+ Friday December 13th, 2019

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.

Besides the grunt, the Pixel 4 features innovative hardware such as the Soli sensors for gesture recognition.

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 4Pixel 4 XL
Screen Size5.7-inch6.3-inch
DisplayFHD+ 1080×2160 90Hz OLED2880 x 1440 Quad HD 90Hz OLED
Operating SystemAndroid 10
Google Assistant
3 years of OS and security updates
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon SDM855,
8 core (4x Gold @ 2.5GHz, 4x Silver @ 1.6GHz)
RAM6 GB
Internal Memory64GB/128GB
Rear Camera12.2 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
Front Camera8MP
Battery2800 mAh with 18W fast charging3700 mAh with 18W fast charging
SensorsActive Edge
Soli sensors
Proximity/Ambient light sensor
Accelerometer/Gyrometer
Magnetometer
Barometer
Android Sensor Hub
Motion Sense
MaterialsAluminium 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 / BandsLTE: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
eSIM
WirelessWi-Fi 2.4GHz + 5.0GHz 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth® 5.0 + LE
NFC
Google Cast
Size / DimensionsH: 147.1mm W: 68.8mm D: 8.2mmH: 160.4mm W: 75.1mm D: 8.2mm
Weight162g193g
In the boxCharger, USB Connector, Documentation, Pixel USB-C earbuds, SIM eject tool
ColoursJust Black, Clearly White, Oh So Orange
Other miscellaneousPixel 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.

Scott Plowman   Editor

Avatar

Scott is our modding guru - he has his finger on the pulse of all things ‘moddable’, pointing us towards all the cutting edge mods hacks that are available. When he’s not gymming it up, or scanning the heck out of Nexus devices, you'll find him on the Ausdroid Podcast.

Outside of Ausdroid, Scott's a health care professional and lecturer at a well known Victorian university.

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Luke Roberts
Ausdroid Reader

Do you know if the facial recognition will be available for biometric security for non-google apps – like last pass?

PukeyLuke
Guest
PukeyLuke

Pixel 4/XL will not benefit from original size backup to Google Photos for the first 2 years.
As a family of a Pixel 2 and 3 owners which have this feature, I found this disappointing. So now you either pay for a cloud service or accept compressed photo files.

pdf
Guest
pdf

Lack of a fingerprint scanner is pretty much a deal-breaker – I absolutely do not want to have to move my thumb all the way to the top of the 19:9 screen every time I want to open the notification panel. Not to mention, I’m less than happy with adding my face to Google’s facial recognition database, and face detection has proven easy to fool in the past.

khalido
Guest
khalido

you can swipe down anywhere on the home screen to bring down notifications – works well, found it easier/faster than swiping down on the fingerprint scanner. (tested at display model in Jbhifi).

pdf
Guest
pdf

That only applies if you’re on the home screen.

Manish kumar
Ausdroid Reader
Pixel guy
Guest
Pixel guy

$150 from Google Store too. I’d probably take JB since you can buy other things.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

Last year I bought the Pixel 3 XL on the 27/11 from JbHifi and they had a $200 gift card. Should we wait?

Marc
Guest
Marc

Complete BS that Orange isn’t available in 128gb in Australia. It’s there on the US store. Once again reminding us that we’re a tech wasteland.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

We’re still waiting for call screen 😢

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