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2 weeks with Google Pixel 4: Hands-on Review & More «Android :: Gadget hacks

It is always important if the company that makes Android releases a new phone. The Pixel series from Google has made a name for itself in three short years after its camera qualities, but now it's time to compete with the big players. That said, Google would like to know how their Pixel 4 and 4 XL relate to the iPhones and Galaxy & # 39; s of the world.

If you are not familiar with the Pixel series from Google, consider it a midpoint between Samsung & # 39; s Galaxy and Apple & # 39; s iPhone. It has some of the simplicity and integration of an iPhone, but with the most modifications and software performance of a Galaxy. The other things that matter are great access to Google and the Google Assistant, plus the best photo camera on any smartphone.

Pixel 4 Highlights

Image by Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks

2-week hands-on review

The first thing that struck me with the Pixel 4 XL was the thickness and weight of the phone. Personally, I love it when a phone feels heavy, it makes me feel like I'm really holding something. I do not use covers and it helps to prevent falls if the phone is heavier. It never felt heavy in my hands and the weight distribution is excellent.

The camera is amazing. During the Pixel 4 event, we participated in one of the various Google stands that emphasized the functions of the phone. One of the stands showed the improved night mode. We compared it with the Samsung Galaxy S10 + and Apple iPhone 11 Pro, and the Pixel 4 really shined. Where the iPhone 11 Pro had the most texture on the person, the Pixel 4 was able to capture the details in the grass and the environment.

Some photos taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL . Images of Jon Knight / Gadget hacks

A problem I have is the simplicity of the camera app. I wish Google had a real Pro mode. Thanks to their new double exposure, you have some control, but the ability to adjust the white balance, ISO, etc. would be a long way to improve this camera.

Face Unlock is easily my favorite feature. Compared to a fingerprint scanner, it is faster, easier, works without answering the phone and is generally safer. If I wanted, I could also remove the need to swipe up on the lock screen so that I never have to touch the phone (but as a person who cares about privacy, I would never do this).

Image by Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

The problem is that most apps do not yet support Face Unlock. In my tests, only Signal Private Messenger and LastPass included Password Manager support. Most apps search for a fingerprint scanner, and as soon as they don't find one, you limit the protection to a pin code or an access code. This will change in the coming months, but it is something to know.

Motion Sense has strengths and weaknesses. I love that the volume decreases with alarms and calls when you grab the phone (thank you Google). I also love it when managing your playlist works. It's great to wipe over, especially when I have dirty hands in the gym. The problem is that I haven't found the perfect way to make it work the first time, always. So instead, I feel foolish when I swipe my phone several times, waiting for something. But at least it works sideways.

The battery life, at least for the Pixel 4 XL, is great. I get about 4+ hours of screen on time with Always on Display turned on. I had the feature enabled for & # 39; Range to check your phone & # 39; but I notice it never worked for me and instead just kept Always visible on. After I disabled this feature, the battery life became much better. Charging times are fine, but during my tests I found that it will always cost 100% (which you shouldn't do anyway). With 80% I can last all day and a little longer.

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The extra RAM helps considerably. The stutter of its predecessor does not exist on this telephone. The matte back is excellent. Although it occasionally wipes in my pocket, it disappears with a simple wipe. And despite switching over from the Galaxy Note 10+, I don't miss the screen. Even compared to my brother's OnePlus 7 Pro, I find the image quality exceptional, especially when viewing HDR content from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Important dates

The Pixel 4 was announced in New York on October 15, 2019. Preorders start the day of the event and it will appear a few weeks late on October 24.

  • Release Date: October 24, 2019
  • Preorder Date: October 15, 2019
  • Announced: October 15, 2019

Storage Capacity

Something we did not see coming was the return of the 64 and 128 GB storage options. Despite the fact that phones now have 512 GB and 1 TB options, and many phones that start with at least 256 GB, Google seems to be blocking the trend.

Although this low storage option hurts less because of unlimited storage on Google Photos, with its push in gaming, this storage can be easily eaten. Although Stadia does not need storage (because it is all stored in the cloud), mobile gaming apps do. This storage quantity was not sufficient in 2018, let alone now. And just like its predecessor, it does not support expandable storage.

