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What we know about the Google Pixel 4
By Harry Brown |
30th October, 2019 |
Categories: mobile phone, news
After months of rumours, it’s finally here: the very latest smartphone from Google. Pixel 4 launched in the UK in October to excited gadget fans and tech heads alike.
So what’s new, and is it worth you ditching your Samsung or iPhone and taking a punt on a Pixel 4?
Read on to find out more about Pixel 4’s features, price, design and battery life.
Remember – if you’re buying a high-spec phone like the Google Pixel 4, make sure you get it covered with excellent mobile phone insurance.
What is the newest Pixel phone?
The Pixel 4 is the latest in the Pixel line – Google’s series of smartphones that was launched in 2016. Each October has seen an upgrade, and 2019 is no exception.
Like its older siblings, it utilises an Android operating system, has incredible camera-capacity, and all the other features you’d expect from a phone in today’s crowded market.
There’s also an XL version for those who prefer a larger handset with a bigger display.
It’s pitched as a competitor to 2019 flagships from other brands such as Samsung’s Galaxy S10, Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro, and Apple’s iPhone 11.
So how does it compare to its Pixel predecessors and to its rivals?
What new features does the Pixel 4 have?
As you’d expect, this is a pretty feature-packed gadget. While many of its features are standard for high-end phones in 2019, there are plenty of surprises, too.
We’ve picked out a few of the best ‘wow’ moments below.
Do you find touchscreens too much like hard work? Now you can operate your Pixel 4 with just a regal wave of your hand, thanks to its radar-based technology.
The phone can detect when you’re moving and wake up from standby mode, ready for you to unlock the phone – see below – and start using it.
You can also carry out various commands with a swiping gesture, such as rejecting incoming calls or skipping music tracks.
The Pixel 4 is the first phone to utilise such technology, which seems likely to become standard – and more sophisticated – over the coming years. If you love being ahead of the game, here’s where you start!
Here’s another big advance in technology terms: you can unlock your smartphone not with a code or a fingerprint, but just by letting it see your face.
Admittedly, Apple ID got there first, but this technology is new to the Pixel line and is a potentially handy feature to have.
Combined with the motion sensor, it’s super-fast – your device will be unlocked before you’ve even seen the lock screen.
Face Unlock might put the Pixel 4 head and shoulders above its predecessors in technology terms, but there’s a snag.
It works even if your eyes are shut, meaning that a night-time burglar or malicious flatmate could wave the handset over you while you’re sleeping to gain access to your handset – and, if you use two-step verification, your email and bank account.
Google has promised to review the glitch. In the meantime, it recommends you just disable the feature if you’re concerned and set up a bog-standard PIN instead.
There are no such gripes about the camera capability in the Pixel 4, which reviewers have called “superb”.
Pixel 3 was already regarded as one of the best camera phones around, and now its younger sibling has muscled in and knocked it down the pecking order.
The Pixel 4 has a dual-sensor rear camera combining one 12-megapixel and one 16-megapixel lens, with telephoto capacity. Its front camera is 8-megapixels.
It’s particularly excellent for shooting in low light. Its Night Sight technology even has a special Astrophotography mode for snapping the stars.
If you’re a fan of Google’s Assistant, then you’ll be delighted to hear that it’s got even better.
Not only has it got a fresh look, but it can also better handle back-to-back commands.
If you’re concerned about data privacy, you’ll be reassured to learn that a great new feature is the ability to set a limit on the length of time your activity data remains on your Google account.
Valuable, high-spec, feature-packed devices such as the Pixel 4 don’t come cheap – so make sure yours is covered through excellent mobile phone insurance.
Now this is clever. The Recorder app automatically transcribes any recording you make – and does so in real time, on your device rather than in the cloud, and with an impressively high degree of accuracy.
It’s a small feature that’s got reviewers raving.
Of course, reviewers tend to be journalists and therefore likely to hold interviews and take notes, making them a great target market for this feature. Students will love it, too.
You may not need it yourself – but if you do, it stands to transform the way you work. Soon, transcribing recorded interviews by hand will seem as out-of-date as landline telephones.
Remember: mobile phone insurance can replace your lost or damaged handset, but it can’t replace your essential files. Back up frequently or download your essential files somewhere safer.
Screen and sound
The Pixel 4 is winning a lot of love for its screen and display. For a start, you can choose the larger XL handset to give yourself a better view.
Then both models feature Smooth Display, meaning they can switch between a refresh rate of 60Hz and 90Hz depending on how you’re using it.
If you’re gaming, it will refresh fast, giving you a smoother and more responsive playing experience.
If you’re just scrolling through emails, it will switch to the lower refresh rate to save power.
Furthermore, the display has a full HD+ resolution at 444 pixels per inch, making it extremely high quality.
Sadly, most reviewers regard the sound quality as slightly lacking compared to the excellent visuals.
In fact, the Pixel 4 does not have a headphones jack, nor does it come with wireless earbuds or any adaptor, so your music playback options are limited.
