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Google Pixel 4 review: Early to bed, early demise

Google Pixel 4
(Image: © Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Our Verdict

Bottom line: The Pixel 4 is another strong entry in the company's smartphone lineup, with an excellent camera, flawless performance, and an incredible display. But the experience is undermined by the phone's inexcusably bad battery life.

For

  • Best-in-class camera
  • Amazing display
  • Flawless performance
  • Best update record on Android
  • Face unlock is seamless

Against

  • Terrible battery life
  • Motion Sense is mostly a gimmick
  • Specs don't add up for the price

There are many nice things I can say about the smaller Pixel 4. It has an amazing camera — well, cameras — and the new super-fast face unlock, which replaces the super-fast rear fingerprint scanner, is incredibly reliable. I can even give Google some credit for having the audacity to put a tiny radar on the front of the phone, even if it is only used to wave away alarms and skip songs.

I can appreciate the improved bright-and-color-accurate OLED panel, along with the largely bug-free software experience. I can give props to the 90Hz display, which is a truly wonderful addition to any phone, along with the excellent and well-balanced stereo speakers.

I can point to Google's incredible on-device processing, which gives us access to an improved super-fast Google Assistant, and the fact that Google now bundles a voice recorder app that does real-time transcription without uploading anything to the cloud.

There's a considerable amount I can point to that the smaller Pixel 4 does right, and I plan to below. But so much of that success is undermined — negated, even — by the phone's terrible battery life.

In my week with the Pixel 4, I couldn't manage to get through even an average-use day without needing to top up in the late afternoon. The battery life is so bad that it re-introduced a concept I thought I'd long left behind: charger anxiety. If went out for an extended time, I had to plan around when, not whether, the phone would die.

In 2019, that's inexcusable. Worse, Google knowingly reduced the Pixel 4's battery capacity even though the Pixel 3 had battery issues of its own. In a year when almost every phone manufacturer improved battery life, included the notoriously battery-ambivalent Apple, which added four hours of daily uptime to the smaller iPhone 11 Pro, this oversight overshadows almost everything good about the small Pixel 4.

And it's why I can't in good conscience recommend it to anyone — at least not until Google does something to fix it.

Pixel 4 What I like

Google Pixel 4

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)
CategoryPixel 4
Operating systemAndroid 10
Display5.7-inch OLED, 2280x1080 (19:9)
90Hz
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 855
Pixel Neural Core
RAM6GB
Storage64/128GB
Rear camera 112MP, 1.4µm, f/1.7, OIS, PDAF
Rear camera 216MP telephoto, 1,0µm, f/2.4
Front camera8MP, f/2.0
90-degree lens
AudioStereo speakers
USB-C
Battery2800mAh
Non-removable
Charging18W USB-C PD
Qi wireless
Water resistanceIP68
SecurityFace Unlock
Dimensions147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2 mm
162 g
ColorsJust Black, Very White, Oh So Orange
Price$799

It's been a week of using the Pixel 4 and perhaps the best part of the experience has been an absence — an absence of bugs. This is the cleanest and most full-formed Pixel released to date. No disappearing photos, no dropped frames, no flushing music apps from memory mid-song. From a performance perspective, everyone just works.

You may be able to thank the additional 2GB of RAM onboard — 6GB total — and the extra months Google put into getting Android 10 right before it launched on the Pixel 3 series. You can likely also point to the Snapdragon 855, which is Qualcomm's best and most efficient chip in years.

The Pixel 4 is the right size: it's a little taller than the Pixel 3, and slightly thicker and heavier, but they give it a solidity that doesn't make me miss the two-toned finish of previous versions. The matte sides are delightful and were it not for the glossy back of the black model I received for review, I'd probably use it without a case. Can't say that about many of the all-glass phones I use these days.

Google's improved the display on the Pixel 4, too. While the Pixel 3 cleaned up its predecessor's mess, especially on the larger model, the OLED panel on the Pixel 4 is just sublime. Bright enough to use in daylight, color-accurate with a white balance that doesn't hew too blue for once, and incredible touch response, this is easily the best panel I've seen on a Google phone. But it's all about the 90Hz — or Smooth Display, as Google calls it.

