Google on Tuesday announced its latest flagship phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, and, in the process put to bed months of rumors and leaks.As if we might have expected anything else, nearly every detail surrounding the two phones made its way online ahead of the formal debut.The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL share a number of hardware features in common and are largely differentiated by two features. Specifically, the XL variant offers a bigger screen and battery.SpecificationsRunning Android 10, the two handsets are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB RAM. Storage capacity can be had in either 64GB and 128GB options.In terms of cameras, this marks the first time that Google opts for more than one sensor on the back. For 2019 it dials up a 12-megapixel main sensor with a secondary 16-megapixel telephoto camera. Between these two, and Google’s historically great software, you have the makings of another standout experience.Pixel 4 versus Pixel 4XLThe Pixel 4 houses a 5.7-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate while its larger sibling packs a 6.3-inch screen. As for batteries, the standard version has a 2,800mAh power source with the bigger brother pushing things up to 3,700mAh.Special FeaturesIf you know anything about the Pixel line, you know it’s not just about the standard hardware specs. Google goes to great lengths to sprinkle additional sensors and tech into its phones, and includes other special features.For the 2019, all eyes will be on the Motion Sense gestures, Face Unlock, and updated Google Assistant experience. These help to make a more cohesive, smarter, and intuitive way of interacting with the phones.Face Unlock is an interesting twist if only because it removes the fingerprint scanner in the process. How much difference this makes in authentication, in-app purchases, and the like remains to be seen.AvailabilityIn a departure, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will be sold through all major carriers at launch. As such, each service provider has the same starting price of $800 and $900, respectively. Add $100 to each to jump from 64GB to 128GB.As expected, customers have the option of buying the phones in both (Just) Black and (Clearly) White colors. Whereas previous years saw pink and purple variants, this year’s special color is “Oh So Orange”, which is… you guessed it, orange.The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are expected to ship starting from October 24.
Whenever a new phone arrives the first question we tend to get is, “what’s different from the last one?” It’s a deserving question, especially when discussing flagship devices. After all, we just got this handset and spent a pretty penny for it. Is it really time to consider replacing it?In the past there was a bigger divide between generations of phones, but today’s it’s slowed down quite a bit. Revolution only comes around every so often as it’s typically just incremental evolution.With the Pixel 4 now available, it makes sense to stack it up against the predecessor that is the Pixel 3. What’s different between the two? Is it worth upgrading?Let’s dive into the two phones a bit and see if we can maybe answer those questions. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but we’re here to arm you with a bit of information to help make your decision an educated one.PerformanceThe Pixel 4 is more powerful with its Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB RAM but that might not be obvious to very many users. Why? the Pixel 3’s Snapdragon 845 and 4GB combination is more than sufficient for games, tasks, and daily usage.The difference in battery might also be negligible, but the reality is that the Pixel 3 has a bigger power source. Both offer the same USB Type C and wireless charging.Storage capacity is identical between the two phones. There’s no advantage one way or the other.DisplayWhen compared to the Pixel 3’s 5.5-inch screen, the Pixel 4 is just a smidge larger at 5.7-inches. In other words, the size is not worth discussing.Now, the 90Hz refresh rate is another topic altogether. Not only does this make for smoother game play, video, and moving graphics, but even scrolling text in websites and emails feels smoother. This is one of those features where once you have it, you’ll have a tough time going without.CameraSince its initial launch in 2016, one of the most compelling reasons to consider a Pixel phone is its camera experience. Google’s done some incredible things with its camera for the 2019 model and it’s probably the biggest selling point, yet again.The Pixel 4 steps things up in four major areas, all of which lead to smarter, better images. Thanks to AI and computational learning, the phone gets improved contrast, color range, bokeh effects, zoom, and night shots.If you buy your phone for the camera, and don’t mind upgrading once a year, you should run, not walk, to the Pixel 4.AndroidEssentially a non-starter of a topic for now, both phones have Android 10 running the show. In the long run, though, the Pixel 4 will likely get one more upgrade, but even that may be 2-3 years away. Chances are good that you’ll replace your phone before that.Special FeaturesHere’s where the gap widens a bit in favor of the Pixel 4. The 2019 flagship gets a few handy upgrades and improvements, including the new-look Google Assistant.The Project Soli sensor is exclusive to the Pixel 4 and gives users interesting ways to interact (Motion Sense) with their device. The same goes for Face Unlock which has replaced the fingerprint reader (Pixel Imprint). Really, the jury is out on whether it’s practical or intuitive to not have a fingerprint reader.Google Assistant is more tightly integrated into the experience, as this time it’s built into the OS. Indeed, interacting is more like having a smart display in your hand as you can control it to open results, ask follow up questions, pull up twitter accounts, etc.Another noteworthy enhancement for this generation is the new audio recorder. Smarter than ever, it provides users with live transcription and helpful ways to search for files. Yes, you can look through your old clips by searching for words, phrases, and topics.ConclusionWe absolutely love the cohesive experience that is Google’s Pixel line. Each year gets better than the last but it’s more along the software front than the hardware one.Google has cooked up some interesting stuff for 2019 and we cannot wait to get our hands on the Pixel 4. Not because we want something that’s going to tear through benchmarks and wow us with snappy game play.READ: One year later, we review the Pixel 3Performance is not going to be an issue for either model. Its really in the AI smarts and added touches that we see the benefit of going with the latest and greatest.If you didn’t buy the Pixel 3 at launch, you probably don’t need to give the Pixel 4 a serious look. The two match up close enough to each other that you won’t really notice the differences over the next year or so.If you are coming from an older phone and have the budget, we definitely recommend going with the Pixel 4. You’ll not only notice the upgraded performance, but we think the added AI, souped-up camera, and extra features is worth the money.Short VersionAlready have a Google Pixel 3? Stay with it.Have a phone from 2017 or before? Spend the money on the Pixel 4.
