Google’s worst kept secret, the Google Pixel 4/XL was released last night and is available in Australia after 22 October. It also showed off the new, gen 2 Google Nest Mini and Wi-Fi.

We say worst-kept because Googl Pixel 4/XL leaks have been at tsunami levels since April. While they got the basic specs right, they did not really understand the nuances that make a Pixel a Pixel.

No matter which journalist you follow, they will all say Google Pixel 4/XL has an excellent camera and represents the ‘harmony’ between top-shelf hardware, pure Google Android/Apps, and AI. GadgetGuy uses the Pixel 3XL as a reference phone – if only to keep grounded on what is essential – and mostly its camera or functions are equal to or better than all comers.

Base specs Google Pixel 4/XL

  • 5.7-inch (6.3-inch), 2280 x 1080 (3040 x 1440) 19:9, 90Hz, POLED, 100% DCI-P3, HDR, Gorilla Glass 5
  • Qualcomm SD855 (the 2019 flagship processor)
  • 6/64 or 6/128GB, no micro-SD, unlimited ‘high quality’ Google Photo still/video cloud storage
  • Rear Camera: 12.2MP, f/1.7, 1.4um, 77° AND 16MP f/2.4, 1.0um, 52° telephoto, PDAF, HDR, 2X Optical, 3X hybrid and 10X digital zoom, [email protected] and [email protected] (OIS/EIS)
  • Front Camera: 8MP, f/2.0, 1.22um, 90°, FF, NIR (near-infrared) flood emitter, NIR dot projector, 2 x NIR cameras (commonly called 3D TOF sensors)
  • 2800mAh (3700mAh), USB-C PD 2.0 18W, Qi wireless charging
  • Clearly White, Just Black, Oh So Orange 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2 mm x 162g (160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2 mm x 193g), IP68
  • Wi-Fi AC, BT 5 aptX HD, NFC, Nano sim and eSim, stereo speakers, three mics and squeeze sides
  • Android 10
  • Website here
  • Price:  Pixel 4/XL 6/64 and 6/128GB are $1049/1199 and $1279/1429 – Oh So Orange is 6/64GB only

What’s special about the Google Pixel 4/XL?

Lots. Google’s Pixel theme is to make Google more helpful. So, this is a reference phone that makes the most of the hardware, Google Android 10 (and 11 and maybe 12), Google apps and the secret sauce is AI. AI is unescapable from taking a photo, incredible night sight photos, to getting all-day battery life.

Apart from its proprietary Neural Core for AI and Titan M security chip, it is pretty much a Qualcomm reference design (and that is a good thing).

The gesture control is near-infrared – although a little limited. It is called Soli – a Google feature using NIR (near-infrared) radar hardware for device control via subtle hand movements. This miniature radar sensor can differentiate between very fine motions to perform various platform-specific functions. It is an area that Google intends to expand.

Google Pixel 4/XL

Night sight takes a bracket of long exposure shots, and the AI produces a very good, almost daylight composite shot – although like all night sight offerings the colours are a little different. Note: Night Sight requires a tripod or similar to ensure clear images.

With dual rear cameras it can now have 2X optical, 3X hybrid lossless and 10x digital – again AI steps in and sharpens the image. AI can also preview and adjust lighting, white balance, exposure and direction before you shoot.

OK Google gets a boost – it can do a lot more on board with the neural core and many items don’t need internet access to work.

GadgetGuy has a Google Pixel 4/XL and will be reviewing it shortly. It may not be svelte, sexy, or bling – Let’s just say it gives you what you need versus the overblown marketing hype of some flagship devices.

Google Nest Mini now has 2x bass

Google’s Nest Mini remains its lowest cost, $79 entry point for OK Google. Gen 2 addresses sound quality issues (not tested yet) and claims a 40% bass boost and better far-field voice recognition. It is also wall-hangable although the white power cable hangs down so aestheticists will grimace.

Google Nest Mini Gen 2

It is a perfect way to add Google Assistant to your home – and once hooked Google hopes you will graduate to the rest of the Google Nest family.

Nest Mini also has a dedicated machine-learning chip with 1 TeraOPS of computing power. This means some processing can run locally on your device, rather than in a Google data centre.

Nest Mini comes in four colours — Chalk, Charcoal, Coral, and the new Sky. It has a custom, fabric top made from 100% recycled PET bottles, and the external enclosure uses at least 35% post-consumer recycled plastic. Website here.

Google Nest Wi-Fi gen 2

Google Nest Wi-Fi is a Mesh system – router and satellites, but more importantly it’s a fashionable Snow coloured router that blends into any décor – unlike the multi-antenna monsters of yore. Each device is also an OK Google Speaker!