Every year Google puts out a new Pixel phone with an even better camera than the last and this year for the first time there are two cameras! This is a great addition but of course we have to remember this is first and foremost a phone not just a camera. So what other reasons are there to upgrade if you already have a Pixel 3?
From the front you might not be able to tell the Pixel 3 and 4 apart at least not the small models. They both have roughly the same footprint though the Pixel 4 has a slightly taller 19:9 aspect ratio display at the same full HD plus resolution. The Pixel 4 XL looks just like the smaller 4 which is great news if you hated the large notch on the Pixel 3 XL but not so good if you don’t like the “forehead “top bezel on the Pixel 4.
The bigger news with the Pixel 4 screen is the smooth display tech which dynamically switches between 60 and 90 Hz. Just like on the Oneplus 7T, 90 Hz makes the Pixel 4 feel like a significantly smoother phone. Just keep in mind that the higher refresh rate will likely have a toll on battery life which was already the weakest point of the Pixel 3.
It’s no secret that the battery life was absolutely terrible on the Pixel 3 series and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be any different this year. The Pixel 4 has a 2800 mAh battery which is even smaller than last year’s, while the 4 XL gets a slight bump from 3430 to 3700 mAh. Combined with the new 90 Hz display there’s not a lot of confidence in the Pixel 4’s longevity but we will have to wait and see.
Internally the Pixel 4 and 4 XL get a bump up to the Snapdragon 855 versus the Pixel 3’s Snapdragon 845 and an increase in RAM from 4 to 6 GB. Internal storage options are the same at 64 and 128 GB. Google clearly wants to push users to backup all of their photos and videos to the cloud instead of stored locally on the device.
There’s no more fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 4 and while many people might miss having this feature the Pixel 4’s new face unlock is looking really solid as it uses infrared to create a depth map of your face just like on the iPhone. It’s more secure than the purely camera based face unlock on phones like the OnePlus 7T but developers are going to need to update their apps to support the new biometrics API introduced in Android 10. So in the meantime it’s likely some users are going to run into compatibility issues with certain apps.
Now last but not least here is what’s new with the cameras. The Pixel 3 already took incredible photos and the Pixel 4 brings with it new camera features and a secondary telephoto lens. So far the images we’ve seen from the Pixel 4 are significantly sharper and more detailed than shots taken with the Pixel 3. There’s less noise and the camera exposes brighter and more evenly. After all the hype the Pixel 3 got for it’s great camera quality it’s surprising to think that it could look bad compared to anything else but the Pixel 4 has really made a step up.
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