  • Available storage: 64 GB and 128 GB
  • Expandable storage: no
The Pixel 4. Image by MadeByGoogle / Twitter

Price for everything

Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are the same prices as their predecessors. The 64 GB version of the Pixel 4 starts at $ 799, while the 128 GB version increases costs by $ 100 to $ 899. The Pixel 4 XL starts with $ 899 for the 64 GB model, while the 128 GB $ Is 999. Price (Pixel 4): $ 799 (64 GB) or $ 899 (128 GB)

  • Price (Pixel 4 XL): $ 899 (64 GB) or $ 999 (128 GB) )
  • Buy a Pixel 4 XL:

    Google | AT&T | Sprint T-Mobile | Verizon


    The body uses the same material as in most flagship smartphones in 2019, glass on the front and back for wireless charging and an aluminum frame for durability. Google has even confirmed some basic design principles by publishing a display of the telephone on their official MadeByGoogle Twitter account. The distinctive double finish has disappeared this time, replaced by a single finish like most other phones.

    It comes in three colors, just black, clear white and orange. White and orange have a matte hybrid coating, while the black is a glossy material (which means that it is a fingerprint magnet). Both the front and back are protected by Gorilla Glass 5.

    • Frame: aluminum, glass (Gorilla Glass 5)
    • Finish: Plain black, clear white, Oh so orange (limited edition) [19659046] 2 weeks with the Google Pixel 4: Hands-on Review & More ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>
    Image via Google

    Basic principles

    Pixel 4 has about the same height and width as the Samsung Galaxy S10e, while the Google Pixel 4 XL is about the same height and width as the Samsung Galaxy S10 +. Regarding the thickness, both phones with 0.32 inch are slightly thicker compared to the 0.31 inch of the Galaxy S10e and the S10 +. It is supported by all major US providers and Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile and Google Fi.

    • Height: 5.78 inch (Google Pixel 4), 6.31 inch (Google Pixel 4 XL)
    • Width: 2.71 inch (Google Pixel 4), 2.97 inch (Google Pixel 4 XL)
    • Depth: 0.32 inch (0.37 inch with camera bump)
    • Weight: 5.71 oz (Google Pixel 4), 6.81 oz (Google Pixel 4 XL)
    • Dust / water resistance: IP68
    • Supported providers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, Google Fi, Spectrum Mobile, Xfinity Mobile
    • Infrared blaster: no
    Images by Jon Knight / Gadgethacks

    As with all phones nowadays, we believe that the Pixel 4 has an operating temperature of 32 ° F to 95 ° F.

    • Operating temperature: 32º to 95º F
    • Not working t emp: Unknown [19659024] Relative humidity: Unknown
    • Business height: Unknown


    The Nexus / Pixel setup has always been a way for Google to introduce the world to Google's latest version of Android. Pixels are almost always the first devices to receive new Android versions and they are guaranteed guaranteed for at least three years. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL will be Android 10 and one of the few phones with the latest version at the time of the release.


    The Pixel line-up always works on Android. Although this version is not exactly ASOP (Android Open Source Project), it comes about as close to "pure" Android outside custom ROMs. It will have a few improvements for Pixel users, such as Active Edge and additional special features that Google decides to add.

    Some new additions include a new recorder app that uses Live subtitles to transcribe voice memos. You can also search for voice memos by keyword and jump to that part of the recording. There is also a new "Styles and Backgrounds" section that merges the new customization options from Android 10, such as icon shapes and fonts, into a menu option. There are also the latest enhancements to Google Assistant built into the Pixel 4 software.

    • Version: stock Android (Pixel version)


    The Pixel 4 XL had a small screen size lowering from 6.3 inches to 6.23 inches. The Pixel 4 will actually be larger at 5.7 inches. Both have OLED panels (although the Google Pixel 4 is from LG, while the Google Pixel 4 is XL from Samsung) with support for HDR and an always view. Regarding the resolutions, the Pixel 4 has the same resolution as its predecessor, but the Pixel 4 XL actually has a higher 3040 x 1440 (the Pixel 3 XL was 2960 x 1440).

    The screen uses the P3 range for the first time (the same as used by iPhones), allowing for higher color accuracy. It also supports HDR10 content on YouTube and Netflix.

