With the new year comes a new pair of smartphones from the company behind the Android platform. It seems it was only a few months ago that Google announced the Pixel 3 and 3 XL with its somewhat disappointing design. It seems they heard the critics and for the first time, will deliver.
Thanks to Google's acquisition of 2,000 HTC engineers who previously worked on the Pixel devices, Google is now fully into the hardware business, with the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL being the first smartphones entirely designed in-house. The Google Pixel 4 (and 4 XL) will be designed by the same team, but this time, it won't look like the previous Pixels.
However, this change isn't without compromise. As with the headphone jack, there will be lost features in pursuit of a better design. But based on early leaks, it's a sacrifice fans will be able to get behind.
Jump to a section: Standout Features | Dates | Storage | Price | Body | Basics | Software | Skin | Display | Performance | Battery | Front Camera | Rear Camera | Audio | Media Formats | Sensors | Connectivity | Security | Box Includes | Accessories
The Google Pixel 4 will have an all-new design for the front and rear of the phone with minimal bezels and no notch. The top and bottom bezels will also be minimal, forcing the removal of the front-facing stereo speakers. It will use facial recognition similar to Face ID and finally upgrade the rear cameras to include multiple lenses.
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. Preorders will start the day of the event, and it will release within a week of the announcement date.
- Release date: October 2019
- Preorder date: October 2019
- Announced: October 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.
- Frame: aluminum, glass
- Finish: white, black, mint green
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 to the Pixel 4.
- Version: stock Android (Pixel version)
The Pixel 4 XL will have small screen size increase from 5.5 inches to 5.7 inches (the Pixel 4 is the same size as its predecessor). 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, it is the same as last year with the Pixel 4 sporting an FHD+ resolution and the Pixel 4 XL using a QHD+ resolution. This will also be a more color-accurate display, using the P3 gamut for the first time (the same used by iPhones).
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. Rumors indicate 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. While at launch Stadia will limit games to 60 fps, Google did promise higher frame rates (120 fps) in the future.
Rumors also indicate that it will have a Google's version of Apple's True Tone, allowing the display to automatically adjust white balance based on the surrounding area. 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), 6.3 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), 534 ppi (Google Pixel 4 XL)
- Screen type: OLED
- Notch: no
- Screen-to-body ratio: Unknown
- Aspect ratio: Unknown
- 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. We don't know if Google will once again underclock the SoC to help compensate for the smaller battery, but with Google's big push into gaming, we don't believe that to be the case.
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.
- 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
The top bezel will house four (or five) different imaging units, two of which are cameras. Rumors have it that one of them is Soli Radar, a new component introduced by Google that enables touchless gestures (think LG G8 ThinQ, but better).
As far as the second (and potentially third) component, it's anyone's guess. However, based on the current state of smartphones, if there are an additional two more sensors, Google is likely implementing facial recognition for the first time in the Pixel series. This would make sense, as Android 10 will be the first version to support this form of biometrics. We also have seen this method of authentication achieved using just a ToF sensor, so it is possible.
What this means for photography is a much better selfie camera. Google already improved their front-facing cameras by including a second wide-angle lens, but if the facial recognition rumor is true, the same sensors used to implement the technology will also improve photography. This is because this camera creates depth maps when trying to decipher if the face looking at the display is actually you. By allowing the camera app access to this data, portrait mode photos can better keep you in focus. AR should also be better with these sensors, such as better filter application in third-party apps like Snapchat.
- Resolution: Unknown
- 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.
In addition, 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. We also know popular features such as Night Sight will be easier to use, switching to a dedicated tab instead of buried in the "More" section of the camera app.
- Resolution: 12 MP (standard), 16 MP (telephoto), and ToF
- Sensor size: Unknown
- Aperture: Unknown
- Zoom: 2x optical and 10x digital
- Flash: dual tone LED
- Image stabilization: yes, OIS and EIS
- 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.
- 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.
Another possibility is Google could borrow LG's technology and implement the Crystal Sound OLED, turning the display into a speaker. We know Google and LG have a close relationship, so there's a chance they share this technology with Google. And since we can say with high confidence the Pixel 4 will come with an OLED panel, it would theoretically be possible for this to happen.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: no
- Stereo speakers: yes, stereo speakers
- Mics: 3
- Max speaker volume: ## dB
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.
In addition, the Pixel 4 is the first device to use the new Soli radar chip. Similar to the LG G8 ThinQ, it will support handsfree control of your phone known as Motion Sense. Soli can decipher gestures, allowing you to perform actions on your phone without touching it, including skipping songs, snoozing alarms, and silencing calls. And Google plans to add more features in the future.
- 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 Google Pixel 4 to offer the same support for satellite navigation systems.
- GPS: yes
- aGPS: yes
- Glonass: yes
- BeiDou: no
- Galileo: yes
- QZSS: no
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
We don't know anything official regarding the bands of the new Pixel 4 but we expect at least the same LTE band support as its predecessor.
- FDD-LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 66, 71
- CDMA EV-DO Rev. A BC0, BC1, BC10
- GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 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. Instea, 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.
We don't know of any accessories that will be packaged with the Google Pixel 4.