Google's October 2019 Event is over, and being a Pixel 3XL owner I was hoping for some improvements on what I felt was a pretty decent phone. There had been many many leaks on this phone and basically all of them were right. You can check out our article on the Final Leaks and Rumors surrounding the Pixel 4 if you like to see for yourself. If not, let me give you the rundown.
Also check out Daniels live reaction unboxing at the video above.
The design is exactly as we had seen, block colour body rather than the dual tone, with a black camera module on the back, no large notch on the front for the XL, but instead a larger forehead which house some of the newer features to the Pixel of the Soli Radar chip and the Face Unlock Flood Illuminator. It is also coming in the colours that we thought it would do; ‘Just Black’, ‘Clearly White’ and the limited edition ‘Oh So Orange’.
In terms of the screen we are getting a 90Hz refresh rate OLED display on both, with the Pixel 4 having a 5.7” display, up 0.2” from the 3, and the Pixel 4XL will have the same size screen as the 3 XL with 6.3”. Both the phones are going to be slightly larger than their predecessors, with the 4 being 1.5mm taller than the 3 and the 4XL being 2.4mm larger than the 3XL.
So we are getting minor changes to both the actual build of the phone and the screen on the phone. But what I personally look for in a phone is a good camera, and with the Pixel 3XL having an extremely good camera, I was excited to see what improvements were going to be made. Unfortunately I was let down.
The hardware on this is no huge improvement over my current Pixel. Whilst we are getting a new camera module on the back, with a 16MP main camera and a 12.2MP secondary camera, we still have no Wide Angle but a new telephoto lens! That’s right, we hoped they wouldn’t do it, we didn’t want to believe the leaks but they were right. Come on Google, why do we still not have one? We touched on this in our Leaks and Rumors Article but you can always zoom in post, but you cannot take a wide angle image without a wide angle lens! In addition, we were right in thinking that there was going to be a single camera on the front, which is only 8MP, so no real improvements here, and it can only do 1080p at 30FPS. The Pixel 3 could do that, so why Google isnt trying to match both Samsung and Apple, who are able to do 4K on the front facing cameras, I don’t know. In terms of the rest of the video capabilities here you are, they are pretty much the same as the 3 but some are locked to specific FPSs:
4K @ 30FPS
720P @ 240FPS
1080P @ 30, 60 and 120 FPS
1080P @ 30FPS
I am hoping that there are some major improvements when it comes to the software of the Pixel 4’s camera that would make up for the lack of improvement in the hardware. But whether those software improvements will come to the 3’s as well, we will have to wait and see.
Something new that is coming with the camera though is the Astrophotography, which was further shown off at the event. What this appears to be is an extended Night Sight of soughts but this astrophotography requires a 4 minute exposure time in order to take the image, so unless you want to stand perfectly still while it takes the picture, I’d suggest getting a tripod for it, unless you want to be in the picture, in which case you will have to stand still for the entire exposure time. Personally I see this as quite a gimmick but I could be surprised.
CPU & RAM
So whilst all the leaks have been right so far there was something that we did get wrong, the CPU. We thought that these were going to come with the Snapdragon 855+, which is essentially an overclocked 855. However, we are not getting any overclock at all, and are instead getting the Snapdragon 855 regular, which is the same processor you find in an S10. However, although that sounds great, the S10 had the best CPU at the time seeing as the S10 was released in March and the 855 was released in December of last year, but the Pixel could have had the 855+ which was released in July.
But we did get the RAM correct, with 6GB up from 4 on the 3XL. This is another questionable move, seeing as many phones come with 12GB of RAM nowadays.
We also got the prices wrong, and in a good way this time. So from the leaks it looked like we were going to have to spend £730 for the 4 and £1,000 for the XL, but luckily those were overestimated prices and instead the Pixel 4 will start at £669, and the XL at £829. But whether that makes up for the lack of improvements, we will have to get one and find out!
So in the end I am not massively impressed. The design to me isn’t great, we are getting no huge improvements in performance or camera, and the only large camera update to me seems gimmicky but I am interested to see what kind of pictures it produces.
Until I have seen one for myself and had a go with it, I personally wouldn’t look to upgrade from my 3XL as there simply isn’t enough to make me want to upgrade, and if anything now could be the time to get a Pixel 3 if you’ve been wanting one as the price is sure to drop.