Admittedly, the 90Hz display tech is a bit of a bait-and-switch, but when it's on it's fantastic. While Google doesn't explicitly say what apps or types of content trigger the smoother-motion display, it's definitely on the more conservative side compared to the OnePlus 7 Pro, 7T, and other high refresh-rate phones. There is an option to force the higher refresh rate at all times, but... you won't want to do that, at least not on this phone.

Google Pixel 4

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Google's also enabled Ambient EQ, a feature borrowed from the Nest Home series to detect the color temperature in the surroundings and adjust the screen accordingly. The effect is very subtle — this isn't the same as Night Light, which makes the screen much more yellow, but it is on the same spectrum. I noticed it most when using my phone indoors at night, when most of the lights were warm and sleepy. It's one of those Googly features you'll likely never notice but it adds just a little bit to the overall Pixel experience.

This is the Pixel with the fewest software bugs at launch, and coming from previous years that's a huge accomplishment.

I can't talk about face unlock without first acknowledging Google's success with Android 10. A lot of people, including me, doubted the company's ability to pull off yet another transition to gestures, but these ones will stand the test of time — especially when more apps move beyond the slide-in menus we're so familiar with. While Android 10 doesn't have a surfeit of in-your-face new features (except for dark mode and the aforementioned gestures), Google clearly cleaned up a lot of its codebase in the meantime.

Source: Android Central

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

By focusing on building an ultra-stable version of Android, it allowed, perhaps for the first time, the latest Pixel to have its own strong software foundation. It may sound silly to reward Google, the maker of Android, for releasing a set of phones with stable software, but we've been burned three years in a row (and many years before that with the Nexus line) so it's a pleasant surprise to be writing these words.

OK, now let's talk face unlock — Google's invested a lot of money, time and, well, reputation, in making its first foray into facial biometrics a memorable one, and by all accounts, it's a success. The actual unlocking procedure is seamless, and the angle of activation is clearly wider than on the iPhone. It's also faster than Face ID, which makes unlocking your phone feel sort of ambient rather than intentional — you just pick up the phone, the screen is already on, and next thing you know you're on the home screen. It's sincerely magical the first few times it happens.

The "ambiance" in that process comes from the Soli chip, a low-powered radar that Google's been developing for years as part of its Advanced Technology and Projects division. While Motion Sense, which I'll discuss below, is the showcase for Soli, increasing the speed of face unlock is an added bonus.

Google Pixel 4

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Of course, doing away with the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is a bit of a mixed bag. On all Pixel phones before this one, you could swipe down on the sensor to bring down the notification shade — now you're forced to do so on an empty part of the home screen like an animal. It's not a huge deal, but the Pixel lineup was a rear-fingerprint holdout and part of me wanted Google to keep it around, if only for the gesture. But it wasn't to be.

Face unlock has its pros and cons. Technically, it's more seamless — as I said above, there's no explicit action needed; if you're standing in front of the phone, you're constantly authenticating. But Google's undermined face unlock's value somewhat by delaying an essential security feature that would force the owner to actually look at the screen while it's unlocking. It's one of those omissions that you just have to shake your head at.

If you're reading this review before my colleague Andrew Martonik's take on the larger Pixel 4 XL, know this: up until this point we largely agree on things. But here's where we diverge, and it comes down to a choice of password manager.

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

See, I use 1Password, which earlier this month updated its app to support Android 10's new catch-all biometrics API, meaning that it will check to see whether a phone has either fingerprint or face unlock and apply the proper rules accordingly. So now when I have to open my password manager, which is often dozens of times a day, I just look at my screen and it authenticates me. Like magic. It's difficult to put into words how much faster this process seems than pressing my finger on a bit of glass — even though it is only a half-second or so — but it's so seamless, and so perfect that I never want to go back.

Andrew, on the other hand, uses Enpass, which hasn't been updated yet. In fact, only five apps in the entire Play Store have received the necessary tweaks to support the Pixel 4's face unlock, which means the vast majority of apps you use — from banks to payment processors to airlines to note vaults — have no shortcuts. You'll be entering a username and password every time for the foreseeable future. And that sucks because instead of Google showing off how incredibly useful its new tech is, it's going to have to defend the fact that once again it couldn't corral enough developers to iterate on their apps. Android in a nutshell, folks.

