Two years ago I was yearning for a more stock, or plain, Android experience. I had been Samsung S/Note-series phones and it has been my only experience with Android-based phones. At this point I was getting annoyed with the older revisions of the Samsung skin and thought it would be nice to experience a more plain Android experience without any third-party additions and bloatware. So I jumped and bought a Pixel 2 XL.
My experience with Pixel 2 was great, at least for the first 6 months - with the top-of-the-line camera (AI-assisted) software and Google Assistant integrations, it opened my eyes to the power of having an AI and recommendation system right in my fingertips. It helped a lot with my daily schedule, showing me news articles I would be interested in, restaurants around my area, all without me explicitly searching for these things or manually fiddling with my phone just to get my preferences right.
But it wasn't perfect and the hardware shortcomings, particularly the screen display, became obvious.
The Pixel 2 display wasn't great. There's an old adage about buying monitors, that you have to buy the best possible monitor that your money can buy because that's what you'll be looking at every time you use your computer. And this advice also applies to buying a mobile phone. You just have to buy the phone with the best possible display out there. I thought the Pixel, having a superb stock Android experience out-of-the-box can mask this shortcoming but over the course of months, it just couldn't. Watching videos, or reading an article or a book is just not as satisfying compared to the Samsung phones (which have bright displays). No amount of Assistant goodness can help with that.
Another, albeit minor, reason why I switched is because of Miracast. After moving to Jakarta, I found out that the Pixel doesn't support Miracast which means I won't be able to 'cast my phone into the car's AV display. Car SatNav is really not a thing for consumers here in Jakarta, so most people rely on things like Miracast + Google Maps to get around.
But when it comes down to it, it's the display and hardware quality that really pushed me towards leaving the Google Pixel brand. Hopefully Google takes hardware more seriously and starts making more quality Pixel hardware because it's just not acceptable selling phones at that cost when the hardware is not good enough.