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The Pixel 4 by far embodies this the best. With just a glance at the spec sheet, the Pixel 4 looks pretty underwhelming with its tiny battery, dim screen, and disappointing storage options. But under the hood, the Pixel 4 packs quite a punch and just like its ancestors, has an exceptional camera and software experience.
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Ram: 6 GB
Battery: 2800 mAh
Weight: 162 g
Screen size: 5.7/6.3 inch
Color options: black (glossy), white (frosted), orange (frosted)
At full retail price, the Pixel 4 starts at $799 and its bigger brother, the Pixel 4 XL, starts at $899. The smaller, $799 Pixel 4, which is what I have with me, has a 5.7-inch AMOLED screen while the Pixel 4 XL has a noticeable larger 6.3-inch screen.
The device I have with me is the "Clearly White" smaller Pixel 4. For me personally, it has been a wonderful experience for the last couple of months. A couple of things that I need to say right is that the battery life is not as bad as you would expect out of a 2800 mAh cell. Not to say that it has been good, it's just been.... average I guess. Of course, battery life depends on the usage of each and every individual so I can't represent everyone.
On a daily basis, I usually clock in around 3-5 hours at a time and I usually have just enough until the end of the day. My daily usage usually consists of social media, texting, some light games, and lots of youtube. I think this is pretty representative of the majority of the people out there when it comes to usage. Battery degradation is also a thing that seems to be less pronounced on Pixel 4. Now I can't be 100% certain and I don't have any proof, but I think this can be attributed to the Adaptive Battery feature which adapts the phone to each user known.
Well, what part of the phone sucks up the most power? The screen of course! And I gotta say, the screen on the Pixel 4 is absolutely phenomenal. To be fair, it did have its fair share of issues, the majority of which have been fixed the software updates. The refresh rate is fantastic, the colors are amazing, and the viewing angles are great (I'm looking at you Pixel 2 XL). The refresh rate is a buttery smooth 90 Hz. Granted this isn't exactly useful per se but my my, is it a pleasant experience. Now, what good is the refresh rate if your screen looks like total garbage (excluding gaming gear)? Fortunately, this isn't the case with what we have here. I don't have a color measuring tool lying around for me to use but just trust me, it's great.
I would say the next most important thing on a phone has gotta be the speakers. And I gotta admit, I was a bit disappointed when the dual from firing speakers from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 were replaced with one bottom-firing speaker. But disregarding that, the speakers are pretty nice. The highs are clear and the bass is pretty good for a phone speaker. At louder volumes, the sound does distort a little. Overall it stands pretty well on its own compared to other flagships.
How can somebody talk about any of the Pixel phones without talking about the camera? To generalize things, it's really really good. More specifically the low light performance of the camera the colors just stand out to me above all the others. To me, the astrophotography mode in the camera is a little gimmicky. Without being somewhere where there's very little light pollution, the feature is pretty pointless. What isn't a gimmick, however, is the new live HDR viewfinder. What you see, is what you get. Unlike older Pixels where you just gotta trust the HDR to fix the lighting afterward. Other phone companies have started to implement similar HDR functions to the Pixel line and the difference between it and others are getting smaller by the day. Some people might prefer other phone cameras. But this doesn't deter the fact that this phone camera is one of the best on the market and with around half the physical cameras. This is the difference between good and bad software.
Pixel 4 Astrophotography Mode (Suburban Area)
Here I'm going to list a couple of small features that don't really need and explanation and are just nice to have.
Really nice vibration/haptic motor
Frosted glass (white and orange model)
Color powered button
These features are not necessarily exclusive to this phone but just makes me appreciate the phone more and more.
Now to save the best for last, the software. The single most important thing about the software is that it is constantly being updated and evolved. I have gotten 3 feature drops since the launch of the phone which has increased the functionality and ease of use. These updates also include small quality of life improvements. Large software updates will be available for the Pixel for 3-4 years and they are very on time. Way more than you could say for larger Android manufacturers. Compared to Apple, this is not ideal but when you consider the history of Android and its infamous situation with Android versions, it is something one can really appreciate.
I would say that I'm a Pixel fanboy, but that doesn't deter the fact that this is a great phone. The specs don't tell the whole story and that's a really good thing. The software is what makes the Pixel stand apart from the others and is what keeps me coming back to it again and again.