Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL Hands-On Roundup: Updated Camera, Motion Sense, and Face Unlock

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 15 Oct 2019

Google has pulled the wraps from Pixel 4 and 4 XL at an event held in New York. The latest Pixel phones come equipped with a radar sensor that is used for Motion Sense feature. As expected the Pixel 4 and 4XL arrive with a camera upgrade incluing a dual rear camera. Furthermore, Google’s M Security chip is likely to enhance security.

We’ve included snippets from several different hands-on of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL below. The links to each are available as well if you want to dig further into a specific publication’s thoughts on the new smartphones.

The Verge

pixel 4 verge

The other big function of the Neural Core is understanding spoken English. Google has reduced the entire model for transcribing English speech down to a size where it can fit on the Pixel 4’s internal storage, which means that it can convert speech to text without needing to send anything to a server.

“The “New Assistant,” as Google calls it, is much faster and needs to rely on Google’s servers much less. It’s also able to repeat the context-keeping tricks Google is particularly good at”

“There are more features in the Pixel 4 I haven’t gotten to. For example, it can do automatic car crash detection, offering to call emergency services if it detects a serious crash and doing so automatically if you don’t respond. We’ll get into much more in the full review, including and especially the camera. (But I probably won’t crash any cars.)”

Digital Trends

google pixel 4 digital trends

The Pixel 4 looks like no other Pixel phone before it. That’s because the design team wanted to use the addition of a new lens as an opportunity for a complete redesign.

“I’ve been dying to see a proper competitor to Apple’s Face ID on an Android phone, and it looks like Google has come through with Face Unlock. It’s everything I want my biometric authentication to be: fast and secure. It doesn’t just unlock your phone — you can use it to authenticate purchases on Google Play and to log into sensitive apps like the one for your bank.”

“The Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inch screen, a small bump over the 5.5-inch Pixel 3, and the Pixel 4 XL has a 6.3-inch panel that’s similar in size as its predecessor. They’re OLED panels with Full HD+ and Quad HD+ resolutions, respectively. Better still, they both have a 90Hz refresh rate.”


pixel 4 4 xl cnet

“The dual-camera system brings a bunch of improvements and new features. Night Sight, which launched on the Pixel 3 and captures a series of images to make low-light photos brighter, is now capable of taking photos of stars. Yes, that’s right. You can now be an astrophotographer by using nothing more than your phone.”

“There’s a new version of Google Assistant that’s better integrated throughout the phone. You can still trigger it by squeezing the sides of the phone or by saying, “Hey Google,” but you can also activate it by swiping up diagonally from one of the bottom corners of the phone. Google says that voice commands are improved and that there is better app control, contextual commands and sharing options.”

“Curiously, the batteries on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL have a lower capacity compared to the ones on the 3 and 3XL. Android 10 should help maximize the battery’s efficiency, but I look forward to seeing how it handles in real life, especially with that high refresh-rate screen.”


pixel 4 slash gear

“As before, the camera is a mixture of hardware and doubling-down on software. Night Mode has been upgraded, there’s a new Super Res Zoom, and Live HDR+ is more adept at balancing bright and dark scenes. The results, even from just a few sample shots and Google’s own demo images, look incredible, but what’s arguably more interesting is how straightforward the Pixel 4 makes actually using these features. Even the ability to adjust tone and other qualities with in-app sliders, as you frame the shot, is unexpectedly easy.”

“The other big change is the switch from a fingerprint sensor to face recognition. That’s something I’m going to have to set up and live with, but Google is promising it’s fast… really, really fast. Biometrics seem to divide people when it comes to what they prefer between face or finger – or just an old-fashioned PIN – but the convenience of a speedy face unlock is compelling.”

Tom’s Guide

pixel 4 4

“The Pixel 4 may look familiar from the outside, but Google has clearly done most of its tinkering under the hood. Motion Sense, three-dimensional Face Unlock, and the faster refresh-rate display are useful new features that differentiate the newest Pixels from their competitors on the market. The camera seems better across the board, thanks to a combination of new hardware and even more advanced software. And for those who prefer smaller phones, the 5.7-inch Pixel 4 strikes the sweet spot — it offers a roomy screen that doesn’t make the device too cumbersome to hold or carry.”

“Interestingly, the Pixel 4 packs a battery that is slightly smaller than the one inside last year’s model: 2,800 mAh, versus 2,915 mAh in the Pixel 3.”

“That’s a little concerning, given that the Pixel 3 didn’t have the best battery life to start with, and the new phones now utilize a 90Hz display, which is likely to sap more power than the 60Hz panels of old. We won’t know for sure how long the Pixel 4 lasts until we’re able to run Tom’s Guide’s custom battery test on it, but based on the specs sheet, we’d be surprised to see a noticeable improvement where longevity is concerned.”

Google Pixel 4 does come with a lot of new features. For the first time, Google has added a dual rear camera on the Pixel lineup. Furthermore, the new version of Assistant is going to give the Pixel an edge over other devices. All said and done, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL seem like a thoughtful upgrade. The only thing that seems to bother many is the smaller battery capacity.