It's always a big deal when the company that makes Android releases a new phone. Google's Pixel series has made a name for itself in three short years behind its camera prowess, but now it's time to start competing with the major players. From the looks of it, Google should like how their upcoming Pixel 4 and 4 XL stack up against the iPhones and Galaxies of the world.
Thanks to their acquisition of 2,000 HTC engineers who previously worked on the Pixel devices, Google is now fully into the hardware business, with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL being the first phones entirely designed in-house. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL will be designed by the same team, but there are some serious changes this time around.
- Slated for an early October announcement and release
- Price will be higher than last year (in $900–$1,000 range)
- Aluminum frame and glass back like Pixel 3, but two-tone look is gone
- Both Pixel 4 and 4 XL will have 90 Hz displays
- Bottom bezel is tiny, but top bezel is similar to Pixel 3
- First device to use Google's new Soli radar sensing technology
- First US-sold Android phone to have secure 3D facial unlock
Jump to a section: Dates | Storage | Price | Body | Basics | Software | Skin | Display | Performance | Battery | Front Camera | Rear Camera | Audio | Media Formats | Sensors | Connectivity | Security | Box Includes
As with each of the last Pixel launches, the Google Pixel 4 will likely be launch within the first two weeks of October. This was later confirmed by Evan Blass, who leaked a Verizon timeline which revealed upcoming phone releases, including the Google Pixel 4. Rumors indicate an October 15 announcement date. Preorders will likely start the day of the event, and it will release within a week of the announcement date.
- Release date: October 2019
- Preorder date: October 15, 2019
- Announced: October 15, 2019
Something we didn't see coming was the return of the 64 and 128 GB storage options. Despite phones now having 512 GB and 1 TB options, and many phones starting with at least 256 GB, it appears Google is bucking the trend.
While this low storage option hurts less due to unlimited storage on Google Photos, with its push into gaming, this storage can easily be eaten up. While Stadia doesn't require any storage (as it all stored in the cloud), mobile gaming apps do. This storage amount was not enough in 2018, let alone now. And just like its predecessor, it will not support expandable storage.
- Storage available: 64 GB and 128 GB
- Expandable storage: no
We expect both the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL to increase pricing by $100. With the Pixel 3's retailing for $799, this would mean the smaller of two phones would start at $899. Based on the Google Pixel 3 XL's $899 starting price, we expect the Pixel 4 XL to start at $999, marking it the first Pixel smartphone to have a variant over $1,000.
- Price: $899 (Google Pixel 4) , $999 (Google Pixel 4 XL)
The body will use the same material found in most flagship smartphones in 2019, glass on the back and front to allow for wireless charging, and an aluminum frame for durability. Google has even confirmed some basics of the design by releasing a render of the phone on their official MadeByGoogle Twitter account. The distinguishing dual-finish back is gone this time, replaced with a single finish like most other phones. It will come in three colors, Just Black, Clearly White, and Coral (orange).
- Frame: aluminum, glass
- Finish: white, black, coral
We currently don't know what the dimensions will be, but early rumors indicate it will be around the same size as its predecessor. However, we can reasonably expect it to be IP68 water and dust resistant, support all four wireless carriers (as well as US Cellular and Google Fi), and not have an infrared blaster. Active Edge will return, allowing you to call up Google Assistant with a squeeze of the phone's sides.
- Height: 5.78 inches (Google Pixel 4), 6.31 inches (Google Pixel 4 XL)
- Width: 2.71 inches (Google Pixel 4), 2.97 inches (Google Pixel 4 XL)
- Depth: 0.32 inches (0.37 inches with camera bump)
- Weight: Unknown
- Dust/water resistance: IP68
- Supported carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, Google Fi
- Infrared blaster: no
As with all phones nowadays, we expect the Pixel 4 to have an operating temperature of 32°F to 95°F.
- Operating temp: 32º to 95º F
- Nonoperating temp: ##º to ##º F
- Relative humidity: ##º to ##º F noncondensing
- Operating altitude: up to ##,### feet (though could be more)
The Nexus/Pixel lineup has always been a way for Google to introduce the world to the latest version of Android. While in some years, other phones beat it to the punch, the newest Pixel phone will always be the first running stock Android of the box. The latest version of Android this year is Android 10 The Pixel 4 and 4 XL will run this version and be one of only a handful of phones running the latest version at the time of its release.
- Version: Android 10
The Pixel lineup always runs stock Android. While this version isn't exactly ASOP (Android Open Source Project), it's about as close as you will get to "pure" Android outside of custom ROMs. It will have a few enhancements for Pixel users, such as Active Edge and additional special features which Google decides to add.
