Pixel 4: The good, the bad and the other

After months of leaks from everywhere, the Pixel 4 family was finally officially announced.

Pixel 4 is called the most leaked smartphone in history. And we can say that it has every right for that title. We’ve seen for a couple of months how the phone will look like, what the specs will be and there were even a YouTube videos showing the latest devices from Google in all its glory.

But now, everything is official. Google announced both, the new Pixel 4 and its bigger sibling Pixel 4 XL. There was a little to be surprised for. So let’s recapitulate what’s these new smartphones will offer, what I like and what not so much.

The Good: 90Hz display

You will find high resolution OLED displays on both devices while the smaller Pixel 4 has 5.7” display with FHD+ resolution, Pixel 4 XL packs the 6.3” screen with QHD+ resolution. You don’t have to worry about PPI, because with those resolutions everything is going to looks sharp and clean. But the best thing about displays is the 90Hz refresh rate. It will bring the smoothness you never knew you wanted, until you see it with your eyes. We can expect 90Hz displays to be a trend in a next year. Today, only a small number of handsets offer refresh rates higher than 60Hz, OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro or ASUS ROG Phone II are amongst them.

Pixel 4_motion sense
You can make some actions by moving your hand above the device.

The Bad: Battery

I don’t know what the battery life will be in real life usage but battery capacities make me worry, especially on a smaller Pixel 4. It packs only 2 800 mAh battery (even smaller than in last year’s Pixel 3) and the Pixel 4 XL has 3700 mAh battery inside. And now, with 90Hz display, which is definitely more power hungry, there is a place for concern. Maybe Google made some tweaks and optimizations to battery life, but for now I will remain skeptical. First reviews will soon tell if the worries were pointless.

The Good: Second camera

Pixel 3 was for the past year often considered as a smartphone with the best camera on the market. With the Pixel 4, there are big expectations on the camera field and it is probably going to be really good. Google for the first time added a second lens to the smartphone. Among main 12-megapixel sensor there is now a 16-MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom. And with some software processing you will be able to crop in 10x without losing as much detail as usual. Second lens also helps with the improvement of Portrait Mode and we also get a new HDR+.

The Bad: No ultra-wide lens

Google representative said on the stage that the company decided to use a telephoto camera instead of ultra-wide because it is more suitable for the user. Well, I strongly disagree and I would much rather see an ultra-wide lens on new Pixels instead. In most situations, I think that people appreciate ultra-wide sensor more and it brings you a whole new perspective. In small spaces, on the streets you will want to have an ultra-wide sensor with you. Samsung Galaxy S10e or iPhone 11 are equipped with ultra-wide instead of telephoto and I think that was the right decision. Another question is, why not put all three sensors on the fourth Pixels? At those price points you would expect that.

The Good: Fast Face unlock

This time new Pixels are equipped with probably fastest face unlock on the market. It was possible with a bunch of sensors and also with Google´s new “Motion Sense radar chip”. It is a system which reads your hand gestures in the air above the device. So Pixel 4 can start face unlocking process when you reaching for the phone, even before you touch anything. Motion Sense has also other use cases, such as waving your hand mid-air to skip a song or silence an alarm. Only time will tell, if it will be a useful feature or just a gimmick.

Pixel 4-colors
Pixel 4 comes in three colors.

The Bad: Big forehead and no fingerprint sensor

When you look for the first time at new Pixels, you will see no notch, no motorized pop-up camera, but there is a large forehead instead. Google needed a lot of spaces to house all the sensors and someone would prefer this solution over notch, but still, it is a pretty big forehead. In today’s standards of bezel-less phones it looks ugly. It is a pity, that Google couldn´t slimmer it down a bit.

Although we´ll get impressively fast face unlock, the absence of fingerprint sensor will be missed. Google went on Apple style, so Face unlock is your only biometric authentication. I still think that there are scenarios where you would prefer to have also a possibility of unlocking your phone with your fingers. And with the premium prices I would expect an in-display fingerprint reader, as you find on Galaxy S10 or OnePlus 7T and the others.

Pixel 4Pixel 4 XL
Display:OLED 5.7″, FHD+, 444ppi, 90HzOLED 6.3″, QHD+, 537ppi, 90Hz
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Storage:64 GB / 128 GB 64 GB / 128 GB
Battery:2800 mAh3700 mAh
Camera:main: 12.2 MP, 1.4 μm pixel width
telephoto: 16 MP, 1.0 μm pixel width
front: 8 MP, 1.22 μm pixel width
main: 12.2 MP, 1.4 μm pixel width
telephoto: 16 MP, 1.0 μm pixel width
front: 8 MP, 1.22 μm pixel width
Price:  $799 /  $899  $899 / $999

The other

From the hardware perspective you will find inside Snapdragon 855 processor with 6 GB of RAM, which is totally fine, but it is not the highest end you can find. Storage is 64 or 128 GB and I find it unacceptable to offers 64 GB at these high end prices. Pixel 4 starts at 799 dollars and Pixel 4 XL at 899 dollars.

Another features you will find on these new handsets are improved and faster Google assistant, new recorder app which allows to transcribe speech to text and car crash detection. Both new Pixels have IP68 dust and water protection, active edge and stereo speakers. The sale will start on October 24.