Google Pixel 4

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Finally, in the pro column, I have to talk about the camera. I've long loved taking photos with Google's Pixel phones, and that infatuation has only grown stronger here. Despite not improving the main camera hardware — the aperture is a slightly-wider f/1.7 but the sensor is identical to last year, which was practically the same as the one before it — Google's optimized the pipeline once photos are taken.

It's able to more intelligently discern what's in a scene and expose it accordingly. It's able to do more depth mapping, faster, so more photos are stitched together this time around to form the final shot. There are also now more manual controls, with a dual-exposure slider, which I used to dramatic effect on more than one occasion.

You can see the Pixel 4 has better dynamic range with its improved HDR+ algorithms, bringing more detail from the shadows without sacrificing the colors of the trees of the vividness of the sky. The iPhone's colors are much more muted here, and the photo doesn't pop nearly as much, though it has better dynamic range than the Pixel 4.

The Pixel 4 takes the most balanced shot here, with perfect colors and plenty of detail. It's also very similar to the Pixel 3.

All three phones take very similar shots here, with the Pixel 4 capturing a warmer, more balanced shot, with the most accurate colors of the three.

This is one of my favorite examples, since it is shows how much improved the Pixel 4's Night Sight feature is over the Pixel 3's. I was skeptical of the year-over-year improvement, but it's pretty clear when comparing it to the Pixel 3: much more detail, more balance colors, less muddiness in the shadows and highlights. An all-around better photo. Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, it's cooler and more color-accurate.

There's a second camera, too, both for taking 2x telephoto photos but also to augment the primary sensor, providing more data for all types of shots. Google doesn't see the addition of a second camera as merely giving users the ability to photograph subjects that are twice as far away; that extra data is fused with the primary sensor to make photos shot at 4x, or 8x, look way better than that otherwise would. The results are pretty staggering.

Source: Android Central An example of the Pixel 4's new astrophotography mode. (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The main difference I noticed between the Pixel 4's output compared to the Pixel 3 was the additional detail; shots are cooler, perhaps, but it's possible to see fine lines in buildings, or people, that weren't picked up before. This is especially apparent when using Night Sight, which has been further improved this year with the addition of an astrophotography mode.

Shooting stars is hard; shooting stars on a phone is basically impossible. Google accomplishes this (with the help of a tripod) by figuring out how to extend the lens's shutter speed without completely overexposing the finished product. It's the true test of everything Google's good at from a computational photography perspective, and while I couldn't get completely away from the city, I managed to capture a couple of decent examples.

While many people claimed that Apple regained the photography crown this year with the iPhone 11 Pro, I'm not ready to acquiesce. While the Pixel 4 lacks the 11 Pro's ultrawide lens option, I prefer its photos over the iPhone's almost every time.

Pixel 4 What I hate

Before I excoriate this phone's battery life, I have to rail against Motion Sense as it's currently implemented. The technology is astoundingly cool, but using it to skip songs and mute alarms is underwhelming at best.

And it would stay merely underwhelming if it worked every time, but it doesn't. Whether it's my technique or the feature's poor calibration, for every five songs I successfully skipped by waving my hand dutifully in front of the phone, at least five would do nothing. I'd see what Google calls the "glowing display" — a light indicator at the top of the screen telling you an app in use currently supports Motion Sense — but either from a swipe too fast or too slow I couldn't get it to work properly.

Pixel 4 Motion Sense

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Hopefully, Google can and will improve Motion Sense in forthcoming updates, but for a feature that's meant to get pique the interest of prospective buyers, this ain't it, chief.

I'm getting there, I promise, but I still have a few other nits to pick. The new Assistant is great and all, but I could only use it for a few minutes before I added my work email, which is based on a G Suite backend, only to discover that triggers a reversion to the existing Assistant. Ridiculous.

None of the Pixel 4's flaws are particularly damning — except its battery life is inexcusably bad.

A couple more quibbles? No Wi-Fi 6 (not a huge deal, but a lack of future-proofing foresight) and only 18W wired charging. It's quick enough but Samsung managed to get to 45W engaging the open PPS standard with the Note 10+, so I think Google could and probably should step up its game.

OK, now to the main event, the reason I have such a difficult time recommending this phone to anyone: the battery. While the cell is only 4% smaller than the one on the Pixel 3, it's still smaller — despite the Pixel 4 being 0.3mm thicker. Google says that additional thickness comes from all the other tech inside the phone, including the first-of-its-kind Soli radar chip, which is fine I suppose, but for this fact: this is the worst battery life I've had on a phone in years.

