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Does the Pixel 4 Camera Live Up to the Hype?


When Google’s Pixel 4 camera came out in late 2019, reviewers were excited about many of its features. The Face Unlock function is more secure than the methods used in the past. Getting all Android updates ensures better data protection.

And the screen refresh rate of 90Hz makes tasks and games feel smooth and efficient, a bonus for both users and software development companies like BairesDev that design mobile apps.

Smaller, though no less exciting, details include Live Captions, which displays text when playing videos so you can watch them without having to use earbuds or disturb others nearby. Google Recorder captures audio and immediately transcribes it to text. A battery saver compensates for the device’s small battery capacity.

But if there was one thing about the Pixel 4 that made headlines around the web, that has to be its camera, which was hyped as one of the best to ever grace a mobile device.

Now that users have had some time to test it out, you can get a better idea of whether it lives up to the insane amount of expectations it generated.

Photo by Hunter Moranville on Unsplash

Overall Image Quality

Photos snapped with a Pixel 4 are comparable to those taken with an iPhone 11, also recognized for its high quality pictures. Photos are accurate with good shadow detail and color, especially in human shots. One improvement over the Pixel 3 is a better representation of dark regions in photo scenes.

The Pixel 4 camera offers excellent standard features in addition to special software to help with unique photo situations, such as zooming in. Because Pixel 4 includes 6GB of RAM, the camera is responsive and stable.

Software and Hardware

Pixel 4 is the first Google device to feature a two-camera setup, including a standard-wide 12.2-megapixel lens and a 2x telephoto 16-megapixel lens, on the back of the camera, as well as a single-lens camera on the front. Notably, it doesn’t include an ultra-wide lens.

The sophisticated software gives a realistic preview of images before you shoot, and you can use it to adjust exposure and tone mapping before you snap your shots.

With the autofocus feature, you get in-focus shots across a variety of lighting conditions. It’s also faster to activate compared to other devices. One interesting software feature is Frequent Faces, which puts people you photograph most frequently in sharp focus in all shots.

Portrait Mode

The Pixel 4 portrait mode includes good depth mapping with the help of the additional rear camera combined with split pixels.

The range enables you to capture large objects and human subjects from further away than you could with the Pixel 3. In addition, those elusive pet shots are easier to capture due to high snapping and processing speed.

At the same time, close-ups are rendered with more detail and backlit subjects should look better. However, in certain situations, such as with person hair or pet fur, lines may blur more.


The zoom feature has been improved over the Pixel 3. In Pixel 4, the Super Zoom Res feature provides up to 8x digital zoom to ensure zoomed-in shots retain high quality across a variety of conditions, including both indoor and outdoor applications.

The good results, including well-defined edges and accurate coloring, can be seen with both long- and medium-range shots.

To activate the zoom feature, the Pixel 4 software allows you to pinch the preview screen, use the slider control, or double-tap to toggle between 1x and 2x.


For Pixel 4, video capture from the rear camera results in high quality videos with accurate coloring across a variety of subject settings.

The video function autofocus is fast and precise and you can switch automatically between 30 and 60 frames per second to accommodate lighting or movement changes. Users who prefer higher resolution may find this factor frustrating.

Night Sight & Astrophotography

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Pixel 4 camera, the Night Sight feature allows you to take photos of the night sky with good results, including accurate color and detail.

The feature is a separate mode, so you decide when to turn it on rather than allowing the camera to decide. It includes auto-flash, which activates accurately based on lighting conditions.

Night Sight used when the phone is connected to a tripod or another stability platform becomes Astrophotography Mode, which uses a very slow shutter speed to capture additional details, such as stars you can’t see with the naked eye.

In Summary

Depending on what features you’re looking for and what other smartphone cameras you’re using for comparison, the Pixel 4 may or may not stack up.

However, on its own, it includes many excellent features that can help capture true, sharp images with good coloring across a variety of situations. The Pixel 4 may not be worth purchasing just for the high-quality camera. But it’s certainly a feature worth considering if you’re looking for your next Android phone.

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