Google's Pixel 4 (and presumably Pixel 4 XL) aren't anticipated to land any time soon, but plenty of details have leaked out early — and that's without mentioning Google's own teasing. With all these details floating around, we've assembled the info we have right now into a list that's easy to parse in a convenient question-and-answer format.
Q: When will the Pixel 4 come out?
A: Late October
According to a leaked Verizon Marketing Calendar, the Pixel 4 is set to land on the carrier at the end of October, which is a good indicator that the general launch will also be around then. Historically, the "Made by Google" event takes place in early October, with the product being actually released/shipping later in the month.
Design and appearance
Q: What will the Pixel 4 and 4 XL look like?
A: Renders and photos have already leaked.
Renders of both the Pixel 4 and 4 XL (which might be codenamed Coral and Flame) have leaked, plus some slightly potato real-world photos of the device, and while there could be some as-yet-unrevealed visual or design differences between the two models, we probably have a good idea for what to expect.
In fact, there's even a complete 360-degree video of the 4XL based on renders:
And Google tweeted out its own render of the phone:
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) June 12, 2019
New renders of the smaller, non-XL Pixel 4 have also trickled out:
That includes a full 360-degree view, plus some comparison shots of it next to the larger 4 XL:
Based on the sheer volume of these early reveals, we likely have a pretty good ideal for what the Pixel 4 will look like when it lands. The larger Pixel 4 XL looks set to have quite the forehead via a substantially larger top bezel. Though we haven't seen the smaller Pixel 4 from the same angle in the same level of detail, odds are it will have a similar look.
Later leaks of what appear to be screen protectors (or potentially the top glass, it isn't entirely clear), show an optically transparent section or cutout to the right of the earpiece. Paired with earlier leaks, user reports of Google gathering face data from volunteers, and details provided by Google in the latest update (see below) we know the sensors for the face unlock system live there.
Face unlock and Motion Sense gestures
Google published an entire blog post and video revealing the facial recognition tech in the Pixel 4:
The company also provided a cutaway view of the phone's top bezel, showing the individual components that live up there. Face unlock won't just use Soli's radar, there's also a pair of infrared cameras, an IR flood illuminator, and dot projector.
While Soli's primary use is for a new "Motion Sense" gesture system, it will play a role for face recognition as well, triggering it as soon as you reach for your phone. Google claims that will allow it to work "all in one motion." Unlike some other face recognition security methods, Google claims that this will also work "in almost any orientation—even if you're holding it upside down."
For more details, see our full coverage of the subject here.
A bottom-firing speaker similar to that on the Pixel 3a and original Pixel is also present, so stereo front-facing speakers are gone. If it offers full stereo functionality, it will likely be similar to that used by the Galaxy S10 or OnePlus 7 Pro.
The Pixel 4's display may also have the ability to compensate for ambient light color temperature, sort of like Apple's True Tone feature. Improved dual-SIM functionality could also be present, though the precise type isn't known (it's likely Dual-SIM Dual Standby via the built-in eSIM.)
Based on these details, we can draw a few more conclusions:
- There is no rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, so it either doesn't have one or it has been moved inside the display.
- Although the Pixel 3A got one, there's still no headphone jack.
Q: How much will the Pixel 4 and 4 XL cost?
A: We don't know yet, but we can guess ($800-1100 would make sense).
No details regarding Pixel 4 pricing have leaked just yet — those details may not even be fixed in Google's mind — but we can make a few guesses based on previous prices.
The Pixel 2 XL started at $850, while the 3 XL started at $900. Prices for flagship phones have generally been creeping up, so it's likely that the next "XL" iteration, at a minimum, won't be cheaper than last time. A minimum starting price between $900-1000 is probably expected, though Google could rationalize pushing it higher.
The non-XL Pixel 4 should be cheaper. Google gave us a $100 price difference between the Pixel 3 and 3 XL last generation, so if a similar trend continues, I'd expect to see a minimum starting price of around $800, though we could see it land for far more than that.
Q: What kind of camera will the Pixel 4 have?
A: At least
four three: Two One front-facing (speculated to be wide-angle) and two rear-facing (one likely a telephoto).
Based on those leaked renders mentioned above, as well as Google's own images, we know that the Pixel 4 will have at least two rear cameras. One of those may be a 16MP in a telephoto configuration, based on details dug up in a teardown of a Google Camera APK. The small, barely-visible cutout to the top of the rear square camera bump has been speculated to be a ToF (time of flight) sensor for determining distance, useful in applications like focusing or creating depth maps for software-based portrait mode effects.
Two cameras are visible on the back (plus what looks like a cutout for a ToF sensor).
