Pixel 4 review: reclaiming the crown

by birtanpublished on September 21, 2020

this is the new pixel for while it was just unveiled last week it feels like this phone's been around for months thanks to all the rumours leaks and also a handful of early reviews all the attention the phone's gotten may have

Set expectations high but that's exactly where they should be since this is the best that Google has to offer but I'm not here to talk about expectations after spending nearly a full week with the pixel 4 I'm here to

Tell you whether or not this phone is worthy of the pixel name and your hard earned cash I'm Nick gray from Phandroid and this is our review of the Google pixel for the best place to start things off is

With respective prices of these phones for $800 you can own the smaller pixel 4 which comes with 64 gigabytes of storage or pay $100 more for the larger pixel for Excel doubling the storage on either of these 2 devices will set you back an

Extra $100 which I definitely recommend since you don't get expandable storage while it may not look like it the pixel 4 does continue the design aesthetic of the previous pixel devices sure the square camera module on the back

Definitely isn't pretty and many will be mon the asymmetrical bezels around the display but honestly I actually love it the soft touch glass finish on the white and orange models makes it feel like one of HTC's finely crafted polycarbonate

Phones from back in the day the matte finish on the back is the same one that Google used on the bottom half of last year's phone though the black pixel for it gets a pure gloss finish you know just in case you love finger prints the

Power and volume buttons offer a satisfying click and the powder coat finish on the metal frame gives the phone a bit more grip than most other devices these days personally the Oso Orange would have been my color of

Choice but the clearly white with this panda white on black color scheme has definitely grown on me especially since they decided to give it an orange accented power button now usually the camera section of a review is closer to

The end but since the camera experience is one of the primary reasons anyone buys a pixel phone we decided to bump it up a little as the square camera module on the back of the phone implies Google has crammed in new hardware this time

Around the massive square on the back of the phone includes two cameras that's right you get a standard and a 2x telephoto lens respectively paired with 12 and 16 megapixel sensors unfortunately Google

Has deemed the ultra wide camera as an essential which in my opinion is a huge mistake but let's focus on what is here rather than what's not with a pixel for Google picked up exactly where it left off with last year's pixel 3 of course

Google's incredible image processing is back but this time around they've updated the camera app as well with a new live HDR plus feature in the viewfinder so that you can actually see the resulting image

Before you capture it and then there's the new built-in exposure and shadow controls which allow you to fine-tune the light in the scene so that you can capture the exact image that you want the controls are perfect for when you

Want to emphasize the foreground or the background rather than the phone choosing what to expose for on its own and finally Google has enabled JPEG plus raw image capture for the more serious photographers who are out there who want

To edit the image on their own when it comes to the hardware itself the 2x telephoto lens and its accompanying sensor are a great addition especially since the phone's computational photography allows you to zoom in up to

Eight times the capture images which are shockingly crisp in the past I've always steered clear of digital zoom but with the pixel floor it's a whole different ballgame since the algorithms that are used here stitch multiple shots together

To deliver results that are far better than what you would get if you simply took an image and crop into it later on that being said the sensor you're gonna be using the most is a standard 12 megapixel one while the resolution

Hasn't increased over last year's phone Google's image processing definitely halves snapping a picture on the pixel 4 is a phenomenal experience delivering results that simply can't be mapped by any other smartphone that's currently

Out there the phone now uses the same machine learning algorithms as Google did with nitesite in the past to adjust white balance to deliver a more realistic tone in HDR plus and Google's image processing delivers incredible

Dynamic range with well exposed highlights and massive amounts of details in the shadows now I did come across some grainy images from time to time but when comparing shots with those taken with the iPhone 11 Pro and even

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 the pixel 4 were nearly always better by now you're probably well aware of Google's nitesite setting and the incredible images that it can capture on the pixel four-night site of course is back but it's also

Been given a new astrophotography mode which uses computational photography and a series of long exposures to brighten up the night sky and pull the light of the stars seemingly out of pure darkness while this isn't a setting that you're

Going to be using that often it will blow you away every time that you do portrait mode on the pixel floor has been improve as well since it's now using Google's dual pixel technology combined with the

Depth information made available by the two sensors on the back of the phone this means you can take portrait shots of larger objects and subjects that are further away and the results are great especially the since they've updated the

Bouquet filter for the blurred background which looks a lot more like what you'd get from a DSLR at first I was a little bit disappointed when I heard that Google wasn't bringing back the dual front-facing cameras from the

Pixel three but the new 22 millimeter lens is a good compromise between the 19 millimeter and the 28 millimeter lenses used before so the images that you get out of the 8 megapixel sensor are spectacular and the phone seems to nail

Portrait shots nearly every time at in night sight and you've got yourself the best smartphone for taking selfies again besides not having ultra wide cameras on the front for the back the only other disappointing feature of the pixel

Forest camera setup is its video capture capabilities the phone can't record 4k video at 60 frames per second like nearly every other 2019 flagship smartphone while 4k 30 definitely isn't bad as simply not as smooth as what you

Get from other devices the built-in optical and electronic image stabilization do a really good job of keeping the video clip steady but someone who is intending to use this phone mainly as a video capture device

Might want to find another alternative finding here is that audio capture while recording video has gotten a lot better and this is something I've been griping about on pixel devices for the last couple years it's still not as good as

