Google unveiled the Pixel 4 (among other things) today at a press event, and it is the best, most powerful, progressive Pixel to date. I was able to spend some time with the phone after the event, and man it's so good.
The Pixel 3 XL was a pretty polarizing device, mainly due to the huge and completely unnecessary notch. The good news here is that the notch on the Pixel 4 has disappeared and Google uses the ring along the top of the device by absolutely wrapping it up with new technology. Such as, new technology ̵
Of course I am talking about Project Soli and the new radar chip from the Pixel 4. This new chip detects movement near the phone, so you can do things like skip numbers or ignore alarms by simply waving your hand over the phone. But that's not even the true value of the radar chip – the best part is that it's part of the Face Unlock feature of the Pixel 4 that lets you unlock your phone by looking at it.
This is not Google's first attempt at users to of course unlock their phones with their faces — Face Unlock has been around for a long time. But here is the thing: it was, bad . Like, unusable bad. It can be misled by a photo and it really wasn't safe at all. It was a gimmick.
But Face Unlock on the Pixel 4? No man. This is not your grandmother's unlocking (lol, does your grandmother even know what face unlocking is?); this is new. This is Google version of Face ID, which, let's face it, is pretty bad. But I could claim that Face Unlock on the Pixel 4 is bad. To use it is to love it, believe me.
And that's a good thing because the fingerprint reader has disappeared – no on-display jankiness, and the Pixel print sensor on the back is no longer. I know this will be a big hit for some of you, but believe me, it's the best. Face Unlock is the truth.
That also ensures a cleaner overall aesthetic. The back is flat and smooth … for the most part. There is the large camera bubble for the double rear shooters – a 12 MP main camera and 16 MP telephoto lens – but otherwise it is just a seamless piece of glass. The units Clearly White and Oh So Orange have a "soft touch" glass back, while the Just Black model is polished and glossy. They all look very good in person, although the contrasting color around the camera module takes some getting used to the white and orange models.
The Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inch 1080p panel, while the larger XL model contains a 6.3-inch 1440p screen. Both use the new "Smooth Display" function from Google, which will increase the refresh rate "up to 90 Hz". After using 90 Hz screens on both the OnePlus 7 Pro and 7T, I can tell you that this is something that you want, but I am a bit bothered by the "up to 90 Hz" wording. This indicates that the screen does not always work at 90 Hz, but somehow intelligently manages when it increases the refresh rate and when it needs to be lowered again.
However, there is a setting in Developer Options that forces the screen to always work at 90 Hz, although I am sure this will be at the expense of the battery life (again referring to my experience with recent OnePlus devices). I will have to spend more time with the phone and the default settings to see if I know when it goes up or down, and then continue testing with the feature always on. You can expect these results in the full review.
Otherwise, we look at the standard rate for hardware – the Snapdragon 855+ processor, 6 GB RAM and 64 or 128 GB of storage.
On the software side, it is actually just Android 10 on a Pixel phone. If you have used the 3 or 3a, you have used the 4 in terms of software, at least for the most part. There are of course some necessary hardware-specific changes, usually in the camera and the settings menu. Otherwise standard functions.
Speaking of the software, let's talk about Google's special sauce in the camera. It is the stuff that Pixel phones have been making the best cameras & # 39; s available on phones for several generations now, and it is unreal on the Pixel 4. Even with fairly standard hardware, Google uses from computational photography to doing things even more amazingly with 4. It's real.
Here is a brief overview of some of the changes in the Pixel 4's camera:
- Live HDR +: Real-time HDR previews
- Dual exposure control: You can not only adjust the brightness but also the shadows with sliders.
- Smarter Automatic White Balance: Phones have used automatic white balance for a while, but the Pixel 4 goes one step further with smarter and more realistic white tones, especially in extreme situations (such as snow).
- Better portrait mode: It now works with larger objects (such as motorcycles) and people who are further away.
- Night Sight improvements: Night Sight was already legit, but now it's better. You can even use it to take photos of the moon and stars. It is wild.
In general, my first impressions of the Pixel 4 are pretty damn positive. I have used every generation of Pixel phones, and although some decisions along the way were questionable (such as, you know, the Pixel 3), the Pixel 4 feels like a return. The return to what makes Pixels special in the first place – an innovative phone that sets trends, not one that just follows the fads.