Google Pixel 4 Review

November 14, 2019 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Pixel 4 is the latest flagship smartphone from Google.

As we’ve seen before from the company, one of the key aspects of this smartphone when it comes to marketing and promotion of the product is how well the onboard camera performs.

While previous generations of the Pixel phone featured just one lens, the Pixel 4 marks the first time the company has included a dual lens and camera setup.

That means you get a 12.2 megapixel 1/2.55-inch sensor which is paired with a 27mm f/1.7 lens, alongside a 16 megapixel sensor which is paired with a 50mm f/2.4 lens. Unlike other flagships, such as the iPhone 11 Pro, there’s no super wide-angle lens.

Just as we’ve seen before, the Google Pixel 4 is available in two sizes. Both the standard Pixel 4 and the larger Pixel 4 XL feature the same camera setup.

You can’t expand the inbuilt storage with the Pixel 4 - instead it is available in 64GB or 128GB versions, only. At the time of writing, the Pixel 4 price starts from £669, while the Pixel 4 XL price starts from £829.

This price puts it in the same bracket at the more “budget” of the two new iPhones in Apple’s line up - the iPhone 11, as well as other mid-range phones, such as those in the Honor or OnePlus line-ups.

Ease of Use

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Front of the Google Pixel 4

For the purposes of this review, we’ve been using the standard sized Google Pixel 4, which has a 5.7-inch screen. This puts it as one of the smaller smartphones on the market, but you may find that you prefer a smaller phone - especially for example if you have smaller hands.

We’ve also been using the new colour for the Pixel 4 - “Orange” - which is actually more like a hot coral colour. Again, it’s down to personal preference whether or not you like it, but it’s certainly distinctive.

The Pixel has always had a slightly utilitarian appearance, but here we’ve got nicely rounded curves that give it a premium look.

Google Pixel 4
Rear of the Google Pixel 4

One thing you’ll notice about the Pixel 4 display is the lack of a notch to house the front-facing camera - that’s the same on both the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL (the Pixel 3 XL did feature a notch).

By losing the notch, you lose out on a little bit of screen space, but the overall appearance is arguably more attractive.

The easiest way to launch the native camera app from the lock screen - or indeed any screen - is to double press the button on the side of the phone.

As we’ve seen from previous Pixel phones, the native camera app is a relatively straightforward setup. It doesn’t come complete with a huge array of different shooting modes, while enthusiasts may be disappointed by the lack of any kind of manual, advanced or “professional” mode.

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The Google Pixel 4 's Camera Mode

On the plus side, it is possible to shoot in raw format (something which you need to select the from the app menu).

By default, the app launches in the standard “Camera” mode. This is the mode you’ll want to use for the majority of your shots. If you tap the screen, you’ll see some options appear.

First of all there’s the new control for adjusting brightness and shadows, which is controlled via two sliders on the right hand side of the screen. You can also tap a lock icon to enable AF/AE lock, which comes in handy if you’re photographing something with lots of areas of high contrast.

You’ll also notice a “1x” in a small circle which also appears on a slider. This refers to the zoom, and you can drag the slider along to move between the 1x lens, the 2x lens, and digital zoom options in between the two and beyond the 2x lens. You’ll be able to jump straight to the 2x zoom lens if you double tap quickly on the screen, too.

Google Pixel 4
The Google Pixel 4's Shooting Modes

A small arrow at the top of the screen can be tapped to reveal some hidden options, which includes switching motion on/off, switching on the self-timer, switching on or off the flash, and choosing a different aspect ratio.

You’ll also see the option to switch on raw format shooting if you’ve already enabled this from the main menu. To get to that main menu, tap the cog icon and you’ll see a number of different settings which you can access and change, such as switching on camera sounds, saving the location of your photos and switching on “framing hints” - which gives you hints for taking better photos.

Moving back to the main shooting window - along the bottom of the screen (or to the right if you’re holding the phone in landscape orientation) - you’ll see all the other shooting modes which the camera offers.

To the left of the standard Camera mode, you’ll also find Portrait and Night Sight. To the right of Camera, there’s Video and a More option. Tapping the More option brings up choices including Panorama and Slow Motion. Unlike some other Android models, particularly from the Huawei brand, there isn’t a huge amount of choice here - which is likely to be disappointing for enthusiasts.

Google Pixel 4
The Google Pixel 4's Image Playback

Night mode is something that we first saw on the Pixel 3. It works by merging together a series of short exposures for the effect of a long exposure, in low light.

New for the Pixel 4 is astro-photography mode, which is part of night mode and will be activated automatically when the phone detects the scene is appropriate. Living in a city it’s fairly hard to get it to activate, and during our time with it, we weren’t able to find a situation which triggered it, but it could be useful for those who take photos in more remote areas.

