Oh, and try to set that fancy 90Hz variable refresh display to run 90Hz butter smooth all the time using a developer setting? Forget it. You'll be lucky to get two or three hours of screen time out of the device. OK, sure, but the Pixel 3 main camera was also exceptional. In the Pixel 4, Google added a second rear camera: A 2X zoom. The specifications on both cameras are Competitors now have three rear cameras, and most include an ultrawide in addition to a wide.
The celestial photography mode? It looks cool in a demo, but it's not particularly useful. It's a gimmick. Google's competitors have caught up big time with night modes, image processing, and machine learning. Google's camera is no longer unique.
New Google Pixel 4 with Dual Camera, Night Sight Mode & Motion Sense
But the free cloud-based photo storage on Google Photos is still a good value, right? Sadly, it no longer is. Instead of storing the photos in "original quality," it only stores them in "high-quality" mode. That's the same as every Android, and the iPhone gets. So, zero privileges here for owning a Pixel device. The 6GB of RAM on the phone doesn't always present itself as a problem, but if you keep a lot of apps open like I do -- such as Outlook, Teams, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook -- you'll begin to see performance degradation.
I tried to turn it on. It didn't work. It means Google didn't adequately prepare its carrier partners to accept BYOD devices on their network. Google should not claim that its phone works perfectly on all US carrier networks if it doesn't.
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Well, it doesn't. But a Google Pixel? We are talking about the reference standard Android phone -- the very same it sells in its retail stores! But I'm not. I'm 50 years old; I yell at children in the streets, and when I pay a grand for a slab of finely engineered metal, glass, and semiconductors, I expect it to work. That said, I am not waiting weeks or months to see if this issue resolves itself. If Apple can figure out how to make all its direct sale devices work between carriers without problems, then Google should be able to figure that out, as well.
Yeah, maybe I'm buying my Google crap from Amazon or a big-box retailer from now on. Perhaps it will do better next year, but I am very disappointed with this device. All these would be bad enough, but this smartphone has an ultra-premium price tag, and for that price, I expect much better.
ARCore supported devices
Celebrity influencers on the wane: Most brands will choose micro-influencers in Android phone has, and only the LG G8 with its time-of-flight sensor has something similar. And it works really well. While Face unlock on the Pixel 4 requires more precise positioning than Face ID on the iPhone 11, for a first-gen feature, I was impressed. But the new phone has some futuristic tech in the top bezel. In a vacuum, Motion Sense is the first real breakthrough for a smartphone in years. It works without an app or any real instructions, and the learning curve is easy enough to be mastered in seconds.
In a practical sense, however, Motion Sense on the Pixel 4 is nowhere near superhero status. Some of those things are surely coming down the pike, but as it stands, Motion Sense is extremely limited and not very useful—a neat trick in search of a party.
Still, Google deserves points for developing a system that actually works. Where Air Motion on the LG G8 is a finicky experience that requires more precision and patience than most people would be willing to extend, Motion Sense works the first time nearly every time. Instead of a window that takes over part or all of your screen, Assistant occupies a tiny space at the bottom of the display that will only expand to show you what you need to see.
The battery issue has become unworkable
Before that happens, however, a few things will need to be cleared up. For one, the new Assistant only works if you have gesture navigation enabled. All in all, it still needs work. Dark mode, on the other hand, is far more refined, with nearly every Google app and system screen supporting it. But my favorite feature is Live Caption.
The same goes for the excellent new Recorder app, which will record and transcribe the words it hears. Strip away the new features, and the Pixel 4 XL trails its peer a bit on the spec sheet, with the RAM, storage, and battery all on the skimpy side:.
Even Apple charges half that. Somewhat surprisingly, Google shines in its new display game. Pixel phones have had long-standing issues with their screens, from OLED burn-in to flat colors, but the Pixel 4 is the first to get it right.
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The blacks are deeper and the colors are more vibrant than the Pixel 3, and the oleophobic smudges that plagued earlier models are nowhere to be seen so far, anyway. And I really liked the new Ambient EQ feature that adjusts the white balance based on the light in the room. The Pixel 4 also introduces Smooth Display, which ups the refresh rate to 90Hz for smoother and speedier scrolling and swiping. Google says it will be updating Smooth Display "in the coming weeks," but for now it's just another feature that looks good on paper but not so much in practice.
With all of the bells and whistles on, the Pixel 4 XL has extremely average battery life for a phone in this price range. While Google basically forced you to buy a Pixel Stand to get fast wireless charging on the Pixel 3, the Pixel 4 delivers 11W charging with any compatible charger. Google built the Pixel name on the strength of its camera, and the fourth version only drives that point home.
After telling us for years that a single camera was all you needed, Google has added a second camera to the rear of the phone, marrying a 16MP telephoto lens with the And perhaps Google was right all along. Since previous Pixels have been able to achieve such incredible results with just one lens, the addition of a second lens brings expected rather than exceptional results. In this image of a rainbow-tinted knife, the Pixel 4 left mutes the colors of both the floor and the blade, while the iPhone 11 center and Pixel 3 XL right handle them properly.
But so did the Pixel 3. And so do the Galaxy S10 and the iPhone In some tests, the Pixel 4 XL bested its competition and in others, it performed on par.