One new addition is the ability for Google Assistant to step in during a call when placed on hold. Imagine you are calling an e-commerce website about a return and they have you waiting on hold for 30 minutes. Instead of having to wait ridiculously long for someone to talk to, according to 9to5Google, you can press a button and Google Assistant will hold for you. Once an actual human comes on the other line, Google Assistant will let you know and you can jump back in.
Another addition is Pixel Themes. According to XDA, Google is adding a new option to the default launcher on Pixel which consolidates the new icon shapes, themes, and fonts which they added to Developer Options in Android 10. This app has already been hinted to on Pixel devices on Android 10 and will likely be available to all Pixel devices and not just the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL. Screenshots show with the app you can adjust the wallpaper and the ambient display clock along side the new customization options in Developer options.
It also looks like Google is including an official audio recorder app known as "Recorder." If this turns out to be true, it would be following what many OEMs already include. It would also be another app users don't have to search the Play Store for which, when created by a malicious developer, can cause them harm.
- Version: stock Android (Pixel version)
The Pixel 4 XL will have a small screen size decrease from 6.3 inches to 6.23 inches. The Pixel 4 will actually be larger at 5.7 inches. Both will have OLED panels (more than likely produced by Samsung) with support for HDR and always-on display. As far as the resolutions are concerned, the Pixel 4 will have the same resolution as its predecessor but the Pixel 4 XL will actually have a higher 3040 x 1440 (the Pixel 3 XL was 2960 x 1440). With this combination, Google is following Apple's direction with both phones having the same ppi despite their differences in size.
The screen will use the P3 gamut for the first time (the same used by iPhones), allowing for higher color accuracy.
Rumors indicate that the "forehead" will be as large as the Google Pixel 2 XL, while the chin will be one of the smallest in the industry. Because chin is limited by the display drivers which connect at the bottom of the display, this means the screen will either be set upside-down or will be bent. Each method does come with some downsides, with the former usually leading to jelly-scrolling effect, and the latter equalling higher cost as the bending method is a difficult task to perform. Either way, expect the phone to share a similar look to the Sony Xperia 10.
With Google Stadia launching in November, we speculated that Google would use a higher refresh rate on their display to showcase the new video game platform's streaming capability, and we were right. Both phones will use a 90 Hz display. At this refresh rate, both Pixel 4 devices will be able to output games at 90 fps, 30 more frames per second than the standard screen. To enable, you must turn on Smooth Display, a feature which allows Android to dynamically adjust the refresh rate based on the running apps. Playing a game, 90 Hz will turn on. Making a call, the screen will adjust to 60 Hz.
The Pixel 4 is also coming with a feature known as Ambient EQ, which is essentially Google's version of Apple's True Tone. Based on the surrounding lights, the display will automatically adjust the white balance for improved viewing experience. The screen will appear more consistent and be one less feature iPhone fans can claim they have over the Pixel devices.
- Screen size: 5.7 inches (Google Pixel 4), 6.23 inches (Google Pixel 4 XL)
- Screen resolution: 2280 x 1080 (Google Pixel 4), 3040 x 1440 (Google Pixel 4 XL)
- Total pixels: 2,462,400 (Google Pixel 4), 4,377,600 (Google Pixel 4 XL)
- Pixel density: 540 ppi (Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL)
- Screen type: OLED
- Notch: no
- Screen-to-body ratio: Unknown
- Aspect ratio: 19:9
- Minimum brightness: Unknown
- Maximum brightness:Unknown
- Refresh rate: 90 Hz (Unknown for touch-sensing)
- Color temp:Unknown
- Color gamut: P3
The SoC of choice for 2019 Android flagships in the US is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. While the Snapdragon 855+ is another option, we haven't heard any rumors the Pixel 4 will come with this system-on-a-chip. According to 91mobiles, it will not be underclocked like last year's Google Pixel 3.
As for memory, the RAM will increase to 6 GB. The first three Pixels had 4 GB of RAM, which has caused lingering problems the community has asked Google to address. Although 4 GB is enough to run Android, it leads to inconsistent performance when compared to other flagships. A recent benchmark also showed a 4 GB and 8 GB model might be available as well.
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- Chip size: 7 nanometer
- CPU frequency: 2.84 GHz (1x Gold), 2.41 GHz (3x Gold), 1.78 GHz (4x Silver)
- CPU cores: 8 Cores (4 Gold + 4 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 640
Surprisingly, the battery in the Google Pixel 4 will be reduced. Despite the increased screen size and the higher refresh rate, the battery will slightly smaller at 2,800 mAh battery. As such, unless the SoC is unclocked, expect pretty weak battery life.
