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Google Pixel 4/XL owners (that is 4 and 4XL) have a new feature that could be a lifesaver – an automatic car crash sensor with a choice of ‘I’m OK’ or ‘Call 000’.

Google Pixel 4/XL uses the phone’s sensors and ‘ambient audio’ to detect if you have been in a car crash and then sounds a loud alarm to which you can respond by voice or press a key.

If you’re unresponsive, Pixel will share relevant details, like GPS location info with emergency responders.

After that, it asks about the incident so it can update its detection algorithms.

We like it because it’s a free app, no monitoring costs and its only a matter of time before the Play Store is full of with me-too apps.

As far as GadgetGuy knows, the only other app is SOSMART, and that seems to have disappeared from Google Play.

And back to Pixel 4/XL

Google allows us to keep a current Pixel to monitor new firmware and app updates. So, we do.

What was a great phone to start with is, like a fine wine, getting better with age. Here are some of the Google Pixel exclusive features added in what it calls a feature drop. Note that some are US-centric and will make their way here (just as car crash did).

  • Android 10 – first on this phone
  • Turn a rear camera photo into a bokeh portrait. This uses the post-processing power to blur the background, and it works exceptionally well. You can also adjust light and colour or add filters.
  • End Robocalls (the US only) – love to have that in Australia
  • Better Duo support – If you have not used Duo Calling via a smart speaker or Samsung’s latest Galaxy S20 you are missing something. It is free and works over the internet. The new features are Auto-framing and wide-angle for two people in the shot. It also has a portrait filter to blur the background.
  •  Live caption is perfect for accessibility and converts voice to text in real-time.
  • Dark Theme is beautiful, not overly dramatic and saves battery
  • Motion Sense uses the front camera to pick up a hand gesture to pause, skip, forward or back for music.
  • More AR effects based on your emoji
  • Press and hold the power button for Google Pay

I was pleasantly surprised – from the phone we reviewed in October 2019 to the phone I used today.

We tend to overlook Google Pixel 4/LX when faced with a slew of Samsung and other new models.

I also updated the photo reference library, and without exception, the shots were better than when we last looked at it – although back then DxOMARK gave it 117 for stills and 101 for video – very creditable results for a dual-camera setup.

GadgetGuy’s take – Google Pixel 4/XL is in my top five 2019 flagships

If they go to clearance mode pricing in a couple of months maybe the bargain of the year.

Warning: Do not buy from unauthorised online outlets. The eSIM must come from the registered Australian database to connect. The nano-SIM is for MVNOs.

PS – As long as you have the genuine Australian model contact your Telco and request to swap from your SIM to eSIM. They will provide a QR Code or a string of characters which you can scan/add under Settings > Network & internet > Mobile network > Advanced > Carrier > Add Carrier.

Consider it if

  • Want Android to work as Google intended it
  • Want one of the best smartphone cameras available.
  • Care about getting security updates on time and regularly.

Don’t consider it if

  • You need more than 64GB storage (no microSD)
  • You want a two-day battery