Possibly the most leaked devices ever, Google’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have been announced this morning in the USA. The Pixel 4 family looks to be the most compelling Pixel range ever, with both phones are identical in everything except size — same internals, and same software.
This year Google has not just focused on software — something we know the company excels at — but also the hardware, bringing to market a package that looks to have enough grunt under the hood to finally run Google’s vision of Android, and run it well.
Motion Sense, Google Assistant and a Voice Recording app
The big ticket item software-wise for the Pixel 4 is Motion Sense made possible by Soli and its technology. Motion Sense uses radar sensors within the top bezel of the phone to “understands what’s happening around your phone”. When you reach for your phone it will trigger face unlock, or turn the screen off when you’re not near it.
You can use gestures to skip music, snooze alarms, dismiss timers or silence your phone. Motion Sense will not be available in all countries but will be available here in Australia upon release of the Pixel 4.
Earlier this year Google announced a new, faster version of Google Assistant was on it’s way and now we have confirmation that it will be available in the Summer in Australia via a software update to the Pixel 4.
Google also made a big deal of their new built-in voice recorder app. It is not just the same as every other old voice recording app because it not only records the audio but also uses Google’s voice to text technology to transcribe the recording in real time. The recordings can then be saved with whatever name you want. The recordings, transcriptions and every word within them can be searched for from the home screen of the Recorder app. All of this AI functionality happens on-device with the audio never leaving the phone unless you export it yourself manually.
Pixel 4’s Dual Camera
Pixel phones have become synonymous with high quality smartphone photography and the Pixel 4 looks to be no different.
The Pixel 4 is Google’s first foray into the multiple lens set-up, having stuck – very successfully – to a single camera sensor in all prior phones. From what Google has shown us today, the Pixel 4 takes the company’s photography to an even higher level.
The rear camera setup on the Pixel 4 (and the Pixel 4 XL obviously) is a dual camera setup with a 12MP dual pixel lens and a 16MP telephoto lens, with support from a Time Of Flight sensor. The front camera this time is just a single 8MP lens but don’t let the lack of wide-angled lenses in either of their setups fool you.
Google brings all the usual camera features to us with a lot of computational photography including Super Res Zoom software, and even better Night Sight that can see stars in the sky (with a four minute exposure). The new Pixel allows the user to fine-tune the brightness and amount of detail in the shadows to help you balance out the photos of bright surroundings such as a sunrise using dual exposure controls.
Google’s portrait mode is now performed using computational data from not just their dual pixel lens but also the dual cameras bringing a better result in the end. HDR+, Google’s technology that produces such amazing photos, can now also be seen in the viewfinder – so you can see exactly how the photo will turn out.
What’s inside the Pixel 4?
Google Pixel phones are usually more about their software than their hardware, but let’s talk about some specs.
The new Pixel 4 phones also come with the Pixel Neural Core which is the engine for on device processing, always-on computing, and machine learning — less data will be sent to the cloud for these tasks, which should improve responsiveness and make a lot of security-conscious people happy.
While we’re on security, Pixel 4 has the Titan M security chip on board to help protect your most sensitive data and ensure the integrity of the operating system.
|Pixel 4||Pixel 4 XL|
|Display||FHD+ 1080×2160 90Hz OLED||2880 x 1440 Quad HD 90Hz OLED|
|Operating System||Android 10|
3 years of OS and security updates
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon SDM855,|
8 core (4x Gold @ 2.5GHz, 4x Silver @ 1.6GHz)
|Rear Camera||12.2 MP dual pixel and 16MP telephoto|
Autofocus + dual pixel phase detection
Optical + electronic image stabilisation
Spectral + flicker sensor
f/1.7 aperture on main lens
Field of view: DFoV: 76°UHD 4K @ 30fps
|Battery||2800 mAh with 18W fast charging||3700 mAh with 18W fast charging|
Proximity/Ambient light sensor
Android Sensor Hub
|Materials||Aluminium frame + matte finish hybrid coating|
Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front
Soft touch glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 5) on the back
IP68 dust and water proof
|Frequencies / Bands||LTE:B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66, 71|
UMTS:B1, 2, 4, 5, 8
GSM:850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 2.4GHz + 5.0GHz 802.11a/b/g/n/ac|
Bluetooth® 5.0 + LE
|Size / Dimensions||H: 147.1mm W: 68.8mm D: 8.2mm||H: 160.4mm W: 75.1mm D: 8.2mm|
|In the box||Charger, USB Connector, Documentation, Pixel USB-C earbuds, SIM eject tool|
|Colours||Just Black, Clearly White, Oh So Orange|
|Other miscellaneous||Pixel Stand support|
Titan M security module
Pixel Neural Core
Notably, Google’s eschewed the slightly-higher-clocked Snapdragon 855+ and gone with the older Snapdragon 855 (still no slouch). There’s also smaller batteries on board than we’re used to seeing.
We’re also hoping that 6GB of RAM is enough to power the phone’s ambitious software features, given the previous generation’s much-maligned memory management issues.
Australian Availability and Pricing
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are available to pre-order now on the Australian Google Store, with the phone available from October 24 in Just Black, Clearly White and a limited edition Oh So Orange — pre-orders will start shipping on the 22nd October. In a blow to those of us that love bright coloured phones, Oh So Orange will only be available in 64GB.
As well as the Google Store, you will be able to purchase the phone through Harvey Norman, Officeworks, JB Hi-Fi.
Carrier support is again wide, with Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all committing to ranging the device, though no plan information is available just yet
Pricing wise, you’re looking at:
- Pixel 4 64GB – $1049
- Pixel 4 128GB – $1,199
- Pixel 4 XL 64GB – $1,279
- Pixel 4 XL 128GB – $1,429
We’ll have hands-on with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL in the very near future and offer our first impressions of the device soon.