The latest and greatest Google devices are rumored for a fall 2019 launch, but that doesn’t mean we don’t already have some solid information about the upcoming Pixel 4 and 4 XL.
Unlike 2018, the 2019 flagship Pixel hasn’t quite been unveiled to the extent it was previously by leakers. Even without the numerous hands-on videos coming out of Russia, we still have had some core device design info come via leaks, and heck, even directly from Google.
While we don’t know everything, even at this early stage we have a pretty good idea of what to expect come launch day. Renders have given us a pretty clear look at what the core design will bring, while the internals are likely to pretty much follow on from previous models. We expect a little bit of Google hardware magic to be thrown in for good measure, too.
This is every rumor, tidbit, and snippet of information we know so far about the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.
Release date and availability
At this stage, the announcement alone is pretty speculative. That said, we can pretty safely assume that a fall 2019 release will be adhered to at this early stage — obviously based upon previous release schedules and given the Pixel 3a and 3a XL were only just released at I/O 2019.
Like the Pixel 3 and 3 XL before it, we would expect a late October release in selected regions, with availability beginning in the following weeks after an official unveiling at a glitzy #MadeByGoogle launch event.
The internal hardware remains one of the only real mysteries, for the most part. We say that because it’s still unclear if Google will slap the newly announced Snapdragon 855+ inside or stick with the still powerful Snapdragon 855 as the chipset powering the Pixel 4 and 4 XL. The Pixel 3 still manages to power through almost everything you can throw at it, but the fact that it came with just 4 GB of RAM is often seen as one of the biggest sore points by fans.
Luckily, for the first time since the Pixel 2, we’re going to see a boost in the overall RAM capacity. Rumors suggest that we will see the RAM on the Pixel 4 jump from 4 GB to at least 6 GB. While it pales in comparison to some of the other handsets on the market like the OnePlus 7 Pro and Galaxy S10, Google is clearly fixated on optimizing RAM usage rather than sticking in as much as humanly possible.
It looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer to see a fully decked out Pixel phone, but 6 GB should provide a noticeable jump when you consider the multitasking issues that many owners have encountered with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL.
Many people have complained about the baseline storage on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL starting at 64 GB, which I myself have not had too much issue with. The maximum storage capacity on the 2018 models was just 128 GB. Surely it would be wise for Google to up this to at least 256 GB? We hope so.
The battery sizes are still under wraps, but we would expect wireless charging to make a return. Having a glass back will no doubt ensure that both Pixel 4 models remain compatible with the Pixel Stand — which we hope might see a refresh.
As for software, it’s expected that we will see the full version of Android Q on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.
Thanks to Google themselves, we actually know a little bit about what the new camera system will bring to the table — which is kind of useful to us!
We’ll see the first double camera setup on a Pixel, with a square nodule in the upper left at the back of the device really altering what we’ve seen on previous Pixels. Long gone is the solo shooter, and we’re getting heaps more camera flexibility as Google clearly is looking to counter the emergence of the P30 Pro and other players.
We already knew that we would see a 16-megapixel telephoto zoom lens, as hints were left in the Google Camera app code early in July. The other lens will likely be standard fixed focus “main” lens. Of course, the showstopper will likely be the main sensor. Even if it manages to match the Pixel 3 family and just adds zoom capabilities, it will undoubtedly still be one of the best smartphone camera systems on the market.
When you combine what is in reality a pretty standard 2019 dual camera setup with Google’s industry-leading computational photography prowess, we could see the best smartphone camera system ever produced. Of course, that is not only a little subjective, but it’s also pretty wishful thinking.
Say goodbye to the dual front-facing camera, though. Thanks to a recent teaser video from Google themselves, we probably won’t see that feature, but the tech inside the top bezel is really stacked.
While we discuss cameras, we can’t help but mention the superb Night Sight. The impressive long-exposure night photography mode has been superseded by the single-shot auto night mode on the Huawei P30 Pro, but we expect Google to come out fighting with improvements or potentially Night Sight 2.0. When you consider just how good the mode is now, even minor improvements in sharpness and increased resolution would be a substantial improvement.
