30, 2017, 6:44 am

    I look forward to the Jelly Phone review. I really like mine and find it surprisingly useable given the small size. If it had an edge to edge display i think it would kill on the market.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 30, 2017, 6:50 am

      Are you using yours as your main phone?

      • Mark Troy October 30, 2017, 8:12 am

        Secondary- i have two sims in it for US and France that i keep in when i travel but I have configured the phone for all of my email, twitter accounts and find it useable. battery is about 2 days with wifi off but still not bad at all. My main phone is the Note 8 which I love!

        • Julie Strietelmeier October 30, 2017, 8:26 am

          When I start working on my review, I’ll be using the Jelly as my main phone. 🙂

  • Chris October 31, 2017, 12:31 pm

    How is Sanibel after the hurricane? My wife and daughter go there every spring for their annual mother/daughter vacation. They absolutely love it there and were worried about the island being damaged.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 31, 2017, 12:47 pm

      It was fine. We would not have known that anything had happened except for piles of debris along the road. Most of that got cleaned up while we were there though.

      • Chris October 31, 2017, 8:16 pm

        Thanks! They’ll be glad to hear it.

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