Portrait mode is something we’ve always been impressed by from the Pixel phones. Despite the name, it can be used with subjects other than humans, such as pets and still life.

Google Pixel 4
Rear of the Google Pixel 4

It creates a shallow depth of field effect, and it will save two versions of the image on your phone - one with the effect applied, and one without - the latter can be useful if it doesn’t quite work out that well.

In video mode, you can shoot at up to 4K at 30fps. By shooting in Full HD, you'll get access to different frame rates - there’s 30fps and 60fps to choose from, or you can even leave it up to the phone to choose between the two.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

We’ve been impressed with the quality of images from Pixel phones, right from the very first Pixel phone. Here on the Pixel 4, Google has built on what it already knows to produce a phone which offers its best image quality yet.

That said, the main benefit of this phone is the introduction of the telephoto lens, which allows you to get closer to the action without having to physically move closer.

As we’ve seen before, images directly from the camera are bright and punchy, with a good amount of detail. If you examine images closely on a computer screen, you can see some smudging, but it’s no less than we’d expect from a small sensor.

Images from the telephoto lens are also very good, but with a narrower aperture, aren’t quite as good in low light. Digital zoom is best avoided unless you’re absolutely desperate to get closer, as images taken with this setting show a fair bit of grain and loss of detail.

Being able to adjust brightness in specific areas of the shot is a good new facet of the native camera app, but it’s something which is software, rather than hardware specific.

Night mode continues to impress, but again, it performs best when shooting with the 1x zoom lens, rather than the telephoto option. Although it’s very good, it isn’t a noticeable leap in quality when compared to its predecessor, the Pixel 3.

The Pixel’s Portrait mode has always been one of its most impressive aspects, particularly when photographing non-human subjects. Here again, it produces excellent images but it doesn’t represent a huge jump in image quality from the Pixel 3.

Focal Range

The Google Pixel 4's two fixed lenses provide the focal lengths demonstrated below.

1x Zoom


2x Zoom


Digital Zoom



This macro shot shows how close you can get to the subject.



The flash settings on the Google Pixel 4 are Off, On and Auto. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Wide-angle Lens - Flash Off


Wide-angle Lens - Flash On


Telephoto Lens - Flash Off


Telephoto Lens - Flash On


Night Sight Mode

The Night Sight mode is always available in the More menu, and the camera also prompts you to use it when it detects low-light levels. You can hand-hold the Pixel 4 for up to 6 seconds and still get sharp, well-exposed photos, as shown below.


Portrait Mode

The Google Pixel 4's portrait mode intelligently blurs the background whilst keeping the main subject sharp.





Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Google Pixel 4 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Google Pixel 4 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Google RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 18 second movie is 106Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 60 frames per second. Please note that this 17 second movie is 39.1Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 19.2Mb in size.

Product Images

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Google has been producing smartphones which appeal to photographers for some time now, but the Pixel 4 feels like it has been a much softer launch than ever before. The fanfare surrounding it has been kept to a minimum, perhaps because it’s more of a refresh than a full-blown upgrade.

The biggest update here is the addition of the second lens to give you the option to shoot “telephoto” shots. However, with an f/2.4 maximum aperture, it’s not quite as well-suited to some other options on the market, including the iPhone 11 Pro.

That said, it’s perhaps fairer to compare the Pixel 4, at its price point, to the iPhone 11, where it more closely competes. With the iPhone 11, the second lens isn’t a telephoto option at all, it’s an ultra-wide-angle lens. Considering the prevalence of ultra-wide optics, it’s a bit of a shame not to have one here on the Pixel 4.

Aside from the extra lens, the quality of the images that the Pixel 4 is capable of producing hasn’t come on in huge leaps from the Pixel 3. Both Night Mode and Portrait mode are very impressive. That’s not necessarily a strong criticism, when you consider just how good the Pixel 3 was in the first place.

When it comes to price, the Pixel 4 might be a flagship model, but it goes head to head with some mid-range models, making it a fantastic option for those who don’t want to splash the huge asking prices of models from Apple, Huawei and Samsung.

Overall, if you already have a Pixel 3 then there’s not a huge amount here to demand an immediate upgrade. If you can live without the extra telephoto lens, then you might be better off waiting until the Pixel 5 makes its debut.

However, if you’re coming from either a different brand or an older version of the Pixel, it’s well worth taking a look at the new Google Pixel 4. For the next iteration, we’d love to see an ultra-wide-angle lens and perhaps some more control for enthusiasts.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Google Pixel 4.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Another year, another new flagship phone from Apple, this time introducing a new triple camera system, night mode and improved battery life. Is the iPhone 11 Pro the best smartphone that Apple have ever released, and can it beat the Android competition? Read our iPhone 11 Pro review to find out, complete with full-size sample images and videos.

