Google Pixel 4 review

GSMArena team, 29 Nov 2019.

Introduction

It wasn't with much excitement that we met the reveal of the Pixel 4 duo - Google's lack of effort to contain early leaks meant that not only were the specs unremarkable, but we also knew them in advance. We already had the 4 XL for review and we have more than a general idea of this gen's pros and cons, but now we set out to discover how the small Pixel 4 performs and how it stands in the context of its own specific competitors.

Google Pixel 4 review

The Pixel 4 is essentially the same phone as the 4 XL, only scaled down in a couple of ways - display and battery. Where the XL packs a 6.3-inch QHD+ panel, the small phone stays at 5.7 inches (FullHD+ resolution, but that's fine at this size). Both are OLEDs too. Then there's battery - if the XL's 3,700mAh capacity sounded on the meh side of okay, the 2,800mAh figure in the Pixel 4 specsheet is downright worrisome.

The rest is all the same. The soon-to-be-replaced springtime Qualcomm top-dog of a chipset, the lowest amount of RAM of any current flagship, with low base storage and low maximum storage - it sure sounds exactly like Google's way of doing phones. That also means Android 10 in a flavor no one else has and if you're looking at a Pixel, you clearly enjoy that.

Google Pixel 4 review

This generation of Pixels come with radar-based Motion Sense for gestures and a front ToF camera for 3D depth mapping, but is missing a fingerprint reader of any sort. It's got no ultra wide-angle camera either, but conversely, the small Pixel is one of the more affordable ways to get a telephoto from one of the big names - neither the iPhone 11 nor the Galaxy S10e has one.

Google Pixel 4 specs

  • Body: Texture-coated aluminum frame; Gorilla Glass 5 back (soft texture on the Clearly White and Oh So Orange color schemes, glossy on the Just Black); 147.1x68.8x8.2mm, 162g.
  • Screen: 5.7" P-OLED display, 90Hz variable refresh rate, 1080x2280px (~444ppi), 19:9 ratio, Gorilla Glass 5.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, octa-core CPU (1x2.84GHz Kryo 485 + 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 485 + 4x1.78GHz Kryo 485); Adreno 640 GPU.
  • Memory: 6GB RAM; 64/128GB storage, non-expandable.
  • OS: Android 10.
  • Cameras: Main: 12.2MP, 1.4Ám pixel size, 28mm equiv. focal length, f/1.7 aperture, dual pixel PDAF, OIS; Telephoto: 16MP, 1.0Ám, 45mm, f/2.4, PDAF, OIS; LED flash; Nigh Sight; Live HDR viewfinder; Super Res Zoom; Video recording - 720p @ 240 fps, 1080p @ 120 fps, 2160p @ 30 fps.
  • Selfie cam: 8MP, 1.22Ám, 22mm, f/2.0; ToF 3D sensor.
  • Battery: 2,800mAh Li-Po; 18W USB Power Delivery charging; 11W Qi wireless charging.
  • Connectivity: Nano SIM + eSIM; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 5.0 + LE; NFC; Wi-Fi direct; GPS, Galilleo, GLONASS.
  • Misc: Face unlock; radar-based Motion Sense; stereo loudspeakers.

Google Pixel 4 unboxing

The Pixel 4 that arrived at headquarters has a more conventional package with the phone printed on it as opposed to the colorful 'P 4' markings on our US-bound XL unit. The contents are all the same, however.

Google Pixel 4 review

You're getting an 18W USB Power Delivery adaptor, essentially the same one that shipped with the original Pixel (1), and a USB-C-to-C cable to go with it. There's also a USB-C-to-A adapter for plugging in thumb drives. There is no USB-C-to-3.5mm dongle, so if you want to hook up conventional wired headphones, you'd need to provide your own. And, speaking of headphones, there aren't any in the box.

Reader comments

Build quality: iPhone's side frame is made out of stainless steel, whereas Pixel uses soft aluminium frame that bends and snaps thanks to horrible antenna band placements. iPhone 11 Pro wins the first round. Display: Pixel 4's panel has a higher...

iPhone 11 doesn't even come close to Pixel 4... Pixel 4 is a direct competitor to iPhone 11 pro even though there big price gap between two phones. iPhone 11 pro only better in wide shots as it has third Len and battery, while the Pixel better AI, ph...

If people around me were looking to buy this phone, I would recommend them to buy an iPhone 11 instead, for real. There's no real benefit of buying this thing over Apple's offering (which is especially true for this year) - Top notch SoC specs for at...