Pixel Pass Is Rarely Worth It, Especially for Families

The Google Pixel Pass banner.
Google

Pixel Pass is a new subscription plan that bundles a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro purchase with a ton of Google services, like YouTube Music Premium, Google One cloud storage, and Google Play Pass. At just $45 a month, Pixel Pass looks like a great way to finance your phone and save a ton of money on Google services. But it may not be worth the money, especially if you have a family.

What Do You Get With Pixel Pass?

When you sign up for Pixel Pass, you’re basically committing to a two-year no-contract financing plan with a bunch of discounted Google services. If you want a Pixel 6, the plan costs $45 a month. That leaps up to $55 a month if you want the Pixel 6 Pro, and Google will tack on a few extra bucks if you order a phone with extra storage.

And while Pixel Pass is a no-contract service, it requires a Synchrony Bank credit card. This appears to be a safeguard for Google—customers who cancel early must pay for the remainder of their Pixel device upfront, and Synchrony will make sure that Google gets its money.

Anyway, here are all the perks included in Pixel Pass:

  • A Pixel Phone: All Pixel Pass subscriptions include the latest Pixel device.
  • YouTube Premium: Ad-free viewing and background play while using other apps.
  • YouTube Music Premium: Ad-free, uninterrupted listening.
  • Google One: Get 200GB of cloud storage across Google’s services, including Photos and Drive.
  • Google Play Pass: Access hundreds of games for free with no ads.
  • Two Years of Preferred Care: Hassle-free device repairs and coverage for accidents. (Regular Pixel purchases come with one year of Preferred Care.)
  • Google Store Discounts: Exclusive discounts on products in the Google Store.

If you’re already subscribed to one or more of these services, Google will replace your current monthly rate with the discounted Pixel Pass rate. And if you’re already paying for more than 200GB of Google One, you won’t get downgraded to 200GB, and you’ll get a small discount. Also, Google is offering an extra $5 off for Google Fi customers who sign up for Pixel Pass.

For an even lower monthly fee, customers can trade in an eligible device while signing up for Pixel Pass. Google offered me $366 for a Pixel 5 in perfect condition, which should cut $15 off the monthly Pixel Pass fee. Not bad!

But Pixel Pass Won’t Save You a Fortune

It’s true; Pixel Pass can save you money on a new phone and Google’s various services. But the amount you actually save is kind of … let’s say it’s not very substantial. Unless you plan to use all the services offered in Pixel Pass, it would be cheaper to just pick and choose which services you sign up for.

Yeah, I’ve read the Pixel Pass webpage. I know that Pixel Pass customers will save up to $294 after two years. But you’ll only save that shiny $294 if you sign up for the most expensive Pixel 6 Pro configuration. And when you divide $294 across two years, you’re looking at just $12.25 in monthly savings—you’d save more money by canceling your Netflix and asking to use a friend’s.

The savings offered by Google’s cheapest Pixel Pass plan are even less impressive. Everything offered in the plan, which costs $45 a month, would cost a total of just $52 when paid for individually without any discounts.

In other words, Google is only offering $7 in monthly savings to customers on the cheapest Pixel Pass plan. And if you sign up for this plan and don’t use the included YouTube Music Premium subscription, which normally costs $10 a month, then you’re actually paying more than you would if you just bought the individual services that you care about.

Google is offering a nice discount to customers who obsessively use Google services. But if you’re already using competing services like Spotify and Dropbox and don’t plan to move into Google world, you’re not going to save any money with Pixel Pass. At best, you’ll break even.

And for Families … Forget It!

The YouTube Music Premium family page with a big X over it.
Google

You want to know the most disappointing thing about Pixel Pass? It isn’t compatible with the YouTube Music Premium or YouTube Premium family plans. That means your family members can’t enjoy these Pixel Pass perks without logging into your Google account, which sucks!

This feels like a major oversight from a company that’s usually great at accommodating families (for a few extra bucks, of course). I’m not sure why Google made this decision, because it actually lets Pixel Pass customers share their 200GB of Google One storage and their Play Pass membership.

I’m sure there are some situations where these restrictions aren’t a big deal. Maybe you have a spouse and kids that don’t really care about music, or you only want to share cloud storage with family.

But if you were hoping to share all of these services with the other people in your life, tough luck! Pixel Pass just isn’t a worthwhile plan for most families.

Should You Sign Up for Pixel Pass?

A person holding the Google Pixel 6.
Google

Unless you’re a hardcore Google fan who’s already using all of the services offered in Pixel Pass, it’s not a compelling subscription. You won’t save a lot of money—in fact, you may end up overspending if you don’t actually use the services included in Pixel Pass.

And I know that some people see Pixel Pass as a non-traditional way to finance a phone, but it doesn’t really work like that! Pixel Pass forces you to sign up with Synchrony Bank, so you’re still getting a credit card. Yeah, you can cancel Pixel Pass at any time, but then you’re forced to pay the remainder of what you owe for your Pixel 6 upfront.

If you’ve come out of this thinking “I can use Google’s services to make Pixel Pass worth it,” then go for it. Just make sure to set aside some cash in case you decide to cancel the service. And if you’re just looking for a way to finance a Pixel 6, you should probably do it through your carrier, or through Best Buy, or through Google’s basic financing service. (I suggest picking the option that offers the most for a trade-in, which is probably your carrier or Google.)

Pixel Pass

Starting at $45 a month, Pixel Pass gets you the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro plus memberships with YouTube Premium, YouTube Music Premium, Google Play Pass, Google One, and Preferred Care coverage. It’s a decent plan that could save you some money, so long as you don’t mind using Google’s services..

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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