Apple iPhone XR

The Apple iPhone XR is the cheapest of the three new iPhones released in 2018, sacrificing the telephoto lens and higher-resolution screen that the XS models offer. Read our in-depth Apple iPhone XR review to find out if it's still worth considering...

Apple iPhone Xs

The Apple iPhone XS is the 2018 update of Apple's best ever selling phone, last year's iPhone X. Read our Apple iPhone XS review to find out what this latest version offers and if it's the right smartphone for keen photographers...

Google Pixel 3

The brand new Google Pixel 3 smartphone offers photographers a 12 megapixel sensor, 5.5-inch FHD+ screen, wide-angle selfies, Portrait Mode, and the clever Night Sight mode for low-light hand-held shooting. Read our in-depth Google Pixel 3 review to find out just what it's capable of...

Google Pixel 3 XL

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL are new flagship smartphones from Google. New features for photographers include Top Shot, which uses AI to help you capture the perfect photo every time, Super Res Zoom, which produces sharp details when you zoom, and Night Sight, which lets you take natural-looking photos…

Google Pixel 3a

Do you want the same excellent camera from the flagship Pixel 3 but at a much lower price? Of course you do! Then look no further than the brand new Pixel 3a, which features exactly the same camera module as its big brother, including the innovative Night Sight and Portrait modes, but at almost half the price. Read our Google Pixel 3a review to find out if this is all the smartphone camera that you actually need...

HTC U12 Plus

The HTC U12 Plus is a flagship smartphone from one of the smaller players in the industry, with a dual-camera setup on both the front and rear. Read our detailed HTC U12 Plus review to find out what it offers photographers, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Huawei P30 Pro

The Huawei P30 Pro is a flagship smartphone that aims to rewrite the rules of photography. The P30 Pro is equipped with a new Leica Quad Camera System, including a 40MP main camera with the HUAWEI SuperSpectrum Sensor, a 20MP ultra-wide angle camera, an 8MP telephoto camera, the ToF Camera…

OnePlus 7 Pro

The OnePlus 7 Pro is the biggest and most expensive flagship smartphone that OnePlus has ever released. With a 48-megapixel triple-camera setup, 4K/60p video recording, Nightscape and Pro shooting modes and the ability to shoot in Raw, is it also the best ever OnePlus phone? Find out now by reading our in-depth OnePlus 7 Pro review...

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom

Do you want a smartphone with a big zoom lens? Then look no further than the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, which offers a 6x optical zoom and a 10x hybrid zoom lens to provide an effective focal range of 16-160mm - not too shabby for a smartphone! It also has a unique selfie pop-up camera, 48 megapixel 1/2-inch sensor, 4065mAh battery, 128GB or 256GB memory, 4K video recording and USB-C charging, all at a mid-range price. Read our Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review to find out just what the biggest smartphone manufacturer in China is capable of...

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

The Galaxy S10 Plus is the best smartphone that Samsung have ever made, but is it also the best for keen photographers? Find out now by reading our expert Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Sony Xperia 1

The Xperia 1 is the first ever Sony smartphone to borrow technology from the company's successful Alpha range of mirrorless cameras, including the very popular Eye AF feature and the latest Bionz X processor. Could this be the ultimate smartphone for photographers? Find out now by reading our in-depth Sony Xperia 1 review, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Sony Xperia XZ3

The Sony Xperia XZ3 is a flagship smartphone with a 19 megapixel camera, 4K HDR Movie recording, 960fps Super slow motion in Full HD, and AI predictive capture.Are there enough features and performance to tempt keen photographers? Find out now by reading our in-depth Sony Xperia XZ3 review, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Google Pixel 4 from around the web. »

The Google Pixel 4 XL is the better of the two Pixels (especially if you’re a power user or heavy picture-taker) thanks to its sharper screen and bigger, longer-lasting battery. While its camera is very good – possibly the best point-and-shoot around for a certain type of user – the phone itself isn't without its gremlins.
Read the full review » »

The first Google device to feature a dual-cam setup, the Pixel 4 implements both standard-wide and tele-lens cameras (but no ultra-wide) on the rear, with a single-lens camera on the front, essentially switching around the camera configuration from the Pixel 3.
Read the full review »


