New Pixel Update Brings Battery Longevity and Adaptive Sound


The Google Pixel 5 is getting a little smarter … again. Just three months after the last Pixel feature drop, the new device is getting another one. This time around, the new features include improved GPS, so-called Adaptive Sound, and better battery management.

While the Pixel 5 is the only device that is getting all of the new features, certain features are coming to older Pixels. And some of the headline features that launched on the Pixel 5 are heading to older models, helping make the overall Pixel experience more similar no matter which generation you have.

Perhaps the coolest new feature is Adaptive Sound. The feature essentially works like some smart speakers and headphones, changing its tuning depending on the listener’s environment. It does this by measuring the frequency response of audio using the built-in microphone. Google says the feature may be “less noticeable at higher volumes,” but at lower volumes we’ll take any improvement to the speaker tuning we can get. Adaptive Sound is only coming to the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5.

The other major new feature is Adaptive Connectivity, which takes a cue from Apple’s playbook and automatically switches between 5G and 4G depending on what you’re doing in the moment. Google says the feature will use 4G for things like web browsing and messaging that need less data, and switch to 5G for movies and large file downloads. Both the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 will get this feature, but the experience may differ depending on your carrier.

Next up is Adaptive Charging, which is another feature that Google is deploying after we’ve seen it used across several other phones. But it isn’t about battery life. This feature controls charging speeds to help preserve battery health over time. For example, the feature will slowly charge your phone overnight when it knows it isn’t in use, and finish in the morning before your alarm goes off. By keeping your phone away from 100%, it can prolong its performance over the course of years.

As mentioned, Google is also bringing some of its previous features to other Pixels . Notably, the Hold for Me feature, which uses Google Assistant to wait on hold for you and notify you when you’re taken off hold, is coming to Pixel phones including the Pixel 3 and later. The same goes for Extreme Battery Saver, which turns off more features and pauses more apps than the normal battery saver.

Other new features include an improved editor in Google Photos, with a tab that suggests edits based on what you’re editing. Users can now also personalize their home screen with new icons, grid views, and app shapes. There are also custom wallpapers of famous artworks.

The feature drop is rolling out now, and will fully expand to all users over the next few days.

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