Google Pixel 4 launched with improved cameras, motion sensing, and 90Hz display

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New Delhi | Updated: Oct 15, 2019 8:49 PM

Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel Buds, Nest Mini, Nest Wifi, and Google Stadia headlined the Google's Made by Google event on October 15

At its Made by Google event on Tuesday, October 15, Google officially announced the launch of Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones that will carry forward the legacy of one of the highest-rated camera phones. A flurry of leaks and rumours on Pixel 4 smartphones left nothing to the imagination, overstepped by ‘accidental’ listings on major e-tailers in the US revealing their price. Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL bring a horde of new features, over and above an updated chipset and, of course, cameras. While camera is the mainstay of the Pixel series, Google is taking it a notch higher by introducing ‘Motion Sense’, which is powered by Soli chipset that the company has been working on for quite a while. Motion Sense essentially allows the user to control select functionalities on the Pixel 4 devices without physical interference. Moreover, the cameras on Pixel 4 series support astrophotography – a feature that will likely catapult Google’s position in mobile phone photography.

The Pixel 4 series costs $799 for 64GB version and $899 for the 128GB model while the Pixel 4 XL comes at a price of $899 for the 64GB and $999 for the 128GB model in the US. Both the devices are now available for pre-order across all US carriers. Pixel 4 comes in three colours – Clearly White, Just Black, and a limited edition, Oh So Orange.

Google’s hardware chief, Rick Osterloh took the centre stage to announce a bunch of products that have been nothing but out in the open. The Pixel 4 has been “completely redesigned” with a new finish. Sabrina from Google’s Pixel team highlighted the Soli chipset that has been in the works for a long time. The Soli chip has a radar sensor that enables Motion Sense, which essentially lets the user control functions such as silencing a call, turning the display on, and more by just a wave of a hand. Google claims the Soli chipset on Pixel 4 provides for the “fastest face unlock system” on a smartphone.

Pixel 4 comes with a 5.7-inch FHD+ OLED display while the Pixel 4 XL has a 6.3-inch QHD+ OLED display, both featuring 90Hz refresh rate, much like the recent smartphones such as OnePlus 7T and Realme X2 Pro. Both the devices are powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB and 128GB storage variants. Pixel 4 series are secured by Titan M chip. “Your phone has some of highly private data and it’s our responsibility to secure it,” said Sabrina.

Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have a combination of a 12-megapixel wide sensor and a 16-megapixel telephoto sensor at the back, both powered by Google’s latest photography features. Powered by Google’s computational photography, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL boast of Live HDR+ feature that optimises the HDR levels in the photo in real time. The Pixel 4 comes with dual exposure controls – a brightness toggle and a shadow toggle – that need to work in synchronisation to produce an HDR-enhanced photo. Google has also improved Night Sight by incorporating white balance to it. All the photos clicked in the Night Side mode now have better white balance that produces photos true to the scene. The telephoto lens can click photos with depth effect better than before – now to the levels of determining hair of a dog. The astrophotography mode is the latest one to the Pixel cameras that now use semantic segmentation. A single click equals four minutes of exposure to click stars, in addition to other scenes to show creativity. Astrophotography is assisted by Machine Learning and will be updated via software over time to deepen HDR level differences in a single shot.

Osterloh also announced the Pixel Buds now come with an “intricate origami” that has ditched the wire connecting both the earbuds for a complete wireless interface. Touting a battery life of five hours, the Pixel Buds comes with a hybrid design and sit flush with the ear. The Pixel Buds comes with an adaptive sound, which means the sound will be adjusted according to the ambiance. There is also a spatial vent on the Pixel Buds. Pixel Buds cost $179 and will begin shipping in spring next year. Pixel Buds is the latest rival to the Samsung Galaxy Buds and Apple AirPods that are entirely wireless and support a slew of features, thanks to voice assistants tethered from the paired phone.

Ivy Ross, head of design at Google, launched the Pixelbook Go at the event. The new Pixelbook Go is a compact version that is petite and comes with ultra-quiet keys. It runs Chrome OS at its core and comes in different processor variants. There is an Intel m3, an Core i5, and an Core i7 variant for the Pixelbook Go, which will be available in 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB SSD versions. The Pixelbook Go is now up for pre-order in the US at $649 in Just Black colour while the Not Pink colour version will follow.

Google Stadia, the cloud-based gaming platform announced at the I/O 2019 will release on November 19 across the first wave of countries, which does not include India.

As expected, Google also launched the new Nest Mini, which brings a lot of improvements over the Google Home Mini. It has a third mic, enhanced speakers, and a dedicated learning chip that will power the device. Google says the chipset will allow the speaker to process commands both locally and on cloud. It costs $49 and will be available in 22 countries from October 22. Apart from the colours that Google Home Mini came in, Nest Mini has a new Sky colour variant. The Nest Aware has also been repriced to $6 per month and Nest Aware Plus for $12 per month in the US. Google also announced new Nest Wifi routers that come at $269 for a 2 pack and $349 for a 3 pack, and will be available starting November 4 in the US.

Google is also investing $150 million into sustainable, renewable energy sector to contribute to the safety of environment. All the Nest products launched in 2019 use recycled plastic, said Ivy Ross, head of design at Google.

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