The Google Pixel 4 is the worst value phone in 2019

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
The Google Pixel 4 is the worst value phone in 2019
The Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are the phones with the worst value in the mobile industry right now. Anyone that pre-orders these two flagships or buys them full-price within the first month of their availability will be shooting themselves in the figurative foot. 

Google's Pixel 4 and 4 XL fail to entice and don't offer consumers any justifiable reasons to drop $799 or more. With not enough storage, a redundant telephoto camera, and a misunderstood identity, the Pixel 4 will probably struggle to succeed.

I'm certainly not the only person to see what a bad deal these two new phones are in terms of what you're getting for your money, right? At this point, any other Android flagship seems like a better buy for the wiser consumers out there.

So, what's actually wrong with the Pixel 4?

Battery life to last you till... 3 o'clock?

When it comes to Android, one thing has become crystal clear throughout the years: despite all advances in power efficiency and battery optimizations, if you really want a good battery life, you really need to go heavy on the mAh. You can't outweigh the negatives of a small battery with software optimization, and small is exactly what the Pixel 4 battery is - it's already late 2019, and Google has put a merely 2,800mAh battery inside the Pixel 4. Will that be enough to last you to your afternoon coffee? So far this year, we witnessed how just about any relevant phone manufacturer greatly increased the battery capacity of their flagship phones. Even Apple, which has often faced criticism over battery life, increased the battery capacity of all of its latest iPhones to the surprise of many. Yet, Google didn't get the memo. Last year's Pixel 3 didn't have a very good battery life, and chances are the Pixel 4 with its smaller battery wouldn't have mind-boggling battery endurance as well. The 90Hz display and motion radar that's working almost all the time (even with the display off) would certainly take a very strong hit on the already small battery.

The Pixel 4 XL with its 3,700mAh battery sounds better, indeed.

64GB of base storage for $799... and no original Google Photos backup

Okay, here's the real kicker: not only do the most affordable versions of the Pixel 4 and 4 XL come with just 64GB of storage on deck, but Google has also removed the unlimited original quality backup to Google Photos. To be completely fair, the free high-quality backup option in Photos is just fine and doesn't incur any noticeable downgrades in terms of image quality. However, if your whole marketing strategy is centered around the camera of your device, you probably don't want to half-bake the whole photo experience. 

What's the point of having a killer camera if you're going to have a measly 64GB or less of storage at your disposal? 

No ultra wide-angle, but a redundant telephoto camera...

To be really competitive with all the new iPhones and Galaxies, Google should have really thrown in a ultra wide-angle camera instead of a telephoto one. I feel that Google is very wrong in its strong conviction that telephoto is more useful than a proper ultra wide-angle one. The reason is simple - Google's Super Res Zoom was already doing a good job even with a single camera and so was the portrait mode, as evident on the Pixel 3/3a. Thus, the telephoto camera is adding some additional hardware prowess to both of these features, but is kind of redundant as software was already doing a decent enough job. Meanwhile, you can't simulate the field of view of a ultra wide-angle camera with software, and no, taking a few steps back doesn't always do the trick. 

I am very curious to see how Google will backtrack and justify putting a ultra wide-angle camera on any of its future flagships once it inevitably does, because let's be real, Google will have to add a ultra wide-angle camera if it wants to stay relevant next year. 

No dongle or earbuds in the box

Okay, that one is just pesky at this point. I understand that Google wants to sell its new Buds as well, but that's not the way. A free pair of even the most basic earbuds would have soothed the blow. Even Apple includes a pair of free proprietary earbuds inside the box. 

The price is too high

Starting at $799, the 64GB Pixel 4 looks like a very, very bad deal right off the bat. At $899, a 128GB Pixel 4 is not any better. Why would anyone choose a Pixel 4 over a, say, Galaxy S10 or S10e, which are priced similarly but offer way more features right out of the box? Furthermore, $599 will get you a OnePlus 7T, a phone that might not have the same array of software algorithms, but is a much better value overall. Finally, if you go with Apple, you can get a 128GB iPhone 11 for $749 and even drop down to $699 if you opt for the base 64GB version. 