    The "forehead" is the same size as the Pixel 3, but the chin is one of the smallest in the industry. Fans of symmetry may not like it, but the extra sensors for Soli and secure face unlocking are in that top ring and at least they have not used a notch.

    Both Pixel 4 devices can run games at 90 fps, 30 extra frames per second than the standard screen. To enable this, you must enable Smooth Display, a feature that allows Android to dynamically adjust the refresh rate based on the active apps. 90 Hz is switched on when playing a game. When you call, the screen is adjusted to 60 Hz. According to 9to5Google, it locks the screen at 60 Hz in the following apps:

    • Google Maps
    • Pokémon Go
    • Waze
    • WeChat

    In addition, a user has reported that the screen refresh rate depends on the brightness of the screen. Some Redditors discovered that if the screen brightness was set to less than 75%, the screen would be locked at 60 Hz. When it was higher, it used 90 Hz. Google confirmed this to The Verge in the following statement:

    We have designed Smooth Display so that users can take advantage of the benefits of 90Hz for improved UI interactions and content consumption, while also retaining the battery when higher refresh rates are not critical due to back to lower to 60Hz.

    However, in some circumstances or situations, we set the refresh rate to 60Hz. Some of these situations include: when the user turns on battery saving, certain content such as video (because it is mostly recorded at 24 or 30 fps), and even different brightness or environmental conditions. We constantly assess whether these parameters lead to the best overall user experience. We have previously planned updates that we will roll out in the coming weeks, including turning on 90Hz in more brightness conditions.

    – Google (via The Verge)

    The Pixel 4 also has a feature known as Ambient EQ, which is essentially Google & # 39; s version of Apple & # 39; s True Tone. Based on the ambient lights, the display automatically adjusts the white balance for a better viewing experience. The screen will appear more consistent and one function less that iPhone fans can claim to have more than the Pixel devices.

    Image by AnhEm TV / YouTube [19659087] Screen size: 5.7 inch (Google Pixel 4), 6.3 inch (Google Pixel 4 XL)
  • Screen resolution: 2280 x 1080 (Google Pixel 4), 3040 x 1440 (Google Pixel 4 XL)
  • Total number of pixels: 2,462,400 (Google Pixel 4), 4,377 .600 (Google Pixel 4 XL)
  • Pixel density: 443 ppi (Google Pixel 4), 534 ppi (Google Pixel 4 XL) [19659024] Screen type: OLED
  • HDR: yes
  • Notch: no
  • Screen-body ratio: Unknown
  • Aspect ratio: 19: 9
  • Minimum brightness: 2 nits
  • Maximum brightness: 445 nits
  • Renewal speed: 90 Hz (unknown for touch sensitivity)
  • Color temp: 6,610 K (P3), 6,640 K (sRGB / Rec. 709)
  • Color range: P3
  • Pres tations

    The SoC par excellence for 2019 Android flagships in the US is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL use this processor, but this time Google will not be underclock cores like last year's Google Pixel 3. [19659002] Regarding memory, the RAM has increased to 6 GB. The first three Pixels had 4 GB of RAM, which has caused persistent problems that the Google community has asked to address.

    Then there is the Neural Core, which seems to be a replacement for the Visual Core of earlier Pixels. It controls all image processing, including the HDR + of the Pixel that makes impressive photography possible. In addition, it also performs all machine learning calculations needed for the new functions (more about that later), so you don't have to wait for it to finish.

    Front camera

    There are several sensors in the top panel of the phone, including the front camera. The remaining image sensors are used for face recognition or for Motion Sense .

    The Pixel 3 had a standard selfie lens and a wide-angle lens, but the Pixel 4 only has one selfie camera: a wide-angle shooter. It is an 8 MP camera with a 90 ° field of view. It has a fixed focus and a ƒ / 2.0 aperture.

