Two camera lenses must be enough. Even at Pixel 4, Google remains true to its line, preferring to enable good photos through software rather than hardware. Apart from that, Google is doing a lot differently to the new edition of its smartphones, starting with the exterior.
The most important features and innovations of the devices presented on Tuesday in New York:
The Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL will be available in black, white and orange , each with a black frame. No earlobe pink more like the previous generation, no unsightly color gradation on the back. A Notch for the front camera (and the face recognition sensors) are also no longer, instead, Google packs the technology in the upper edge of the screen, which turns out a little wider.
Even the fingerprint sensor falls away , instead, the pixel 4 is unlocked by face recognition. Also, Google Pay payments over 25 euros, for which the smartphone must be unlocked, with this technology release. Because the devices are already registering when a hand approaches them, unlocking is particularly fast. There were several unflattering reports on the way Google got training data for the technique.
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The technique called "Motion Sense" not only recognizes approach, but also introduces a new level of operation. A radar chip in the smartphone recognizes hand gestures over the display , such as when it is on a table. This makes it possible to move to the next or previous song (not just in Google Apps, but also in Spotify), control playback volume, stop a timer, pause an alarm, or reject a phone call.
A first live demonstration made it clear that these gestures must be quite extensive for them to be recognized. In earlier reports, it was also speculated that Motion Sense could also work through fabrics such as trouser pockets or the back of the smartphone, but neither is. The gesture control works only when the smartphone is up with the display. According to Google, five years of work are already part of the technology, but at first glance it does not look very impressive.
Different the camera. The consists of a 12-megapixel lens and a telephoto lens with 16 megapixels . In times of triple or even quadruple cameras even in the middle class that seems Spartan, but the pixel smartphones were always among the best on the market, because Google has the photography like no other manufacturer to a software task. That should not change with the pixel 4.
For example, Dual Exposure is a new feature that lets you expose specific areas of a subject to a greater degree of intensity while, for example, leaving the background unchanged. This should especially make portrait photos even better, which already belonged to Google's strengths in Pixel 3.
Anyone who activates the moon-shaped button in the Night Sight mode at night and directs the smartphone upwards (best fixed on a tripod) should be able to make spectacular pictures of the starry sky for smartphone conditions. In a brightly lit city, however, this would hardly work.
The sample images that Google showed in advance have little to do with average-talented photographers and everyday situations. Only a test will show how realistic Google's examples are.
Screen bigger, battery smaller
The screen of the Pixel 4 is 5.7 inches slightly larger than that of the previous model, the XL version comes as usual to 6.3 inches. A refresh rate of 90 hertz is intended to guarantee a particularly fluid representation, for example of games.
The battery of the Pixel 4 is slightly smaller than the predecessor with a capacity of 2800 mAh. Whether this has noticeable effects in everyday life, can also show only one test. However, new chips and a more energy-efficient operating system should ensure that you can easily get through the day with one battery charge. The Pixel 4 XL also gets a slightly larger battery than its predecessor.
Both Pixel 4 versions have six gigabytes of memory and either 64 or 128 gigabytes of space, but no memory card slot. Pixel buyers get unlimited cloud storage from Google for their photos and videos. The processor comes from Qualcomm, it is the Snapdragon 855. 5G-capable, the Pixel 4 is not .
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The operating system is the new Android 10. As always, the Pixel models get all security updates from Google first. The company also guarantees operating system upgrades for at least three years, including Android 13, or whatever the year 2022 version is.
The Google Assistant will be smarter and better understand follow-up questions. In the audio recording app Recorder, Google's software is able to transcribe conversations in real time, the transcripts are then searchable. All this works without an internet connection, so completely on the device - but for the time being only in English. The german version is still in work.
The Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL will hit the market on October 24th. With 749 and 849 euros - depending on memory equipment - the smaller Pixel 4 is 100 euros cheaper than the Pixel 3 at its launch. The XL variant is with 899 or 999 euros after all, still 50 euros cheaper than its predecessor.
Nest Mini and Nest WiFi: New Smart Speakers and Routers
In addition to the Pixel smartphones, Google is launching a new version of the Smart Speaker Nest Mini for € 59 on 22 October. This should sound better, especially in the basses, understand the activation word more reliable and better sort out similar sounding noises. Whether users' commands can be recorded - and potentially analyzed by human operators - can be set by users when setting up. The storage is not activated by default.
In early December, the company will launch the second generation of Google WiFi on the German market, called Nest WiFi. Compared to the first version of the mesh router introduced in 2017 and the associated access points, the new devices are slightly larger and roundish. This is partly because there are twice as many antennas inside. On the other hand, practically a Nest Mini is integrated.
Router and access point, which distribute the WLAN signal in the house better than classic amplifiers, so are also smart speakers at the same time. But you can deactivate your microphone via a switch - there are supposed to be people who do not want to have more microphones in their home than they already do. The prices: 159 euros only for the router, 139 only for one access point, 259 euros for both together.