Does Google really want to sell phones?

Does Google really want to be a recognizable force in industry? Does it really want to sell phones? I believe it does, but why is it making its devices such a hard sell? Why have all Pixels since the second one dropped the ball in most of the important areas save for the camera? Why the first Pixel was used to figuratively rub its headphone jack in the face of Apple? Why did the second one ditched the jack? Why did stock Android initially had its own gesture navigation but was later on changed to very closely resemble the iOS' way of interacting with the interface? Why was a 3D face unlock system employed on the Pixel 4 instead of an in-display fingerprint scanner?

The answer seems very clear to me - Google wants to be the Apple of Android. However, it will never achieve such a status for multiple reasons, but the most important one is this: Google, at its core, is not a hardware company and never will be. We've actually tackled this topic before, and came to the conclusion that hardware for Google is  merely an afterthought, "just another access point to Google's bread-and-butter search and ad business that still accounts for the lion's share of the revenue and profits". Google is very good at developing and introducing new products and features, but terrible at maintaining and improving them with time. Just take a look at the Google graveyard for proof how many things has Google actually killed throughout the years. 

How long before Google gets bored and the Pixels go the way of the Nexus?

Related phones

Pixel 4
  • Display 5.7" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 2800 mAh
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



1. androiduser

Posts: 513; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

i disagree, you're meant to wait for the discounts ;)

10. splus

Posts: 166; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

Pixel 4 will be a bad value even with a good discount. Google lost itself. Or maybe they just plan to "retire" the Pixel project, just like most of their other projects?...

54. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

In my country the iPhone 11 is the same price as a Pixel 4. The Pixel 4 is superior to the low resolution LCD display on the iPhone 11, which can't display HDR content. The Pixel 4 has a higher resolution Full HD+ AMOLED display with a much higher contrast, and you can view HDR content. Plus the Pixel 4 has better Face scanning hardware, and it's even faster than Apples. Superior Voice Assistant, Superior multitasking, and more.

55. perry1234

Posts: 652; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

iPhone 7 has superior cameras (auto point and shoot mode and way better video capabilities+ultrawide), more than twice the battery life (actual endurance), OS upgrades for 4 years and the storage tiers are not very expensive. Moreover, face-id is more secure and works everywhere. Google Assistant can be had on the iPhone too. Only the offline voice-transcribing is not available. There is no objective test that says Google's face-scanning is faster. Even if it is, as I mentioned before, the con of less security is a worse tradeoff. Have to say, except for the average display, iPhone 11 is an all-round better phone. I am using an Android device as a daily driver, but Pixel is probably the least VFM and in many countries, the worst Android device money can buy.

66. josh358

Posts: 18; Member since: Oct 18, 2019

I have a Pixel 3XL and unless the Pixel 4 has taken a nosedive in quality, it's going to be a killer phone. I find it rather amazing that people here are saying that the Pixels are some kind of cheap phone. Their software is without peer, they have led in photo quality according to every review (the new iPhones leapfrogged them, but dollars to donuts the 4 will leapfrog the iPhones again). I'm not saying that the iPhone doesn't have its points, in particular, I question Google's decision to shrink the battery in the 4, but a lot of what I'm reading here is nonsense -- the overall experience of the Pixels has been without peer in Android and at least as good as the iPhone's, and you can't overlook something like a crappy display (if you don't want an OLED, you can get the Pixel 3A).

84. PupTwilight

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 19, 2019

Googled pixel photos and Samsung's from last I looked still had better rating over iPhones. Apple is only beating other makers on their slomo and videos

58. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

"I hate Apple". That about sums it up, yes?

31. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The Pixel 4 will be great value when they discount it overseas e.g. in Australia the Pixel 4 XL is priced slightly lower than the Galaxy S10E and iPhone 11 Not sure why they priced it $100 higher in the US Usually the US has the best prices

39. applesnapple93

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 06, 2016

Agree. These phones are deliberately overpriced, so when they discount them to their normal price point, the consumer thinks theyre getting a deal

2. ssscyborg

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 18, 2019

Google, you better go back creating software.Your hardware sucks!