A dead Pixel 4

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Most days, the Pixel 4 is dead by supper — yes, I eat supper around 8 p.m., what of it? — and on a particularly busy Saturday, it was dead by 6 p.m. That's inexcusably, laughably bad battery life. And it's a self-fulfilling prophecy given the poor results of the Pixel 3.

And I'm not some power user, either: except for the first day, which I spent setting up the Pixel 4 and getting it how I like it, I didn't have more than three hours of screen-on time. I ended up disabling Smooth Display, Always-on Display and Motion Sense — basically all the fun stuff — just to eke out a couple of extra hours and the phone still hit zero by early evening.

That Google doesn't prioritize battery life at a time when people are using their phones more than ever tells me that Google doesn't understand its potential audience. People don't want to worry about topping their phones up during the day, nor do they want to relive the anxieties of the early smartphone days when they never knew how far into the afternoon their devices would stay on.

Google Pixel 4 Should you buy it?

Let me be clear: I really like the Pixel 4. From morning until mid-afternoon, it's one of my favorite phones of the year. And then, around 3 p.m., when the battery indicator drops below 40%, I revisit the frustration of what owning a smartphone was like half a decade ago.

The difference is that, unlike then, I don't have to live like that anymore. Most phones, even smaller ones — even ones made by Google! — manage to last the whole day and well into the following one. I spent the whole summer with a Huawei P30 Pro and occasionally didn't charge it at night because I knew it would last.

At $799, the Pixel 4 is the same price as last year's model, but it's also up against a bunch of really great phones that cost considerably less. I just reviewed the excellent OnePlus 7T, whose four cameras are admittedly not nearly as good as the three on the Pixel, but just about everything else — including its $599 price — is superior.

As for the obvious comparison to the $699 iPhone 11, well... the Pixel 4 may be on every major U.S. carrier this year, but people looking for a default phone choice are likely going to be more easily directed to a new iPhone that looks great, has an amazing camera, and costs $100 less.

3.5 out of 5

For all of the Pixel 4's greatness, it's the first smaller version of the phone I can't recommend. The Pixel 2 saved us from the 2 XL's terrible screen; the Pixel 3 ducked the bathtub notch. But unless you're absolutely allergic to big phones, the only Pixel 4 you should consider this year is the Pixel 4 XL.

Good thing we have a whole review dedicated to it.

