Updated: Oct 6
There were a million witty quips I thought of when I started to think of this article and ultimately all of them fell short of the cold hard truth. Which is the Pixel 4 and Pixelbook Go are massive disappointments in an age of slick design and proper practical innovation.
Imagine this if you will. A stock Android experience, near zero bezels, a 90 hz refresh rate, 8 gb of RAM, 250 gb of ROM, triple rear camera set up, including a 48 mp main and a wide angle, all for 699. Some of you might think this phone could never exist, some of you might know what phone this is, and some of you might still be unimpressed. However the fact of the matter is that you don't have to imagine this phone, because it's the OnePlus 7 Pro. Or 7T, or 7T Pro. So in a world where these better speced and cheaper phones exist; I am baffled that Google showcased the Pixel 4 as it is currently.
Now before I go any further I want to be perfectly clear. I really wanted to want the Pixel 4 (P4). I was willing to look past the design if it could give me specs I could really get behind. I was looking forward to a reveal event that regardless of leaks would be as surprising and deal packed as Apple's iPhone 11 event. I was determined to watch this presentation and walk away a fan and a proud owner of a pre-ordered Pixel 4. Well not only did I not get the the deal packed, interesting presentation that I wanted. Google actually revealed that they were taking away deals that previous Pixel phones had. Like unlimited photo storage for RAW photography. It's as if Google asked, "how can we really piss off our fan base?" And that was one of the answers that came up.
On top of all of this they decided, by implementing this new soli chip, that the Pixel 4 would not be sold in India. What the whole EFF!? The point of hardware is to move us forward not backwards. And for a company that is always preaching about how important it is to get more helpful tech into more hands that need it. This is a step in the completely opposite direction. Especially when iPhone is starting to shift their strategy to trying to do just that same thing.
Google is dropping a phone with NOT the latest processor, 6 gb of ram, a mere 64 gb of ROM, no added bonuses like 3 months of their Google Play pass or 1 year of Stadia, a huge top bexel, and a pretty silly camera bump. You get all of this for the base price of 799; and that's for the smaller, HD+ screen model of the phone. And for the record you do get a 90 hz refresh rate, an amazing camera experience, a much improved Google Assistant, and stock android. These things are nothing to scoff at. However, the package as a whole isn't worth 799+. In fact, it's almost as if we're paying nearly 100 more for this type of phone because of Soli. If I were Google I'd get rid of this stupid Soli chip. It's not practical, it's not something people are going to use. It's something LG tried and it failed. With that gone, given the "base specs" I would drop the price to 599 to start and I would now be able to sell to India. I mean hell, if they really wanted to drop a phone with this chip in it and charge dummy money. Drop a P4 Pro!
Even worse, many reports of Soli is that it's not working so consistently. It's reported that if the gestures aren't grand enough then it doesn't register. It's almost as if Google did no real world testing of this chip. I mean yeah, if you wanna wave at your pokemon wallpaper and have it wave back, then the chip is SO cool. However, that experience isn't worth the cost or the loss of sales.
All I know is that the Pixel 3 didn't sell so well. . .and that was available in India. So now you have a phone that just isn't up to snuff AND it's losing millions of customers? Yeah, not smart. Whoever is in charge of their marketing and design should be demoted. Because in addition to the Pixel 4 there was "reveal" the Pixelbook Go and my gawd is this a hideous device!
Again, you had the Pixelbook original and it was a beautiful device. I'm legit typing the article on one right now. But then you have the Go and its a clamshell design monstrosity. The bottom has this ridged rubber design to assist with grip. Why? Who was dropping their laptop that much. And I would say maybe it's for children...but at 650 who's buying this for their kids NOT in High School. If you're going to make a budget conscious phone, be conscious about what people can actually afford. Especially when your apps STILL don't work so well for Chromebooks.
And look, it's not all bad. Like depending on what content is on screen, the Pixel 4 can automatically switch between refresh rates unlike the 7 Pro. This helps to reduce battery drain. So if you're in messages, gmail or the home screen, the display might drop down to a 60 hz refresh rate. You also get a much improved camera experience. Which says a lot. Nightsight is much better, it uses AI to adjust white balance like a pro, you get to see what your HDR+ photo is before you take it, and portraits are so good that it can capture hair in the wind. I mean that's just amazing. If one was looking for a dope pocket camera, THIS is the one.
You mix all of that in with the new Voice Assistant and you have software that's really good. However, it's hard to overlook what this phone should be. And it's hard to ignore the lack of storage, the less than impressive battery size, and the high price. Google had a chance to really show why they should be taken seriously in the Hardware game, but missed the mark by a lot.