The opposite is true for the Pixel 4 XL. Its battery will increase to 3,700 mAh, around an 8% increase. Both models will support wireless charging via the Qi standard. It will support fast wired charging using USB Power Delivery (we don't know the wattage yet) and include a USB PD charger in the box.
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
- Capacity: 2,800 mAh (Google Pixel 4), 3,700 mAh (Google Pixel 4 XL)
- Wired charging: yes, USB Power Delivery
- Wireless charging: yes, Qi charging
We know officially from Google what sensors will be found within the top bezels of the phone, one of which is the front-facing camera. The remaining imaging sensors will be used for facial recognition or for Motion Sense. While we initially believed that the front-facing camera would use a standard lens, 9to5google.com/2019/09/06/exclusive-pixel-4-camera-features-motion-mode/ according to 9to5Google, it will be a wide-angle lens.
According to XDA, it appears Google will apply an algorithm to photos taken by the front-facing camera to correct for distortion thanks to the wider field-of-view.
- Resolution: 8 MP
- Aperture: Unknown
- Zoom: Unknown
- Flash: Unknown
- Image stabilization: yes, EIS
- RAW support: Unknown
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: Unknown
Leaks indicate the Google Pixel 4 will house all its cameras in a square module similar to the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. The Pixel 4 will come with three cameras, two camera lenses and one 3D ToF (time of flight) sensor. Rumors indicate the second lens will be a telephoto lens, giving the Pixel 4 much needed optical zoom.
With the telephoto lens and the ToF sensor, the Pixel 4 will do a much better job at determining the depth of field of objects. Bokeh effect will much better than its predecessor thanks to additional data. Besides the cameras, the square modules will also include an LED flash and a microphone. There have also been rumors of an 8x zoom which leverages the telephoto lens' 2x and combines with the algorithms of Super Res Zoom.
Also, Google will update the Camera app to make it easier to use. With dual cameras for the first time, Google is hard at work calibrating the app to best capture the data available from two cameras for even better photos. And as usual, Google is adding a host of new features to make the camera the best on the market.
According to XDA, "Live HDR" is a new feature that will be added to the Google Camera app which applies HDR to the camera viewfinder. This means you can see precisely how HDR will be applied to your photos before taking the photos and make adjustments. According to Wired, "HDRNet" (the algorithm it is based on) can make adjustments in under 20 milliseconds.
According to 9to5Google, Google is adding a "Motion Mode," a new feature that allows users to take higher quality action shots. Using this feature, you can take professional looking shots of moving subjects, but blurry backgrounds. 9to5Google also mentions that Night Sight is getting some speed related improvements and the ability to take photos of the night sky.
- Resolution: 12 MP (wide-angle), 16 MP (telephoto), and ToF
- Sensor size: Unknown
- Aperture: Unknown
- Zoom: 2x optical and 10x digital
- Autofocus: Phase-detect
- Flash: dual tone LED
- Image stabilization: yes, OIS and EIS (wide-angle and telephoto)
- RAW support: yes
- Lens cover: sapphire crystal
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: JPEG, RAW
Videography should be similar to its predecessor with video capture up to 4K at 60 fps. Slow motion should improve to up to 480 fps at 720p thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. We don't know how Google will handle the dual -camera system in videos. Whether they give users access to both in videos is anyone's guess.
We do know some of the new features that will be added to the software. One is Audio Zoom which will direct the microphones (a feature recently added to Android 10) to focus on any zoomed-in area so that the subject of your video is easier to hear.
- Resolution: 720p, 1080p, and 4K
- Max frame rate: 30 fps for 720p, 60 fps for 1080p and 4K
- Slow motion: yes, 1080p at 120 or 240 fps and 720p at 480 fps
- Time-lapse: yes, Unknown
- Photos: yes, Unknown resolution
- Zoom: yes, see above
- Flash access: yes, see above
- Image stabilization: yes, see above
- Object detection: Unknown
- Autofocus: Unknown
- Audio: stereo
- Formats: H.264, H.265
Despite the return of the headphone jack in the Google Pixel 3a, it will not return in the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL. This was expected as it has been missing now for two years with most of the industry moving in that direction. Maybe next year there will be a Google Pixel 4a which keeps the port.
