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Home Reviews Google Pixel 4 hands-on: Picture perfect in nearly every way

Google Pixel 4 hands-on: Picture perfect in nearly every way

Android Authority‘s Pixel 4 content is brought to you by MNML Case, makers of the world’s thinnest phone case. Save 25% on your Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL case using the discount code AAPixel4.

The Google Pixel 4 is here. It’s finally here! After months of leaks, which almost spoiled all the fun, the search giant announced the Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL, its flagship phones for the year. Like previous generations of Pixel phones, the 4 series is available in small and large sizes. Other than the physical size, screen resolution, and battery capacity, the two devices are identical. Read our full Google Pixel 4 hands-on to see what we think about the latest from Google.

A posh Pixel look

Google has adopted a slightly different design for the Pixel 4 series. The Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3 all featured a two-tone rear panel that helped to break up what would otherwise be a boring slab. Apparently, boring is in this year. Google ditched the two-tone look for a solid color (Just Black, Clearly White, or the limited edition Oh So Orange). Where the white and orange have a matte finish, the black is glossy and, yep, is a fingerprint magnet.

The Pixel 4 has the narrower profile of a modern phone thanks to the 19:9 aspect ratio display. All three phones feature a black aluminum frame that wraps around the chassis. Google painted the frame in multiple layers to give it a textured finish. This frame is sandwiched by slabs of Gorilla Glass 5. I like that each variant borrows a color from its brethren for the power button.

Pixel 4 XL button macro 1

While the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL may take a step away from the traditional Pixel dressage, I do think they maintain that “Google-y” look thanks to the simplicity of their lines. That may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your preferences.

The phones rate IP68 for protection against water and dirt. Google says don’t worry about getting them wet. They are made of glass, however, and a case such as this one from MNML might be a good idea.

Pixel 4 XL back in hand 1
Pixel 4 XL back in hand 3

If one thing stands out, it’s the camera module. Similar to the iPhone 11 Pro, Google tucked an elevated glass module in the upper-left corner of the rear panel. This module contains two lenses (telephoto, wide) and a flash. The module is black, even on the white and orange colorways. It’s not exactly attractive, but the module is much less physically pronounced than that of the iPhone 11 Pro.

The phone is pragmatic. It’s sensible without being sensational.

I am super happy to report that the heinous notch of the Pixel 3 XL is gone. Both versions of the Pixel 4 have a standard-shaped display, which is to say there are no notches, punch holes, or anything of that nature. The Pixel 4 series does, however, have a slight chin and forehead end-capping the screen.

Pixel 4 XL screen on table 4


Pixel 4 XL earns DisplayMate’s Best Smartphone Display Award

Android Authority’s Pixel 4 content is brought to you by MNML Case, makers of the world’s thinnest phone case. Save 25% on your Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL case using the discount code AAPixel4.

Update: A …

Speaking of the screens, the Pixel 4 XL has a 6.3-inch display while the Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inch display. Both are AMOLED panels with Quad HD+ and Full HD+ resolutions, respectively. In our time with the phones today, we’d say the screens are color-rich, sharp, and accurate.

The rest of the hardware carries over features that we expect to see on a modern smartphone. Well, most anyway. There’s no headphone jack.

A powerful Pixel

Pixel 4 XL back on table 4

As Qualcomm exec Cristiano Amon was so excited to point out via Twitter a day early, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor under the hood. It’s a bit disappointing that Google didn’t opt for the 855 Plus, which is revved up a bit, but there’s no denying that the 855 is a powerhouse of a chip.

Also read: The full list of Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL specs

Thankfully, Google boosted the RAM this year from 4GB to 6GB. Given the memory management issues suffered by the Pixel 3, this is a helpful improvement. Google is offering two storage configurations, 64GB and 128GB, the latter of which will cost you an extra $100. This is pretty stingy. Other than Apple’s iPhone, which also starts at 64GB, nearly all Android flagships include 128GB out of the box. Worse, there’s no memory card storage on the Pixel 4 series. Disappointing, Google.

Google augmented this arrangement with a dedicated Pixel Neural processor and its Titan M security chip. The Pixel Neural processor handles a lot of tasks, such as Google Assistant, while the Titan M safeguards user privacy.

Pixel 4 XL screen in hand 3

Hopefully battery life is better. The phones’ lithium-ion batteries have capacities of 2,800mAh and 3,700mAh for the 4 and 4 XL, respectively. Google says this is more than enough to get through a full day, but every phone maker makes the same promise — and gives their phones hundreds mAh more in capacity. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a 4,500mAh battery, which puts the 4 XL’s to shame. We’ll leave it to our real-world and objective testing to see how the Pixel 4 series really performs.

