Mon. Nov 18th, 2019

the phone that wants to be the best taking pictures


He Google Pixel 4 It has come with the two powerful arguments of the previous generations of this phone: achieve the best possible experience with Android and take a new leap in regards to photography. The good work of Google with its sophisticated image processing algorithms has led many to consider the Pixel phones with the best camera.

Although this time for the first time debuts a second camera, which is the main innovation at the level of technical components. In the rest of the technical specifications we find better performance at the hardware level, which were expected, such as the Snapdragon 855 processor. This is complemented by a Google chip: Pixel Neural Core, which gives the phone its own functions that are not available on other Android phones.





The Pixel 4 XL runs Android 10 clean but with some features of its own.

The Pixel 4 XL runs Android 10 clean but with some features of its own.
(Ramón Peco)




In fact, we do not know to what extent this has influenced the spectacular performance that give the tests with this Pixel. But with Antutu we have achieved a score of 394,999. Of the best that can be obtained today on a phone. We have no doubt that the custom adaptation of Android weighs on this.

The phone comes with six gigabytes of ram memory, a good figure. Although it seems a bit fair for the future, over time the ram memory plays a crucial role in extending the useful life. The phone starts from a price 759 euros in the case of Pixel 4 and 899 euros in the case of Pixel 4 XL. The capacity can be 64 or 128 gigabytes depending on the configuration we choose. Although the only thing that changes in the standard model against the XL is the screen size, 5.7 inches with FHD + resolution or 6.3 with QHD + resolution. It also varies the battery, 2,800 or 3,700 mAh depending on the model.





The Pixel 4 XL is capable of transcribing the audio of the recordings, although at the moment it only works in English.

The Pixel 4 XL is capable of transcribing the audio of the recordings, although at the moment it only works in English.
(Ramón Peco)




The design of the phone is perhaps the worst part of the product, at least aesthetically. Without being a badly constructed phone, it produces an excellent feeling of solidity, the square that covers the cameras and the flash, clearly inspired by the iPhone 11 Pro, seems a clumsy addition.The feeling increases if we opt for the white or orange model in instead of the black model. Of course, the phone has an IP68 resistance rating, so it perfectly supports contact with liquids.

If we go into the bowels of this Android 10 adapted to the Google Pixel, we find some great things. One that can even assume that some buy the phone just for this, is the audio recorder with function to transcribe the voice to text in real time. At the moment it only works in English, but it is amazing how well it does. Well recording audio directly or playing through speakers.





The camera interface of the Pixel 4 has varied,

The camera interface of the Pixel 4 has varied,
(Ramón Peco)




To date we have not seen anything similar in any kind of device. So only for this function those who have to transcribe notes, conversations, talks or anything else will be completely delighted. Hopefully, at some point this smart recorder will reach other Android phones, but there is no date for that to happen.

The function that activates subtitles in any video we play is also quite striking. This opens the doors to watch for example videos from YouTube or any other subtitled platform. But it is also possible that even in a videoconference we will see everything that is said subtitled. Actually the function as tested is surprising more and more.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL without zooming.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL without zooming.
(Ramón Peco)









This phone already works completely through gestures. This may shock some users of previous versions of Android, but little by little you learn to handle it with total fluidity. We also quite liked the facial recognition system. We do not know if it is faster or not than the iPhone, but it is very, very fast and works in all kinds of situations.

But now let's move on to the strong point of this Pixel. Your double camera The day of the presentation we already made a Detailed review of your technical specifications. So we are going to skip it and we will check that it has evolved. The most obvious is the zoom. After all, a double camera with a zoom of two magnifications has been added.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL with a six magnification zom, with good light the level of detail does not deteriorate too much.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL with a six magnification zom, with good light the level of detail does not deteriorate too much.
(Ramón Peco)




But there is something quite disconcerting when using the Pixel 4 zoom. We are not given the option, as in the case of the iPhone or other phones, to use the two magnification zoom directly. What we find is a zoom control that reaches eight magnifications without it being easy to select a two magnification zoom so you don't have to stretch the image by software. Algorithms are used to achieve this zoom level, of course. Said in a simpler way: after two magnifications the images are not achieved by means of the optical zoom, but by means of an electronic zoom.





