Google Pixel 4 is officially here

Happy Google Day, dear BetaNews readers! Yes, today in New York City, the search giant unveiled a bunch of new devices at its Made by Google event. Yours truly is in attendance, getting up close and personal with all the new stuff. True, much of the information leaked to the web beforehand, but it is still exciting nonetheless. There's a new Chromebook Go laptop, Nest Mini, and even a new Nest Wifi mesh system. Let's be honest, though -- the star of the show is the newest Pixel Android phone.

As expected, Google announced the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL. The phones are largely the same except for differences in OLED screen size -- 5.7-inch vs 6.3-inch. The smaller phones gets a 2800 mAh battery, while the XL variant has a 3700 mAh battery. They both are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM. Sadly, Wi-Fi is limited to 802.11ac and not the faster 802.11ax. There is no next-generation 5G cellular modem either.

There are three colors from which to choose -- black, white, and orange. Actually, Google's marketing department calls them Just Black, Clearly White, and Oh So Orange. All three look nice, but the orange is clearly the most attractive of the bunch. That color is limited edition, sadly, so you should act fast if you fancy it.

"Pixel 4 also includes Google's custom-built Titan M security chip to protect your most sensitive data and ensure the integrity of the operating system. Combined with the latest version of Android 10, monthly security updates for 3 years, and access to Google’s advanced security services, Pixel 4 is designed to keep your data secure," says Brian Rakowski, Product Management VP, Google.

Rakowski further says, "Thanks to a deeper integration into Pixel 4, the Google Assistant is now a faster way to get more things done. Breakthroughs in speech processing mean that more requests can happen right on your phone, without always sending your request to the cloud. We redesigned the Assistant so it doesn’t take up too much room on your screen, letting you better multitask across other apps. It can quickly open apps, search your phone, share what's on your screen, and more. It also considers the context of your query to do a better job answering."

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL have a 90hz display, and it is not a gimmick -- in person, it looks amazing. Everything is silky smooth. When 90Hz isn't necessary, however, the Pixel 4 will lower the refresh to preserve battery life. The display is a noticeable upgrade over the Pixel 3 in that regard.

What might be a gimmick, however, is the Motion Sense feature. It uses radar technology to detect hand movements, so you can interact without physically touching the screen. The thing I don't get is, why don't I want to touch the phone? OK, if I am cooking and my hands are dirty, I suppose that could be an example, but if my hands are clean, I'd rather touch. It will be interesting to see if this feature shows up on the Pixel 5 or if it will be forgotten -- consumers will decide, I suppose.

These are Pixel phones, so the highlight is the camera, of course. This time around, you get a "normal" camera on the rear, plus a telephoto lens. One is 16MP while the other is 12.2MP. The front camera is 8MP. Sadly, 4K@60 is not possible with the Pixel 4 -- it is limited to 30Hz. Night Sight makes a return and is better than ever -- Google suggests you may never need to use your flash other than as a flashlight.

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL won't be available until October 24, but you can pre-order starting today here. Pricing for the Pixel 4 starts at $799, while the XL begins at $899. The base prices come with 64GB of storage, but for an extra $100, you can double that.

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