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Pixel 4 XL hands-on details ‘Face unlock,’ back finish, more [Gallery]

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL are thoroughly leaked at this point, but the stream of information just keeps coming. Now, a site by the name of Nextrift has given the Pixel 4 XL in ‘Clearly White’ the full hands-on treatment, detailing many aspects of the phone that we haven’t gotten much attention thus far…

We’re getting our first detailed description of the Pixel 4’s rear texture in this hands-on, with the site noting that the back is definitely more matte than a usual glossy glass back, but not quite as soft as the Pixel 3 lineup.

But I’ve got to be honest here: the back panel’s texture isn’t what I expected. Even though it does have a matte texture, it’s a very light finish, to the point where it almost feels like regular glass.

The site also details ‘Face unlock’ and its various options in the Settings app. Apparently, you can customize many options of the feature. You can choose whether to use face unlock for unlocking your phone, app sign-in & payments, and just skipping the lock screen entirely. You can also require open eyes (or not) or always require a “confirmation step” when using face unlock in apps.

The setup process and functionality is apparently very similar to Apple’s Face ID, but we already knew that:

Once the feature is set up, a quick glance is enough to unlock the Pixel 4 XL, and it seems to work even in darker environments. However, if the phone is set flat on a table, it wouldn’t be able to recognise my face. I would have to be looking directly at the phone for the biometric security to do its thing.

There’s definitely no fingerprint sensor, in case you were wondering:

Speaking of biometrics, Face Unlock is the only biometric security option available on the Pixel 4 XL. That’s right, this phone does not have a fingerprint reader. There isn’t any in-screen fingerprint sensor, or even a conventional capacitive one.

The site also compares the phone’s camera performance to the Galaxy S10+ and came away underwhelmed. It’s worth remembering, though, that this phone is running pre-release software, and this isn’t exactly a scientific test.

But after taking some shots with the phone, the camera performance…may not appeal to everyone. Judge for yourself with these sample shots comparing it against the Samsung Galaxy S10+.

The site notes that Motion Sense, a new feature powered by the Soli radar sensor, wasn’t enabled on their pre-release unit. It’s still TBD on that feature!

Google’s Project Soli on the Pixel 4 XL is especially intriguing, which allows for motion controls. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t enabled on my pre-release unit, so I couldn’t put it to the test

Of course, the site also had more photos of their white unit to share:

If you haven’t been following along, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will have 5.7-inch and 6.3-inch OLED displays operating at 90Hz, two rear cameras as 12MP and 16MP, respectively, and they will bring the Snapdragon 855  6GB of RAM, and 64GB and 128GB storage options.

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL are not the only devices Google will announce at its 10/15 event in New York City. We’re also expecting the company to show off the 2nd generation of its Nest Mini smart speaker, a new Nest Wifi, and potentially a 2nd generation Pixelbook. Be sure to check out our full roundup of expectations for all the details.


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Avatar for Stephen Hall Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.