Google unveils the Pixel 4: Everything you need to know
Made by Google,the tech giant's press conference took place on Tuesday October 15, and gave us a slew of new tech to longingly lust over. Chief among the announcements for most of us was the new Pixel 4 and 4 XL phones – the successor to the Pixel 3 and direct competitor to the iPhone 11 family. Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s latest flagship.
2019 is invariably, like it or not, the year of big square cameras on the back of your phone. Huawei’s done it, Apple’s done it, and so has Google. The Pixel 4 in the battle for best camera has also opted for the new polarising square back camera design.
The Pixel 4 removes Google’s familiar back fingerprint sensor, lending the case back to a sleeker look. All you’ll find on the back now is the ‘G’ logo. The phone is finished with a slick aluminium band around the sides, making it more durable if you ever drop it.
It has ditched the large notches found on the Pixel 3, meaning more of the phone is screen rather than a housing unit for cameras and sensors. The phone has a forehead bezel that houses the front camera and unlock sensors.
The new flagships are just a hair bigger than their predecessors, just a millimetre in fact. The 4 clocks in at 5.7-inches of display, with the 4 XL boasting an extra 0.6-inches on that figure.
The phones come in a glossy black, white, or orange, which Google trendily calls ‘Oh So Orange’.
The latest Pixels pack a 90Hz OLED Smooth Display, which means the phones can refresh the screens 90 times every second. What this means is that animations and videos will run smoother and text will be less grainy. Most phones these days only refresh 60 times per second, giving the Pixel an edge over the competition. For battery-orientated customers this edge may sound like a drain, however the Pixel’s screen can adjust its refresh rate according to the demands of what’s on the screen as to help battery life.
The screens also have a feature called ‘Ambient EQ’ that can adjust the screen’s colour temperature and saturation as to make images look more clear in different lights.
Motion Sense is a new feature for the Google blowers, using sneaky sensors to scan your body movements and adjust the phone accordingly. For example the phone can detect your arm as you reach for your phone and unlocks itself before you even get to it. Other cool features include being able to use hand gestures to perform tasks on apps. Like some kind of mad orchestra composer, you can flick your finger through the air above your phone to flick through music. You can also use this feature to dismiss both alarms and calls – awesome.
There’s also a much-improved facial recognition system, using end-to-end encryption, you can even use your face to validate things like Google Pay transactions. The security-assurance of using your face for payments and passwords is a first for any Android device according to Google.
Google Assistant has also got an overhaul, with improvements to voice commands, contextual commands and app controlling. Google has also introduced its own Recording app which assures it can transcribe your voice in real time, it is this technology which is used to improve the Assistant tech too.
The hallmark of any top-tier smartphone these days is of course its camera. As previously stated, the Pixel has followed the trend of other brands and gone for the square camera design. This square design is to house not one, but two cameras into the rear of the phone.
The first of these two back cameras is a 12.2-megapixel one which you would find in a Pixel 3. However, the 4 and 4 XL also has a ‘f/2.4 telephoto' camera with a 16-megapixel sensor and 2x zoom. To translate this jargon, the Pixels ‘do not’ have a ultra-wide camera like the iPhones of today, instead focusing on technology to making zooming in on photos as crisp as possible. With the new Pixels, you can zoom in up to 10x without losing as much detail as normal digital zoom.
The Pixel 4 camera is impressive thanks to what Google calls a “software define camera”, which is to say a camera which using a lot of computation to make your photos as good as possible. The camera has a variety of sensors to handle motion, faces, and other trackers. It also calculates the perfect exposure and focus for your image depending on the lighting.
The camera can also handle both bright environments and dark ones, even being able to capture stars, planets and galaxies. Thanks to a new feature, you can see how your images look before you take them, meaning Google does all its computation before the photo is taken.
The camera also can handle 4K at up to 30 fps, and 1080p at 120 fps. As for the selfie camera, it is 8-megapixel.
Charged by USB-C (meaning no headphone port), the Pixel 4 also has wireless charging powers. The Pixel 4 has a 2,800mAh battery whereas the 4 XL has a 3,700mAh. This is actually 115mAh less than the Pixel 3 compared to the Pixel 4, but 270mAh more than Pixel 3 XL compared to the Pixel 4 XL. The Pixel 3 was said to have awful battery life, so this could well be an issue the Pixel 4 shares.
The Pixel 4 comes with either 64GB or 128GB of storage, along with 6GB of RAM and a snappy Snapdragon 855 processor allowing it to run the latest Android 10 OS.
The price and release date (approx.)
The Pixel 4 64GB starts at US $799, being an extra US $100 if you want the 128GB option. The Pixel 4 XL clocks in at US $899 for the 64GB and again an extra US $100 if you want more storage. The phones are slated for an October 24 launch.