Google reveals Pixel 4 flagship phones, with best cameras yet
After the Pixel 3 phones last October, and the Pixel 3a mid-range handsets announced in May, Google is upping its smartphone game again by launching the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL – two premium-level smartphones with a strong focus on photography.
As expected, given the steady stream of leaks we've seen in the run up to today's event, the Pixel 4 comes toting a 5.7-inch screen, while the Pixel 4 XL has a slightly larger 6.3-inch display. Both phones feature a 90 Hz refresh rate display, above average in 2019, which should mean super-smooth scrolling and responsiveness.
Inside these phones we have the Snapdragon 855 chip that's featured in many a top-end Android smartphone this year, and that's accompanied by 6 GB of RAM and either 64 GB or 128 GB of internal storage. Around the back, both phones feature a dual-lens 16 MP + 12 MP camera, offering 2x optical zoom.
On paper, those aren't the very best specs we've seen this year, but as with previous Pixel models, Google is going to be relying on the software experience and photo-processing algorithms on board the Pixel 4 phones to make them stand out.
As with last year, the raw specs of the camera are augmented with some smart software tricks. HDR+ (where details are retained in both the dark and light parts of an image) now works in real time, so you see it while you frame a photo as well as in the end results, and Google is also adding dual exposure controls to achieve a wider range of effects.
The algorithms on board the Pixel 4 are going to ensure better and smarter white balancing, Google says, even in tricky lighting conditions, while the portrait modes (where backgrounds get blurred behind subjects) are now more accurate and effective too.
The low light Night Sight mode has already been impressing on older Pixel phones, and it's better than ever on the Pixel 4 handsets. The phones are even going to be capable of shooting stars in space, though a long four-minute exposure is required – the on board software factors in the movements of the Earth and the stars, and the differences in light, to produce sharp images.
Google Assistant is now faster and more intelligent than ever too, better able to put requests in context and quicker to respond to a long series of commands. We've seen some very powerful, high-spec phones this year, but the Pixel 4 phones are very much about the combination of hardware and software working together.
Also of note is the Motion Sense chip built into the Pixel phones, something Google teased earlier this year. It means you can control your phone by waving your hand above it, whether you want to skip music tracks or silence a call. The same tech is also being used to enhance the face recognition abilities of the Pixel 4 phones, so your phone should be unlocked as soon as you lift it up.
The starting prices for these phones are US$799 for the 64 GB Pixel 4, and $899 for the 64 GB Pixel 4 XL. If you want the 128 GB models, you can add on another $100 on top of those prices. Black, white, and a "limited edition" orange are your color choices. Pre-orders are open now, with shipping scheduled for October 24.
Product page: Google Store