However, this is a minor quibble on an otherwise excellent gadget: the sound quality will be more than good enough for all but the most demanding of music fans.
On all phones, screens are generally the most liable to cracks and other damage. Good mobile phone insurance will cover the costs of repairs or replace your device if necessary.
The Pixel 4 comes in three colours: Clearly White, Just Black and Oh So Orange.
The handset is smaller than its rivals, which may or may not be an advantage for you.
Its rubberised coatings around the sides make it look a little less shiny and high-end than similar phones, but also mean it’s easier to hold and less likely to slip.
Even easy-grip models can be dropped, damaged and broken.
Get mobile phone insurance to cover your handset from anything from screen cracks to major repairs.
Sadly, the battery is smaller than those of its competitors.
If you don’t use the device for gaming and you charge it – wirelessly, of course – every night, this is unlikely to be a problem.
However, if you are a heavy phone user, you may well end up switching off some of those fab features to preserve battery life between charges.
Why is it better than previous versions?
With better camera capacity, newer ways to operate it, a sharper display and clever new apps, the Pixel 4 is an all-round upgrade on the previous model.
It’s also using Android 10 rather than 9 as its operating system.
However, it’s only a year since Pixel 3 was released, and that’s still a great phone.
In fact, it has dual front cameras whereas the newer model has just one, and the Pixel 3 XL version even has a slightly larger battery.
While advances in new technology may fascinate many of us, it takes something special to prompt us to shell out our hard-earned cash.
All in all, it seems unlikely that many Pixel 3 users will upgrade immediately to Pixel 4.
But if you’re in the market for a brand-new smartphone, this is definitely one to consider.
Just remember to update your mobile phone insurance policy to ensure you’re still fully covered.
What’s it like compared with the new Samsung?
It’s only around six months since the Samsung Galaxy S10 was released to great acclaim. So has it been superseded by the new kid on the block, or is it holding its own?
On paper, the Samsung probably edges it: it’s got more battery and more storage.
Essentially, however, it comes down to personal use and preference.
If you’re keen to try out the motion sensor and Face Unlock, then the Pixel 4 is the phone for you.
If battery life is more important, then go for the Samsung Galaxy S10.
Either way, you’re choosing an excellent and expensive device that you’d hate to see damaged or stolen.
Make sure you get it covered with good quality mobile phone insurance.
What’s it like compared with the new iPhone?
The iPhone 11 is another astounding smartphone released in 2019. So how does it stack up against its even newer rival?
If storage is important to you, the iPhone goes up to 256GB whereas the Pixel 4 stops at 128GB.
Display-wise, however, the Pixel 4 edges it with a resolution of 444 pixels per inch against the iPhone’s 326.
One big area of difference is how they look and feel in your hand – which one you prefer is very much down to personal preference.
Whichever one you pick, make sure you buy excellent mobile phone insurance to cover your brand new purchase.
How much does it cost?
Prices for a sim-free Pixel 4 start at around £699 for the 64GB version, up to around £929 for the Pixel 4 XL with 128Gb.
Contracts are available from around £40 per month.
Will Pixel 4 be 5G?
Rumour had it that the Pixel 4 would be Google’s first 5G mobile phone, following the lead set by certain other manufacturers during 2019.
However, it was not to be. Google has attributed its decision to wait before introducing 5G technology to two factors.
Firstly, there is a lack of 5G availability: not enough people would benefit from the technology to justify the extra cost.
Secondly, 5G is a new technology, and still power-hungry. The smartphones which can utilise it tend to be expensive.
By eschewing 5G – for the moment at least – Google has kept the Pixel 4 price lower than many competitors.
As for 2020 – watch this space as 5G may well make an appearance sooner than we think.
Will there be a Pixel 4a?
The cut-price Pixel 3a followed the 3 after around six months, so it stands to reason that this may not be the last manifestation of the Pixel 4 model we see.
However, Google only confirmed the existence of the Pixel 4 a week or so before it hit the shops, so there’s really no knowing what the tech giant’s plans are for 2020.
A 5G-enabled Pixel 5? Something completely different? We’ll have to wait and see.
Only one thing seems certain: Google will have a few more surprises up its sleeve!
Get a quote for mobile phone insurance
Whichever model you choose, you’ll quickly find you can’t imagine life without it. So you’ll need excellent mobile phone insurance.
Gadget Cover offers a policy that covers accidental damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage as standard.
Accessories such as cases, headphones and chargers are covered if they’re stolen or damaged at the same time.
If you’re planning on travelling, you’re covered for 180 days ever year, wherever in the world you are.
Do your kids borrow your phone? It can still be insured, thanks to our Family cover.
You can also choose optional extras such as cover for loss of your phone, giving you added security.
Remember – you need to start your insurance policy when your phone is less than 18 months old, and it will then continue for as long as you like.
So don’t delay – get your quote for mobile phone insurance today.