It seems a bit daring for Google to reach those 8 increases. Even in broad daylight the quality plummets if we reach that figure. Although we have been checking that the quality of digital zoom images are better than those of many other phones. In our opinion the results with very favorable light conditions are good, and even surprising, if we do not pass a zoom of four increases. Although it can be stretched a little more if the image is only going to be shared on social networks with low resolution.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL without zoom.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL without zoom.
(Ramón Peco)




The problem is that Google gives a bad signal by inviting us to use such an exaggerated zoom, because especially when the light falls the image quality is quite bad. This would be easy to correct by updating the camera software to provide more precise control of the zoom. Although it is putting a graphic element that warns us that after five or six increases the image quality is not good. Especially for those looking for better control of the cameras, which will not be few considering the fame of the Google Pixel in mobile photography.





The color tones are somewhat cold when applying white balance. This is rare considering that competition tends to saturate colors a lot, even too much, and usually give them warm tones. In our opinion, the coldness of Google Pixel produces more realistic color tones than other phones, but sometimes it also sins of excessive coldness. During the presentation of the Google Pixel 4 it was emphasized that deep learning techniques had been used for this aspect, so hopefully in future camera updates this aspect will improve.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL using the eight magnification zoom, the image is seen with a clear lack of sharpness.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL using the eight magnification zoom, the image is seen with a clear lack of sharpness.
(Ramón Peco)




There are two exposure controls: one for lights and one for shadows. These come to replace the manual camera controls that other manufacturers include to control the light. Its use is simple and it is useful to fine tune the image, but we still think that we would like to have more control over some aspects of the shot. Like speed or ISO sensitivity.

On the improvements in the night mode say that these are palpable. Clearly increase the shooting time to achieve a low light photo. But if we want to do astrophotography it is better, as with iPhone 11 Pro, use a tripod to not get a blurred image. And of course go to an area without light pollution to capture photos of things like the Milky Way. In essence: there is an improvement in night mode. Although it is not radical, but it is also true that Google had set the bar very high already.

Photo taken with portrait mode, although it fails with complex subjects this photo shows that it is possible to achieve good photos by insisting a bit.

Photo taken with portrait mode, although it fails with complex subjects this photo shows that it is possible to achieve good photos by insisting a bit.
(Ramón Peco)




If we shoot photos in broad daylight the results are fascinating. We like that the options for capturing photos in HDR or HDR + mode have disappeared. Now the phone, surely for having a plus of power in the hardware, is in charge of selecting the best option to take the photo. And the results are simply great in the dynamic range, the image quality offered by the phone when taking photos in the darkest and brightest areas of the image. The photos have very balanced tones and rarely look artificial.

The portrait mode has also improved with the inclusion of a second camera, this second camera in fact lacked the Pixel for things like that. But not so much that we do not perceive errors when the figure focused with the background merges into complex subjects. How can vegetation be? Although in the case of photographing people generally the results are quite good if the light accompanies.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL completely backlit in which we see how the level of detail is preserved.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL completely backlit in which we see how the level of detail is preserved.
(Ramón Peco)




To get an idea of ​​what Google achieves with its algorithms we recommend activating the capture mode in RAW and Jpeg simultaneously. That's when we understand how far Google has come to master computer photography. Well, in some photos the RAW image, the one that is captured raw and has hardly been processed, is simply ominous and it seems incredible that the image processor has managed to obtain a Jpeg image of such quality.

About the video we don't have very good news. Google has not taken a risk and continues to offer a 4K resolution with 30 fps and stabilization, which we do not know if it is optical, digital or hybrid. Although we have the feeling that it can be the second. The image quality is correct, but those who have used phones that stand out in the aspect of video recording, such as the Sony Xperia or the iPhone, will be a bit disappointed.

In short, we are facing the best phone that Google has created and probably also the best phone to squeeze Android to the fullest. But we would have liked some things to be better accomplished: could the design at the aesthetic level not have been spoiled a little more? How complicated would it have been to incorporate a somewhat more sophisticated camera system and not leave everything to the algorithms? Although these doubts should not make us think that this phone disappoints.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL using night mode, the result is spectacular.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL using night mode, the result is spectacular.
(Ramón Peco)




Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL freehand using the night mode almost in complete darkness, you can see some star in the sky despite the light pollution.

Photo taken with the Google Pixel 4 XL freehand using the night mode almost in complete darkness, you can see some star in the sky despite the light pollution.
(Ramón Peco)






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