59. ev0trix

Posts: 30; Member since: Sep 08, 2015

They would make more money if their camera software was a paid app in the play store

3. bongheng

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 13, 2017

They sell software

4. Pcworld1976

Posts: 184; Member since: Sep 18, 2018

Google should merge with Sony BEST hardware and BEST software

11. yalokiy

Posts: 1077; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

If Sony had best hardware they would be in the top 5.

24. User123456789

Posts: 1084; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

They have never been top 5 of sales, not even when Z series were much better than cheap construction phones from Samsung, LG and Motorola.

34. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Samsung is top because they’re selling more cheap phones than flagship phones.

41. Deadeye

Posts: 131; Member since: Jul 26, 2019

That´s the case for every manufacturer. Cheap phones are selling in greater numbers, you don´t have to be Einstein to know that.

5. WarrenHess

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 18, 2019

Im so glad that your article is listed as being your own opinion. Your arguments may make sense to some people, but these arguments are just as valid: Apple offers NO free unlimited photo cloud storage. Battery life is different for every use case. The pixel battery would last me all day with light use. Iphone 11 doesnt include a fast charger in the box although its supported. Pixel DOES. Dont rag on Google for what they are doing! I own both iphones and android and like them both. I personally prefer the design of the pixel over the giant wart on the back of the iphone. Thanks.

12. splus

Posts: 166; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

Lol, Google gives iPhones unlimited photo upload but doesn't to Pixel 4 owners! (iPhones have the option to use high efficiency compression by default in their camera instead of jpg, and Google photos upload it directly.)

85. PupTwilight

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 19, 2019

Google does not give them it lol. Maybe read up on things more and get the facts. iPhone already compresses their photos and if Google did it again it would make it the file size much bigger then it was. Most photos are jpeg format and iPhones are HEIF. If they where jpeg they would get the same treatment. So all in all when a phone uses HEIF they would get the same set up iPhones have

17. DBozz

Posts: 102; Member since: Sep 19, 2019

This article make total sense for google, Google is s**tting the users with dummy pixel hardware with expensive pricing. The hardware not even worth of 300$ if that Soli chip is not present in it..!! Dont ever compare Pixels with curent Iphones. except that picture quality (not video just Picture) , pixel losts its total eligibility to even compete with Apple. Dont know what the hell is google doing with Incredible HTC engineers

35. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

There’s article that pixel doesn’t come with earbuds in their box. If charger is your problem with iphone 11 then why its the best selling phone in mobile world.

56. perry1234

Posts: 652; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

But iPhone has a much better battery life. If Pixel lasts you a day, with that measely sub 3000 mAh battery, the iPhone 11 will last you 2+days.

62. Foxgabanna unregistered

You sound like a little girl. based off your usage you dont need a high end smartphone because you barely use it.

6. basher

Posts: 112; Member since: Sep 20, 2015

Peter, now change Pixel 4 with iPhone 11 and repost this article. It's the same.

14. yalokiy

Posts: 1077; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Yes and no. 11 offers 5 years of support vs 3, ultrawide camera, much longer battery life, much better performance and all for a lower price. I do prefer android though, but I'll skip the pixel 4.

16. Boast_Rider

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

The only iPhone that has gotten 5 years of support is the 5s. The iPhone 6 didn't get iOS 13, so they are back to 4 years of support now.

18. yalokiy

Posts: 1077; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Sorry, but iphone 6 got exactly 5 years: 2014-2015=1 2015-2016=1 2016-2017=1 2017-2018=1 2018-2019=1

19. paul.k

Posts: 302; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Actually, the iPhone 6 got its full 5 years - it launched with iOS 8 and got 4 annual updates. The iPhone 5s had a 6-year lifecycle - launched with iOS 7 and got 5 annual updates.

7. monoke

Posts: 1185; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

64 gb, no microsd is a joke to me. I put too many hd movies, emulated games on my phone. Would run out of storage in a month's time. No joke. For $800?..Lol. Please.

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

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