Google's new flagship Pixel 4 smartphone: Preorder guide

Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored
Updated Wed October 16, 2019

After months of leaks, Google just made the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL official. The latest iteration of their flagship smartphone starts at $799 for the 4 and its 5.7-inch display, and $899 for the 6.3-inch 4 XL. It comes in "just black," "clearly white" and a limited edition "oh so oranges" with an Oct. 24 release date across the big four carriers in the United States, plus Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile and Google Fi. You can also get it unlocked.

The tech and hardware is the same across the 4 and 4 XL. The biggest new feature? It has an LIDAR sensor and "motion sense" which Google says will deliver the fastest face unlock on any phone.

Unlike other devices that make you hold the phone to your face, Pixel 4 and 4 XL is said to be able to sense you coming. Google is calling the tech SOLI, and addition to enable secure unlocking, it also enables you to use gestures to control the phone.

Google made a big push on the new Pixel's focus on privacy, pointing out that the face scans and gestures stay local on the device.

Big Google Assistant Improvements

The Google Assistant on board the Pixel 4 is getting an updated user interface and is deeply integrated across apps. There's machine learning chip inside the Pixel which enables Assistant to perform tasks and respond to requests.

For fans of audio recording, the new recorder app, which auto transcribes in real-time, is pretty impressive. We'll see how accurate it is when we go hands-on, but as a journalist who conducts interviews and does field reporting, I'm incredibly excited about this feature.

Smooth display and two cameras

The Pixel 4 features a 5.7-inch display, while the 4 XL gets a 6.3-inch display. Both have a 90hz refresh rate that adjusts on-the-go, which means buttery smooth visuals. As expected, it's running a clean version of Android 10 and updates are on the way.

Google is improving computational photography with an all-new two-camera setup on the back. And yes, Night Sight, Top Shot and all the other popular features are still here. All across you get a hybrid of hardware and software coming together, including wide and telephoto lenses.

The photography demos on stage looked great. This might be the one camera setup that can beat out the iPhone 11 Pro.

Live HDR+ lets you see what the final photo will look like right from the viewfinder, so what you see really is what you get. Dual Exposure Controls will let you customize the shot, allowing you to easily raise or lower the brightness and other capture setting adjustments.

Auto white balancing is arriving with the Pixel 4, and Portrait Mode works better thanks to the addition of physical lenses. Google's impressive Night Sight mode has also improved. It looks like a pretty big upgrade with a lot more light.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.