Over the weekend I finally paid a visit to one of these Google pop-up shops that I’ve been hearing about. Mobile Syrup reports that there are 14 of them across Canada; I went to the one in the Best Buy at Bramalea City Centre.
What especially piqued my interest was this video documenting Marques Brownlee’s visit to the NYC store. Pretty swish, right? Well, here’s what the Bramalea version looks like:
I counted five Pixel phones, a Chromebook, Chromecast and a VR headset that was glued shut. Immediately next to this display were others of equal size from Samsung and Rogers. And directly behind was a much larger area devoted to Apple products. I should also point out that Google’s efforts went mostly unnoticed by Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers.
This was my first interaction with an actual Google iPhone (aka Pixel), as the Best Buy downtown has no Pixels on display. So what did I think of it? “Meh” is the only word that comes to mind.
Its build quality is on par with last year’s Huawei Nexus 6P. Google’s ROM and launcher seem snappy enough. I didn’t get to do much with the camera under Best Buy’s horrible lighting, but I will say this: for the exorbitant price it’s just not an attractive phone. You can argue that it doesn’t matter once you start interacting with the screen, and I’ll disagree—you can still feel the thing in your hands, and it doesn’t feel (or look) anything like a Galaxy or iPhone.
The best thing I can say about the Pixel is that it wasn’t as disappointing as the pop-up store itself. That’s certainly not saying much!