Should Google have included a fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 4?

Google Pixel 4 XL in Clearly White
Google Pixel 4 XL in Clearly White (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Similar to past Pixels before it, this year's Pixel 4 has been met with a controversial release. While battery woes have been the main point of contention, there's also been a lot of debate regarding the Pixel 4's face unlock system.

Face unlock on the Pixel 4 works quite well, and personally, I've been very happy with it. Taking a look through the AC forums, though, that's not the case for everyone.

In fact, a lot of people really miss having a fingerprint sensor on Google's latest flagship.

I admit that Face Unlock works pretty well on my 4XL. But, the fingerprint sensor on the 3XL was still faster and did not force some of the trade-offs associated with Face Unlock. Not to mention that none of my apps (banking, password manager, etc.) support Face Unlock at this time and no idea when or even if they ever will. I don't know why Google chose to eliminate the FPS...


I prefer face unlock it I had to choose, but I agree I miss the finger print imprint. It was convenient for banking apps etc. And just a good over all alternative to s pin #.


Its the #1 reason why I haven't upgraded yet. Too many tradeoffs and the fingerprint is just as fast. Even if someone argues its not, it would be only milliseconds behind. And I still wouldn't have to pull it up to my face or have all the false openings when I just want to check the time. Watch google bring it back next year with one of those garbage in-screen fingerprint readers,...


I have zero issues using face id only since I have been using that on the iPhone from beginning. So using it on Pixel 4 was natural to me. I would have had an issue if my main app LastPass didn't support face unlock. But they do and for all my banking apps or any other app LastPass autofills. So non issue for me. But if LastPass wouldn't have supported then not sure if I could have used this as...


What do you think? Should Google have included a fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 4?

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • I think it would have been better if Google had a fingerprint sensor (either on the back or in-display) in addition to having Face unlock
  • Exactly what I was thinking. One reason why I'm sticking with the Pixel 3. I don't want to give up the fingerprint sensor especially I finally got used to having it on my phone and have mastered it pretty well. Too many security concerns for me with the face unlock.
  • Face Unlock is fine replacement... I'd put wide angle camera, more base storage, faster ram, bigger battery all ahead of a fingerprint scanner if I was prioritizing....
  • No. Google wants to decide how Android should be experienced. They went all in and I believe that was the right call. If it does not work out they can go back in the next iteration.
  • I was never a fan of face unlock with the iphones, but it's super quick with the pixel 4 and has made me a believer. My only complaint is that I wish Google forced the new biometrics API much earlier so that more apps would have it implemented. Fortunately, it seems that developers are moving forward rather quickly with updates (at least for the apps I use), so it hasn't been too much of an inconvenience.
    I don't think I'll ever stop picking up my phone with my finger where the sensor used to be. It's something that I've done thousands of times over the past few years, and I doubt I'll be breaking that habit anytime son.
  • Yes, without a doubt.
  • What incentives did Google include in the box? Your right, absolutely nothing. Overpriced for what's offered. The XL model is barely a 600.00 dollar phone? Save 400.00 and buy a one plus 7t, yikes and it has better specs?
  • Face unlock is nice but not something I want. It is a lot of unecessary tech and cost. I set my phone on my desk in front of me on a stand while I work. I don't want it unlocking randomly. The fingerprint scanner is also faster. I can have my phone unlocked before it is even out of my pocket AND it is reliable. I also like using the ambient display as a notification type service which is more janky with face unlock. Google is known for overcharging and removing features from its devices. It is no wonder they sell like crap.
  • They should have worked with some/more companies prior to launch on working face ID into their apps. There were so many leaks about this phone, it's not like face id was in question at any point the last six months. Then again, maybe they're all holding off until Google's face id requires a person have their eyes open to unlock?
  • Yeah they should've put a fingerprint sensor on the back like with the previous Pixel phones.
  • Just wait for the 4a, it should have both fingerprint and face unlock and will be half the price.
  • I use both on Note 10. FPS comes in handy when you want to unlock your phone while in bed or in car where phone is not directly at your face. Face unlock is better but it has to work 100% only then you can remove FPS
  • I would have to see face unlock in action before I decide. Right now I wish they had both, so I could see which worked better for me. Fingerprint works - sort of. If my fingers are cold, or damp or ???, it doesn't recognize me. And then sometimes it works the first time, just like it is supposed to. I have "indistinct ridges" is what they told me a half century ago when they couldn't take my fingerprints for a security clearance, the first time around, so it is probably just me. How does face unlock work with glasses? Or, how would it work if I fall and wind up with half my face purple and swollen? I don't plan to repeat that experience, but I didn't plan the first one either.
  • For $799 - of course! The Pixel 4 is an incredibly lousy value for $799. I think Google is majorly out of touch with their pricing and what they have on offer. Hard pass. Apple beefed up their battery with the iphone 11, what is Google thinking?
  • Personally, I enjoy having both. In an ideal world, I'd have FP sensor on the front AND secure face unlock, but I'll settle for the sensor on the back.