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Soli demo video shows how hand waves perform different actions on Google Pixel 4

Each Soli gesture is just a wave of the hand, but it performs different context-aware functions.

Published onOctober 2, 2019

Google Pixel 4 Clearly White Front

We’ve read some complaints in the comment sections here at Android Authority that the large forehead design of the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is unattractive. However, the forehead needs to be that big to fit all the sensors for the Google Pixel 4 Soli radar tricks.

But what will those tricks actually be? A leaked video unearthed by 9to5Google finally gives us a good idea of what kinds of things we’ll be able to do on the Pixel 4 without actually needing to touch the device.

You can watch the video for yourself below:

Interestingly, the video shows what’s essentially the same gesture for all three actions: a wave of the hand. In the video, a hand wave motion stops an alarm, rejects a phone call, and switches to the next music track in YouTube Music.

Each actor in the video performs the gesture in slightly different ways, but they appear to be basically the same. It’s not clear if you’ll need to perform a very precise gesture for each function, or if the functions are context-aware. In other words, it likely won’t matter how you do the hand wave as long as the app you want to manipulate is in the foreground.

Related: Google Pixel 4 Motion Sense explained

While these Google Pixel 4 Soli radar functions are pretty cool, it still seems a little too much like a gimmick. The only time it made sense for the actor to use a contactless gesture rather than just touching the phone was when the actor swiped to the next music track while in the kitchen. This might be cool to do if your hands are covered in bread dough or something.

However, theoretically, the only reason that the gesture worked is that the phone’s display was on. It seems unlikely that the gestures would work with the display off as then all sorts of things could happen without you meaning for it. It hardly seems convenient to need to get your phone’s display to turn on and then perform a gesture or leave your phone’s display on the entire time you’re working in the kitchen.

We’ll need to wait and see how these gestures work in real-world scenarios to know for sure.