Qi wireless charging is carried over, as is rapid wireless charging. An 18W charger is included in the box, though Google didn’t commit to any specific charging speeds or times.

A photographic Pixel

Pixel 4 XL camera macro 1

Google has set the bar for mobile photography three years running and this year it looks to keep its lead. While Apple, Huawei, LG, Samsung, and others have adopted three- and even four-camera arrays, Google is moving from its single camera setup to a dual-camera setup. The main sensor is 12MP, while the second sensor is 16MP. But, as Google explained, it’s not about the megapixels.

Google brought up one of its camera engineers to go over the additions to the camera this year, which focused on a few things.

First up, Live HDR+. This tool will present a more accurate representation of what the resulting image will look like as people compose their shot. Further, it adds brightness and shadow sliders so people can tweak their photos for creative effect before firing the shot. Neat.

The Pixel 4 series still maxes out at 4K video at 30fps.

Next, Google refined its portrait mode. Using the phone’s two cameras, Google is better able to compute in three dimensions. This helps portrait mode provide more separation between the subject and the background, as well as create cleaner edges around human hair and dog fur.

Then there’s Night Sight. Google has taken night mode to the extreme. The phone is good enough at seeing in the dark that it can literally be used to take pictures of the stars. It does this by capturing 15 different images and blending them together. The results shared on stage looked impressive, though we look forward to testing this ourselves.

Last, white balance. Google is performing more calculations in the background to properly assess color. This will help avoid the blue or yellow tint that some photos take on depending on the ambient light.

Pixel 4 XL camera macro 2

Good stuff, all, but the Pixel 4 series still maxes out at 4K video at 30fps. Disappointing that Google didn’t push that to 4K at 60fps.

An Android 10 Pixel

Pixel 4 XL screen in hand 2

Google is shipping the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL with Android 10, the latest version of its mobile platform. As it does every year, Google bestowed several Pixel-only features on these devices.

First up is Motion Sense. This relies on miniaturized radar tech from Soli to register the motion of your hand. It allows people to wake the phone, silence calls and alarms, or skip music tracks with a wave of their hand. We’ve seen this type of feature before, and the in-person demo was saw was flaky at best.

The Pixel 4 ships with the new Google Assistant. Powered in part by the Pixel Neural Core, the Pixel 4 series is able to perform far more voice actions when not connected to the internet. Google said it developed a special version of Assistant for the Pixel 4 that is able to control on-device apps, tasks, and more. We saw Google employees quick switch from app to app, as well as issue follow-up requests almost immediately. Good stuff.

A new voice recorder app can not only transcribe text in real time, it is fully searchable. Very slick.

Last is the upgraded face unlock tool. Google still uses the camera to recognize your face, but it relies on the Motion Sense radar module to know when you’re holding or looking at the phone. It also fully encrypts face ID data and keeps it locked on the Titan M chip. This is good news for those who are keen on privacy.

A pragmatic Pixel

Pixel 4 XL top down on table

In a year during which its competitors upped the hardware ante with sleek slabs, Google is sticking to the most simple. The Pixel 4 is boring, and that’s the point. The company said quite plainly that it wants hardware to drop away from the experience and allow people to focus on what they can accomplish. The Pixel 4 does that. It’s a bare-bones-looking piece of hardware that basically serves as a wrapper for Google Assistant.

In this sense, the phone is pragmatic. It’s sensible without being sensational.

A pricey Pixel

Pixel 4 XL ports macro 1

Where the Nexus line from Google focused on providing a good experience at an affordable price point, the Pixel line has steadily increased its price point to match the flagship competition. In other words, don’t expect the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL to come cheap.

The smaller Pixel starts at $799 for the 64GB model and costs $899 for the 128GB version, while the larger Pixel starts at $899 for the 64GB variant and tops out at $999 for the 128GB model.

The Pixel is more available than ever thanks to new carrier deals. The Pixel is compatible with and will be sold by all the major carriers in the US. That’s good news for Google and for US consumers. Google of course is also selling the phone unlocked.

Pre-order from B&HPre-order from Google

This concludes our Google Pixel 4 hands on. What do you think? Are you impressed? Nonplussed? Be sure to let us know.

