First Pixel 4 XL teardown reveals a 'magic rectangle that knows your every move'

First Pixel 4 XL teardown reveals a 'magic rectangle that knows your every move'
The Pixel 4, just like the Pixel 3a before it,  may have been the most thoroughly leaked handsets in recent memory, and yet there are still some secrets and mysteries to be found under the hood, note the tech pathoanatomy junkies over at iFixit.

They took the Pixel 4 XL apart, and found the smallest radar chip commercially available to be behind the touted touchless navigation. Google uses the comparatively wide top bezel to revolutionize its Pixel phones' interface navigation by introducing the gesture recognition platform it only had in prototype form so far, dubbed Motion Sense. 

The chip that makes it possible comes from Google's Project Soli undertaking, and employs "a new sensing technology that uses miniature radar to detect touchless gesture interactions." And miniature it is, as iFixit had trouble figuring out where it was, until it pried away a small package containing the earpiece, mic, and light sensor. That's where the  teeny tiny Soli chip was hiding, a remarkable engineering exercise by Google.

"Although radar technology has been in use for a long time and seems simple enough on paper, we're at a loss as to how Google stuffed the entire system into a tiny featureless rectangle with no moving parts," marvelled the tech surgeons, and explained the complex radar technology employed with the simple "magic rectangle knows your every move."

The other interesting bits inside are a proprietary Pixel Neural Core chip that does the heavy image-analysis lifting, a quad Knowles 8508A audio processor that ensures flawless Live Transcribe performance, and Google's custom Titan M security chip. The verdict? A 4/10 repairability score, so you'd better leave all fixes to the pros out there.


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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7 Comments

1. darkwintercloud

Posts: 37; Member since: Oct 04, 2017

Its a good device at least. The downside is battery life, a shame such a essential part is almost always underestimated even for todays standards...

2. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

If there is a battery case, I'd consider buying it - assuming the battery is actually as bad as everyone tihnks it will be

3. thedizzle

Posts: 200; Member since: Oct 05, 2017

From what I heard, the 90hz always on just destroys the battery life lol

4. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1339; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

The battery is usually the best way companies have of making sure your tech becomes obsolete.

5. Ichimoku

Posts: 175; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

definitely we need a new battery tech.

6. KingSam

Posts: 1492; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I mean if Google realeases a spyware phone at least put in a large battery so they can spy all the time. They don't seem to get it.

7. XyAzario

Posts: 54; Member since: Mar 15, 2019

I feel like this phone is not good for privacy. Yeah it does have cool features and Soli's proposition is that it makes everything intuitive but I feel like we should take a step and ask ourselves if this is good for us in the long run. Remember that these FAANG companies want to milk us and have us living like zombies just look at Nest and Alexa, all of them are just data collecting machines, nothing good in them at all. If there's any good in them, it's quickly wiped out by the bad. I totally don't think we need this but hey, if home assistants are selling like hotcakes despite their data collection guess a few will sit down and think about their implications on privacy.

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