    • Resolution: 8 MP
    • Aperture: ƒ / 2.0
    • Pixel size: 1.22 µm
    • Zoom: None
    • Flash: Yes, screen flash
    • Image stabilization: yes, EIS
    • RAW support: Yes
    • Object detection: Unknown
    • Formats: JPEG, RAW
    Image via Google

    Reversing camera

    Google has finally added a second camera to the Pixel series. While most OEMs add a third and fourth camera, Google has finally figured out that the flexibility of multiple cameras is what users want. The primary camera is known: a 12.2 MP lens with an aperture of ƒ / 1.7. The second lens is a 16 MP telephoto lens with ƒ / 2.4 aperture. Both are optically and electronically stabilized.

    House in its new square camera module is a flash, spectral + flicker sensor. Both cameras have autofocus, with the primary using dual pixel phase detection and the telephoto using phase detection.

    There are now "Dual Exposure" settings. With one slider you can adjust the brightness of the scene, while the other only controls shadows, and this all happens live in the viewfinder. There is the new Live HDR +, which allows you to see exactly how HDR + is applied to your photos before you take them. According to Wired, "HDRNet" (the algorithm on which it is based) can make adjustments in less than 20 milliseconds.

    Night Sight has also improved thanks to the longer exposure of the Pixel 4. Pixel 4 can now take 16-second shots with a long exposure time, so that all the details needed to make night shots visible can be captured. Thanks to this improvement, it can now capture the night sky by taking a series of these shots up to 4 minutes and using machine learning to correct the movement of the stars and trees in the area. This same correction is also used when photographing other objects.

    Despite his new telephoto lens, he still uses the Super Res Zoom technology introduced in Pixel 3, which uses machine learning to improve the digital zoom lens. The result is an 8x digital zoom lens that is much better than the competition.

    • Resolution: 12 MP (wide angle), 16 MP (telephoto)
    • Sensor size: Unknown
    • Aperture: ƒ / 1.7 (primary), ƒ / 2.4 (telephoto) [19659024] Zoom: 2x optical and 8x digital
    • Autofocus: phase deviation with two pixels (primary), phase detection (telefoto)
    • Flash: two-color LED
    • Image stabilization: yes, OIS and EIS
    • RAW support: yes
    • Lens cap: sapphire glass
    • Object detection: Unknown
    • Formats: JPEG, RAW
    Image by AnhEm TV / YouTube

    Videography is once again limited to 4K at 30 fps on the back and 1080p with the front camera. Slow motion video is also the same as its predecessor. Audio Zoom controls the microphones (a feature recently added to Android 10) to focus on each zoomed area so that the subject of your video is more audible.

    • Resolution: 720p, 1080p and 4K [19659024] Max frame rate: 60 fps for 1080p, 30 fps for 4K
    • Slow motion: yes, 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
    • Time-lapse: yes, Unknown
    • Photos: yes, 5 MP
    • Zoom: yes, up to 6x digital zoom (1080p at 30 fps) and 8x digital zoom (1080p at 60 fps and 4K at 30 fps) [19659024] Flash access: yes, see above
    • Image stabilization: yes, see above
    • Object detection: Unknown [19659024] Autofocus: yes, see above
    • Audio: stereo
    • Formats: H.264


    Despite the return of the headphone jack in the Google Pixel 3a, is this is not present in the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL. This was expected because it has been missing for two years now and most of the industry is moving in that direction. Maybe a Google Pixel 4a will be added next year to save the port.

    The forward-facing stereo speakers have disappeared. Instead, one speaker faces forward in the upper ring, while the other speaker is fired from below.

    • 3.5 mm headphone jack: no
    • Stereo speakers: yes, stereo speakers
    • Microphones: 3
    • Max. Speaker volume: Unknown

    Media formats

    Since this is a phone designed by Google, it has the usual list of codecs supported by Android. There are a few new additions to this list: Opus, AV1 and HDR10 +. Opus is an open and royalty-free codec that offers better quality than MP3. AV1 is an open and royalty-free video codec that acts as an alternative to H.264.

    • Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC +, WMA, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WAV, FLAC, APE, OGG, MID, M4A, IMY, AC3, EAC3, EAC3-JOC, AC4, Opus
    • Video: MKV, MOV, MP4, H.265 (HEVC), AVI, WMV, TS, 3GP, FLV, WEBM, HDR10 +, AV1


    The Google Pixel 4 includes two infrared cameras & # 39; s for secure face unlocking, a first for Pixel devices. As with Apple's Face ID, it uses these sensors to unlock your phone even in low light. It contains a spotlight and a point projector to map your face.

