Google Pixel 4 Review | A Serious Contender

by birtanpublished on May 25, 2021

Hmmm this is a tough phone to review there's a lot I like about it and it comes really close to being a great phone but there's just one really big flaw that I feel like they could have easily fixed but they didn't we'll talk about that this is our pixel for review the pixel for and the pixel for XL are Google's latest phones following up the pixel 3a from earlier this year and the pixel 3 from last year now the pixel 4 and the pixel 4 XL are very similar devices the only differences being with the battery and the screen pixel 4 has a twenty eight

Hundred million powered capacity and the pixel 4 XL has a thirty seven hundred billion power capacity and the screen size on the smaller one is 5.7 inches and 6.3 inches on the XL the pixel 4 looks different from any other pixel phone before and that's something that's easy to notice if you've been following along with pixel phones in the past 3 years this is a new design and there's a reason for that I actually had a chance to sit down with the designers and learn more about that process and you can click this video right here to learn more to sum it up there are three main

Changes on the pixel 4 design compared to the previous pixels first there is a black band around the phone and that's meant to nicely frame up the rear design while also hiding away components like the SIM slot the USB charging port the speaker grills things like that and then of course the rear design no longer has a two-tone look it's just one single texture no line separating anything and it's just a much cleaner design also no fingerprint sensor as you'll notice and then there's the pixel square which is this black iconic looking square that's meant to house those cameras and I say

Iconic because their vision is that people will sort of see this black square from a distance especially paired with some of these very contrasting looking colors and you'll be able to say hey that's a pixel phone now of course there are some differences in some of the different colors for example the Oso Orange one that you're seeing here is the same as the white colored one or I should say bit clearly white color option in that they're both using matte glass on the back whereas the just black color option is actually using glossy glass I actually don't really like the

Just black model of the pixel for its glassy glass which means tons of fingerprints and it's so easy to see dirt on it and and just lint and lots of other things it's just not very pretty and there's also nothing there that stands out because it's just so just black I guess everywhere except for that little accented white power button I do love the design for the O so orange and the clearly white option as well I think they stand out really clean understated designs and I actually really like the color even though I know that might be a

Bit of a controversial opinion over on the front you have a large bezel at the top and a slim bezel on the bottom with the bezel at the top the reason why it's that thick is because google has added soli technology in there and face unlock technology and there we'll get to that in a bit but I think the reason for that large bezels existence is justifiable though if you do put an extra phone like the Galaxy Note 10.1 Ilocos modern that being said I really like face unlock it's fast secure and it's ready to go right as I start to pick up my phone because the soli technology Prime's

Those sensors up so that it knows it's about to be used for face unlock but there are two things with face unlock that make it not really that comparable to face ID from Apple's iPhone just yet at least the first being that many apps don't support pixel fours face unlock so your banking apps for example like chase you still have to keep adding your password every time you want to log into the app and because face unlock is just not available now I have asked chase when they will plan to support this feature and they said the fourth quarter of this year which could be anytime from

Next week to the end of December maybe even longer than that who knows I've asked several other banks and they've all said that they're still looking into it so it sounds like they don't even know this exists it'd be really great if developers added support for this sooner than later because I'm really getting tired of adding passwords and I really like to not use a password just to order a frappe through the Starbucks app the second one is a little more alarming say you're in a robbery and the person just stole your phone and they realize the phone is unlocked and they want to get

Access to it well with the pixel 4 they can just point the phone at your face even if your eyes are closed and they'll get access to the phone that's terrible the iPhone has a feature that requires your eyes to be open so that it would unlock so that people can't force unlock other people's phones just by pointing it at their faces now this was a leaked feature to be on this pixel for but it's not in the final version I've asked Google if it will ever come back hopefully does because this is a

Bit of a security flaw on to the AMOLED screens I haven't really had any issues here the blacks are deep the colors are vibrant and the screens are sharp the pixel 4xl has a quarter HD plus resolution and the pixel four has a full HD plus resolution the screens also fix one of the biggest pain points of the pixel three I didn't find that phone to have a very bright screen so I had trouble reading it when I was outdoors in sunny conditions that's no longer the case with the pixel for now does it get as bright as the Galaxy Note 2 n plus no but it's more than legible in direct

