Google Pixel 4 XL will come with a mysterious new sensor: what is it?

Google Pixel 4 XL will come with a mysterious new sensor: what is it?
The Google Pixel 4 series is coming and among the usual improvements like better cameras and faster processors, there is one new component on leaked Pixel 4 XL images that we have not seen on other phones so far.

Yes, we are talking about that suspiciously large top bezel and more specifically, about the area on the right, where a new sensor resides.

So... what is it?


Some speculate that this area will appear as completely black on the outside, with an invisible sensor lying underneath, and that sensor is said to be a "Soli Radar". To understand what this means, we need to go back to Google I/O 2015 when the company unveiled Project Soli, an initiative based on radar hardware that would allow controlling a device via subtle hand movements. The only thing that we can imagine coming closer to such an idea would be the hand gestures on the LG G8 ThinQ, an interesting idea with very little practical value.


A True Tone sensor?


Of course, there are other options on the table. Apple has been implementing a True Tone feature for its screens for years, basically adjusting the balance of white to the ambient light conditions for more realistic representation of colors. The mysterious large sensor at the front of the Pixel could be used for that purpose.

Other options on the table?


A third suggestion would be that it houses components for a Google-made Face ID system, a secure 3D face identification platform of the kind that iPhones have had ever since the X.

Whatever it is, we know that there must be a good reason for it. After the huge and unsightly notch on the Pixel 3 XL, it seems that Google is preparing a phone with a giant top bezel that is not much better, and it better have a good reason for it.

Related phones

Pixel 4 XL
  • Display 6.3" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3700 mAh

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28 Comments

1. aegislash

Posts: 1531; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

I actually like the way these phones look. It’s the direction I was hoping Samsung and others would have gone. Minimal top bezel and nearly nothing down below. Much better idea than notches and hole punches.

2. KickRocks

Posts: 283; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Cab't wait for October

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7573; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

It will be great to see how they implement it. Plus I hope Google releases some APIs to take advantage of this new sensor. Victor as far as an Apple FaceID sensor configuration, that is not even an option, especially since Apple's FaceID uses multiple sensors. Where as a Time of Flight camera replaces all those sensors that Apple used for their FaceID. Plus a ToF camera can do more than just scan a face. It can scan any object in its view. Where as Apple's FaceID setup can only be used for faces, and that's it. Even Apple is looking to replace their current FaceID implementation with a ToF camera.

7. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

" Even Apple is looking to replace their current FaceID implementation with a ToF camera." Got some sources for this claim?

8. BuffaloSouce unregistered

Go so your own research if it's an issue instead of relying on one place

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7573; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

You have got to be kidding. Just do a web search, then you could easily see all the articles in regards to Apple replacing their current FaceID with a single camera sensor. It only makes sense especially since Apple's current FaceID implementation uses a bunch of different sensors and takes up a lot of space. It's the main reason why Apple's notch is so huge. Plus it can only scan a face. The dot projector only emits 30 thousand ir dots. Which the IR camera picks up. Which is crap if you want to scan anything else. Only an idiot would try and defend Apple's current FaceID.

17. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

No source :(

18. BuffaloSouce unregistered

It's called look it up stupid

19. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

no souce no care

22. sgodsell

Posts: 7573; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

What is Ninety Six to you? Is that your IQ? Because come on, if you cannot type in a few words. Then you must be one of those over 50% of iPhone customers that don't know their iPhone model.

23. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

I can't provide a reliable source so I'm going to resort to jabs. -- sgodsell Let's go back to original topic. You said that Apple will replace their faceid with ToF. This is wrong because they will add it to the rear camera module. Guess where faceid is located? You always act like you know what you are talking about but in reality, you are truly a dumbass. https://lmgtfy.com/?q=apple+tof+camera&s=g

3. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Isn't this news like 5 days old?

5. dnomadic

Posts: 441; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

100% agree. Think it looks great...of course I use a pixel 3 xl, so looks don't matter much to me... Give me useful software, and functional hardware

15. Cat97

Posts: 1977; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

You have plenty of choice in this area, just buy a phone from 2-3 years ago.

4. Drb500kxr

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 10, 2019

Some people sometimes are just like women....Always complaining about everything... I thought women said.... The Bigger the Better!...NOTCH come on...

9. MrJohnDoe

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 02, 2017

"with a giant top bezel that is not much better, and it better have a good reason for it." I think Google is shaking in their boots! hahaha.

10. TBomb

Posts: 1662; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Galaxy S4 had hand gestures hovering above the phone too. jussaying

13. sgodsell

Posts: 7573; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The S4 used a camera. This is using radar to generate a 3D point map of every object within its view (or near it). The S4 camera only generates a 2D image.

21. Edmonton780

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 17, 2019

To put radar in a phone you would need one really big phone

28. Plutonium239

Posts: 1244; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Not necessarily. Have you missed out on the end of the 20th century and the begging of this one? All technology has been being shrunk down, radar included. Radar isn't a very complicated thing.

24. Mike88

Posts: 438; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

It might just be a new spying tool from Google

11. rabaker07

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 02, 2013

Why are people so concerned with the top and bottom bezels? The author says that this proposed pixel 4 has a giant bezel that is not much better than the notch. Huh? Giant? Do you Remember the first 9 iPhones? Side bezels, sure, you want the phone as narrow as possible while still supporting as large of a screen as possible and still maintaining close to accepted video aspect ratios (I say close because some phones have had irregular aspect ratios for this reason alone). Bottom bezel, keep it to a minimum but a little buffer there is useful so your thumb doesn't have to stretch too far down. And top, even less important. It's the least significant place for a bezel to be, as you'll never be touching beyond the very bottom of the bezel itself. And it won't affect usability like a wider phone might. Usability is the key. Appearance is second, and as long as the bezel isn't obnoxious or cumbersome, it's fine. Get over it so we aren't trapped into designing feature-poor phones just to appease the bezel-less obsession!

12. TBomb

Posts: 1662; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

preach!

16. Cat97

Posts: 1977; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Because top and bottom bezels are dead space and nobody likes carrying useless volume, just like people don't like carrying fat around their waist.

27. ssallen

Posts: 214; Member since: Oct 06, 2017

It isn't useless volume though, it add rigidity to the device and houses tons of sensors and lenses. To say its anything like a muffin top just belies how much of a sad little troll you are. :(

20. Edmonton780

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 17, 2019

It looks to me like this is going to be a laser night vision camera it’s the right size for it Similar to what Microsoft uses for the connect camera

25. daveydog

Posts: 69; Member since: Sep 01, 2013

To each their own, i hate this design, i was fine with the notches. I like complete edge to edge. But I get why people don’t, that’s fine. I appreciate the leaks, now I don’t have to wait for this phone, I’ll just grab an s10.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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