May 26, 2020

Pixel 4 XL: Google opts for ‘software’ to improve photography | Technology

The camera has been the strong point of the Pixel in its latest editions. Once again, the Mountain View company refocuses its strategy on photography with the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4XL, that have gone on sale this Monday from 759 euros. In front of manufacturers who choose to provide their terminals with a large number of cameras or megapixels, Google is committed to improving software from the same. In addition, the new smartphones of the company introduce other novelties such as facial recognition, gesture control or automatic transcription of recordings.

Photographs in low light environments

The Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL, designed entirely by Google, distinguish themselves from their predecessors by a square module of cameras in its rear part with two sensors of 12.2 and 16 megapixels. THE COUNTRY has tested for a few days the Pixel 4 XL, which achieves good results in virtually any condition. During the day, the photographs look sharp, with adequate levels of exposure and contrast and natural colors. For at night, the smartphone It has a night vision mode that increases the lighting of the image and in most cases allows you to appreciate in detail different textures – for example, the leaves of the trees.

In addition, the new terminal greatly improves performance in low light environments. It also solves some of the setbacks when taking backlit photographs because it has a dual exposure control. The user can use it to edit the exposure of lights and shadows separately before taking the photo and get better results.

Pixel 4 XL: Google opts for ‘software’ to improve photography

But unlike some of its rivals, the new terminals are not capable of recording in 4K resolution and 60 fps. Google has explained why a user on Twitter as follows: “The Pixel 4 records in 4K and 30 fps with its rear camera. We found that most users are left with 1080p, so we focus our energy on improving quality in this mode, instead of enabling a 4k 60fps mode that could take up to half a gigabyte of storage per minute. ”

A controversial facial unlocking

Both the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL disappears the fingerprint sensor to unlock the terminal. This is the first smartphone from Google that incorporates facial unlocking. It is fast and does not usually fail even if it is completely dark. The company ensures that the images and biometric data used in facial unlocking are stored securely and only on the phone.

But this new function, as this newspaper has proven, is a major security problem. And even the company itself warns when activated. “Another person can unlock the phone if he puts it in front of your face, even if your eyes are closed,” he explains. The journalist Chris Fox was one of the first to show it in a video he shared on Twitter. In this way, anyone could unlock a user's device if, for example, they are asleep. Google has assured the media specialized in technology The verge Be working to solve it through an update. However, as the company has confirmed to the same medium, the solution will not arrive in a few months.

Pixel 4 XL: Google opts for ‘software’ to improve photography

Gesture control

The tech giant has also introduced gestures for the first time smartphones with Motion Sense. This is possible thanks to Soli technology, in which Google has been working for five years and that allows the terminal to detect the movements of the user's hands. This function, which can be activated and deactivated by the user, can be useful when moving from one song to another when listening to music on the device without having to unlock it. Simply slide your hand over the terminal to the left or right.

This technology could be promising when developers decide to use it in their applications. But, for the moment, the functions that gestures allow are quite limited. In addition to skipping songs, it is only possible to postpone alarms and silence calls. Even so, the system can also be useful to predict the actions that the user will perform and improve their user experience. In this way, if you detect that it is going to approach to unlock the phone, quickly activate the sensors to make facial unlocking faster. In addition, when you bring your hand to the terminal, you can check the time and notifications.

Performance and design

While the Pixel 4 has a 2,800mAh battery, the Pixel 4XL has a 3,700 mAh battery. The battery of both devices, according to the company, detects which are the most used applications and reduces the consumption of those that are hardly used. With normal use, the battery of the Pixel 4 XL extends for a day without any problem. But with intensive use of the device – sharing the Internet, playing videos and using some of the most popular apps on the market – it does not arrive mid-afternoon.

He smartphone It has 6GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and Pixel Neural Core. This is a new processor designed by Google that improves the performance of functions such as Motion Sense, facial unlocking and voice assistant. Mobile performance is very fluid in virtually all cases. Run the apps without problem and there is no type of lag (time delay).

As for the design, the Pixel 4 XL has a 6.3-inch OLED screen. Although it is not precisely compact, its handling is comfortable. He smartphone It has no notch. Instead, it has a fairly wide top frame that integrates the front camera, the speaker and the Motion Sense sensor. Nor does it have Jack of headphones, forcing the user to use an adapter or switch to wireless sound with headphones that connect through bluetooth to the terminal

Automatic transcription and music recognition

One of the applications in the terminal that can be more promising for journalists is Recorder. It works like a voice recorder and uses artificial intelligence to automatically transcribe recordings. The user can also search for a specific term and the app takes you to the moment of the recording in which that word was used. This feature is currently only available with English audios. As you have been able to verify this newspaper, it works considerably well although although sometimes it confuses words or presents errors if there is background noise.

Another curious function of the terminal is "it is ringing". It is a kind of Shazam that is able to identify in real time the name of almost any song that sounds near the device and shows the name and artist on the lock screen. Although the user can activate or deactivate this function at any time, the fact that the phone is constantly listening can raise some debate about privacy. When activated, it ensures that audios and background conversations are never sent to Google.

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