Sunlight the killer feature of the screen though is that it supports a 90 Hertz refresh rate that means you're getting content at 90 frames per second and that just means everything looked a lot more fluid and smooth and just perfect it's excellent and it's my favorite feature of this phone paired with the screen experience is a pretty good audio setup now there is stereo speakers still except they're no longer front-facing speakers there's the front-facing earpiece and the other speaker is now a bottom firing speaker to allocate for that slimmer bezel on

The bottom that's a bit disappointing because front-facing speakers are always better than bottom firing speakers but hey I still like the sound that comes out of this phone and actually using the phone I haven't had any issues here it's using the Snapdragon a 55 processor with 6 gigs of RAM and while I've thrown a bunch of apps at it intensive ones to the normal day-to-day ones and it has never cease to operate any of them smoothly sure it's not the Snapdragon 855 plus that we see on phones like the oneplus 70 but I think most people will be more than satisfied with the

Performance that they get on this phone so a lot of that was talking about the hardware which might not match up to phones like the oneplus 70 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is the card slot but where Google excels is the software Android 10 is installed and it comes with great new features like a system-wide dark theme a better gesture navigation system that I really like now as well as improve to privacy and location management the same great features that we know and love from previous pixel phones are also

Here like Now Playing which recognizes the songs playing in your surroundings and displays them on the lockscreen as well as call screen which lets use green potential robocalls there are a couple new ones as well first up is a new app called recorder and it's actually really fantastic for people like me who do a lot of interviews and don't want to have to deal with a lot of that transcribing process that happens afterwards better yet all of this happens on device offline so if you need to search for something someone might have said in an interview well you can just do that and

They'll surface up those results even if you're not connected to the Internet the other new app is called personal safety and thankfully I haven't had to use it yet it lets you connect your friends family and lets you add them all together so that you can immediately just press a button and an emergency response will be sent to all of them and it also supports car crash detection so the pixel four can actually recognize if you've been in a big car crash and it will automatically try to contact emergency services and try to send your location data as well pretty handy but

Just keep in mind that when you turn on that car crash detection it does say that there might be times that it makes a mistake and might recognize something for a car crash so just keep that in mind the big improvement I think though is Google Assistant it looks much better it's faster it works offline more often than not and just generally more helpful overall my favorite new feature is kateed conversation and it's something that we've seen before on other Google devices like the Google home but it's now in the pixel 4 and it lets you talk to a system without having to keep

Saying the Google's trigger so if I ask Google assistant a query now you'll see it glowing at the bottom after it has given me the results indicating that it's still listening in case I want to follow up with something else the experience of using Google assistant is a lot more seamless with this continued conversation feature and it actually is making me engage with assistant a lot more than ever before other tidbits include the ability to just squeeze my phone and acts assistant to reply to someone that might have just texted me or if I'm looking at a photo

Or if I'm looking at a website I can just squeeze assistant and say send this to XYZ little things like that just keep making me use Google assistant and really enrich the experience of using this phone another thing I really like is Google assistant there's a lot more contextual so if I'm in an app like Google Maps or YouTube and I asked Google assistant a query like search for nearby restaurants it'll understand that I naturally want to search in those respective apps so it will just use the Google Maps query box and search the

Results right there if the little software things like this that keep me coming back to pixel phones and there's another one in the pixel for it's called a motion sense something that I don't think a lot of people will really appreciate or care for but I've found myself using it everyday solely technology is a project that Google has been working on for several years and it's based on radar it's pretty limited in what it can do right now but it works like this at the moment you can use gestures to control three things alarms calls and music tracks and all of this

