Google Pixel 4
It makes for a futuristic-looking video. I get why the Pixel 4 was designed the way it was. At the recent Milan design fair, the company demonstrated how rooms designed in various ways could literally calm your body down. I can imagine how the Pixel 4 emerged out of this thinking.
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In theory, a phone designed to enhance our well-being needs to literally see us and sense us. It needs to scan the environment and know its context. Perhaps, one day, Google will realize this vision. But the Pixel 4 marks an awkward first step into that future, like a poor baton pass in the middle of a relay race. The perfect phone is not one that vies for more of my attention.
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By Mark Wilson 5 minute Read. Motion Sense uses the Pixel 4's radar-powered smarts to track hand movements above the phone. So far, you can wave your hands around to skip back and forth through songs in music apps, snooze alarms, and silence an incoming phone call.
It even detects when you're reaching for the Pixel 4 to prepare its facial recognition for a faster unlocking experience. The Pixel 4 has mostly been a dream to unlock as a result of Motion Sense. It senses my hand approaching and starts the unlocking process, and by the time I have the phone in front of me, it's usually unlocked and ready to go.
The Pixel 4's facial recognition isn't actually as quick as the Pixel 3's fingerprint sensor.
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But it's still fast, automatic, nearly flawless, and requires no finger-reaching or any other specific motion to unlock the phone. It's almost feels as if I don't have any security set up, or even a lock screen. A small yet surprisingly good and useful Motion Sense feature is swiping your hand above the Pixel 4 to snooze an alarm — no looking at the screen to make sure you tap the right button.
Plus, Motion Sense can tell when your hand approaches the phone and reduces your alarm's volume, too. This may seem inconsequential while you're reading this wide-awake, but it feels like a pretty great feature in the mornings, let me tell you. Apart from that, the only other Motion Sense feature so far allows you to switch to the next track, which can be cool but gimmicky, and doesn't always work well. Otherwise, that's about all you can do with the gesture controls on the Pixel 4 so far. It's pretty limited, and you can already do a lot with your voice and Google Assistant, including switching to the next track.
It would be great to swipe your hand up or down to change the volume, for example. Or maybe use different finger gestures to navigate around the entire Android operating system and apps. It's something that Google will surely improve over time, and I'd bet money that more comprehensive controls will someday come to the Pixel 4 or future Pixel phones.
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It's a pretty safe bet, as Google has already said that Motion Sense at the Pixel 4's launch is just the start. Overall, Motion Sense is good because it's starting off slowly with just a few little features and functions. It's not overpromising anything, and it seems to have the best chance out of any other company's attempts to make motion gestures a "thing.
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Wherever you are, whatever you do, Pixel phones just seem to take a great photo that you'll be happy with, and the same goes for the Pixel 4. Not a lot of other smartphones offer that kind of confidence. The irony is that there's a ton of Google's software and processing magic going on in each photo, but the Pixel 4 photos tend to look the least processed and more true-to-life than photos from most other smartphone cameras.
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I still have to compare the Pixel 4 with other recent phones, especially the iPhone From what I've heard, Apple has caught up in a big way to Google's Pixel cameras. Google added a 2X optically zoomed lens to the Pixel 4 , and as a result, you get great 2X zoomed photos.
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But Google has seemed proud of what the Pixel 4's zoomed lens can do when you zoom further than 2X, where the phone starts using software-based digital zooming. Indeed, the Pixel 4's digital zooming is better than what I've seen on other phones, but photos with digital zoom still look like photos with digital zoom — there's still some blotchiness and detail smoothing.
I wouldn't use the Pixel 4's digital zooming to capture anything meaningful. Could you image wider Pixel-quality photos that captures more scenery, colors, and details? Unfortunately, imagining how good ultra-wide Pixel 4 photos would look like is all we can do, since the Pixel 4 doesn't have an ultra-wide camera. It's a shame that the Pixel 4 doesn't have an ultra-wide lens like some of its biggest competitors — it means the Pixel 4 is a less versatile smartphone for taking photos than other recent smartphones, like the iPhone 11 , Galaxy S10 , and OnePlus 7T.
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