With the Android Q beta program well under way, and the mid-range Pixel 3a and 3a XLannounced, we’re starting to get a little information trickling in on the forthcoming Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL that are expected to launch later this year.
When the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL started leaking last year, it didn’t stop. On top of the usual potato cam photos and pricing information, we saw a Googler leave the handset in a Lyft and someone publish a complete unboxing video well before prime time.
Based on some early leaks, it appears as though this year could be a repeat with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. We’re still three-ish months before Google is set to unveil both devices, but we already know what the phones will look like and have an idea of some of their unique features.
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Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL: Name and release date
After several leaks, Google went ahead and publically shared a render of the Google Pixel 4 (more on this below). With it, the company officially confirmed the handset’s Pixel 4 name. This isn’t too much of a surprise as it follows Google’s smartphone branding (R.I.P. Pixel Ultra).
Google historically hosts its hardware events in October. Last year, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL were announced on October 9 and then made available for purchase on October 18.
Google went ahead and confirmed the Pixel 4’s name and design months before its launch
The search giant has not announced when it plans to unveil the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. However, we have leaked information from Verizon that suggests Google will stick to the usual October schedule for its latest flagship.
Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL: Design
We got our first look at the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL when OnLeaks shared CAD renders partway through June. This leak was then, surprisingly, confirmed by Google itself.
Most notably, we learned that the devices would include a rather large camera bump on the back of the phone. This is interesting because it makes the upcoming Pixels look almost identical to leaked renders of the 2019 iPhone.
Up until that point, Google had only teased the rear of the phones, so we didn’t have any confirmed reports of what the front of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL might look like (that changed later though, see the next section). However, we have seen an early render leak from OnLeaks and information shared by Lew from Unbox Therapy that suggests both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will be notchless with large foreheads and small chins.
On June 14, just days after Google officially confirmed the Pixel 4 design on Twitter, 9to5Googleobtained two leaked photos of the Google Pixel 4. There’s not much we can glean from the images themselves, aside from the fact that they line up with Google’s Twitter renders. It also appears to be encased in one of Google’s official fabric cases.
9to5Google’s tipster also got a look at the front of the Pixel 4 and claimed it does indeed have a big forehead on the top, housing at least two front-facing camera sensors. However, they weren’t able to snap a photo.
Later, in July, we saw another “in the wild” shot of a Pixel 4, this time on a subway train in London. Unlike the previous real-world photos, this photo shows what appears to be a Pixel 4 in a case designed to obscure the device’s design.
As for the air gestures, you’ll be able to wave your hand over the Pixel 4’s screen to silence phone calls, skip songs, and snooze alarms — all without touching the phone. Even better, Google notes that “these capabilities are just the start, and just as Pixels get better over time, Motion Sense will evolve as well.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like everyone will be able to take part in the Motion Sense party. Google has said that Motion Sense “will be available in select Pixel countries”, meaning that only certain markets will be able to use it. At this time, we have no idea what countries will get Motion Sense and which will not.
What kind of specs can we look forward to?
On August 7, we got a massive spec dump thanks to the folks over at 9to5Google.
First, let’s take a look at the spec sheet so far based on that report:
|Category||Pixel 4||Pixel 4 XL|
|Operating System||Android Q||Android Q|
90Hz refresh rate
90Hz refresh rate
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|Rear Camera 1||12MP main camera||12MP main camera|
|Rear Camera 2||16MP telephoto camera||16MP telephoto camera|
|Audio||Stereo speakers||Stereo speakers|
|Battery||2,800 mAh||3,700 mAh|
Perhaps the biggest highlight from the rumored specs so far is the 90Hz display. This is something we’ve seen on very few smartphones, with one of the most recent being the OnePlus 7 Pro. This allows the display to move at a faster refresh rate, resulting in everything looking considerably smoother. Google is said to call this “Smooth Display”, and it could really help the 4 and 4 XL stand out from the crowd.
Another highlight is the bump up to 6GB of RAM. Every Pixel phone since the original Pixel from 2016 has shipped with a mere 4GB, and especially with last year’s Pixel 3 series, this resulted in a lot of issues with poor memory management. With the increase to 6GB, hopefully those qualms will be nonexistent.
Battery life has also been a consistent pain point for the Pixel lineup, and unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be changing. The Pixel 4 XL has a decently-sized 3,700 mAh battery, but the regular Pixel 4’s 2,800 mAh unit is already making me sweat.
When will the Pixel 4 be released?
Google has stuck to a regular cadence of releasing its Pixel phones in early October.
At this point, there’s still plenty of room for that to adjust or shift, but we have no indication that the launch will be any other time. An announcement in early October with retail availability in the two weeks following is what we expect right now.