I received my new Google Pixel 4 in late October as a #giftfromgoogle. I’ve spent the last couple of months putting it through the paces aka daily life. Read on to see my review of the Google Pixel 4 as well as who it might be a good fit for.
Google Pixel 4 Options
In trying to figure out if the Google Pixel 4 may or may not be a good fit for you, it might be helpful to see whether or not the different options are to your liking. We’ll discuss color, size, memory options, etc.
There are three color options for the Google Pixel 4. Clearly White, Just Black and the Limited Edition Oh So Orange. I have the Oh So Orange. I love how bright it is and though the case I have covers up most of the orange color, I can still see it through the sides of the case.
XL or regular size?
My phone is the regular size (5.7″ display and 2.7 inches across). It’s a bit smaller than the the XL version which is 6.3″ and 2.9″ across. I was using the Pixel 3XL before so stepping down to the smaller model was at first a big change. The phone felt significantly smaller in my hand but it wasn’t long before I actually enjoyed the smaller model. I have pretty small hands so it’s actually a better fit for me. I also like to carry my phone in the pocket of my pants so the smaller size is also a plus there. From time to time I miss being able to watch videos on a slightly bigger screen but if I had to pick again I’d still opt for the regular sized phone like I have.
The Google Pixel 4 comes in two different storage options: 64GB and 128GB. I have the 128GB model and am so thankful for that because I take a ton of photos and videos and don’t want to have to worry about running out of room right away. The price difference is about $100 bucks. My advice when considering storage is to buy as much as you can up front because you can’t really go wrong with having too much.
The Camera on the Google Pixel 4
No matter whether you have the regular sized Pixel 4 or the XL version, the camera is the same. And it’s awesome. But I should actually say cameras because there are three, two on the back and one on the front.
Rear cameras on the Google Pixel 4
The two on the back shoot 16 megapixels and 12 megapixels. There’s also a telephoto lens that allows you to shoot photos of things much further in the distance that before weren’t possible. Or, if they were possible, were grainy and unclear. Both of the rear cameras have optical and image stabilization which means your photos look better without having to tripod with you everywhere.
Front facing camera on the Google Pixel 4
The front facing camera, aka the camera you use when taking selfies, is also quite good. It’s got 8 megapixels and also offers things like motion detection, timer and face retouching. To enable the cool feature known as “kiss cam” simply put the camera in selfie mode, swipe down and toggle timer to Auto. This makes your phone look and detect motion, such as the kiss, and will trigger the shutter to take a photo when it senses motion. It helps you capture the perfect, natural kiss without having to struggle to depress the camera.
Other camera features
In addition to the above, the Google Pixel 4 also enables you to take Milky Way shots. Night sight now allows you, with a tripod or a makeshift tripod, to capture the stars as never before on a phone.
There’s also the dual exposure controls which allows you to adjust brightness and shadows. This means you can add more artistry to your shots because you can have more control over them.
Portrait mode has also improved. The Pixel 3 did a great job of adding blur to the background and making the subject, be it a human, a beer, a pet, etc. stand out. The Pixel 4 takes this computational photography a step further and shows improvement on hair and other textures such as the edges of leaves. The photos look professional and are super easy to take with the click of a button. The Pixel 4 is quickly closing the gap between DSLR’s and smart phones.
Battery life on the Google Pixel 4
I use my phone all throughout the day. Everything from social media to internet searching to reading the news to texting and sometimes even (gasp) actually using the phone to make a call. I also like to watch videos on it from time to time and play Spotify on it regularly. All that said, I know battery usage can depend on many factors but for the most part, I can use my phone as I like with enough battery to get me to the end of the day.
Some personal battery recommendations I have are to turn the Battery Saver feature. It restricts background activity as well as some visual affects to extend your battery life. You’ll know it’s ‘on’ when your battery icon is red. You can also adjust the brightness on your phone and even go to full-on Dark Mode. Lastly you can also employ the Adaptive Battery which limits the battery drain for apps that you don’t use often.
Other tech specs for the Google Pixel 4
So far we’ve covered the options you’ve got as far as the Pixel 4 goes as well as the camera and the battery. There are also some other things to consider which we’re about to cover:
The battery on the Pixel 4 allows for Qi-certified wireless charging. I would only recommend using the Pixel Stand for wireless charging. I have a Pixel stand which I enjoy using when I’m at home and in one place for more than a few days. It’s fast, convenient and also shows some of my favorite photos and allows me to use the Google Assistant while it’s powering up. Most of the time though, I use the charger that came with it that plugs into an outlet. It’s a USB-C style charger and it does great.
Motion Sense Radar
One of the things I was super stoked to try out was the motion sense radar. It turns out that it’s a pretty cool feature. It allows you to control your phone without actually having to touch it. Though most of the time I run outdoors, from time to time I’ll hop on a treadmill for a workout. This is the perfect instance of when motion sense is helpful: it allows me to skip to the next song or silence an incoming call with the wave of my hand rather than having to pick it up and manipulate it. It has also been used a few times when I’ve got sticky or greasy fingers. It’s a pretty intuitive function to use after you’ve had the phone for a few days.
Motion sense is also used to help with face unlock which is a new feature for the Pixel phones this year. Gone is the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone and instead, all you need to do to unlock your phone is hold it up to your face and ‘boom!’ you’re in! Sure, you have to take a minute or two to let your phone build a profile of you but after that, it works great. I had concerns that it wouldn’t work if I wore a hat since I do often but it hasn’t been an issue. If face unlock makes you nervous for privacy concerns, no worries, you can also still use the phone with an old fashioned password that you type in.
Say “Hey Google” and it’s like you have a personal assistant ready to answer your questions, make an appointment, send a text or find a restaurant nearby. It’s a pretty cool feature that can be activated either with your voice, by squeezing the edge of your phone or even by touching the red, yellow, blue and green dots at the bottom right hand corner of your phone.
Review of the Google Pixel 4 Recap
There are so many options out there when it comes to cell phones but if you are looking for a phone that takes incredible photos, this would be one to definitely put on your list. The camera on the Google Pixel 4 is hands-down the best camera on today’s market. You can’t beat the features it offers. Still not convinced? Head on over to Instagram and search #teampixel and #pixel4 to see a bunch of photos taken with the phone. Got a Pixel? We’d love to hear from you about your experience with it.
Interested in the Pixel but okay with last year’s model? Check out our review of the Google Pixel 3 which is offered at a discounted rate but still offers many of the same great features as the newest model. Also, be sure to check out our thoughts on the Google Pixel Slate if you are looking for a tool that will help you edit the photos you take with your new phone.
Ready to buy this phone or want to learn a little more?