This week, along with announcing the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google also introduced Pixel Pass—a program that combines a subscription service bundle and the aforementioned Pixel 6 (or Pixel 6 Pro) under one roof. If you’re trying to decide whether the bundle is right for you, here are some things to consider.
What is Pixel Pass, and how much does it cost?
Pixel Pass includes Google’s in-house subscription services: Google One, Play Pass, and YouTube Music Premium. It also comes with an extended warranty and a discount on cell service from Google Fi. (Users can choose to opt out of the Google Fi service and use their own carrier, though.) The bundle starts at $45 per month for Pixel 6, and $55 a month for a 6 Pro. Users can sign up for the bundle through either Google Fi, or the Google Store (if they opt out of Fi network coverage). There is an option to trade in an old device, but users can only sign up for Pixel Pass with a Pixel phone.
Pixel Pass is essentially Google’s mash-up of two similar Apple programs: Apple One and the iPhone Upgrade Program. Apple and Google’s offerings can cost roughly the same, or, depending on the details, Apple’s can be much more expensive. Apple One packages range from $15 to $30 per month, and the iPhone Upgrade Program ranges from $35 a month (128 GB iPhone 13 mini) all the way to $74.91 (1 TB iPhone 13 Pro Max), which means the “bundle” would run anywhere from $50 to $104.91 per month.
Cons of Pixel Pass
The Pixel Pass may come with some drawbacks, depending on a user’s priorities. These mainly come down to how people want to spend their money and how committed they are to a certain phone.
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As mentioned above, the Pixel Pass is only available to users who buy one of the two new Pixel phones. It does include regular upgrades, much like Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program. However, if you aren’t interested in using a Pixel phone, this requirement is a deal-breaker. Popular Android phones from Samsung or OnePlus, for example, aren’t eligible for this program.
Additionally, customers should take note of what those regular upgrades entail. Like similar programs, you are essentially renting a Pixel phone, which you can then trade-in for a new one easily when the time rolls around. Once the phone is paid off, it’s yours like any other phone would be. However, you then need to decide whether you want to stay subscribed to the plan and receive a new Pixel phone, or cancel the plan.
The last drawback is a matter of preference. Some users may not want or need all of Google’s subscription services. In fact, the Pixel Pass could end up costing some people more annually than what they would pay for the Pixel 6 on its own or one or two individual subscriptions. For example, while they might enjoy using Play Pass, they also prefer Spotify over YouTube Music.
Pros of Pixel Pass
Individually, all the services included in Pixel Pass total upward of $39 per month, plus the cost of a new Pixel phone, which starts at $599 for the baseline Pixel 6. Here’s the breakdown:Play Pass (Google’s premium gaming service): $4.99 per month.
Google One: Starting at $1.99 per month, this is Google’s Cloud storage and tech support program. The 200 GB plan that Pixel Pass comes with, however, is normally $2.99 per month. YouTube Premium: $11.99 per month, including YouTube Music. This is a premium version of YouTube that cuts out all ads and allows video downloads and streaming from YouTube Music, which is similar to Spotify or Apple Music.Google Fi: Individual plans start at $20 per month, with network coverage by Google and a variety of coverage and data options. The Pixel Pass only covers a $5 monthly discount on Google Fi plans, not the entire price.
If you use Google’s package of subscriptions regularly, the Pixel Pass is a great way to save money while getting a new phone. It also makes things more convenient—instead of having several smaller recurring charges, you can have everything under one sum, including the monthly payments on your phone. The inclusion of the price of the Pixel 6 itself makes this program a highly affordable option since it may be easier for many people to pay a smaller monthly charge rather than $600 or more upfront for a new phone.
Another factor for some users is the extended warranty: Trade-in value on phones is always dependent on their condition, making it challenging for those prone to accidents to get a good deal. Pixel Pass makes it easy to get your Pixel repaired, and all users get to take part in the regular upgrades to new Pixel models, even if they are a bit rough on their phones.
The regular upgrades are a big deal, too, for those who are looking for them. Google’s line of Pixel phones keeps getting better and is consistently neck-and-neck with Apple’s newest iPhones. There is really no other program available like this for Android users, except whatever upgrade program their individual carrier may have.
Who is Pixel Pass for?
Pixel Pass is primarily for people who enjoy the full Google ecosystem, are up for a new Pixel phone, and want a convenient subscription system similar to Apple One and the iPhone Upgrade Program. If you already enjoy using Google’s suite of subscription services, it will be easy to get a discount on all of them by switching to Pixel Pass. For everyone else, it’s probably a pass.