There will not be front-facing stereo speakers. Instead, there are two speaker grills housed on either side of the USB-C port. Either Google will sacrifice audio performance once again in a Pixel device and reduce the Pixel 4 to a mono speaker, or they might get creative. For example, one possibility is they implement a small speaker on the top edge similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: no
- Stereo speakers: yes, stereo speakers
- Mics: 3
- Max speaker volume: Unknown
Since this is a Google designed phone, it will have the usual list of codecs supported by Android. There are a few new additions to this list: Opus, AV1, and HDR10+. Opus is an open and royalty-free codec that offers better quality than MP3. AV1 is an open and royalty-free video codec that acts as an alternative to H.264.
- Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WAV, FLAC, APE, OGG, MID, M4A, IMY, AC3, EAC3, EAC3-JOC, AC4, Opus
- Video: MKV, MOV, MP4, H.265(HEVC), AVI, WMV, TS, 3GP, FLV, WEBM, HDR10+, AV1
The Google Pixel 4 will include two infrared cameras for secure face unlock, a first for Pixel devices. As with other implementations, it will use these sensors to unlock your phone even when in low light. It will include a flood illuminator and dot projector to map your face.
- Accelerometer: yes
- Ambient light: yes
- Barometer: yes
- Color temperature: yes
- Compass: yes
- Gravity: no
- Gyroscope: yes
- Hall: yes
- Infrared: yes
- Laser: yes
- Pedometer: no
- Proximity: yes
We expect the Pixel 4 to offer the same support for satellite navigation systems as the Pixel 3.
- GPS: yes
- aGPS: yes
- Glonass: yes
- BeiDou: no
- Galileo: yes
- QZSS: no
The Pixel 4 will be the first device to use Google's Soli radar chip. Soli can decipher gestures with great precision, allowing you to perform actions on your phone without touching it.
Known as Motion Sense, Google has added several gestures which are performed near the phone (that's right, near; you don't have to awkwardly place your hand in front of the phone like the LG G8 ThinQ). Because of its use of high radio frequencies, Motion Sense will not be available everywhere. Instead, only those in followings markets will get it:
- most European countries
Thanks to This is Tech Today, we know what the gestures will be at launch.
One is known as "Reach to check phone." By placing your hand near your phone as if to reach for it, the lock screen will show allowing you to check the time, notifications, and other alerts.
Another is gesture is "Skip songs." By waving your hand from either right to left or left to right (you can swap the direction), you will go to the previous song or the next song.
Finally, there is "Silence interruptions," which lets you perform the same swipe across to snooze alarms and silence calls. And as with all of these gestures, you perform this without touching the display.
Now you might be wondering how you can prevent someone else from swiping across your phone to skip the song you're listening to. Well, according to Google, the Pixel 4 has facial recognition which Project Soli can leverage to determine who is performing the gestures.
The new system-on-a-chip powering the Google Pixel 4 supports Wi-Fi standards 80.211.ad, ay, and ax. However, so far, most phones have not included these additional standards, so for now, we don't expect the Pixel 4 to either. However, this could change, so we will keep you updated.
With greater support for dual SIM in Android 10, we believe making the unlocked version of Google Pixel 4 dual SIM makes perfect sense. On top of the fact that the Pixel 3 was dual SIM (via a second eSIM slot), it makes sense for Google to bring back this feature.
Using Bluetooth devices is also getting an upgrade. Fast Pair, Google's answer to Apple's W1/W2 chip, will have a new "Device detail" page in the latest version of Android. Here you can see see the battery of the case and each earbud separately. You will be able to locate any Fast Pair device using the updated Find My Device app.
- Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz + 5.0GHz
- Bluetooth: 5.0
- NFC: yes
- Cellular: nano-SIM, eSIM
- Port: USB Type-C
With Pixel 4 passing through the FCC recently, we now have a listing of its cellular bands.
- FDD-LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 25, 26, 30, 38, 41, 48, 66, 71
- CDMA EV-DO Rev. A BC0, BC1, BC10
- GSM/EDGE (850, 1900 MHz)
The Pixel 4 will be the first Google-developed smartphone with secure face unlock. Using an array of sensors, the Pixel 4 will be able to detect your face no matter how you hold your phone. Unlike other devices, there is no need to swipe up to unlock your phone. Instead, once you face your phone and the Soli sensor recognizes that you may want to unlock your phone, it will unlock. And your face data, along with any other sensitive transactions, will be stored locally within the Titan M security chip for ultimate protection.
- Fingerprint scanner: no
- Face scanner: yes
- Iris scanner: no
- Manual authentication: password, PIN, pattern, swipe
We currently don't know what will be in the box.