Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL: innovation and photography always in the spotlight

With its new Android smartphones, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, Google combines the ingredients necessary to remain a reference in photography while exploring new uses with its motion detection technology.

We already knew almost everything of Pixel 4 whether it is by the official voice of Google or the many leaks more or less fortuitous.

The effect of surprise was therefore quite blunted yesterday at the presentation conference held in New York. However, Pixel 4 is a major smartphone this end of the year with which it will undoubtedly count. All the elements seem to come together to make an excellent camera and, perhaps, an excellent smartphone. While waiting for our test, Futura gives you its first impressions.

Design: Pixel 4 comes into the Ranks

Small disappointment in the design that loses originality. The typical two-component pixel finish disappears in favor of a much more common “glossy” back. The only touch of originality comes from the new orange color rather seductive. Unfortunately, French customers will have to be content with the black version. But the smartphone does not leave less a general impression very qualitative.

And we are delighted with the disappearance of the notch on the front of the screen that promotes a more immersive display. On the other hand, the top border is still impressive, but it’s for a good reason.

It hides a series of sensors (front camera,, infrared camera) that manage facial recognition whose efficiency and responsiveness would be at least as good as that of Apple’s FaceID which is a reference. And Google seems confident enough in its technology to do without a fingerprint sensor.

No more notch on the screen.  Good!  © Google

Motion Sense: a promise to be confirmed

Pixel 4 also inaugurates an important novelty that will distinguish it from the competition. It incorporates Soli radar technology that Google has been developing for several years. Renamed “Motion Sense”, it is a motion detection system that allows you to interact with the smartphone with gestures. 

A light indicates to the user the availability of the system according to the context. For example, when a call comes in, a simple swipe of the hand turns off the sound. You can use the same gesture to play a piece of music or stop an alarm. The use cases are still quite limited, but Google promises that they will grow. To follow so.

90 Hz display

Regarding the display, the Pixel 4 retains a P-Oled slab with a diagonal of 5.7 inches 1.080 x 2.160 pixels (same Pixel 3) and 6.3 inches 1.440 x 3.040 pixels for the Pixel 4XL (1.440 x 2.960 pixels for Pixel 3 XL ). 

Despite an almost identical resolution, the image density is a bit higher than the 2018 models: 444 dots per inch for the Pixel 4 and 537 dots for the 4 XL. But above all, the frequency of the screen refresh from 60 to 90 Hz, as the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro. To save battery life, Pixel 4 goes down to 60 Hz when not in use.

Photo: Pixel 4 has its head in the stars

Since its launch, Pixel smartphones have built a flattering reputation for their photography performance. This obviously remains to be confirmed by our own tests, but the first grips relayed in the press seem to confirm that the Pixel 4 is set to be a reference among the best photophones. 

A supporter of software processing and the use of artificial intelligence, Google still decided to change the hardware part by adding a second rear photosensor. This is a 16-megapixel telephoto lens that opens at f2.4 with a 2X optical zoom. It complements the main 12-megapixel f1.7 sensor to improve the quality and accuracy of portraits with the famous bokeh effect that will blur the background to bring out the subject.