The Pixel 4 is here – Google launches new phones… with a radar

Ha! The internet remains undefeated. The Pixel 4 is probably the worst kept tech secret… ever. There were so many leaks to the point where I started to wonder if Google was allowing them on purpose. However, Google’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL features some very cool tech.

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL comes in black, white and orange. (Photo: @evleaks)

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

Google officially revealed the Pixel 4 duo at its “Made by Google” event in New York City on October 15.

The Google Pixel 4 XL has a 6.3-inch QHD display while the smaller Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inch FHD screen. Both devices use OLED panels and are powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor. Graphics are handled by an Adreno 640 GPU. Thanks to the built-in Pixel Neural Core, Google was able to enhance the Google Assistant’s capabilities.

The new Pixel 4 XL has ditched the enormous notch that plagued the Pixel 3 XL, and for good reason. Google needed even more space to pack some additional sensors inside the top bezel.

The Pixel 4 has a radar sensor that detects hand movements. (Photo: Google)

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have been fitted with a new biometric authentication system. The fingerprint sensor has been replaced with face unlocking. The new devices now pack hardware to enable more secure access using a similar setup to Apple’s Face ID system that creates a model of your face. It also has an interesting addition. The Pixel 4 devices now pack a radar sensor. The radar is a part of the Pixels’ “Motion Sense” technology that enables gesture control over the devices. One can simply wave a call away or skip a track.

The radar also works alongside the face unlock sensors to enable “the fastest face unlocking on a smartphone.” The radar can tell when you are about to pick up the device, and simply readies the other sensors to scan your face. The radar also detects when a person walks away from their phone and automatically shuts off the always-on display.

The notch is gone. The top bezel returns. (Photo: Google)

An on-device language model helps the Google Assistant process voice input faster than before and the built-in Titan M chip keeps information private, including your face unlock model.

The Cameras

The Pixel line set the standard for great smartphone photography and this year’s models aims to raise the bar.

The Pixel 4 camera system includes a wide-angle camera, a telephoto camera, hyperspectral sensor, a mic and a flash. (Photo: Google)

The new camera module is a square design that looks a bit like the iPhone 11 Pro models (without the weird, stove-top looking design).

Oddly, Google’s camera array includes a 12.2 MP wide camera and a 16 MP telephoto camera. There’s no ultra-wide camera. An 8 MP front-facing cameras will handle all the selfie and video call needs.

Google has always boasted excellent computational photography instead of relying solely on hardware. This year there are a few new features to make sure you get the best shot every time.

  • Live HDR+: Using machine learning, the Pixel 4 will show a real-time approximation of what the picture will look like before shooting. Also, by tapping the screen you can change the highlights and shadows for a customised look.
  • White Balance: The Pixel 4 will now be able to correct white balance in all photo modes so images will have the right tones and hues. This produces better photos that accurately represent a scene.
  • Portrait Mode Improvements: By using machine learning algorithms along with both rear cameras, the Pixel 4 will take better portrait mode shots. There’s also new, DSLR-like bokeh for realistic blur.
  • Better Night Sight – The Pixel 4 can shoot astrophotography (it can take clear pictures of the night sky).
Night Sight photo.jpg
Actual Night Sight photograph with the new astrophotography capability. (Photo: Google)

The new Pixel devices come in black, white and orange. The Pixel 4 will start at US $799 while the Pixel 4 XL will start at US $899.

Pre-orders started October 15 and the devices will ship on October 24.

— Written by Renor C.