How the Pixel 4 epitomizes Google's hardware gamble
It's official: On Tuesday Google formally announced the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Finally! The Pixel 4 is one of the most leaked-about phones in recent memory. In fact, Google itself teased a photo of the 4 and the 4 XL back in June on Twitter. The new Pixel phones pack dual rear cameras, a 90Hz display, radar-powered face unlock process and a slew of unique features like car crash detection and live video captioning. In an Amazon-style autumnal windfall of products, also unveiled at the 2019 Made by Google event in New York were the Pixel Buds 2 wireless earbuds, Pixelbook Go Chromebook, Google Nest Mini smart speaker and Nest Wifi smart router. The Pixel 4 starts at $799 (£669) for a 64GB version and $899 (£829) for the Pixel 4 XL. Both are available in black, white or orange, which Google calls "Oh So Orange." In the US, you can upgrade either phone to 128GB for $100 more. Preorders are live and the phones ship starting Oct. 24. And for the first time, you can buy the Pixel 4 directly from all major US carriers. While it's Google's turn to take the phone spotlight, the 2019 stage is already full of new competitors, including Apple's iPhone 11 and 11 Pro and Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 and relaunched Galaxy Fold. The iPhone 11 and Galaxy S10E are two of the better-matched rivals to the Pixel 4 and both are $100 cheaper. Then there's the OnePlus 7 Pro, which packs a 90Hz screen like the Pixel 4 but costs $130 less. And of course there are last year's Pixel 3 phones, which Google has chopped $300 off.
Not a whole lot is different between Google's two newest phones: They both come in the same three colors, with the same "Smooth Display" (more below) and, most importantly, the same cameras. The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL do differ on a handful of specs, namely the size and price. Price: The Pixel 4 XL is going to set you back $100 more than the Pixel 4. The phones start at $799 (£669, AU$1,049) and $899 (£829, AU$1,279), respectively, for the 64GB base model, up to $899 for the Pixel 4 and $999 for the Pixel 4 XL if you upgrade to the 128GB version. Dimensions: The Pixel 4 XL is slightly bigger and heavier than the Pixel 4, measuring 6.3 by 2.9 inches to the Pixel 4's 5.7 by 2.7-inch body. (The two phones have the same 0.3-inch (8.2mm) depth.) Weight: The Pixel 4 XL's larger size makes it a bit heavier at 6.81 ounces (193 grams), while the Pixel 4 weighs only 5.71 ounces (162 grams). Display: The Pixel 4 features an FHD display with 444 pixels-per-inch density, and the Pixel 4 XL is higher definition, with a QHD display and a pixel density of 537 ppi. But again, both phones feature a 90Hz OLED Smooth Display. Battery: The last big difference between the two phones is the battery. The Pixel 4 uses a 2,800-mAh battery (which is actually even lower capacity than its predecessor, the Pixel 3), while the Pixel 4 XL has a 3,700-mAh battery.
The Pixel 4 comes with a new design and square camera element all belted in neatly around the sides by a slick-looking aluminum band. Good news: The Pixel 4 XL loses the Pixel 3 XL's ugly notch and instead has a forehead bezel that houses the selfie camera and face unlock sensors. The new Pixels are just a millimeter or so bigger and a tad heavier than last year's Pixel 3 and 3 XL, giving the 4 and 4 XL a more robust feel than previous Google phones. There's Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, and the phones are rated IP68 for dust and water resistance. Both phones have a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM and wireless charging. On the bottom you'll find stereo speakers and a USB-C port. Curiously, the batteries on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL are lower-capacity than the ones on the 3 and 3XL. Android 10 should help maximize the battery's efficiency, but I look forward to seeing how the phones handle in real life, especially with that high-refresh-rate screen.