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Google Accessibility expands with apps for cognitively impaired

Google Accessibility enables people with disabilities to get the most out of their smartphone via free apps. The tech giant now offers three new apps that can help the elderly or other people with cognitive impairments better use their phones with less effort.Google Accessibility – 3 new apps added to the mixGoogle Accessibility, as the name implies, targets enabling its audiences with different handicaps. In their latest blog post, Google talks about their efforts to further help people with cognitive issues by making their routine more streamlined and accessible.Action Blocks Action Blocks is the latest app on the Google Play Store. You can create customized spaces on the screen that on a single tap carry out an action for you. All of this from your home screen.You can create a dedicated block to dial a loved one without accessing the dialer app, or adjust the lighting in the room to a specific setting, all from the Action Blocks app.Live Transcribe The Live Transcribe app has been improved to add more languages to its list which include Albanian, Burmese, Estonian, Macedonian, Mongolian, Punjabi, and Uzbek. In addition, it also brings brand new features targeted to a new audience.Your phone will vibrate when someone nearby says your name.You can now add custom names or terms for different objects or places that might not be in the dictionary.A revised search bar lets you search through past conversations more easily. To enable it, turn on ‘Saving Transcriptions’ in Settings. When enabled, transcriptions will be saved on your device for three days in local storage.Sound AmplifierThe Sound Amplifier app now enables people who are hard of hearing to experience their favorite content with minimal disturbance. Users can now connect their Bluetooth headphones and place their phone near the source of the sound e.g. a television, to get the audio transmitted to their headphones without taking up the volume.The app also works for boosting the volume and clearing up the audio of apps on the phone. Whether you’re listening to music or watching a video on YouTube.With all of these additions, Google’s commitment to accessibility is indeed a commendable effort. Especially with many elders staying indoors due to the Corona Virus, these new features are a welcome addition.

Just $36.99, the ChronoWatch has full color display and 16 functions

Summer is quickly approaching, the stay-at-home restrictions are slowly lifting, and things are looking better. Now’s the time when you leave those lazy days behind and start exercising and getting more active.Now’s the time to pick up a new smart watch. Why? For starters, they’ll help keep track of things and hold you accountable. Not only that, but it can help cut your phone time down, too.Buying a new smart watch doesn’t have to cost all that much money. Take the ChronoWatch, for instance. Priced just $36.99, it offers up a full 1.4-inch color touch display, waterproof coating, and support for 16 different functions.Track sleep, steps, calories, blood pressure, distance, heart rate, and more with this affordable smart watch. Indeed, the ChronoWatch also provides glanceable weather, alarms, music controls, and notifications to popular apps.On top of all of this, it pairs via Bluetooth to both Android and iOS phones and offers up a seven day battery.ChronoWatchTrack your daily activity, including steps, calories burned, mileage & heart rateMonitor your blood pressure & blood oxygen levelsWear it anywhere, anytime thanks to its sweat & waterproof designControl phone calls & musicGet alerts for SMS, Facebook & moreView the time, date & week on the sleek 1.4-inch screen displayBuy Yours Today!Stop over to the AndroidGuys Deals Store today and order your ChronoWatch for just $36.99, a savings of some 81% off original retail price.For a limited time (until May 26), you can save an additional 20% on the ChronoWatch, getting it for a mere $29.60 after it’s all done. Simply use coupon code SUMMERSAVE20 at checkout. You’re welcome.

Realme X50 Pro Play brings Snapdragon 865, 90Hz, and more for $400

Realme on Monday announced its X50 Pro Play on Chinese social media site Weibo. The phone brings a lot of flagship-tier specs and features but for a low price of $400. The only catch here is that it’s currently exclusive to China, with plans to expand in Europe to follow.Realme X50 Pro Play – Irresistible hardware and priceThe Realme X50 Pro Play has just been announced, and to say it is loaded with a world of features would not do it justice. Even though the phone is a less-expensive option to the Realme X50 Pro, it brings a lot to the table, while keeping the price very affordable.In a market where a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 starts at above $600, Realme has proven yet again that competition in the market is indeed healthy.Here are the specs of the phone:CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8656.44″ fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Super AMOLED display, w/ 90Hz refresh rateAndroid 10 powered by the Realme UI6GB, 8GB, and 12GB RAM options4200mAh battery (65W SuperDart fast wired charging)Back cameras: 48-MP main camera, 8-MP ultrawide, 2-MP macro, 2-MP depth.Front camera: 16-MP main camera, 2-MP depthPhone color options: Black and SilverPricing6GB RAM + 128GB ROM = $3808GB RAM + 128GB ROM= $42012GB RAM + 128GB ROM = $460The inclusion of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 means that the phone has 5G capabilities, which makes it yet another great phone for the emerging 5G market that’s garnering across the world.In the past, Realme has shown itself to be a contender for releasing strong hardware at attractive prices. The Realme X50 Pro Play does have a lot going for it, and the only real problem with this phone would be its availability.A good majority of the hardware is found in flagship-tier phones, but competing brands like Redmi and Realme deliver premium hardware in a mid-tier price range. In the end, the only problem that comes is availability.The phone is set to launch in China first on June 1st. Soon after, Realme will expand the phone to Europe and other regions.What are your thoughts on the Realme X50 Pro Play? Let us know in the comments section below!

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