All in all, we expect the Pixel camera to really push the envelope of smartphone cameras yet again in 2019, thanks to insane software processing and solid hardware.
Design and device features
Leaks courtesy of @OnLeaks gave us an early glimpse of what that Pixel 4 XL would look like in the flesh, but then Google decided that they would showcase the somewhat familiar rear panel design via Twitter — which mimics OnePlus by sharing tidbits and leaks of their own device in the weeks leading up to an unveiling.
We even received exclusive glimpses of the device that was spotted on the London Underground prior to this, with yet more images appearing shortly afterwards, thanks to eagle-eyed Londoners. On both of those occasions, we were only afforded a brief look at an encased Pixel 4, but they did confirm the rear triple camera bump was indeed legit.
In a similar fashion, Google has since shared details on the upcoming face-scanning tech that will be housed in the top bezel. Rumors were already circulating about a potential Face ID rival when Google first tweeted the Pixel 4 renders, but we’re finally going to see secure face unlocking on the upcoming flagship. We just hope it will be able to at least match the accuracy and consistency of the Face ID feature found on the current crop of iPhones.
Prior to confirmation, we already had a solid idea that Google would be introducing secure face unlocking for the first time, thanks to reports surfacing of random people being stopped and offered $5 in Amazon or Starbucks vouchers for their face data. Of course, this data was likely being used to help train any face-scanning models.
Luckily for us, a blog post titled “(Don’t) hold the phone,” Google detailed a ton of new features coming to Pixel 4 alongside face unlock. Alongside this face-scanning tech will be something called “Motion Sense,” which will allow you to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls simply by waving your hand.
The Soli chip uses radar to map out your movements, which although cool, will likely be subject to regulatory approval. That means the “Motion Sense” feature may only come to select countries with preapproval. The LG G8 ThinQ has similar “hand waving” tech, but it remains to be seen if Google can pull it off with slightly more finesse than LG was able.
We even know exactly what else will be kept within the top bezel, thanks to the very same blog post. Alongside Soli, you’ll notice a Face Unlock IR camera, solo front-facing selfie camera, ambient light/proximity sensor, substantial earpiece, the Soli chip itself, a face unlock dot projector, a second face unlock IR camera, and face unlock flood illuminator.
There is some substantial new tech packed in the top bezel, for sure.
So far, we only know of two potential colors for the Pixel 4 family. We are expecting at least black and white options for each handset. That said, Google has a bit of history of interesting colorways. Not Pink and Purplish are superb color options that we’d be unsurprised to see emulated with a brand new “-ish” or “Not” color for October.
All you need to know at this stage is that, yes, there is no notch on the Pixel 4 XL. That should probably be more than enough to interest notch-haters, but there is a slightly larger-than-average top bezel — not that it should bother you, as it is literally jam-packed with tech.
As for sizes, the Pixel 4 is expected to come with a 5.8-inch display, while the 4 XL is set to offer a 6.4-inch panel. Both will have a QHD+ resolution, so hopefully there will be no issues with color shifting this time around.
There are rumors that the Pixel 4 could include an in-display fingerprint reader alongside the face unlocking tech. While this would be a neat inclusion, it is still pretty unclear at this point if we will actually see the two biometric unlocking functions, or if Google will adopt the iPhone approach of relying solely on face detection for security.
Pixel 4 and 4 XL pricing
To be completely honest, we do not know the pricing. Could we make a solid estimate? Sure. Previous pricing structures are still the best way to estimate what we’ll pay come the official launch day.
What the Pixel 4 and 4 XL won’t include
SD card support
No. It won’t happen. Stop hoping.
While it would be awesome, it’s still pretty unlikely that 5G connectivity will be included in the base models. Although with that said, we’re not ruling out a potential Pixel 4 XL 5G model entirely… maybe…
Thank heavens for that.
What are you hoping to see on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL?
We want to open up the floor to you: What beyond the leaks and even including the leaks would you like to see come launch day? We are now on a countdown to October where we’ll finally get to see the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL in the flesh for the first time.
Let us know in the comments section what you are hoping (or not hoping) to see from the Pixel 4. What Pixel 4 rumors are you excited or disappointed by? Remember to keep it civil.