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

47 Comments
  • Honestly, in a market where the pixel 4 is more expensive than the iPhone 11 and galaxy S10e, it's little more than a bad joke. I don't know which is worse... The 90Hz display that you can't use because the battery will only last 38 minutes, the face unlock that can't unlock anything or the Sili radar, the main function of which seems to be cutting out one of the biggest growth markets in the world (India).
  • Nail meet head. Spot on. And to think they've launched it AFTER the iPhone 11. Geez. Do they even want to sell many units?
  • Depends where you are, in the UK it's £60 cheaper, plus you get a £180 Chromebook, that you can easily sell for say £150. So it's potentially around £210 cheaper than an iPhone.
  • Ouch...ouch...ouch...and ouch!
  • Google should be ashamed of themselves charging what they are charging for what is frankly a mid range phone.
  • Wow, this is pretty damning, but not unexpected. Sad ..
  • Why the small battery Google? Why?! Everything else about the phone sounds good.
  • The display is ****. I am not sure how the writer is calling it 'amazing' when the PIxel 4 displays are 444 nits peak brightness and most 2019 flagships are in the, hold it, 800+ nits range. The Samsung 9/10/Note and iPhone Pro series peak at 1290 nits in HDR! You can actually use them outside.
  • That peak brightness on the Note is only with a small spot lit and the rest of the screen off. With OLED's, the more of the screen lit, the lower the brightness. In real world usage you get about 700 nits.
  • "Swing and a miss" on bibi's Voice. I love the Pixel's LINE from Google. Had It all. The 1st, the 2XL, then all the Pixel 3series (love the size of the smaller one, hate the battery..so I switch to 3XL and hate the size of It and that big bezzels). So I am like ...Sad. it's hard to be a fan of the Pixel's series. The software is great but they still miss on hardware basics. No Ultra wide angle, no good battery life, screen still not as bright. They also skipped the video quality again(!!) And they priced It expensive. Also the iPhone 11 is the biggest problem for Android in USA. I would suggest, this time, for people to go for OnePlus 7T or the iPhone, even Samsung. Sorry, but I can't stand beside Pixel anymore. I am Sad but I know it's not my fault.
  • For a company that lives off of user input, they sure were clueless about how users felt about the Pixel 3’s battery life. But at least I can take pictures of the stars... except, those stars appear at night and my Pixel 4 will probably be dead by then. Hmmm... unless I can find an electrical outlet in the middle of the forest. Kidding aside, shame on Google for burning their fans again with poor battery life.
  • Sounds like they remade the 2014 Moto X! Small battery with motion gestures and clean build of android. That's not a criticism actually coz I'm still using my Moto X coz I love the hands free gestures and twist for camera and chop for flashlight etc. I'm not a heavy user and it does need charging through the day now but still haven't seen another phone since that I like any better. Even the bezels look bout same size lol!
  • Also with all the leaps forward with technology, especially phones theres one thing that every single one needs regardless of price or specs to actually use them and that's batteries. This seems to be the one area that no one seems to be able to 'crack' it's like searching for the holy grail! It must be an incredibly difficult thing to improve or perhaps with batteries all sealed in now the phone companies aren't too bothered as most people will buy or upgrade their phones rather than have a battery replaced, however I'm not a conspiracy theorist about it.
  • Huawei found the holy grail you are talking about, I get 2 days on my p30pro, battery anxiety is a thing of the past for me
  • Damn what good is it to have a phone with such good software but only to die early before the day ends. That is the biggest fail in 2019 for Google.
  • Battery life isn't really an issue in 2019. At work, there's a charger nearby (esp. now that Macs use usb-c). At home, there's a charger nearby. Same when in a car, on a train, or flying. There's very few times when it's not obscenely convenient to top off, even at the "slow" 18W charging speed (which was warp speed just as few years ago...). Also have a small quibble with the testing, and would like to see actual numbers. In the review, the phone was dying at 8pm. After turning a few things off to increase battery life, the reviewer was able to "eke out a few extra hours," but said the phone still died by early evening. Assuming a few extra hours is 2-3, this reviewer thinks 10 or 11pm is early evening? Confused. Also, drivers of sports cars have to fuel up more often than drivers of Camrys. They understand the tradeoffs, and they're okay with them. If having a (currently potentially faulty) radar, a 90Hz screen, and whatever else means the I have to plug my phone in for 15 minutes each day at work to keep it going, sign me up.
  • It isn't an issue because every other manufacturer hasn't made it an issue in 2019 because they put in big batteries...except for Google. All those wall hugger things are 2016. Not anything you should need to think about at this point.
  • Not everyone works in a cubicle dude. My phone is off charger at 530am. I have ZERO opportunity to charge it until I get home at 4pm. Cell reception isn't greatest where I'm at so phone loses battery faster. And once home, I normally go shopping or something in the evening so no real time to charge until around 6 or so. My phone needs to last.