When you get out of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 but it's a huge improvement when you compare it to last year's pixel 3 since Google's phones have always been running in nearly stock Android they've always been pretty smooth but they've

Never really been known for great performance with the Snapdragon a 55 the phone's match the performance of most other flagship 20:19 devices but Google could have had the leg up if they went with the Snapdragon 855 plus some will

Also be disappointed since this phone only comes with 6 gigabytes of RAM but honestly that's not a huge deal what it is is Google's choice to go only go with 64 or 128 gigabytes of storage which is a slap in the face when you

Consider that you no longer get unlimited full resolution Google photos backups I'm not sure what Google was thinking when it made this decision these phones were built to take pictures and not having that extra cloud storage

Definitely detracts from the pixel experience as for the panel's the pixel 4 has a full HD 5.7 inch display while the XL has been blessed with a 6.3 inch quad HD panel but the real story here is that the displays have a new 90 Hertz

Variable refresh rate it gives the phone smoother transitions scrolling and is perfect for fast paced games that can take advantage of it the display also features an adaptive color profile which adjusts to the color temperature of the

Room so that what appears on the screen is more natural it can take a while to get used to but once you do it makes it a lot easier on the eyes especially in darker environments when it comes to software the pixel 4 is running on

Android 10 but it does have quite a few unique features which set it apart from other devices that are also running stock Android since Google is still in the process of building its core user base with most of its customers coming

From other brands they've been focusing heavily on the conversion process part of this does include three free months of Google one service which does include processions with Google support team which will walk users through any issues

Or questions that they have about their device there's also a new safety application pre install on the device allowing you to add emergency contact information to the phone so that you or others can easily

Contact them in case something happens and then there's even a new crash detection feature which will automatically call 911 detects that you've been in an accident it small touches like these which add to the

Overall pixel experience and sets Google's phone apart from some of its competitors one of the features that I'm most excited about is the new theming mechanism which allows you to customize the UI element colors system icons and

More you can choose between a handful of presets or create your own there really aren't a whole lot of options here but I'm hoping that that will change in the near future Google's also added in a live

Transcription accessibility feature which transcribed what you and your friends say in real-time or audio from music or videos that are played on the phone the same technology it ties into the new voice recording application

Which can record audio while transcribing in real time and create a searchable file for quick reference afterwards the feature works flawlessly and would be perfect if you use your phone to record interviews or lectures

When looking at the phone you might be fooled into thinking that there's an indispensable but the pixel for actually takes a note out of Apple's playbook by switching over to secure face unlock as the only form of biometric

Authentication it uses the time of flight and infrared sensor to help with the authentication and google claims it's the fastest in the industry we're not sure if that's truly the case but it is extremely fast and a little bit of

Haptic feedback that you get when the phone doesn't lock is a nice touch unfortunately though Google's implementation here isn't quite as secure as Apple's since it does work when your eyes are closed something

That's not possible on Apple devices the new Android 10 gestures aren't anything unique to the pixel 4 but the phone does come with its own unique swipe in from the bottom corners to pull up the Google assistant as for the other navigational

Gestures they do take some time to get used to if you're using them for the first time swiping in from the edge of the screen replaces the back button swiping up from the bottom takes you back to the home screen and swiping up

And holding will take you to the most recent applications this one's definitely the hardest one the mask but I honestly don't use it that much since there's the new swipe left or right from the bottom of the screen

Which quickly switches you back and forth between the most recent applications you have used besides the cameras on the back of the phone the hardware feature that's getting the most attention this year is Google's new

Introduction of it's solely radar sensor which enables motion sense the premise here is pretty incredible the pixel floor can actually detect movement of objects around it allowing for some unique functionality swipe your hand

Over the phone while it's playing music and it'll skip to the next track or if an alarm is ringing it'll get quieter as your hand approaches I'll be the first to admit that this kind of technology inside of a

Smartphone is really cool unfortunately motion sense doesn't really feel like it's ready for primetime for starters its functionality is extremely limited Google so Lee's demos that they've been showing out for the

Last couple years showed off a lot more interactions that have not been included yet and honestly the interactions that have been included don't seem to work 50% of the time while google claims that the pixel 4 and the 4 excel are the same

Phone the battery capacity differences here are truly what set them apart to put things simply the smaller pixel 4 is 2,800 milliamp hour battery is a disappointment it's as simple as that the pixel 4 won't get you through a full

Day if you're a power users most days the phone powered off after just 12 to 13 hours of use which is painfully inadequate in 2019 as for the pixel 4 XL it got 15 to 17 hours under the same conditions charging both of these

Devices with the included 18 watt power delivery charger is pretty quick taking about 90 minutes for the XL and about 10 minutes less for the regular pixel 4 and you also get wireless charging though it's a little bit slower than what you

Get on most competing devices these days Google has spent a lot of time refining the pixel experience but as you can see the pixel four isn't a device without compromises the software experience on the phone is as close to perfect as

We've ever seen on an Android device and may actually be good enough to convince quite a few iOS users to make the switch but Google's phone does come up short on the hardware side by failing to deliver specifications which would allow it to

Compete with the best Android phones that are out there that being said though the pixel 4 comes alive and truly shines when you open up the camera application if photography is a priority for you

This is definitely the device you should be buying the pixel for will certainly be my smartphone of choice for taking pictures going forward

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