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First look: The Google Pixel 4

Last updated on: October 17, 2019 16:12 IST

Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com brings you the details.

IMAGE: The Google Pixel 4. All photographs: Kind courtesy Google.com
 

The much-awaited Google Pixel 4 was launched in New York on October 15.

Over the last few months quite a bit of information about this phone, has been leaked so its design and features won't come as a surprise.

The USP in a Google phone is its camera, which is harnessed with computational photography, a Google software that helps produce exceptional photos using lesser hardware than any of its counterparts.

In this process, the phone's camera captures multiple pictures and combines it into a single image to produce a better picture using a software code based on Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence.

Let's check out the features offered by the new Google Pixel 4.

IMAGE: The Google Pixel 4 is protected by glass at the front and the back.

Design and Display

The phone comes in two variants, the Google Pixel 4 and the Google Pixel 4 XL -- the only difference between them is the size and the display.

Google now uses a 90Hz refresh rate for its display for a smooth User Interface experience.

  Pixel 4 XL Pixel 4
Size 6.3" x 2.9" 5.7" x 2.7"
Display QHD+ flexible OLED at 537 ppi FHD+ flexible OLED at 444 ppi
Display size Fullscreen 6.3" Fullscreen 5.7"

The refresh rate dynamically changes to conserve battery which the phone determines based on what user is doing.

The full screen display has a 19:9 screen to body ratio with no notch; instead, the thicker top bezel houses the front camera, two Near-Infrared cameras (the NIR flood emitter and NIR dot projector) and the miniature radar sensor that powers the phone's motion sensor capabilities.

The phone is protected by the older Corning Gorilla Glass 5 in the front and back.

The innards are placed in an aluminium chassis that has a black matte finish rim.

The Google Pixel 4 will be available in three colours -- Just Black, Clearly White and Not So Orange.

It has the IP68 certification for protection against dust and water.

Hardware

Google has embedded the older Qaulcomm Snapdragon 855 System on chip, which delivers 15 percent lesser graphics rendering than the latest Snapdragon 855+ SoC.

The processing is supported by 6GB of RAM memory but the storage -- at 64/128GB ROM -- seems inadequate when 4K video recording and RAW photography are the norm.

As there is no expandable storage option, you have to depend on Google Drive.

IMAGE: The Google Pixel 4 has a dual camera setup.

Camera

This time, Google uses a dual camera setup.

The 16MP, f/2.4 aperture and 12MP, f/1.7 aperture cameras are placed in a black rectangular area at the rear left top of the phone.

A flash and laser autofocus sensor are also placed inside the black rectangle, forming small a camera rig.

Both the cameras support optical and electronic image stabilisation.

Like we said earlier, Google uses computational photography technology for better photographs. As a result:

1. The camera features live HDR + (also known as the real time HDR+) view before you take a HDR photo -- i e, what you see is what you get (wysiwyg). Other phones don't offer this option.

Google achieves this by using machine learning.

The camera includes a brightness and shadow control for controlling exposure while shooting HDR photos.

2. Again, it uses ML for white balancing; this means, it captures the correct colours even when the light is tricky. 

3. It has improved the Portrait and Macro Mode, using ML to compute depth data from the image sensor's dual pixel and the two cameras.

4. The Night Sight mode features a new Astrophotography capability.

The front of the phone now features only one fixed focus 8MP camera for selfies instead of two cameras offered in the Pixel 3 XL.

For the face unlock feature, the Pixel 4 uses the front and NIR cameras; it is the only biometric unlocking system available in the phone as Google has skipped the fingerprint scanner.

Sensor

Based on Google's Project Soli, Google uses a miniaturised radar sensor in the phone to detect hand gestures.

The radar also drives the motion sensor, which detects your presence when you are near the phone, lowers the ringing volume and triggers face unlock when you pick up the phone.

Battery

The Pixel 4 comes with a 2800 mAh, which seems inadequate since the phone has a 90Hz refresh rate display which drains the power rapidly.

The Pixel 4 XL is embedded with the 3700 mAh battery.

Both phones support 18W wireless and wired fast charging; a 18W power adapter comes bundled in the box.

Software

It comes with latest Android 10 out of the box.

A new voice recorder transcribes speech in real-time, even when phone is offline.

Verdict

As expected, the Pixel 4 packs in great camera features for photography.

However, it does not include the ultra wide lens and the fingerprint sensor. Nor does it feel powerful enough since they have not opted for the latest processor.

It's too early to predict how the Google Pixel 4 will perform in real world.

At present, Google does not plan to release this phone in India.

Here are the prices for the Google Pixel 4 variants; the phones go on sale in the US from October 22.

Pixel 4 XL 128GB $999
Pixel 4 XL 64GB $899
Pixel 4 128GB $899
Pixel 4 64GB $799

 

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ASHISH NARSALE / Rediff.com
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