The Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4XL are the latest Android phones from Google that have just hit the shelves of Singapore. The phones come in three colours – Just Black, Clearly White and Oh So Orange – and starts from $1,119 for the 5.7-inch Pixel 4 and $1,319 for the 6.3-inch Pixel 4XL. If you are looking for a great Android experience, here are six reasons why you should consider the latest Pixel phone.
#6 Interactive Pokemon wallpaper
Pokemon fans will love this Pixel 4 exclusive where you can interact with your favourite Pokemon by waving and gesturing at them. There are five Pokemon virtual pets to chase your Monday blues away - Pikachu, Eevee, Scorbunny, Sobble and Grookey. The last three are the starter Pokemon from the latest Sword & Shield franchise. Wave to Pikachu and it will wave back. Reach out with your hand and as you get close, watch Eevee purr and send out its love hearts to you. Double tap on the screen to switch to the next Pokemon.
#5 Orange is the new Black
Phone makers have been adding the bling to the back of the phone to stand out from the crowd but Google gets it right with the Oh So Orange back. It’s smooth to the touch, eye-catching and Instagram worthy - yet does not have the garish colours that adorn many other brands that try too hard. Like many phones today, the Pixel 4 chassis is housed within a metal frame and sandwiched between two layers of glass. Yes, the back of the phone is glass, but the orange has a matte finish that leaves no fingerprint smudges and is smooth to the touch. Google calls it the “soft-touch” finish. The Pixels comes in three colours, but it’s the Orange that makes it delicious.
#4 It’s A Pixel
Most Android brands have an additional operating system interface overlaid on top of the Google Android system. With Pixel, it’s stock Android and that means you get to use the Android interface as Google intended it to be. The clean and uncluttered Android interface is a big plus for users who have tried other brands, many of which often has bloated firmware and screens filled with third party apps that makes you want to cry for help. Your favourite apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Photos work right out of the box and you don’t have to try to make sense of other e-mail, calendar or photo gallery apps. If you are a Google Suite business user, you will love the clean demarcation between your Personal and Work apps, which you can easily toggle between from the same screen.
And because it’s a Pixel, you can expect timely firmware and security updates and always be among the firsts to get them when available. In fact, you are guaranteed at least three years of operating system and security updates. This is important if you have ever owned an Android phone which launched with all the bells and whistles but two years later, seems to take forever to upgrade to the next version of Android.
#3 Face Unlock, Motion Sense and other cutting-edge tech
The Pixel 4 bucks the trend of edge-to-edge screens with a thin bezel at the top. There is good reason for the black bar at the top. Housed in that top bezel are the latest smarts from Google including a motion-sensing radar, front camera, ambient light sensor and four additional sensors that power up its new face recognition tech.
The mini-radar powers a new feature called Motion Sense, which can detect gestures and motions near the phone. With Motion Sense, you can swipe your hands in front of the screen to skip songs, snooze alarms and silence calls. It’s the same tech that lets you reach out to your favourite Pokemon to earn some endearing hearts.
Face Unlock is another new feature that creates an accurate model of the user’s face so that he or she can unlock the phone with face recognition smarts. Google combines the face recognition tech with Motion Sense to streamline the face unlock experience. As the user reaches out for the phone, Motion Sense detects the movement and turns on the face unlock sensors so that by the time you bring the phone up towards your face, the sensors are ready to complete the biometric recognition process. It’s fast and it’s easy. The user’s biometrics data is stored on the phone and the processing is done locally, so the user’s private data never leaves the phone for better security.
Note however that the fingerprint sensor has been replaced with Face Unlock, which means you will have to resort to PIN or password to use with your payment apps that mostly do not support face biometrics yet.
#2 Amazing photography
The big smartphone brands have been battling it out with smartphone photography and consumers are the clear winners. The Pixel 4 is the first Pixel with a dual rear camera set up. In addition to the 12-megapixel camera, Google has added a second telephoto camera which lets you zoom up to 2x in optical zoom and 8x in digital zoom. Google’s mastery of software algorithms ensures that the photo still looks sharp under digital zoom and this feature makes it great to close in on a subject from a distance.
Another interesting feature is Night Shot, the camera mode that lets you take photos in low light without a flash. A new feature of Night Shot is Astrophotography, which combines increasing the exposure and software smarts to let users take photos of the stars in the sky. Frequent Faces is another cool feature – it remembers the photos of the people that you photograph often and ensures that they are the centre of attention in every photo.
#1 Real-time Speech to Text
Reporters, students and just about anyone who needs to take notes will be seduced by the real-time transcription tech. The new Recorder app lets you record audio while converting speech to text in real time. You can read the transcript in real time as the speaker is talking. The transcript is saved on the phone and can be easily shared to Google Drive as a text file, which you can then edit. While the translation is not perfect, it is largely accurate and will save anyone who needs to take notes a lot of time.
There is another feature called Live Transcribe which is designed as an accessibility feature for the hearing-impaired. Not only does it offer live transcription, it also shows the volume levels of the person speaking and can identify different types of sounds such as music, whistling and vehicles.
Equally cool is Live Caption, another new feature which automatically adds captions any video that you are viewing on the Pixel 4. That’s great for viewing your Facebook and YouTube videos, especially if you at the office and don’t want the boss to know you are watching videos at work. It works with any video file, including the ones shared by your friends and the videos that you create from your phone.
Live transcription and captions are only available in English for now, though users can expect more languages to be supported in the future.