While we originally expected the Pixel 4 would stick with two front-facing cameras introduced on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, that isn't the case. Turns out, one of those holes on the front isn't a camera, it's for sensors, see the update below. The Pixel 4 only has one front-facing camera, rather than the two on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. The smaller Pixel 4 probably has the same setup, though we haven't seen the front of that model in the same level of detail yet.
Just one front-facing camera
Google recently published a tearaway of the Pixel 4's top bezel, and there's only one front-facing camera. The company also published a paper recently on correcting for distortion in faces on wide-angle photos, so that sole front-facing camera may be a wide-angle.
These cameras will also likely support the P3 wide color gamut for photos, based on the details of a Google Camera app teardown.
Security and biometrics
Q: Will the Pixel 4 have a fingerprint scanner or Face ID?
A: Based on leaks, the fingerprint scanner isn't visible or present, so it either won't have one, or it's built into the display.
Details regarding Face ID-like functionality have leaked in Android Q, specifics regarding the Pixel 4 are unknown, though it seems likely. Google recently confirmed the Pixel 4 will have a face unlock system.
Android Q details have shown that a new "face authentication" system like Apple's Face ID is coming to the platform. Previous leaks indicated the big empty space to the right of the earpiece on the Pixel 4 XL renders could be for a Face ID-like biometric system for the Pixel 4, and Google has subsequently confirmed those details (see the update below). Face unlock will be powered by both a dual infrared camera system (lit by a dot projector and flood illuminator) and Soli's radar-based tech.
Face unlock and sensor details
Google has officially revealed some of the facial recognition tech used in the Pixel 4, complete with a teaser video for both it and the Soli radar gestures:
A tearaway image of the phone's top bezel shows the various sensors that make up the face recognition system in the Pixel 4:
Face unlock is powered by two infrared cameras to each side of the earpiece, illuminating your face with a flood lamp and a dot projector. Soli's radar system works in tandem to trigger face unlock "as you reach for it," and Google claims it will work "in almost any orientation—even if you're holding it upside down." Face data is only stored on-device in the Titan M security chip.
For more details, see our full coverage of the subject here.
Since none of the renders, including Google's own, have shown a rear-mounted fingerprint reader, we must assume that it either doesn't have one, or that it has been placed somewhere else. Given how small and narrow the power button is, and the fact that the real-world leaks show a case that covers it, it likely hasn't been relocated there.
The case in this photo appears to have its own plastic nub for the power button (as with previous first-party fabric cases), just barely visible on the left, which would rule out a fingerprint sensor in the power button.
If Google goes with an in-display fingerprint sensor (a big "if," it seems likely that the phone may skip a fingerprint sensor entirely) it isn't known what type of sensor might be used. Given Google's commitment to security, I'd put my money on it being of the ultrasonic rather than the optical variety, should it have one.
Models / variants
Q: How many models will there be for the Pixel 4?
A: Google will probably do a small/big Pixel 4 and 4 XL again, with each available in multiple colors — three in the case of other recent Pixels. Regional or carrier variants (i.e., North America, Europe, Verizon) may have other distinctions.
History paired with the separate "Pixel 4" and "Pixel 4 XL" render leaks indicate that we should see both a smaller Pixel 4 and a larger Pixel 4 XL, probably offered in three colors: White, Black, and some incredibly minor but essentially white tint. We could also see specific regional variants with their own distinctions like frequency support, and units sold by some carriers could ship with slightly different software or locked bootloaders.
Some Pixels (like the Pixel 2) have had just one regional model with no distinction between the US and the rest of the world, while others (like the Pixel 3a) have had multiple SKUs even just inside the US. There's no telling yet which way Google will take the Pixel 4.
Q: Will the Pixel 4 have a headphone jack?
Although Google saw fit to give the more mid-range/budget-oriented Pixel 3a a headphone jack, leaks of the Pixel 4 indicate there's no 3.5mm jack to be found:
Error 350: headphone jack not found.
If you were hoping Google might make an about-face on the subject given the Pixel 3a, it looks like you're out of luck.
Q: Will the Pixel 4 be a 5G phone?
A: Probably not.
If Google continues its trend to include Qualcomm's "latest" 10-month-old chipset in the next Pixel, then the only way it will support 5G is via an external modem. The Snapdragon 855's X24 modem doesn't support 5G without a supplementary external modem plus other hardware. With the increased power consumption that would require, and the limited presence of 5G networks (mmWave or otherwise), it's highly unlikely that the Pixel 4 will support 5G — though it's technically possible that Google could do it if it wanted to.
If there are any other topics you'd like to see covered in this post, be sure to let us know in the comments below.