Google Pixel 4 is ahead of its time

Google introduces new smartphones with capabilities unlike any other device yet. The Pixel-4 Duo has exceptional sensors and shows what machine learning is possible now or soon.

When Google launched the first Pixel smartphones in 2016, smartphones were niche products that did not attract many buyers. The devices were simply too expensive and offered with a rather idiosyncratic design too few special skills. Gradually, however, that has changed, including through very strong camera software. And since pixel 3a, the benefits can also be enjoyed by users with a smaller budget. Now, Google has introduced the fourth generation of pixels, which at competitive prices so far has unrivalled capabilities.

Too much for a notch

First of all, the devices stand out because they do not have a large display recess, but rather a thick edge over the display. That has a good reason because Google has installed a whole battery of sensors and cameras, for which a “notch” would have been far too broad. For the edge at the bottom has turned out significantly slimmer. Overall, the front makes a harmonious impression.

The Pixel 4 AMOLED display is 5.7 inches tall and achieves a pixel density of 440 PPI with FHD + resolution. The screen of the XL variant measures 6.3 inches and offers even sharper 537 PPI with QHD +. Both panels are HDR-capable, offer a refresh rate of 90 Hertz if required, and automatically adjust the colour temperature to the ambient light. The first impression of the displays is strong.

Slim and light, but stable

The aluminium frame and the glass back are frosted, making the Pixel 4 devices very comfortable in the hand. In addition, smartphones with 8.2 millimetres and 162 or 193 grams are quite thin and light. Nevertheless, they hold something. They are dust and waterproof to IP68, Gorilla Glass 5 protects front and back.

Similarly placed and shaped as the iPhone 11 is the camera unit of the new Google smartphones. A 12-megapixel snap with aperture f / 1.7 and 1.4 microns (μm) pixels is very bright. As with the 3 Series models, it is supported by a spectral / flicker sensor that, among other things, allows screenshots without frequency stripes.

The additional telephoto camera resolves with 16 megapixels but is made with Aperture f / 2.4 and 1.0-micron pixels, especially for daylight. Both cameras are optically and electronically stabilized.

Strong and safe

In terms of performance, Google has not burned the Pixel 4 Duo. Qualcomm’s latest top-chip Snapdragon 855 drives the devices in conjunction with 6 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. The flash memory is either 64 or 128 GB in size. This is joined by a neural processor for AI tasks (machine learning). To protect against attacks and manipulations, as with the predecessor models, a titanium chip is responsible.

The batteries have a capacity of 2800 and 3700 milliamp hours. That seems to be in short supply, but the devices should work very energy efficient. In an emergency, the batteries are quickly recharged with an 18-watt power supply.

Face detection and radar gestures

The new pixels are already very good high-end smartphones, but sensors and software make them unique. Thus, not only the components of biometric face recognition are located above the display, but also a radar chip, which allows control by hand gestures.

For the time being, the capabilities of “Motion Sense” are limited to controlling music playback, mute the alarm or wallpaper gadgets. But Google still has a lot to do with the radar feature and wants to make it accessible to app developers as well. The radar chip also serves for faster and smoother facial recognition. It already activates the sensors when the user reaches for the pixel 4 or approaches the smartphone.

Even better camera

How good the new double camera actually is, will only show tests. But even the first impression is very promising. Basically, the two cameras work together. This allows, among other things, detailed zooms or the separate exposure of dark and light areas.

Among other things, the Pixel-4 Duo uses its AI capabilities for further improved night shots, and now you can also photograph the starry sky. The artificial bokeh in portraits is better than the competition, according to Google, through the interaction of the cameras and machine learning.

Language conversion in real-time

Through the neural processor, the new pixels can also do KI tasks without a cloud connection. So Google’s revised assistant not only can respond faster but also understand and answer context-related follow-up questions without pause for thought. Unfortunately, the German-language AI model is not finished, so this feature is initially only available in English. But German has priority and will be replenished as soon as possible, promises Google. The series of 3 is to receive a corresponding update.

For the same reason, German users also have to wait for the exciting onboard function, which converts speech into text in real-time. In a first small test in English, the conversion worked almost flawlessly. The Assi can also search the text stored on the device later without a cloud connection.

100 euros cheaper

Google sells the Pixel 4 Duo in Germany from October 24 in black or white, the smaller model is also available in orange. The Pixel 4 costs with 64 GB memory 750 Euro, with 128 GB 850 Euro. The prices for the Pixel 4 XL are 900 and 1000 euros. Thus, Google has lowered the price threshold pain, for the cheapest pixel 3 you had to go 850 euros.