Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL: what to expect

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Are the Pixel 4 and 4 XL the most-leaked phones ever? They probably are, even though the previous generations give them a run for their money. The official event is later today but unless Google has managed to keep something major from hitting the web, we have an almost complete picture of the phones.

Almost reluctantly, Google is leaving the single camera setup behind. The ultrawide second front camera of the Pixel 3 was neat, but unless selfies make up a large portion of your photo gallery, the rear camera is significantly more important.

Pixel 4 in Clearly White Pixel 4 in Just Black Pixel 4 in Oh So Orange
Pixel 4 in Clearly White, Just Black and Oh So Orange

Strangely, despite the copious leaks, we don’t know the focal length of the tele camera – it will have a 16MP sensor and will likely use image processing for hybrid zoom (Google is already doing that on existing pixels), yet the exact zoom ratio is unknown.

The main camera is not overly ambitious – yet another 12MP Dual Pixel sensor. As for the front camera, we’re back to a single cam but this time it will be backed by an iPhone-like 3D scanner. Somewhat more unique is the Soli gesture system, which will be based on radar rather than a computer vision system. Still, hand gestures have appeared on phones before with little success.

Pixel 4, 4 XL listed on Best Buy Canada with specs and images

The 90Hz screen is something that feels more in tune with the premium market. High refresh screens will likely become prevalent in 2020 flagships and Google’s late entries need to work extra hard to keep feeling fresh over the next twelve months.

The screens will be 5.7” 1080p+ and 6.3” QHD+ for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, respectively. We don’t have the phones’ dimensions yet, but they seem to be among the more compact flagships out there.

We mentioned that Google phones tend to be a step behind. That’s certainly the case with the chipset – the Snapdragon 855 chipset is as fast as you might need over the next year or two, but the S855+ is the standard for late 2019 flagships.

The 6GB of RAM and 64/128GB of storage also feel a tad outdated, considering that the Pixel 4 phones will not be cheap.

Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL: what to expect

The latest rumors put the Pixel 4 price tag at €750 while the Pixel 4 XL will be pricier than expected – €900. The jump to 128GB will likely set you back another €100.

To be fair, that’s less than the Pixel 3 MSRP – €850 for the 3 and €950 for the 3XL. US pricing is reportedly $800 and $900 for the base models. That’s the same price as the previous generation.

Some pre-order deals might help soften the blow. For example, in the UK the phones will be bundled with a 14” HP Chromebook. Google will announce a new Pixelbook, which would have been preferable over the HP laptop, but it’s better than nothing.

Google is also expected to unveil new wireless Pixel Buds. Those might be bundled in some regions or at least we hope they are – Google has removed the wired headset (and USB-C to 3.5mm adapter) from the retail package.

Speaking of the in-box contents, you will get an 18W USB Power Delivery charger. We don’t know if the phone will support faster chargers, but if it does, you’ll have to get your own.

We expect a new Home Mini smart speaker to be revealed at the event and (more interestingly) fabric cases for the new phones. As with the other things, these will be potentially bundled with the phone during pre-order or in future promotions.

Pixel 4 and 4 XL fabric cases Pixel 4 and 4 XL fabric cases
Pixel 4 and 4 XL fabric cases

Back to the Pixel 4. It will be available in at least three colors – the usual Just Black and Clearly White, along with the new hue called Oh So Orange. There may be three more colors, but those are a little dubious. The White color is technically new too, a new interpretation of the “panda” color scheme.

While the hardware isn’t quite cutting edge, the software may be. A new Pixel Neural Core will be running advanced image processing algorithms and there are new user-facing controls coming to the camera app.

All the Pixel 4 infographics on Carphone Warehouse All the Pixel 4 infographics on Carphone Warehouse All the Pixel 4 infographics on Carphone Warehouse All the Pixel 4 infographics on Carphone Warehouse
All the Pixel 4 infographics on Carphone Warehouse

The Google Assistant will have new tricks to show off and the gesture motion control will be roped into gaming (using the highly popular Pokemon brand). And that about wraps it up.

The Pixel 4 reveal will be livestreamed later today starting at 14:00 UTC. Even though there’s little chance for surprises, you may want to watch anyway as we suspect the leaks didn’t do justice to the new features planned for the Pixels – we’re especially keen to hear more about the camera.

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