The Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are now official: 90Hz, face unlock, and killer cameras

The Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are now official: 90Hz, face unlock, and killer cameras
Earlier this year, we were very quick to proclaim the Pixel 3a as one of the most leaked devices in recent history, but little did we know that just a few months later yet another Google smartphone will receive the same accolades. That's right, the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL were the industry's worst kept secret in the past few months, with leaks and rumors all boiling to a rather anticlimactic official announcement, which just took place!

Design & Display

Unlike most contemporary flagship phones, the Pixel 4 series don't feature any groundbreaking design elements; actually, some might even say they look quite dated from a purely design perspective, and they'd have a point. There's a thick top bezel that's creating a rather asymmetric, top-heavy look for the new Google flagships, but its existence could be justified by the large array of sensors that are housed underneath. The bump housing the two cameras at the rear is not only quite large, but also bears a heavy resemblance to the camera bump of the new iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. 

Material-wise, the Pixel 4 series features an aluminum frame complemented by a matted glass at the rear. Gone are last year's playful dual-tone designs that mixed glossy with matted glass, but we can't really say that the Pixel 4 has gone boring - the new Oh So Orange color version breathes some fresh air in the design department. Aside from this new color, the Pixels are also available in the timeless Just Black and Clearly White color options.

There's no fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 4; instead, users will have to rely on the more convenient 3D face unlock (more on that later). The phones themselves are IP68 water-resistant and have those coveted dual stereo speakers. 

The smaller Pixel 4 comes in with a 5.7-inch, 19:9 OLED display with an FHD+ resolution that works out a pixel density of 444ppi. Meanwhile, the larger Pixel 4 XL has a 6.3-inch QHD+ OLED display that has a very high pixel density of 533ppi. However, the most intriguing feature of the display is the smooth 90Hz refresh rate, which we've already seen on devices like the OnePlus 7 and 7T series.

Motion Sense

The big new thing with the Pixel 4 series is the Motion Sense user interface, which allows you to control various aspects of your phone and most apps with the help of gestures that you conjure in thin air. Thanks to the so-called "Soli" radar in the gargantuan top bezel, interacting with you phone is as simple as waving at it, and it can reportedly "track sub-millimeter motion at high speeds with great accuracy." Yes, it also works in extreme low-light scenarios as it relies on reflecting electromagnetic waves. Google says that gestures "come more natural than pushing against a piece of glass," yet so far the technology for their recognition on a phone has been imperfect as it relied on camera sensors. Motion Sense even works with the screen off. Thanks to the Motion Sense feature, you can easily skip songs, silence alarms, lower your phone's volume or silence it altogether. 


Let's face it, the strongest suit of Pixel phones has always been their great performance and image quality. Chances are that the Pixel 4 series will perform marvelously as well. Unlike all previous Pixel generations, the Pixel 4 series comes along with two cameras at the rear - a regular one and a telephoto one. No fancy-schmancy ultra wide-angles here - probably next year, Google?

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL come along with a 12.2MP main F1.7 camera with and a 16MP F2.4 telephoto camera. Both sensors are equipped with optical and electronic stabilization as well as Dual Pixel phase detection autofocus. Super-res zoom works in tandem with the telephoto camera and lets you zoom further without detail loss. Fan-favorite Night Mode is back on steroids and will now even allow for some entry-level astrophotography.

Software is once again at the heart of the Pixels camera performance. Thanks to machine learning, you'll get a preview of what your HDR+ image will look like even before you take the shot. With Pixel 4, you can fine-tune the brightness and amount of detail in the shadows, helping with difficult shots like sunset portraits.

The portrait mode of the camera will surely benefit from the inclusion of the telephoto camera for a greater depth separation. Machine learning is once again at the heart of this feature, allowing you to use the portrait mode with larger objects.


The Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are powered by the Snapdragon 855 chipset and also come with 6GB of RAM. That's way better than last year's Pixel 3, which was carrying just 4GB of RAM on deck. Battery-wise, the smaller Pixel 4 comes along with a measly 2,800mAh, which is quite a modest battery size for 2019's standards. Meanwhile, the large Pixel 4 XL comes with the much more bearable 3,700mAh battery. On the topic of batteries, both devices support 18W fast charging - great! Wireless charging is supported as well.

Interface & features

No surprises here - the new Pixels come with Android 10 right out of the box. We've covered this one enough already (you can check it out right here), but the gist of it is that it brings a long-awaited dark mode, more parental controls and digital wellbeing monitoring, as well as a Google Assistant on steroids. The Assistant is now capable to effortlessly jump from task to task without any hesitation and without needing an active Internet connection. The Google Assistant now also scores a live transcription feature that lets you create quick voice notes and memos on the go.

Another intriguing new feature is the 3D Face Unlock, which would work similarly to Apple's Face ID. Thanks to the radar on deck, the phone is authenticating your face even before you unlock the device. This makes it wicked fast and very secure.

Price and release date

So, the most important question - how much does it cost, and when will it be available? First of all, the new Pixels will be available on all major US carriers and will be launched October 24. Here's a table with all the pricing details:



1. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

I have to say, it sounds pretty great on paper. We shall see!