It’s not just Pixel phones that Google introduced at its annual hardware event as the company had other products up its sleeves, too.The second generation of Google Nest Mini (formerly Home Mini) is out, and at first blush, closely resembles its predecessor. However, a closer look reveals there are some subtle changes in store for fall 2019.Whereas the first-gen featured an orange bottom, the underside of the speakers now match the color of the fabric. Speaking of colors, this year looks to have four options: Charcoal, Chalk, Coral, and Sky (light blue).Staying with the bottom, if you flip the speaker over you’ll see that it now has a cutout for hanging on a wall.Given that the Nest Mini is ultimately a speaker, it makes sense to address the sound, too. Google does just that, providing bass that’s twice as strong as the original Google Home Mini.Additionally, users can now can pair two Nest Minis for stereo sound or use stream transfer to move your music, audiobooks, and podcasts from one speaker to another via voice.Nest Mini improves the Google Assistant’s speed by leveraging on-device machine learning, learning your most common music and smart home commands. It responds faster over time and can automatically adjust the volume based on background noises.Other changes in the Nest Mini come in the form of the power port which is now a 15W rounded plug instead of the microUSB connection. Bluetooth also gets a punch up to v5.0 instead of 4.1 with Wi-Fi at 802.11 b/g/n/ac.The Google Nest Mini retails for $49 and you’ll be able to find it in all the same places you previously saw the Home Mini. Retailers include Google, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart. Look for it starting on October 22.
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Announced in August, the Motorola One Action is now available for pre-order in the US. It’s set to arrive on October 31 but anxious buyers can put their money down on one starting immediately.Motorola’s latest is sold unlocked, runs Android 9 Pie, and features an interesting camera experience that aims to rival the likes of GoPro. It’s Motorola’s first phone to include a triple camera configuration, including the industry’s first 117-degree ultra-action video camera.Flip the One Action over and you’ll see there are no less than three cameras on the back. The main one is a 12-megapixel shooter with phase autodetection, 1.25µm pixels and a f/1.8 aperture. This means quicker focus quicker and more light in the sensor.A second, 5-megapixel camera captures depth and allows for natural blur, focal intensity, and great portrait shots. The third rear camera is dedicated to ultra-wide video and offers a 117-degree field of view. What’s more, it’s rotated 90-degrees.In terms of general performance, the One Action houses a 22.GHz octa-core processor with 4GB RAM and a generous 128GB storage. A microSD expansion card slot allows for up to 1TB of external media.A 3500mAh battery is tucked inside the phone and should provide well beyond one day’s worth of usage. The 10W rapid charging means less time plugged in and more time out in the world.Similar to other Motorola phones, this one has a stock Android experience with minimal gestures added. Moreover, it’s also water resistant, comes with a USB Type-C charger, and 3.5mm headphone jack.AvailabilityThe Motorola One Action retails for $350 which, to us, makes it an incredibly appealing phone for customers shopping on a limited budget. Unlocked, it’s compatible with all four of the major wireless service providers. Look for it in Denim Blue and Pearl White at Motorola’s website.Free Moto G6 PromoA limited time promotion sees Motorola giving customers a 32GB Moto G6 for free with the purchase of the One Action. Simply add both phones to your cart and you’ll get the deal.
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