I love getting the chance to jump into the tech world here and there and get my hands on new devices and innovations. As a techy web developer that is pretty savvy with all forms of technology, I am a tough man to please. Bright lights and funky gadgets aren’t quite enough for me, the product has to be efficient and perform well. I suppose my thoughts are that if the product doesn’t make my life easier and more productive, I’m not interested.

So Google and Best Buy Canada rang me, I answered and I accepted the invitation. To put the brand new Google Pixel smartphone to the test and come visit one of four inaugural Google Shops in Canada at the Heartland Town Centre at 6075 mavis Rd. These specialized shopping experiences now live in Mississauga, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton and are dedicated to creating an immersive Google experience. Alongside the Pixel, other notable Google creations like the television streaming ChromeCast Ultra and virtual reality tool Daydream View are scattered through the space to keep us techies entertained and in awe. The vibe of the space is what you would hope for as a consumer. It’s spacious, modern, minimal and really a hub to get all the information you need. The Google Shops  house holiday events led by tech experts, YouTube stars and artists as well as product workshops featuring tutorials and personalized tech tips. It’s pretty cool to see Google and Best Buy collaborate to create such a needed void. I chatted with Angela Scardillo, VP Marketing & Communications and Tony Sandhu, Senior Vice President of Best Buy and asked them how long this project had been in the works. To hear it only took mere months to put together is actually a good sign to see just how eager they were to create the vision.

So Alexander Liang and I made the drive up from downtown Toronto early Friday morning to check out the vibe, the products and celebrate with the ribbon cutting. We had some free time to explore the store and essentially pad our Christmas lists. As a home-lover/interior design fanatic, it was dope to check out all of the gadgets for the home. From bluetooth door locks, insane sound systems and my new top of the list “want”, the Breville Expresso Machine. The Heartland location really is a beautiful store. It’s beautifully lit with natural light and astonishly clean. My Visa was in a vulnerable and dangerous place being paraded up and down the aisles. It managed to depart in reasonably good health with only a new ChromeCast Ultra and bluetooth speaker in my shopping bag. I’ve been dying to add a TV streaming device to my life so it was the perfect time. I’ve yet to fully explore it’s potential but stay tuned on my IG Stories and I’ll give you guys the scoop.

Now let’s talk Pixel. I spend 50% of my day glued to my smartphone doing researching, editing photographs, posting content and listening to sports podcasts and music during my workouts. If anybody is going to put a mobile phone to the test, it’s me. First and foremost, the aluminum casing is sharp. It is light and minimal to the touch and really embodies Google’s new direction. It’s no joke that I always buy tech gear that looks perfect on my desk. Technology to me is art. It’s like scientific magic and it should be presented beautifully. The camera is nothing short of remarkable. It’s no surprise it is the highest rated smartphone camera ever with it’s unbelievable ability to shoot in all lighting levels. There is a blurring effect feature too that literally mimics the photo quality of my most advanced mirrorless and DSLR cameras in my arsenal. Perfect for street styling. The most impressive feature had to be the Google Assistant. A fully integrated system that makes information requesting dynamic and engaging. When you ask for help, it speaks WITH you, not at you. A text chat-like conversation is initialized that makes the experience semi-human if you can believe it. I was really impressed. I’ve been whining to my friends for months that I need an intern/assistant, this will at least take me one step closer. If it only made cappuccinos…

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