Oct 23rd, 2019

It’s been a week since the Google Pixel 4 announcement and boy has it been a whirlwind of reviews and emotional outpouring. Strong criticism has been thrown about and many positive vibes have been shared.

There was very little left to learn about the Pixel 4 on launch day but never the less I fired up YouTube and was taken in by the very Google presentation. Photography was front and center, just as we’d expected. But Google did shatter some of our dreams when they said: “wide-angle photography is fun and all, but we think telephoto is more important.”

Pixel 4 review: reclaiming the crown

So, after absorbing all the fluffy Google speak I sat on my hands for a week until the reviews came in. To say I was heartbroken to see the generally negative press is an understatement. On one hand, I feel the reviews are completely justified and honest. On another, I almost feel that with every Pixel release, the phone is set up to fail. It’s a damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation. Which reminds me vividly of HTC’s history.

Fast forward to today when I dusted off my bank card and pressed “order now” on the Pixel 4 in Clearly White. Despite its shortcomings, here are 5 reasons why I bought the Google Pixel 4.

1. Design

The design of this year’s Pixel is oh so reminiscent of the HTC Desire EYE. I don’t know if that has anything to do with Google’s acquisition of HTC’s team and resources or not, but either way, I love it.

It’s practical, understated and have I mentioned that matt finish? Finally no fingerprints! The bezels aren’t offensive, even in 2019 when everyone thinks that every phone should be edge to edge. After all “be together not then same.” right? What I’m trying to say is I like the Pixel 4’s look. It has an arrogant difference surrounding it that says, “I have a massive forehead and a big chin, but I don’t care.”

My only concern is the glass. I’d rather they just went for polycarbonate, with the matt finish and texture it would have felt the same and reduced the weight. I’ll let it slip this year though, but man, I am so over glass phones.

2. Three Years of Zero-Day Software Updates

This one should speak for itself, you’re only going to get the latest and greatest updates when you are using Google’s own hardware. Manufacturers like OnePlus and Essential have been really good at updates as well, but neither has promised to support their devices with major Android releases for three full years.

I understand that there are a whole load of manufacturers that offer near “stock” android but they come with extra bloat and I really don’t like that. And while I’m not always that bothered about having the latest security updates, I’ll get those too as they are released.

3. The Camera

Don’t mention the ultra-wide.

I have had a Pixel 3 in my bag that comes with me whenever I go on trips, and I use it for the camera alone. It’s just great, like really great. Is there better? Sure. But I have a hunch that Google’s camera software is only going to get more intelligent. And that software will come in the form of updates which I’ll get as they are released.

Google seems to be quite happy with its camera modules pairing them beautifully with its amazing computational photography. I feel the flack the cameras have been receiving in the early reviews to be a little harsh. But that’s journalism. I often feel, that being spoiled with access to every new device on the scene takes away that “I’m going to buy this and give it a good shot” ethos. What did we do before YouTube? We walked into the carrier stores and picked one off the shelf. It’s was a leap of faith, a real feeling of investment.

The lack of the ultra-wide lens isn’t a deal-breaker for me. I already own the moment wide and superfish so all I need now is the new Pixel case.

Astro Mode, Night sight on roids. I like the sound of that.

The actual back facing 1x camera is quite wide so it sweetens the deal for when I don’t have the time to switch lenses. The same goes for the single front-facing camera. Google went for a semi wide-angle lens there and it suits me just fine.

Video? I hardly shoot video with my smartphone. I rarely video anything at all, actually. So this wasn’t a deciding factor in my choice to buy the Pixel 4.

4. I’m selling my Pixel 3 to negate the cost/value argument

As I write this, my Pixel 3 eBay auction ended with a “Buy it Now” sale for £400. I’m happy to say that I’ll effectively only be paying £369 for my “Clearly White” 128GB version of the Pixel 4. (I’ve had to buy mine in the UK as the French Google store is only offering the Black versions – Okay Google, that’s weird).

This was always going to be my plan, I bought the Pixel 3 about 3 months ago from my network for €50 (unlocked) with no monthly payments. I really couldn’t say no. I knew the Pixel 4 was coming and it seemed like a wise investment that would give me a nice discount on the next handset.

But this begs the question: would I have paid the chunk of change for the Pixel 4 without my self trade-in? The answer is probably no, but never the less, it has saved me waiting for the inevitable discounts that will be just around the corner.

5. Home/Work life Integration

My home is increasingly becoming more and more integrated with Google’s Nest products. I have Nest Mini speakers throughout and in the garden. I have Lenovo smart displays for keeping tabs on my family and friends and then there’s the usual smart TV and lights.  Since I work from home I feel it’s natural to pick a device that will work seamlessly with my home and work life without creating any barriers to connectivity. It was the final hurdle I had to jump having been a loyal HTC user for so long.

As my home and tech bubble grows I want a handset that will be my companion and really keep things together. I have high hopes for the new 2.0 on device assistant. I just hope she’ll eventually be able to understand everything I say in a Scottish accent.

There are loads of features I’ve neglected to mention in detail because I don’t value them as deal breakers for me. Edge Sense, Motion Sense, Astro Mode etc. I consider these all bonus features of my new Pixel 4 device and I really like that. I feel like I know what I’m getting myself into here, the battery life concerns me but it’s something I’m willing to give a good crack of the whip. I’m sure there will be good and bad days.

So these are MY 5 reasons that I’m buying the Pixel 4. I’m not here to say this is the best phone money can buy. It’s clearly not. However, if it’s something you want – go out and get one. Don’t be swayed by the reviews, make up your own mind. Give it a shot, it might just surprise you.

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