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Here’s How You Can Get the Best of Pixel, Without Getting the Pixel

January 28th, 2017 by

Ever since Google Pixel came into the market, people have been scrambling to get their hands on one. And for good reason, too. The latest from Google is a super smartphone with lots of cool features that don’t come with other Android phones. Well, that’s not true. Sure, Pixel is great, but you don’t have to shell out your fortune to get the best of Pixel. You can get the most useful features of Pixel even without a Pixel. Here are five features that you thought were Pixel-exclusives.

Pixel - Google Assistant

Google Assistant.

The app works like magic. It talks to you, briefs you about your daily schedule, reminds you stuff you need to buy, find the nearest coffee shop. and even find relevant information in a mass of reading you’re doing. Well, Google has limited the app to Pixel, but if you can trick your device into believing that it’s, in fact, a Pixel XL, you can get Google Assistant on any device running Android Marshmallow or a higher version. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Unlimited photo storage.

Probably the most-mentioned feature of Google Pixel is its free and unlimited photo storage for all the photos you take with the device. But there are a few cloud-based tools that offer the same (or almost the same) thing without burning your pocket. Check them out.

  • Google Photos – Let’s start with Google itself. You can upload unlimited photos and videos on Google Photos. The only catch is that photos have to be less than 16 megapixels and videos 1080p.
  • Flickr – This underrated app gives you 1TB storage of full-resolution photos and videos.
  • Amazon Prime Photos – Apart from offering unlimited photo backup in original resolutions, Amazon Prime also gives you 5GB for videos and documents. And if you get Amazon Family Vault, you can share your unlimited storage with five others.

Apart from these, you can also back up photos on a cloud location of your choice using IFTTT. If you’re looking at multiple cloud locations, use IFTTT and Tasker together to classify photos by folders. In short, Google Pixel may offer unlimited photos, but it’s not the only one.

The fancy camera.

Yes, we all know that the Pixel camera is pretty special. But you can also get similar effects on your photos without buying an actual Pixel. Google Camera is an app that includes most of Pixel’s features like smart burst and HDR. It’s not compatible with every device out there, but there are always workarounds called APKs.

Another app that’ll give you Pixel-like clarity is one that’s called Camera ZOOM FX. With advanced features like burst shots, photo presets, and RAW support, you can also learn photography techniques from the app. You can play around with essentials like exposure, shutter speed, manual and auto focus, and ISO and become the better photographer of your group.


Starting with Pixel and Android 7.1, you can long-press on an icon on the home screen to access a shortcut. For example, you can press on Camera and take a video without having to open the app. There’s another app that lets you do the same. With Nova Launcher Prime ($4.99) you can assign a shortcut to any icon. Here’s how:

  1. Add Google Maps to your home screen.
  2. Long-press the icon and tap Edit.
  3. Tap “Swipe action” and then Shortcuts on the top of your screen.
  4. Scroll down and tap on Directions. Enter an address and give it a name.
  5. Tap on Save and then Done.

Now if you swipe up on your Maps icon, it will launch Google Maps Navigation with the address prefilled. It’s not the same as Pixel’s but at least you get to customize your shortcut.

Allo and Duo.

 The messaging app, Allo, and the one-to-one video chat app, Duo, aren’t limited to the Pixel. They’re already available on the Play Store. So go on, get them. Duo is becoming the next big Facetime, thanks to its ease of use across Android and iPhone.

The reboot button.

Android had removed the reboot button for a while, but now it’s back with the Pixel. But like I’ve said throughout this post, you don’t need to buy the Pixel to enjoy its benefits. Material Power Menu is an app that will give you the reboot button. The app works with or without root, giving you a menu in which you can turn off, reboot, or launch recovery. If you’ve got root and Xposed, your phone will automatically reboot every time you hold down the power button. Without root, however, you can open the app from your home screen.
Well, that’s about it. Try these features out and you’ll see for yourself: You don’t need to spend all your savings to get the best of Pixel. Get them on whatever phone you already own.


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