Google Pixel 4 review: A huge camera upgrade, a new Google Assistant, and motion sensor technology

Google Pixel 4 review: A huge camera upgrade, a new Google Assistant, and motion sensor technology

The Google effect

Text: Janice Sim

Last year, the Google Pixel 3a proved its artificial intelligence capabilities with a camera that could sieve out the money shot from a slew of group pictures and a wide-angle feature before any of its tech competitors. But this year, the tech giant is planning on sweeping the slate clean, with yet again, another groundbreaking gadget positioned to make our decisions as consumers a little more difficult.

Alongside the Pixel 4's gleaming debut (of a new coral orange hue), was an arsenal of new features that strayed away from their usual USPs of voice commands. But make no mistake, AI is still very much ingrained in the Pixel's DNA, whether it be its software or hardware.

Pixel 4

Motion sense
Starting from a motion sense chip that's planted at the top of the phone. A simple wave over the Pixel 4 could switch tracks on Spotify and snooze our alarms without us reaching for the device. While this function is not enabled for all the apps, it's a good option to have on hand — especially if you're ever caught in a sticky situation with your fingers. We did however, wish for a better sensitivity with regards to the chip. Some gestures took a longer reaction from the phone than others.

Google Pixel 4

If we were keeping tabs on the Pixel history, we would dub this camera to hone the biggest upgrade ever made to its predecessors. Instead of endearing features like the camera's ability to recognise a smile or a funny face, the new updates to the Pixel's 4 camera steer towards a grown-up's needs. There are now two lenses, including a telephoto lens that only means a sharp capture no matter how much distance you're zooming into. A stellar Night Sight feature that grants you crystal clear shots of the night sky, stars, and even the Milky Way, with the right kind of tripod on hand. There's also a dual exposure balance, which works wonders when you have a beaming background like a setting sun. Instead of settling for beautiful silhouette photos, you can now adjust the levels to focus on the subjects in the foreground and the background, no matter how bright the backdrop might be.

Pixel 4

A groundbreaking Recorder app
We had to dedicate a moment to this seemingly unimportant feature (to anyone who doesn't ever have to use the Recorder app). But Pixel 4's in-built Recorder app now live transcribes your recording, allowing you to read verbatim as cleverly identified by the new software. This is pretty huge for the folks here in journalism. Granted, it's not perfect — with some words transcribed inaccurately — but that doesn't mean we're not impressed.

Pixel 4

Google Assistant 2.0
We have yet to test out this piece of news, just because it's not available. But it will be soon. Expect a Google Assistant that is smarter, more discerning, and skewed to learn the context of your request. It's going to take up less space — in terms of GB and the actual screen space on your phone. We sniff a multi-tasking highlight coming up real soon.

You may now pre-order a Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL from the Google Store, Challenger and COURTS. The phones will be available in stores from October 24.

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