After so many leaks, the Google Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4XL was officially launched. Beyond the usual increments we see every year, Google is bringing in a few new things this time. Here’s a rundown.
Screens get an upgrade with Smooth Display and Ambient EQ
Right off the bat, the new Pixels come with a 90Hz refresh rate that Google calls, “Smooth Display”. The tech giant also states that work has been done in the system level such that the screen would only go for 90Hz when asked for. Otherwise, the display would remain at the usual 60Hz.
“Ambient EQ” is another new feature. Here, the colour temperature of the screen adjusts according to the room. In theory, this should also help with your eyes over prolonged exposure.
Motion Sense, a radar chip in your phone
Simply put, this is a radar chip at the top of the phone that creates an area of spatial awareness around it. Motion Sense allows users to perform tasks by hand movements without even touching the phone. For example, turning off alarms. When you try reaching for the phone, the radar chip will detect the hand and the volume will drop. Then if you wave the hand, the alarm will snooze.
The technology isn’t really a game-changer. But its something that could potentially be one in the future. After all, this is something Google has been working for years under Project Soli. This serves as more of an introduction to the technology than anything else. A handy feature regardless.
Face unlock is the only biometric you need?
Face Unlock will be the only biometric authentication mechanism on the new Pixel 4 and 4XL. This means that biometric security will entirely be on face unlock instead of fingerprint sensors. The feature works quite similarly to that of Face ID on the iPhone. But Google claims that it works a bit different under the hood.
This also utilises Motion Sense where the Pixel will recognise you reaching for the phone. Hence the unlocking procedure begins before you even touch the phone.
Pixel 4 has a new Pixel Neural Core
The new coprocessor dubbed, Pixel Neural Core, replaces the Pixel Visual Core. Where Visual Core focused on improving photography, Neural Core aims to serve beyond that. For instance, understanding spoken English. The entire model for transcribing English is small enough that it fits the Pixel 4’s internal storage. In other words, the phone can convert speech to text offline, inside the phone itself.
One implementation of the Neural Core is the improved Google Assistant. Quite a few functionalities can be performed locally with the Assistant now. Thereby, tasks such as opening apps and composing emails would be faster.
Another use is the phone’s Recorder app. It’s a real-time transcription app that’s inbuilt on the Pixel 4. It functions similar to apps like Otter, with the transcription happening locally on the phone. Additionally, you can search for specific words in recordings via the text and the app will direct the user to the exact point of the recording.
It’s still a dual-camera setup
Despite the square-shaped bump on the rear camera, Pixel 4 and 4XL will only house a dual-lens camera. The main camera is a 12.2MP f/1.7 lens while the telephoto lens is a 16MP f/2.4. So in case you were wondering, there’s no ultrawide lens. According to Google, the company believes Telephoto is more important compared to wide-angle.
The new Pixels includes only a single front camera. This is an 8MP f/2.4 lens with a 90-degree field of view.
Pixel 4 won’t be officially available in India
The Pixel 4 will start shipping on the 21st of October. But it won’t be making it to the Indian market. Why? Pixel 4’s Motion Sense feature. The project Soli tech utilises 60GHz frequency. The Indian government currently doesn’t allow this frequency for public use.
If Google was to launch the Pixel 4 and 4XL in India, it would have to do so without the Motion Sense feature. This would mean that the new Pixels would not have any touch-less gestures for Indian consumers. Additionally, this also means that the face unlock feature wouldn’t work either. Given it’s the only biometric authentication available, it would seem far less sense to launch the Pixel 4 even without Motion Sense.
Luckily, it may not be the case for Sri Lanka. At least according to the TRC’s data. So you should be able to grab your new Pixel from your preferred vendor. The Pixel 4 is priced starting at USD 799 (~LKR 146,000) while the Pixel 4XL starts at USD 899 (~LKR 164,000).