  • Oh come on!! The radar is a gimmick at best. You dont wave your fingers about at your slightly awkwardly placed phone in sheer hope of a response🙈👎. The damn things have poor battery. Bland specs and simply reek mid-range fodder. AC creaming themselves **again** over another dull looking, overpriced handset. Apple and Samsung have their haters but boy are they leading the line for quality, well made products packaged with ideas and hardware people want. Google continue to repackage last years junk with less features and try and tell us we dont need'em. (Because they cant make it work - nails the profit margin !) Sod off guys and make us something we really want. You do a great camera.....so wheres the rest of it????
  • What's in the box, the charger? No incentives whatsoever? A stinky measly 2800mamp battery with a 90hz display. No more unlimited photos & only 64gb's of storage. 799.00+ dollars, the hell you say. What would entice me to purchase this phone, your so right, absolutely nothing! Talk about screwing the pooch, e-gadds. I guess Google knows nothing about what consumers want or needs. Wow-we!
  • Wasn't hard to guess the iPhone 11 and the One Plus 7t would both be recommended over this phone. The only bad part is if you want a more compact phone, then your options get a lot smaller. I would still say get the Samsung Galaxy s10e over this if size matter to you.
  • I just figured out what's wrong with the pixel screen: It looks like the screen was applied near the top of the phone, then it slid down because the glue was still wet. Battery life is about what I expected, but worse. Ironically, here I am on a Saturday, just after 6 PM, with my phone battery at 85% after 16 hours of runtime, and about 4 DAYS left on the one charge. I do like the astrophotography mode, although I don't see it getting frequent use unless you want to keep checking if the stars have been rearranged ;)
    "shooting stars on a phone is basically impossible"... Nah, I took a series the past summer with the U12 Plus and they came out decent, except I need to bump up the ISO and shorten the exposure time. I had the shutter open so long that the stars had movement, which you get if you go longer than 30 seconds. Honestly, we have the iPhone XS, iPhone 11, Note 10+ and U12+, and I'm not impressed with the details on the Pixel 4 photos. Yeah, it's better than the XS and Note, but I'm not sure the extra bit of saturation and HDR is worth more to me than the iPhone 11's more detailed shots. You can fix saturation, you can't fix detail that was lost. And for what's it's worth, the updated U12 camera can hold its own against the Pixel 4 samples I've seen so far.
  • Dude. You're truly obsessed with the HTC U12+ and I'm getting obsessed with your obsession unless you can give us more information.
    Are you a HTC staff? Dyu have shares in the company? Did you or someone you know work there before?
  • So, I mentioned 6 different phones in my post, and you're bothered that I mentioned HTC?
    Why should I not mention it when the things are true? Just because AC is a Pixel/Samsung/Huawei shop does not mean other's cannot mention other brands. Does it bother you that Pixels slow down and become laggy, and HTC's do not? Do you lay awake at night because Apple CAN'T make a sapphire display, and HTC can? No, probably not, and I'm just ribbing you ;) I own several phones, including my recently purchased iPhone 11 and XS, and I've got a Galaxy Note and several other iPhones at my side. But, I'll admit the U12+ is one of my favorites, and I don't mind defending an underdog. Search Android Central and you will find 27 references to Pixel, 8 to Samsung, and a couple to Huawei. Nothing for HTC, even though there has been news about them. Did you know that HTC finally put a new person in charge of their smartphone division, that they are re-committing themselves to flagships, that they started updating software that same week, that they released a new blockchain phone that can store the entire blockchain database for the entire planet, and it costs $299? None of this gets covered by AC, so I guess I'm compensating for them, lol. I mean, don't you think they are a bit biased when they idolize a device like the Pixel 3 which has a LIST of issues, and they trash an HTC phone that only has one issue which was quickly fixed? Or that Jerry Hildenbrand said that Apple and Google are the ONLY phones that have a secure face unlock, despite it being proven by a Swedish security firm that HTC's 3D face mapping is every bit as hard to bypass. Anyway my friend, it's not an obsession, it's just what I have in my hands that I like best at the moment. I'm actually surprised myself at some of the things it can do, and plan on doing photo testing alongside the iPhone 11 and Note 10+ sometime this next week.
  • The sad part is that this could have been one bad ass phone for 2019 if not for that high refresh rate screen. Unfortunate.
  • If this were any other phone people would be singing it's praises. The pros you listed are fantastic! The cons, which were only a few, are not that bad and even the battery life is addressed by getting the XL. This is leaps and bounds better than any OnePlus phone missing IP rating and wireless charging with a crappy camera, and still better than a Samsung that you will never get an update on. I say send all your review units to me.
  • The issue though is Google shouldn't be given a pass for this. Bad enough that but then Apple eats their lunch with the iPhone 11 at a hundred less. They just can't or more likely do what's needed to actually compete.
