Google wants us to work on our digital wellbeing with it's new Pixel 3 phone series.
Google wants us to work on our digital wellbeing with it's new Pixel 3 phone series.

Google Pixel’s stunning feature

LET'S be honest. Most of us wouldn't be caught dead outside our house without our phone.

It's a horrifying prospect, one akin to walking down the street butt naked.

So it comes as no surprise that many of us struggle to disconnect from technology on a daily basis.

Consider this: Is there a single aspect of your life where your smartphone doesn't dominate or, at least, come in bloody handy?

They're our mates on the commute to work.

They accompany us to lunch, so we don't get too bored while we eat and they're our reading material in the toilet.

They sit beside us during a date, just in case the conversation gets awkward, or we need an "emergency" excuse to bail.

They litter the horizon of any live performance, art exhibition or music concert.

We even use them to put us to sleep with synthetic noises and activate apps that monitor our circadian cycles throughout the night.

It's all becoming too exhausting, and yet we just can't seem to put our phones down.

 

We take our phones everywhere with us, they even sleep next to us most nights.
We take our phones everywhere with us, they even sleep next to us most nights.

 

As the digital era matures and we start to think about the role of smartphones in our lives, one company may have come up with the best solution yet to combat technology fatigue and digital addiction.

And of course, it's Google.

The company's latest Android phone, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL, was launched this month.

And the series offers users a pretty unique way to 'switch off' from the noise and madness of digital life.

 

Google’s Pixel 3 is here and it’s all about maintaining digital health.
Google’s Pixel 3 is here and it’s all about maintaining digital health.

 

Pixel 3's "Digital Wellbeing" suite offers a range of tools designed to help you monitor your phone use and implement healthy practices into your daily routine.

As an obsessive phone user myself, the concept of tuning out is extremely appealing.

But, as every addict knows, going cold turkey is easier said than done.

Luckily, Pixel 3 has some practical fixes for this in the form of 'Flip to Shh'.

Say you're out at dinner with friends. The last thing you want is to be disturbed by a message or an email from your boss.

Flipping your phone over, face down, will activate the "Do Not Disturb" mode, allowing you to continue your night uninterrupted.

Regrettably, the "Shh" mode is only available for Pixel 3 users, so if you want your hands on this nifty feature, you're going to have to fork out for it.

 

Google says all we need to do is flip our phones to shut them up.
Google says all we need to do is flip our phones to shut them up.

 

The phone also comes equipped with a "Digital Wellbeing Dashboard" that delivers a daily report of how often you're on your phone, how many times you unlock it, how many notifications you receive and what apps you spend your time using.

This will, no doubt, be a confronting exercise for most.

But if, on reflection, you loathe the hours you spend scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, you can set a timer that dictates how long you can access that app for.

 

Tough love: The Pixel 3 can activate timers on your app use to cut down on that aimless scrolling.
Tough love: The Pixel 3 can activate timers on your app use to cut down on that aimless scrolling.

The Pixel 3 has a 'Wind Down' option, that can be activated at night, switching to "Do Not Disturb" mode and toning down the light to a subtle greyscale.

The phone also adapts to colour and light, changing the screen's display brightness in accordance with the time of day - a nifty feature for those of us who regularly forget to switch off the blue light on their phones an hour before bed, as recommended.

Aside from the "Shh" mode, the other Digital Wellbeing features are available to any Pixel phone user who has the latest Android 9 Pie operating system.

 

The Pixel3 comes in three colours: White, black and a soft pink
The Pixel3 comes in three colours: White, black and a soft pink

 

The Pixel 3 comes with a 14cm screen, weighs about 148g. The bad news is it's not cheap and starts at about $1199.

It's big sister, the Pixel 3XL has a 16cm screen, weighs 184g and is even more expensive, setting you back about $1349.

The cost is a pretty major con for the average phone user (like me) who wants desperately to disconnect from the lure of digital life but can't find two bucks to scratch together.

If that is you, then here are some apps you can download, without having to buy a brand new phone, that can help with technology fatigue and digital addiction:

 

FOREST:

 

 

Forest makes being mindful fun.
Forest makes being mindful fun.

Price: $2.99

 

Available on: iOS and Android

 

What is it: The premise is simple. You turn on the app, plant a seed and watch it grow into a forest. If you leave the app to check your social media accounts, the trees will die. The aim is to grow a full, healthy forest.

 

 

OFFTIME:

 

Offtime lets your set restrictions on your phone use.
Offtime lets your set restrictions on your phone use.

 

Price: Free

 

Available on: iOS and Android

 

What is it: This is a wildly popular detox app. You can choose to block or restrict certain apps and notifications. You also receive a comprehensive analysis of your phone usage and can set hurdles or reminders to stay off your phone.

 

 

SPACE:

 

Work with screen unlock and time use goals to tune out.
Work with screen unlock and time use goals to tune out.

Price: Free!

 

Available on: iOS and Android

 

What is it: This app has been downloaded by more than 2 million people around the world. It offers users tips each day to help them change their behaviour and allows them to grow their "galaxy" by achieving their goals.

 

It's free and available on iPhone and Android devices.
It's free and available on iPhone and Android devices.

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