Is controlled with just a simple wave of your hand back and forth above the phone it actually doesn't need to be anything specific like the gestures on LGG 8 where you have to hold your hand in a weird claw fashion and it was just very confusing on the pixel for it's a simple swipe this way and swipe that way it might take a little getting used to but I was quickly able to get used to it and it works pretty flawlessly for alarms you can use it to simply snooze them and I've been using this extensively as I delay my waking up by just swiping away at my phone when I hear the alarm going

Off with music tracks have been listening to music and since it also works when the screen is on the always-on display I'm just simply been able to just do gestures like this to switch between tracks and with calls you can just simply do a swipe if you want to silence one if your ringer is on all this is pretty handy and I'm again genuinely been using this as I've been using the pixel 4 in my phone I really like them and I know not everyone will care for them what's more exciting is that Google is planning on adding more support and I really hope that they do

Open up the API so that developers can add all kinds of support as well there's already one game that supports it it's kind of a strange and maybe not that much of an exciting game but it still shows the potential of how you can incorporate those radar gestures into other apps and services pixel phones are known for their excellent cameras and the same is true with the pixel for the experience is excellent in emulating condition you'll get great shots and there is now a secondary camera lens it is a telephoto lens a 16 megapixel

Telephoto lens and that will definitely disappoint some people who were hoping for an ultra wide camera now I have never thought that a pixel phone lacked in the zoom Department because Google has a feature called super resume that uses AI and machine learning to improve digitally zoomed in photos now that's further refined here especially with the addition of this 2 times optical zoom lens you can get really crisp looking zoomed in shots at 2 times optical zoom and you can also extend that further to 8 times zoom and surprisingly get a really good shot just by doing this

Pinch zoom gesture much more so than if you had just taken the photo and cropped in after the fact that being said because super resume has always kind of done a good job on previous pixel phones it would have made more sense for Google to go with an ultra wide-angle lens that would have lended a little more versatility because you could rely on super resume for digitally zoomed in shots that looked pretty good and you could still have this new versatility of this ultra wide-angle lens I think Google really should have at least gone for perhaps three cameras on this phone

Adding that ultra wide-angle so that it could compete properly with phones like the iPhone 11 pro and Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 I think it is definitely better than the pixel threes not so sure whether it's necessarily better than the iPhone 11 pros in terms of pure detail I like photos that come out of the pixel form because they're often more contrasting they just have a particularly about them that I really like much more so than some of the photos that come out of the iPhone 11 Pro but on a technical level I do think the iPhone 11 can beat it out

In several examples as you can see here at the end of the day my preference is for pixels camera because I do like some of those more shadow your contrast ear shots Google has improved several things here for example there's now learning-based white balance which will try to learn the environment that you're in and correct the white balance so that the photos look really natural I've noticed this tends to still work better in nitesite but it should now work in all modes even better is live hdr+ before on pixel

Phones I've always had to think about what my shot might look like take the photo wait for it to process and then I'll get my shot and I'll be satisfied or pleased or maybe I won't be now with live HDR plus I can see what the photo will look like after it has been processed real-time on the screen before I take the shot that actually helps me frame my shot a little bit better if I know what it's gonna look like before nitesite has also improved the colors aren't as saturated as they were before but the ambience isn't still the same that

You'll find if you didn't use night mode that's something that I like about the iPhone which sometimes retains a lot of that ambience and the atmosphere of that low-light setting what's really cool is this new Astro photography mode that kicks in when you're in a really dark environment and your phone is placed on a tripod or is being balanced by a rock or something like that you can essentially trigger this mode by going into night sight and it'll automatically figure out when to turn on Astro photography mode and it will start a countdown of taking a lot of photos for

Basically 4 minutes and 30 seconds that this will be a long exposure and you'll see a lot of these photos being taken and you'll have really great results like this after you take them it's something not a lot of phones can do and if you've ever wanted to take photos of the stars this is probably the easiest way to do it portraits are also even better than before now they're still not perfect but I can definitely see an improvement from the pixel 3 especially when I take pictures of my dog the outline that shows the blur is definitely more accurate it's not as

