Google Pixel 4 Review

November 28, 2019 at 5:46pm
By Jason Stettner

The Google Pixel 4 is a really interesting flagship phone from the company, as it brings some rather unique features while also being somewhat behind in comparison to the competition. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however, as price range wise it’s also more affordable and it makes up for some of the shortcomings with distinct additions. I don’t normally factor in cost when looking at products, but it’s something to consider when making comparisons between the flagship models that are out there. Moving past that, it was very surprising to see this phone arrive for review purposes, and I’ve been having a great time with it.

The casing of this is really quite nice. It’s a different sort of design, featuring a light grip on the sides and a clear back with a vibrant color coating. I ended up with “Clearly White”, but there’s also “Oh So Orange” and “Just Black” as well. With the gripping on the sides, there’s a neat feature which can be customized where you squeeze to summon the Google Assistant. That is of course the company’s AI which has been given a revamp for this release.

There’s a nice quality weighting to this device, and it feels great when held. The total weight is 162 grams, at least for this particular model. This is a 5.7” inch FHD flexible screen that carries a 2280x1080 OLED screen. It has 444pi with a surprising 90hz for smooth play, which is especially nice for gaming. There’s also HDR support, which is a must these days on screens.

It doesn’t however have Dolby Vision support, which is still something that’s slowly being adopted so not at all a big deal. It’s still a feature to mention as it’s important to some that are looking ahead. They opted to forgo the notch by having a top area that’s separate from the screen for the front camera. This looks fine, and more classic for a touch screen. I also really like the passive screen they have, shows key elements of the day and a darkened wallpaper picture.

The audio quality is really great on this, it’s very loud and quite clear. I tested a number of the usual tracks I use which are more ting oriented and I was very pleased with that. There’s no Dolby Atmos support however, that’s disappointing. When it comes to audio capture there are three microphones which is appreciated. Google Assistant is also there to listen with various improvements in how it responds to your queries. Quick gestures also add to this which were something different to take advantage of control wise.

Onto the gaming elements, which this most certainly does deliver on. I was playing Call of Duty Mobile, Minecraft and PUBG Mobile to test this out. It played them cleanly at the top specifications, and I didn’t have any issues. It’s also quite comfy for gaming, with the phone feeling nice to use for extended periods of time in that horizontal positioning.

You get this snappy play through the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (2.84 GHZ + 178 64 bit Octa-Core) processor. I found the general Android OS to be very well used here, better than other phones that also take advantage of that operating system. This features 18W fast charging, QI wireless charging and it comes with a USB type-C charger. In general, USB type-C is the input option, with a converter to take in traditional USB connections.

If you do want to plug this into say a PC or other old school USB based plug-ins you’ll need another cord which is disappointing. I felt they could have included that, at the same time this can operate without any dependency on another device so I get why. The battery capacity on this is 2800mAh, which could have been better. You definitely notice that, you’ll get your day out of it but won’t be able to push things. This is one area that I feel could be improved, battery is essential to keep people running. It’s a fine capacity, but lags behind other phones in that regard.

Google Pixel 4 Review Screenshot
Finally, it’s time to get to the camera aspect of the Pixel 4 for which this device definitely does deliver some neat features that make it stand out. While other flagship phones are headed for the triple lens, this one doesn’t make the jump yet. Disappointing as it could rock the triple so well, so hopefully it’ll have that in the next iteration. The rear camera provides a 16MP 2.4 aperture lens with a 52 degree field of view. The front camera is a 8MP 2.0 aperture with a 90 degree field of view.

The rear does take some lovely, and very good quality photos. I enjoyed using it for some snow shots since its winter here now, and for general usage as well. There are some neat features, including Night Sight and a great portrait mode. The Night Sight is fairly magical quite honestly, it makes night look like day. You take a shot and then sort of hold it there for a second or so, the comparisons to just a regular photo and what they’re able to achieve there are incredible. It works particularly best if there’s little to no extra light sources, it’s very interesting. It looks like day, while still having the properties of a night shot.

I also specifically mentioned the portrait shots as they’re very neat in how people are highlighted within it. It’s actually an excellent camera rear lens wise, very happy with what it could capture. When it comes to video recording, I was however very disappointed. The rear only provides up to 4k 30fps or 1080p to 120fps. Phones from years back were able to do that, 60fps needs to be a target at 4k as a standard going forward. The front camera is even worse providing 1080p at 30fps, so not even usable for what I do. I can’t hide my disappointment with the video capturing specs, they’re not good.

The following sensors are included; Active Edge, Proximity/Ambient Light Sensor, Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Magnetometer and Barometer. The face ID system works very well, haven’t had any issues using it as an unlock, even when it’s dark. I should also note that is has Google Cast and Bluetooth 5.0 support among standard things such as Wifi or 4G LTE for network connections. The water resistance is IP68 rated.
Pixel 4 camera

The Conclusion

The Google Pixel 4 is a quality flagship phone that comes in at a lower price, at the cost of losing some features that the competition provides. This might sound somewhat negative, but it’s actually a really great option if it’s something you’re looking at. It’s got a very interesting style of casing to it, and if you get one of the official phone cases for it those are nice as well. I liked the squeeze to summon the Google Assistant, that’s a helpful thing to have. It’s also neat to have fun colors, other phones don’t offer that at all.

The Android OS was also beautifully integrated here, with that Google touch that makes it come across as generally better suited in this environment. The 90hz display is definitely appreciated, and the screen looks good. It played games perfectly fine which is something I desire from this type of device. It takes the best of the Google Play store and outputs the performance I desire. It sounds really good audio wise, though for the battery capacity I wish it was larger. It’ll get you through the day, but won’t be able to take on demanding tasks and still keep kicking on a single charge.

I loved the camera on the Pixel 4, it really is great. The rear photos turned out really awesome whenever I took them, and that Night Sight is a wonder to play around with. I do wish they would have provided better fps for video capture, it seems like they didn’t care at all about that feature. I hope I don’t come across as too negative, just pointing out faults and praising when necessary. Keep in mind that this isn’t in the same price as the competitors so lenience is given in that regard for when it doesn’t have certain features. If you’ve been looking at this one, it’s a generally great option.

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Google Pixel 4 Review product provided by Google.

Rating Overall: 8.0

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner