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Google Pixel 4 (XL) Hands-On: 90 Hz display, dual camera and motion sense from 749 euros

Google Pixel 4 (XL) Hands-On: 90-Hz-Display, Dual-Kamera und Motion Sense ab 749 Euro

tl; dr: With the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, Google is not only about better software support from the competition, but offers with 90-Hz displays, a dual camera with astrophotography and the new motion-sense control numerous interesting hardware -Features. In addition, the prices fell consistently.

Google Pixel 4 starts 100 euros cheaper

Google's pixel smartphones will go into the fourth round on the 24th of October for the launch. Then Pixel 4 and Pixel XL 4 are offered, among others, in the own Google Store as well as several of the well-known large retail chains.

After information about Google's new smartphones over the last few weeks repeatedly came to the public in advance, at least the price is a surprise. Because unlike currently on the market, the smartphones are offered up to 100 euros cheaper than the Pixel 3.

The Pixel 4 starts with 64 GB of non-expandable memory from 749 Euro instead of 849 Euro (Pixel 3), the Pixel 4 XL with the same memory configuration is 899 Euro instead of 949 Euro (Pixel 3 XL). 128 GB of storage cost 100 euros more each.

Technical data of Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL at a glance

The basic package of each pixel 4 is quickly explained, because Google uses common components that were distributed over the year on other Android flagship ships. Google relies on a combination of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and always 6 GB LPDDR4X memory. That's 2 GB more RAM than in the previous year and should eliminate the bottlenecks which occur partly in the everyday operation of the Pixel 3. Interestingly enough, Google did not opt ​​for the new Snapdragon 855 Plus, which offers 120 MHz more clock on the single Prime Core of the Cryo 485 CPU and a 15% faster Adreno 640 GPU.

A smaller and a larger battery

The batteries are a bit smaller (2 pixels) at 2,800 mAh and slightly larger (4 pixels 4 pixels) than in the previous year at 3,700 mAh. Google supports both wired and wireless charging via charging cradles according to the Qi standard. Both smartphones include an 18 watt USB Type C power supply as per USB Power Delivery.

Dual SIM thanks to eSIM

The dual-SIM capability of smartphones is similar to Apple's current iPhones a SIM slot for a physical Nano-SIM and an integrated eSIM, which can be played with the profile of a network operator. Since Android 10 can be operated in parallel physical and embedded SIM, with Android 9 was an either-or.

Pixel 4 comes in two sizes

Once again, Google offers its smartphones in two sizes, with the smaller 5.7-inch rather than 5.5-inch model being slightly larger. With 68.8 × 147.1 × 8.20 millimeters (W × H × D) and 162 grams, this is noticeable in a larger case and higher weight. The XL variant, however, remains at 6.3 inches, although here the smartphone a little longer, thicker and heavier, but less wide fails.

Both smartphones incorporate their technology in high-quality glass and aluminum enclosures. Especially the matte and handy frame pleased the first try. The small Pixel 4, but also the larger Pixel 4 XL are well in the hand. In terms of color choices, Black (Just Black) and White (Clearly White) are two classic colors, while a new Orange (Oh So Orange), which is reserved for the smaller 64-GB model, brings freshness to the range , Colored accents are also set by the colorful power buttons on the right in the frame.

OLED displays with 90 Hz

Smooth Display calls Google its accelerated from 60 Hz to 90 Hz refresh rate displays, which provide for a quick operating experience. Already on the OnePlus 7T (test) knew the technique to please and ensures now synonymous with Google nimble animations. The underlying OLED panel works dynamically in two stages, so that a refresh rate of 60 Hz is used for static content.

For the Pixel 4, the screen offers 1,080 × 2,280 pixels (443 ppi), for the Pixel 4 XL it is 1,440 × 3,040 pixels (534 ppi). The aspect ratio has been adjusted from 18: 9 to 19: 9 for Pixel 4 and from 18.5: 9 to 19: 9 for Pixel 4 XL. Both panels master a dynamic adaptation of the white point to the ambient light with “Ambient EQ”. As last year, there is HDOR certification and Gorilla Glass 5 screen protector from Corning.


The top of the screen is wider due to numerous sensors
The top of the screen is wider due to numerous sensors

The 90 Hz OLED display come in 5.7 inches and 6.3 inches
The 90 Hz OLED display come in 5.7 inches and 6.3 inches

Below, the display margins are much narrower
Below, the display margins are much narrower

Motion Sense is responsible for wide screen margins

Both pixels 4 come with comparatively wide display margins, whereas especially the Android competition recently sat on particularly narrow or barely existing edges by the front camera as a recess in the display (Galaxy S10) or as an extendable unit (OnePlus 7 Pro) was integrated. Only smartphones with elaborate 3D face recognition, such as the Apple iPhone 11 (Pro) (test) or Huawei Mate 30, have larger notches to accommodate the sensors.

Google has opted for a notch and instead a wide frame above the display. The area below the display, however, is much smaller. Why Google had to make the edge so big, is already known since the announcement in July of the radar operation and Face Unlock.

On the one hand, there is the radar technology developed under the project name Soli to operate the smartphone via gestures. With the Pixel 4 the handling over hand gestures is marketed as “Motion Sense”. Motion Sense is designed to use hand gestures to swap between songs, to snooze the alarm or mute calls without touching the screen of the smartphone. In the music apps, Google will support Spotify and YouTube Music in Germany, among others. You can not switch between individual videos in normal YouTube. If an app is compatible with Motion Sense, a soft glow in white will appear at the top of the screen. Developers get access to the API.

Face unlock instead of fingerprint sensor

In the area above the display is more than just the radar chip installed. Pixel 4 will also put Google on Face Unlock to unlock the smartphone after it has been used by other vendors for some time, though not always at the same level of security. Only a few manufacturers rely on a sophisticated system of IR camera and point projector, but rely only on a 2D photo of the user.

Face Unlock works on Google with two IR cameras, a point projector and a flood illuminator. The soli-chip should already activate the sensors required for Face Unlock when they reach for the smartphone, so that the smartphone can be unlocked immediately after lifting. An additional swipe gesture is not necessary, Google speaks of a fluid movement and instantaneous unlock. The user lands in the last used app. A Google employee demonstrated the system at a high speed, but it could not be tried out yet. Face Unlock should work from almost any angle, even if the smartphone is turned upside down. The system is also designed to secure payment with Google Pay, for example.

Sensors for Project Soli and Face Unlock in Pixel 4
Sensors for Project Soli and Face Unlock in Pixel 4 (Image: Google)

Google stores data in the Titan M chip

Google assures that all face unlock information is stored offline on the smartphone in the Titan M chip and is not shared with any Google services or uploaded to the cloud. Also at Apple are the Face ID data in the Secure Enclave and should not leave the smartphone according to the manufacturer at any time.

On the next page: Google installed for the first time dual camera

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