6. Papa_Ji

Posts: 873; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

What's about Realme X2 Pro?? Pixel is lamb

13. AbhiD

Posts: 851; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Realme X2 Pro? LOL! Who will spend $400+ dollars on a Realme with that messy ColorOS and outdated Android 9 with no promises of future updates? Unless what a person needs is only hardware with literally no attention to software, X2 Pro makes absolute sense. Otherwise it's a strict no go. I know you won't like criticism of Realme and i am expecting a butthurt reply very soon.

53. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

You are right. I am not a fsn of realme ui but in 2019, who in their right mind will spend $900+ on google pixel with great camera but cost-cutted hardware? Puny battery and storage and cheap p-oled display? Unless you're a sheep and you will just swallow whatever hardware google gives to you. I personally don't like google's muddy contrast after seeing samples in person. Most of the time, I use my s9 with google cam for taking pictures. I know you won't like criticism of google and I am expecting a butthurt reply very soon.

20. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

Pixel is lamb? Baaaa...

49. Phonehex

Posts: 768; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

pixel has really Fu****d up this year. Lack of the wide angle is gonna hurt real bad.

10. KParks23

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

What's the point of this gesture gimmick if your going to wave your hand in front the screen just move your hand another inch and touch the damn screen lol

15. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

1. Dirty hands. 2. Driving/Distracted in general and don't want to look for virtual buttons to interact with device. 3. Waking up and don't want to see a bright screen as the very first thing. 4. specific use cases like a dancer practicing and doesn't want to go all the way over to the phone to restart the song can wave from a few feet away. 5. Why you hating? Why not? 6. Sign language interpretation/communication 7. An extra input method for games 8. Someone's gotta be first if we ever want to see the technology improve. 9. The technology is there for other reasons but it didn't hurt to also add this bonus feature.

17. AbhiD

Posts: 851; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Yep. I can see the use of these air gestures (only if they work really well).

21. midan

Posts: 3097; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

” Waking up and don't want to see a bright screen as the very first thing” First why your screen is bright in the first place? No auto brightness? Does that waving thing works without screen on? And even if it does, what you are going to do with it in first place? I’m not quite getting what you try to do without touching or looking the screen when you wake up Also for the dancer example, that sounded really funny. So you going almost to touch your phone and made all the effort to it and yet you want to wave your hand? Wouldn’t have been easier to just use your voice?

23. midan

Posts: 3097; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

” Driving/Distracted in general and don't want to look for virtual buttons to interact with device.” That sounds really scary thing to do! i really hope you don’t driving. Again use your voice if you really have to operating your phone when you are distracted. Then you can focus in driving etc and not potentially kill someone while waving your hand over your phone.

51. KParks23

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

Just another feature people will use for a week or 2 just to be like look what my phone can do..

25. liteon163

Posts: 67; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

How about while driving?

50. KParks23

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

How about just giving me a bigger battery instead of all this gimmick crap!

2. DFranch

Posts: 557; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

How much is the question?

3. cpike84

Posts: 22; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

Pixel 4 will start at $799 for 64GB and XL will start at $899 for 64GB. Add $100 for 128GB variants.

16. AbhiD

Posts: 851; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Extra $100 for just 64GB extra UFS 2.1 storage? Google is really ripping off people at this point. To be fair, despite me being no fan of Apple, even iPhone 11, 11 Pro series looks like more VFM. And that says a lot about Pixel 4 series.

22. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

I gotta agree about the storage. Too little at 64, and too much for the upgrade.

31. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Same here, I agree with you that the iPhone 11 is a much better purchase at this price. But none of them beat the 7 Pro and 7t, you get much much more for a cheaper price.

40. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Totally agree with you on this Maherk.

36. cpike84

Posts: 22; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max with 64gb is $1100. Google undercut that by $200 on the 4 XL. Doesn't sound like Google is the one ripping people off...

47. raky_b

Posts: 420; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

But for 200$ more with iphone, you are getting generally better device.

54. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Both apple and google are ripping people off with their puny storage. Storage shouldn't even be a reason for high mark- ups because they are affordable technologies today.

4. Poptart2828

Posts: 458; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

Price sounds about right

5. mrochester

Posts: 1032; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Finally 3D Face ID! 2 years late google, but better than never I guess.

9. koioz

Posts: 177; Member since: Nov 29, 2018

I am interested on the sound recorder.

11. Cat97

Posts: 1969; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

What a relief, in a few days the useless and boring Pixel 4 articles will finally be over.

12. adecvat

Posts: 652; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

90hz with 2800 battery. Omg. No 4k60 in 2019. Omg. Chin. Omg. Imx 363 in 2019. Omg. 800$...

14. OneLove123

Posts: 1244; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Best camera in 2019. OMG!!!!

27. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

How do you know this has the best camera yet? Considering it's glaring omissions (ultra wide and no 4k60fps) its already pretty behind the eight ball if you ask me.

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