The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have probably been the tech world’s worst kept secrets, but now that Google has officially launched them, turns out they’re even more exciting than what rumor mills had you believe. The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are quite literally the same phones differing in only a couple of parameters – like last year. But while the Pixel phones in the past have been – more - about their picture-perfect cameras, this year’s Pixel phones have another key highlight – Soli-based motion sensing.
Let’s start with those cameras though. Speaking of specs, both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL come with the same 12MP dual-pixel main camera with optical image stabilization (plus electronic image stabilization) - that’s more like last year’s Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, and this year’s Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL. But wait, there’s also a new 16MP telephoto camera for 2x optical zoom in the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL – which is a first for any Pixel phone. Google has been able to pull off some too good to be true photography chops with one camera on its Pixel phones for years now, at a time when rival brands have started adopting more and more versatility – meaning more cameras. Google may be playing catch up here, but make no mistake, what we’re looking at here, may be the best-in-class dual cameras out there, on any smartphone.
We've upgraded the camera on #pixel4. A new telephoto lens and Super Res Zoom technology let you capture sharp imagery, even from far away. And with Live HDR+, you can see exactly how your photo will look before you shoot. 🙌 #madebygoogle pic.twitter.com/PoVxXCsSJo— Google (@Google) October 15, 2019
Much like every Pixel phone, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will also rely a great deal on computational photography to make a selling. Google says it has simplified the software this year and redesigned the Google Camera app for seemingly faster point-and-shoot. Google’s Night Sight is also getting an update so it will seemingly be able to shoot the night sky – ala astrophotography. There's a new live HDR+ feature that approximates HDR in real time in the viewfinder itself and dual exposure to better control exposure in photos.
On the front, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL come with an 8MP camera.
Being Pixel phones means, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL also support Google’s unlimited photo storage (at original quality).
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are the world’s first commercially available devices with Soli – Google’s in-house motion sensing tech that uses a miniaturized radar capable of sensing small motions around the device. The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, to that effect, pack a wide array of sensors at the top of the screen (which explains their thick foreheads) - including a new Soli chip that brings motion sense features to these phones, allowing you “to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls, just by waving your hand.”
Motion Sense helps you get things done on your #pixel4 without touching it. Swipe to skip a song, silence a call with a flick of your hand, and unlock your phone super fast with face unlock. #madebygoogle pic.twitter.com/HAIBtBUsxE— Google (@Google) October 15, 2019
Soli also brings advanced face unlock to the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, with a combination of dedicated face unlock hardware including a pair of IR cameras and flood illuminator. Google claims that the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will be able to offer a face unlock experience that’s easier, faster, and more secure than rivals, such as the iPhone’s Face ID – which has become the gold standard to beat in the industry. Google is touting two aspects that make its face unlock more convenient (and faster) - Google’s tech seemingly “won’t require you to lift the device all the way up, pose in a certain way, wait for it to unlock, and then swipe to get to the home screen,” and it will “work in almost any orientation - even if you're holding it upside down.”
That said, Google’s motion sense technology won’t be available in markets like India – at least at launch.
In terms of core hardware, while the Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inch screen, the Pixel 4 XL comes with a bigger 6.3-inch display. While the Pixel 4 screen has a 1080p+ resolution, the Pixel 4 XL has a sharper QHD+ panel – both use OLED and boast of a 90Hz refresh rate like the OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7T Pro.
Under the hood, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with 6GB RAM and up to 128GB storage (non-expandable). Both the phones run Android 10 software with ‘minimum’ 3 years of OS and security updates. While the Pixel 4 comes with a 2,800mAh battery, the Pixel 4 XL has a larger 3,700mAh battery with 18W USB Type-C fast charging.
The design is hallmark Pixel, meaning a glass and metal body with a dual tone finish. There are differences though – this time, the back has a single colour, while the frame gets a different hue. Also new is a square-shaped camera module that matches the frame colour. Speaking of which, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will be available in Just Black, Clearly White and a limited edition Oh So Orange.
Elsewhere, both the phones are water and dust resistant and support wireless charging. There's no headphone jack, but both the phones have stereo speakers.
The Pixel 4 starts $799 (roughly Rs 57,000) and will be available for buying in the US from October 24. India price and availability details are awaited.