The morning after: Is the Pixel 4 any good?

It has now been five days since Google announced the Pixel 4. The device is set to be released on October 24 but as the dust settles, we have taken a look at initial analysis of the product.
Pixel 4 shown close up from the front and back with the white colour option
The Pixel 4 will hit shelves next week. Photo: Google

Vision in motion

One of the major talking points about the upcoming phone is its Motion Sense technology. This feature enables communication with the device by hovering over it. Tasks such as silencing a call or skipping a song can be done by the user waving their hand over the Pixel 4. This form of gesture control uses a radar chip that’s embedded above the phone’s screen. This chip can detect three aspects, including a user’s presence, reach and gesture.

However, according to Tech Radar, only a few applications are supportive of this feature. These apps invoice YouTube, YouTube Music, Spotify, the clock app and the phone app. Despite this feature being a great addition, it’s still in its infancy phase and won’t be truly revolutionary till further development.

Pixel 4 Cases shown on four Pixel 4's in various colors
The Pixel 4 is being released just in time for the holiday season. Photo: Google

Better visuals?

Google’s promotion of Ambient EQ, shows its commitment to improving the Pixel’s OLED display. This feature adjusts the temperature screen’s color to match the environment that a user is in. Along with this, the device’s 90Hz refresh rate is dubbed by Google as Smooth Display, which will be a plus for gamers. Here, the refresh rate adjusts automatically to reflect what a user is doing. This means that battery life on the Pixel won’t be wasted on-screen energy. 

These improved display aspects will be an addition to view photographs taken on the phone’s improved camera features. There is an extra camera on the rear of the Pixel 4. This is a large, square collection of lenses, residing in the top-left corner of the device. This dual-camera approach uses a telephoto lens and improved low-light shooting, which includes astrophotography and portrait mode. However, surprisingly, unlike its next-gen counterparts, there is no ultra-wide-angle lens

There have been some tests of the new camera to see if there is any noticeable improvement in effect. Google shared a range of photos taken with the Pixel 4 in various locations. Some of the photos are noticeably eye-catching, especially those of the night sky. However, portraits and selfies could pass to be taken on a Pixel 3. Perhaps this is an ode to Google’s last generation’s amazing camera technology.

Google Pixel 4 Photo of a star-filled sky showing its night photography
A photo of a clear night taken by a Pixel 4. Photo: Google

Biometric revisions

Google has gone all-in on improving the Pixel’s face unlock abilities in this outing. The process is so seamless that reviewers haven’t been able to notice the found being locked in the first place when they look at it. The fact that Google has invested so much into this tech means that it has completely omitted fingerprint scanning. This may not seem like such a big deal as face unlock does the job for unlocking a phone. 

However, this means that there will be no biometric option to login to most apps. Google had shared that it is still working with developers to bring biometric logins to enter their apps. Subsequently, this means that users are still subject to passwords when logging into many of their regular apps.

Another key omission from the Pixel 4 is the headphone jack. For all the stick that Apple received for discontinuing the much-loved jack since the introduction of the iPhone 7, Google joined in and removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from their Pixel 2. This omission has followed through on each new version and indeed, the new Pixel 4. Although, by now, phone users have become accustomed to newer systems and are favoring Bluetooth headphones and speakers such as the new Pixel Buds.

Google's Pixel Buds dynamically leaving its charge carry case
Google want users to replace traditional headphones with the Pixel buds. Photo: Google

Time to reflect

Despite some of the Pixel 4’s features disappointing prospective buyers, the device is definitely an improvement on the well-received Pixel 3. We look forward to having a hands-on experience with the device next week. We will keep our readers updated on all of the phone’s features.

The phones will be released in two sizes, which; the standard 5.7-inch screen, Pixel 4 and the larger, 6.3-inch screen, Pixel 4 XL. Both editions will be available in three colors; Just Black, Clearly White, and a limited-edition Oh So Orange. Prices for the 64GB model start at $799 while the 128GB one starts at $899.

Are you looking forward to testing out the Pixel 4? Let us know your thoughts on the release in the comment section.

[Update: Clarified on the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack from the Pixel 2.]
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Ken Edwards
Ken Edwards
October 22, 2019 11:48 am

Um, did you forget about fact the Pixel 3 lost the headphone jack? Just like the iPhone, it’s been gone for a while.

Oliver Swinburne
Oliver Swinburne
October 22, 2019 12:24 pm
Reply to  Ken Edwards

Hi Ken, we have updated the article now making the removal of the jack more clear.

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