Picture this: You're sitting at your desk, heads down for work. You're aware of how distracting phone notifications can be, so you turn off the ringer and leave the device on vibrate. To help, you throw on a sweet pair of noise-canceling headphones. Productivity mode is in full effect.
But then, the vibrations start buzzing in. You don't need to see your phone screen to know that that email, meeting reminder, or Slack message is calling for your attention. The fix? Purposefully calmer vibrations, according to Google.
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The recently-reviewed Pixel 7a is not the flashiest phone of Google's 2023 lineup -- there's now a foldable in the mix -- but it's the first and only Pixel currently to feature Adaptive alert vibration, and I wish more phones had it.
Adaptive alert vibration, much like Adaptive Connectivity, Adaptive Sound, and Adaptive Charging, is Google's latest feature intended to make your phone work more seamlessly with your lifestyle.
How the feature works is simple: When your phone is left face up and idle for a good minute, the vibration strength of notifications is decreased. It's not strong enough to cause a rumble on your desk and break your train of thought, but it's a gentle buzz that lets you know something is worth checking when you have the time.
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It isn't a hidden setting per se; you can toggle it on by going into the Pixel's Sound & Vibration settings and then tapping into Vibration & haptics.As someone who likes to set their phones on a wireless charging stand whenever possible, I find the motor adjustments to be a welcome change.
If you own any other Pixel besides the 7a, keep your fingers crossed for Google to bring Adaptive alert vibration to new and older models, because that's what I'll be doing going forward.