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Google Pixel 4 review

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Introduction

It wasn’t with much excitement that we met the reveal of the Pixel 4 duo – Google’s lack of effort to contain early leaks meant that not only were the specs unremarkable, but we also knew them in advance. We already had the 4 XL for review and we have more than a general idea of this gen’s pros and cons, but now we set out to discover how the small Pixel 4 performs and how it stands in the context of its own specific competitors.

Google Pixel 4 review

The Pixel 4 is essentially the same phone as the 4 XL, only scaled down in a couple of ways – display and battery. Where the XL packs a 6.3-inch QHD+ panel, the small phone stays at 5.7 inches (FullHD+ resolution, but that’s fine at this size). Both are OLEDs too. Then there’s battery – if the XL’s 3,700mAh capacity sounded on the meh side of okay, the 2,800mAh figure in the Pixel 4 specsheet is downright worrisome.

The rest is all the same. The soon-to-be-replaced springtime Qualcomm top-dog of a chipset, the lowest amount of RAM of any current flagship, with low base storage and low maximum storage – it sure sounds exactly like Google’s way of doing phones. That also means Android 10 in a flavor no one else has and if you’re looking at a Pixel, you clearly enjoy that.

Google Pixel 4 review

This generation of Pixels come with radar-based Motion Sense for gestures and a front ToF camera for 3D depth mapping, but is missing a fingerprint reader of any sort. It’s got no ultra wide-angle camera either, but conversely, the small Pixel is one of the more affordable ways to get a telephoto from one of the big names – neither the iPhone 11 nor the Galaxy S10e has one.

Google Pixel 4 specs

  • Body: Texture-coated aluminum frame; Gorilla Glass 5 back (soft texture on the Clearly White and Oh So Orange color schemes, glossy on the Just Black); 147.1×68.8×8.2mm, 162g.
  • Screen: 5.7″ P-OLED display, 90Hz variable refresh rate, 1080x2280px (~444ppi), 19:9 ratio, Gorilla Glass 5.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, octa-core CPU (1×2.84GHz Kryo 485 + 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 485 + 4×1.78GHz Kryo 485); Adreno 640 GPU.
  • Memory: 6GB RAM; 64/128GB storage, non-expandable.
  • OS: Android 10.
  • Cameras: Main: 12.2MP, 1.4µm pixel size, 28mm equiv. focal length, f/1.7 aperture, dual pixel PDAF, OIS; Telephoto: 16MP, 1.0µm, 45mm, f/2.4, PDAF, OIS; LED flash; Nigh Sight; Live HDR viewfinder; Super Res Zoom; Video recording – 720p @ 240 fps, 1080p @ 120 fps, 2160p @ 30 fps.
  • Selfie cam: 8MP, 1.22µm, 22mm, f/2.0; ToF 3D sensor.
  • Battery: 2,800mAh Li-Po; 18W USB Power Delivery charging; 11W Qi wireless charging.
  • Connectivity: Nano SIM + eSIM; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 5.0 + LE; NFC; Wi-Fi direct; GPS, Galilleo, GLONASS.
  • Misc: Face unlock; radar-based Motion Sense; stereo loudspeakers.

Google Pixel 4 unboxing

The Pixel 4 that arrived at headquarters has a more conventional package with the phone printed on it as opposed to the colorful ‘P 4’ markings on our US-bound XL unit. The contents are all the same, however.

Google Pixel 4 review

You’re getting an 18W USB Power Delivery adaptor, essentially the same one that shipped with the original Pixel (1), and a USB-C-to-C cable to go with it. There’s also a USB-C-to-A adapter for plugging in thumb drives. There is no USB-C-to-3.5mm dongle, so if you want to hook up conventional wired headphones, you’d need to provide your own. And, speaking of headphones, there aren’t any in the box.

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