    • Accelerometer: yes
    • Ambient light: yes
    • Barometer: yes
    • Color temperature: yes
    • Compass: yes
    • Gravity: no
    • Gyroscope: yes
    • Hall: no
    • Infrared: yes
    • Laser: yes
    • Pedometer: no [19659024] Proximity: yes

    Pixel 4 will soon offer dual-band support on GPS or Galileo, but we do not know when. When this is added, this would be the first Pixel smartphone with the features and one of only a handful of phones that support improved tracking technology.

    • GPS: yes
    • aGPS: yes
    • Glonass: yes
    • BeiDou: no
    • Galileo: yes
    • QZSS: no

    Motion Sense

    The Pixel 4 is the first device to use Google's Soli radar chip. Soli can decrypt gestures with great precision, so you can perform actions on your phone without touching it.

    Known as Motion Sense, Google has added several gestures that are performed near the phone (that's right, near ; you don't have to put your hand awkwardly in front of the phone such as the LG G8 ThinQ). Due to the use of high radio frequencies, Motion Sense is not available everywhere. At launch, it will be functional in the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan and most European countries.


    Despite the system-on-a-chip that feeds the Google Pixel 4, it supports Wi-Fi standards 80.211.ad, ay and ax, we are limited to Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) . The good thing is that most users don't have a Wi-Fi 6 router to take advantage of the faster and more secure wireless connection, but that will change with the passing of the year.

    • Wi-Fi: 802.11a / b / g / n / ac 2.4 GHz + 5.0 GHz 2×2 MIMO
    • Bluetooth: 5 + LE (HD codecs: AptX, AptX HD, LDAC)
    • NFC: yes
    • Mobile: nano-SIM, eSIM
    • Port: USB Type-C

    Pixel 4 becomes official by all four major American carriers and has the bands for the necessary radios for a smooth and strong connection, regardless of which carrier you use.

    • FDD-LTE tires: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29 / 30 / 38/39/40/41/46/48 / 66/71
    • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A: BC0 / BC1 / BC10
    • GSM / EDGE: (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    • UMTS / HSPA + / HSDPA: Bands 1/2/4 / 5/8


    The Pixel 4 is the first Android phone in the US with a secured face unlock. Using a range of sensors, the Pixel 4 can detect your face, regardless of how you hold your phone. Unlike the iPhone, you don't have to swipe up to unlock your phone. Instead, it is unlocked as soon as you see your phone and the Soli sensor recognizes that you want to unlock your phone. And your face data, along with other sensitive transactions, is stored locally in the Titan M security chip for ultimate protection.

    • Fingerprint scanner: no
    • Face scanner: yes
    • Iris scanner: no
    • Manual authentication: password, pin code, cartridge, swipe

    Box contains

    The content of the box is essentially the same as last year. However, a notable omission is the inclusion of USB-C earbuds, so we recommend buying a pair such as Acessorz USC C earphones. If you want one that uses Google & # 39; s Fast Pair, you can also use Libratone USB-C, which can send voice commands to Google Assistant.

    • Pixel 4 telephone
    • 3.3 ft USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0)
    • 18 W USB-C PD power adapter
    • Quick Switch adapter
    • SIM eject tool
    • Quick start guide


    Google plans to update their wireless Pixel Buds for years. The Pixel Buds 2 are scheduled to be released in the spring of 2020 for a price of $ 179.

    Google's unique fabric covers are also returning. This year they are available in four colors: Sorta Smoky, Just Black, Blue-ish and Could Be Coral.

    Pixel 4 and 4 XL fabric covers in Could Be Coral. Image by Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks

    The other accessory that Google makes available during the Made by Google 2019 event is a new USB-C Titan key. This is a physical key that is built according to the FIDO standard and that offers stronger two-factor authentication. Unlike software-based token (or sms and e-mail), you must physically have the key with you. Unlike the previous iteration of Google, it has a USB-C connector, which makes authentication easier when you connect directly to the phone.

    Purchase the new Titan USB-C security key

    Compare the Google Pixel 4 & 4 XL to other smartphones

    Cover image by Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks

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