The Pixel 4 doesn't support 4K 60fps video because it uses too much space

Pixel 4 Rear Camera
Pixel 4 Rear Camera (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Pixel 4 doesn't shoot 4K video at 60fps because it uses too much storage space.
  • Google also found that most users stick with 1080p and chose to focus on improving that over implementing 4K at 60fps.
  • The camera is still capable of filming 4K but is limited to 30fps.

The Pixel line of smartphones is regarded by many as one of the best phone cameras around. Even the name "Pixel" sets high expectations for the camera, and in general, Google lives up to the reputation. All you have to do is look at the advancements in computational photography it has made with HDR+, Night Sight, or the new Astrophotography mode as proof of the Pixel's photography prowess.

However, taking still images is only half of the equation when it comes to having a class-leading camera on a smartphone. The other half involves shooting video, and while the Pixel 4 is capable of recording at 4K resolutions, it is unfortunately limited to 30fps.

That should be fine for most people, but when you're paying top dollar for a flagship some customers demand more. Thanks to a recent Twitter exchange, we have learned why Google's new smartphone lacks shooting at 60fps when recording 4K video, and it has to do with storage space.

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According to Google, 4K video at 60fps could use up to half a gigabyte of storage for every minute, and it finds the majority of users "stick with 1080p." For that reason, Google decided to "focus our energy on improving our quality in this mode, versus enabling a 4k 60fps mode."

Focusing on 1080p is not a bad thing at all, and it's true most users will probably never bother to change the default settings and shoot at 4K, let alone 4K 60fps. However, if storage is the only issue with enabling the higher framerate, then Google should really start selling the Pixel with more storage options.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy S10 (opens in new tab) starts with 128GB of storage instead of 64GB like the Pixel 4, and it goes all the way up to a 1TB model with the S10+. Not only that, Samsung even includes a microSD card slot with support for up to another terabyte of storage. Oh yeah, and the Galaxy S10 will shoot at 4K 60fps.

Not being able to film at 4K with 60fps isn't going to be a deal-breaker for many customers. However, when your phone has a reputation for its stellar camera, it helps if you can match the features of the other flagships on the market. 

Jason England
  • I don't think I'd ever record 4K at any fps, but the lack of storage space still keeps me away from Pixels.
  • Hey Google, WHAT THE HECK? #halfbaked
  • Haha and that's the icing on the cake right there 😂😂 want to charge premium prices but give you middle of the road hardware.
  • The icing is made of feces and the cake... Is made of feces!
  • Someone should invent a USB on the go case for Google phones. A micro SD card is not going to take up much space.
  • So even Google admits the pixel 4 doesn't have enough storage.
  • Could this be remedied with software update?
  • Yeah. The hardware can do 4k60fps. Just like other flagships. But I doubt google will do it. Likely have to resort to 3rd party app or rom.
  • What a crap answer this is. Give us the choice already Google. What BS.
  • This is pitiful, lousey, bad, ******, terrible, overpriced. Not even a crappy 12dollar dongle or 30dollar ear buds, what, huh? The battery, extremely small 2800mamp? Unlimited photos, flew the coup? So what good is 64gb's of storage gonna do? No ultra wide camera, the competition does? Google, whatever your smoking, give it up. An 800.00+ phone, no way in hell! 1% of the market share again, absolutely! I would rather buy the 3a on sale for 349.00, at least your getting your monies worth, yikes!
  • I didn't leave the Pixel, the Pixel left me.
  • Space is probably only half of the reason. Video recording is also putting a high drain on the battery and I guess the higher data rate need to be processed the higher the drain would be on that minuscule battery. It would probably be an race to the bottom of what would get empty first, free hard-drive space or battery power.
  • Well Google, the competition's photography has caught you with your pants down. Where's the ultra wide? April fools is 6mos away, yikes!
  • « it's true most users will probably never bother to change the default settings and shoot at 4K, let alone 4K 60fps » They could make 4k the default! People stick with the default, not especially 1080p!
    And the reasoning they are giving is so PR BS : just give more storage options!