  • Pixel 4
  • Fullscreen 144.7 mm (5.7") display
  • FHD+ flexible OLED at 444 ppi
  • 19:9
  • Ambient EQ
  • Smooth Display¹ (up to 90 Hz)
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5
  • Always-on display
  • Now Playing
  • 100,000:1 super contrast ratio
  • Full 24-bit depth or 16.77 million colours
  • True black level
  • HDR support (UHDA certification)
  • Pixel 4 XL
  • Fullscreen 160.0 mm (6.3") display
  • QHD+ flexible OLED at 537 ppi
  • 19:9
  • Ambient EQ
  • Smooth Display¹ (up to 90 Hz)
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5
  • Always-on display
  • Now Playing
  • 100,000:1 super contrast ratio
  • Full 24-bit depth or 16.77 million colours
  • True black level
  • HDR support (UHDA certification)
Dimensions and weight²
  • Pixel 4
  • 68.8 mm x 147.1 mm x 8.2 mm
  • 2.7" x 5.7" x 0.3"
  • 162 g
  • Pixel 4 XL
  • 75.1 mm x 160.4 mm x 8.2 mm
  • 2.9" x 6.3" x 0.3"
  • 193 g
  • Pixel 4
  • 2800 mAh
  • 18 W/2 A USB Type-C™ charger
  • 18 W fast charging³
  • Qi-certified wireless charging
  • Pixel 4 XL
  • 3700 mAh
  • 18 W/2 A USB Type-C™ charger
  • 18 W fast charging³
  • Qi-certified wireless charging
Memory and storage
  • Memory: 6 GB LPDDR4x
  • Storage: 64 GB or 128 GB⁴ (Just Black & Clearly White only)
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon 855™
  • 2.84 GHz + 1.78 GHz, 64-bit Octa-Core
  • Adreno 640
  • Titan M Security Module⁵
  • Pixel Neural Core™
Rear camera
  • Rear Camera #1
  • 16 MP
  • 1.0 μm pixel width
  • Auto-focus with phase detection
  • Optical + electronic image stabilisation
  • Spectral + flicker sensor
  • ƒ/2.4 aperture
  • 52° field of view
  • Rear Camera #2
  • 12.2 MP
  • 1.4 μm pixel width
  • Auto-focus with dual-pixel phase detection
  • Optical + electronic image stabilisation
  • ƒ/1.7 aperture
  • 77° field of view
Front camera
  • 8 MP
  • 1.22 μm pixel width
  • ƒ/2.0 aperture
  • Fixed focus
  • 90° field of view
  • NIR flood emitter
  • NIR dot projector
  • 2 NIR cameras
  • Rear Camera:
  • 1080p @ 30 FPS, 60 FPS, 120 FPS
  • 720p @ 240 FPS
  • 4K @ 30 FPS
  • Front Camera:
  • 1080p @ 30 FPS
  • Active Edge™
  • Proximity/Ambient light sensor
  • Accelerometer/Gyrometer
  • Magnetometer
  • Barometer
  • Android Sensor Hub
  • Sharp and textured haptics
  • Microphones
  • Motion Sense⁶
  • USB-C™ 18 W adapter with USB-PD 2.0
  • 18 W fast charging³
External Buttons and Ports
  • USB Type-C™ 3.1 Gen 1
  • Power button
  • Volume controls
  • Single nano SIM
  • eSIM⁷
Media & Audio
  • Stereo speakers
  • 3 microphones
  • Noise suppression
Wireless and Location
  • Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.0 + LE (HD codecs: AptX, AptX HD, LDAC)
  • NFC
  • Google Cast
  • GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo⁸
  • Pixel 4
  • Up to 5xCA, LAA, DL 4x4 MIMO, CAT 18 up to 1.2 Gbps download, CAT 13 150 Mbps upload

  • Models G020M
  • GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1/2/4/5/8
  • LTE: Bands B1/2/3/4/5/7/ 8/12/13/17/20/25/26/ 28/32/38/39/40/41/66/71
  • eSIM⁷
  • Pixel 4 XL
  • Up to 5xCA, LAA, DL 4x4 MIMO, CAT 18 up to 1.2 Gbps download, CAT 13 150 Mbps upload

  • Models G020P
  • GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1/2/4/5/8
  • LTE: Bands B1/2/3/4/5/7/ 8/12/13/17/20/25/26/ 28/32/38/39/40/41/66/71
  • eSIM⁷
  • Just Black
  • Clearly White
  • Oh So Orange
Hearing Aid Compatibility
  • M3/T4 HAC Rating
  • Google’s devices meet the hearing aid compatibility (HAC) requirements set by the FCC. See
Security and OS Updates
  • Minimum 3 years of OS and security updates¹⁰
  • Aluminum frame + matte finish hybrid coating
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 on the front Soft touch or polished glass (Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5) on the back
  • IP68 dust and water protection¹¹
  • ARCore
  • 2 years

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