Choppy that it used to be on the pixel 3 definitely an improvement here overall you getting an excellent camera experience on the pixel 4 as expected yes it would have been nice to have an ultra wide-angle lens but you'll have to make do with the zoom is it better than the iPhone 11 Pro sometimes yes sometimes no it also depends on what your preference is for those photographs everyone has a personal bias for what they like and you might like pixel for photo sometimes you might not other times I do like that the fact that they added

A dual exposure mode which lets you control your photos more by adjusting the brightness and the shadows but there's one area that I'm kind of disappointed in that they didn't really talk about at the keynote that's with video Apple and Samsung have made concerted efforts to talk about the video upgrades that they had on their phones and the pixel seems to have no video upgrades it still can't do 4k 60fps and that's disappointing the video quality that I'm getting out of it is fine but it's just nothing that I would have expected a successor to the pixel 3

To deliver will have a deeper dive into the camera with camera examples from the iPhone 11 Pro as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10-4 that sadly a phone is only as good as its battery inside and the battery results on the pixel for and pixel for excel are disappointing Google has only outfitted the pixel 4 with a twenty eight hundred million powered capacity battery and the pixel 4 XL with a thirty seven hundred million powered capacity what's weird is that the pixel 4 actually has a smaller battery than the Google pixel 3 a a cheaper phone that costs about $400 that makes no

Sense considering this phone is outfitted with a 90 Hertz screen motion sense gestures that require radar technology based ID like all of this stuff requires a lot of power and it doesn't make sense that Google went ahead and added a smaller battery especially in the smaller phone the bigger phone actually has a bigger battery from last year's pixel for the XL but sadly both of these phones will still only get you through a full day of work and by that I mean by around 5:30 p.m. the pixel 4 sits around 35 percent the pixel for XL hovers somewhere

Between 30% and 25% not great because what does that mean if I wanted to go out to a bar or a restaurant or just extend my night and not go home immediately I will either have to top up the phone during the day whether it's through wireless charging or using a wired charger or I would just have to carry around a battery pack or worse yet just end up with a dead phone no one wants that Google now I asked the designers why that in to add a bigger battery and it has nothing to do with thickness they said the hardware team decides how much power the phone needs

And they'll add sufficient batteries that should last around a full day clearly there's something wrong here though because these phones definitely don't do that unless you take painstaking steps to turn off features that you probably want to use because those are selling points of the phone like yes you can turn off the 90 Hertz super smooth display and you'll save some battery life you can probably turn off motion sense and also save battery life that way but these are key selling points of the phone and turning them off kind of feels like the opposite

Of what you're supposed to do it'd be nice if Google at least improved the fast charging technology yes they're still fast charging it supports an 18 watt charger that comes in the box USB PD 2.0 not 3.0 but it's no different from last year's pixel 3 you can recharge this phone in around an hour and a half if not a little less than that it would have been really nice to at least see some improvements here like we have seen on phones like the oneplus 70 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 forced to choose an Android phone to buy this year I'd still probably lean

Towards the pixel 4 because of all those smart software features that I've talked about but more importantly because of that camera I think it still has the best camera that you can get on an Android phone yes it's not as versatile as some of the other competitors yes you can probably get a close to similar experience on competitors but I think I still like the pixel force results at the end of the day now does that mean you should buy these two phones at Google's listed prices of $800 for the pixel 4 or $900 for the pixel 4 XL no they're definitely priced too high and I

Think you should definitely wait for Google to drop those prices or other retailers because that frequently does happen the people 3 dropped in price by a couple hundred dollars not too long after it launched and I think the same will be true for the pixel 4 from an excellent camera to great software experience with Google assistant to fun gestures that I actually really like to use a stunning screen experience as well as a nice design that I really like there's so much to like about the pixel 4 but it's sad to see all of this being wasted with

A small battery that doesn't support all this technology the phones will be available on October 24th I really like the pixel 4 and the pixel 4 XL but I really hope that Google learns its lesson with the pixel thanks for watching everyone are you gonna get a pixel for what are your thoughts let us know in the comments otherwise like subscribe and hit that bow for notifications and head to digital Transcom for more

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