  • It's really frustrating isn't it! Most flagship phones these days are mostly identical in size and design with a few differences in specs and prices. Same ridiculous huge one size fits all and shiny glossy glass back. It's really hard to find a well specced normal sized phone. Only Apple, Samsung and Google seem to have the technical expertise and sense to offer a smaller flagship. Google do a lot of things right with the Pixel 4; they offer some genuine innovation and variety, lovely matte finish, and not obsessed with minimal bezels. But they then ruin it by including a small battery and removing popular features! All they had to do is match the competition and then add their own innovations and style. They would have sold a ton of phones! Almost seems like they don't want to sell that many as not to tread on the toes of their partners ...
  • At one time the race was to remove all moving parts and when that happened suddenly pop up cameras and hinges are back and that's ok so why not removable batteries then it's bye bye battery anxiety. I don't remember which phones it was now but there where phones with removable batteries that were water resistant so I don't think that is a reason not to bring them back? Having said that is carrying a spare battery any different to carrying a small charging pack? Personally I'd take a thicker phone with a larger battery any day, after all if foldable phones take off they gonna be thicker anyway but not everyone wants a folding phone but most people want good battery life regardless of which phone they use.
  • The Galaxy S5 I believe had seals to make it water resistant and they had removable batteries also.
  • I think one of the Motorola's too but I might be wrong but even so it shows its possible. Imagine if a phone maker bought a phone out NOW that was waterproof/resistant that had a removable battery, it would be like wow but my point is it's already been done, it doesn't need reinventing!
  • Kyocera Hydro was water resistant and had swappable batteries, and it was rugged as well. My daughter once threw it OVER our house!
  • At last, an honest Pixel review.
  • I vote with my wallet. I'll buy a ZTE if it has what I'm looking for. I'm a huge Note fan but I haven't gotten one since the Note 4. Huge HTC fan too, but haven't gotten one either since my One M7. Always thought Apple made great hardware but their software and the lack of proper file management kept me away from the iPhone. I'm starting to reconsider Apple now. When Google gets their crap together, I'll definitely get a Pixel.
  • I've owned every nexus/pixel phone other than the pixel 3 in hopes the 4 would have what I was looking for, suddenly I find myself looking at iphones ;-( wtf Google
  • Well if you are looking at Apple, the iPhone 11 is pretty good. But be forewarned that the regular 11 scratches easier than the Pro or Pro Max. The 11 Pro Max will have the best battery life.
  • Who is responsible for the battery decision? Why so overpriced? How I would liked to be a fly on the wall at Google when they decided these design flaws. Google Android ecosystem is just too hard to love. Always have been. Nexus programme was at least affordable.
    Google, un-**** yourselves.
  • Back in the day, having Nokia phones and flip phones, they lasted at least 2 or 3 days before needing a charge and over a decade later we've gone backwards tremendously. Phone makers around the world- make sure the phone lasts for at least 3 days... I know what you're thinking, the phones would be thick and it would cost so much more money...... I don't care, just do it. At least let me take the battery out of the phone and put a fresh one in geez.
  • Disappointing. Makes me wonder if the decision makers are locked up in an ivory geeky tower and sanctimoniously decides what is good for the masses who look for value and real improvements.
  • thank god you didn't give this phone 4 stars like Andrew.. and thank you for not "recommending" this to readers.
  • Wait, Andrew gave this phone 4 stars? That's amusing considering it's fatal flaw.
    I hammered my phone yesterday, gaming and binge watching YouTube and Crunchyroll. Forgot to charge it last night and the battery is at 42%. Maybe I'll charge it tomorrow...
  • To be fair, Andrew gave the Pixel 4 XL 4-stars, not the standard Pixel 4. Even though it does have a considerably bigger battery (plus a higher resolution display) than the standard Pixel 4, not sure I agree that it warrants 4 out of 5 stars though.
  • Well the news just keeps a rollin! Latest: The Pixel 4 performance is slower than other phones, including the iPhone 11, and even some older phones from last year with the Snapdragon 845...
  • Pixel Can't even compete with a Samsung s5
  • Best thing about P4 is that now u can buy P3 at discount
  • I ordered a Black Friday Pixel 4 128G model.
    I see the people talking about battery life and on one hand I understand, but at my desk, I have a Qi charger. So I can throw it on there a couple of times throughout the day to keep it topped up if I need.
    In my car, I use Android Auto so, again, charging. Battery life is a non issue. Also, since I played Ingress for years, I have a few batteries I can bring with a USB cable to charge it if I am going to be "away" from other power sources.
  • Me: "The Pixel 4 has no business being $800."
    Google: "How about $600?"
    Me: No.
    Tmobile: How about $400 4 month after release?
    Me: hmm I dunno
    Samsung: I will give you $600 off a galaxy phone for that pixel 4