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5 reasons why you should (and shouldn't) pre-order a Google Pixel 4

Buy or wait? Here are five arguments for splashing the cash and another five reasons you might want to wait.

Published onOctober 20, 2019


The Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are set to be released on October 24, 2019, and pre-orders are currently live across the Google Store, major retailers, and, for the first time for a Pixel phone, all of the big four carriers in the US.

If you’re in the market for a new phone, you’re probably asking yourself one question: Should I pre-order the Google Pixel 4?

Pre-ordering is always a risk. As an early adopter you’re going to be among the first to play with the new tech, but also discover any major problems while paying full price for the privilege.

We’ve already talked at length about some of the things we’re really excited about, as well as some of our concerns surrounding the Pixel 4. In this article, we’re taking a look at the bigger picture and weighing up the risks of ordering before launch day.

Here are five reasons why you should pre-order the Google Pixel 4 and another five reasons why you might want to wait.

5 reasons why you should pre-order the Google Pixel 4

The camera is guaranteed to be amazing

Pixel 4 XL camera macro 2

When most people think Google Pixel, they think cameras. Over the past three generations of Pixel phones, Google has finely tuned its computational photography smarts to the point where, ostensibly, run-of-the-mill camera hardware is capable of taking point-and-shoot snaps better than any other phone on the market.

There’s absolutely no reason to expect this will be any different with the Pixel 4 series. Aside from a slightly wider aperture, the primary sensor is otherwise identical to the killer camera we saw on the Pixel 3, plus there’s now an additional telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom.

Read more: Behind the scenes: Google’s Pixel cameras aren’t trying to be cameras at all

Not only that but there’s a bunch of other upgrades to the Google Camera app that come with the Pixel 4, such as astrophotography, Live HDR Plus, dual exposure controls, and more.

You’ll have to wait for our full review to see if the Pixel 4 is still the undisputed camera king, but judging by Google’s lineage, there’s a good chance new royalty will be crowned.

Recorder app is exclusive to Pixel 4, and it’s witchcraft

Google Recorder App Transcription

Almost everything about the Pixel 4 leaked prior to Google’s launch event, but the reveal of a Recorder app that live-transcribes spoken word in real time was a nice surprise (well, almost).

You can read all about how the Recorder app works here, but what you really need to know is it’s currently exclusive to the Pixel 4. If you’re regularly taking notes at meetings, the Recorder app could be a game-changer.

Plus, though it’s likely to hit other phones — possibly just Pixels? — in the future, the Pixel 4 may still end up being the only phone that can transcribe speech offline thanks to the Pixel Neural Core.

Only three phones are Google Stadia-ready and the Pixel 4 is one of them

Google Stadia Black Controller Logo

Google Stadia launches on November 19, but only a handful of users will be able to experience the ridiculousness of playing AAA games like Red Dead Redemption 2 on their phones on launch day.

Until recently, Google’s game streaming platform had only been confirmed for the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3a series. Now, the newly revealed Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have joined the Stadia party.

While there are obviously cheaper ways of trying out Stadia on day one with a Chromecast Ultra or older Pixel phone, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL’s higher-resolution displays are the best way to play on the go. Here’s hoping Google has plans to take advantage of the 90Hz refresh rate too.

There won’t be another major smartphone rival for a while

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus back cameras and logo 1

Aside from perhaps the rumored Nokia 9.1 5G, the HUAWEI Mate X, and whatever Motorola is up to with a possible foldable Razr reboot, the Pixel 4 is the last major smartphone to get a 2019 release date.

With January typically being a quiet month for phones, the big Q1 2020 phones, such as the inevitable Samsung Galaxy S11, HUAWEI P40, and Xiaomi Mi 10, will likely wait until February/March to coincide with the hype train around Mobile World Congress.

That gives the Pixel 4 a strong four-month window as the hottest new Android phone on the market. At a time when phone launches are an almost bi-weekly occurrence, if you buy a Pixel 4 you’re at least safe knowing you’ve got one of the latest devices for a relatively long time.

Snag a free $100 Amazon gift card and other great early deals

If you pre-order the Google Pixel 4 from Amazon you can grab a $100 Amazon gift voucher. Who doesn’t love freebies? For that you can buy a nice Pixel Stand (with change) to accompany your new phone!

Don’t want to buy from Amazon? Luckily there are a raft of Pixel 4 pre-order deals from US carriers and other retailers live with freebies, trade-in discounts, and buy one, get one free offers. Check out the best ones here.

5 reasons why you shouldn’t pre-order the Google Pixel 4

The battery worries

Pixel 4 XL screen macro 1

Google seems to have done a decent job of addressing some of the major complaints leveled at previous Pixel phones with the Pixel 4. The displays are better than ever, there’s an adequate amount of RAM this time around, and the design is finally premium enough to contend with the best out there while still looking uniquely Pixel.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the same can be said of the battery. This isn’t so much of an issue for the Pixel 4 XL which has a decently-sized 3,700mAh cell, but the 2,800mAh battery in the regular Pixel 4 is a huge cause of concern.

Google Pixel 4: A 2,800mAh battery?
Clearly White Google Pixel 4 camera bump

The Pixel 3 was already notorious for poor battery life, so it’s frankly baffling that Google made it smaller for the Pixel 4, especially when the 90Hz display is likely to add even more strain. My colleague Tristan summed all of our Pixel 4 battery worries up here.

In short, if you want a phone that can go the distance, you might want to wait for reviews (including our own extensive battery testing) to see if the Pixel 4 can somehow magically surpass its hardware limitations.

Try a wide-angle camera phone first, you might love it

OnePlus 7T vs HUAWEI P30 Pro camera detail

As great as it is to see a telephoto lens on the Pixel 4, Google’s decision to skip an ultra wide-angle camera hurt a lot of hopeful phone fans. Not everyone will care, but I know plenty of people — including several Android Authority staffers — who adore the flexibility offered by ultra-wide shooters.

Related: Want a new perspective? Here are 8 phones with wide-angle rear cameras

If you haven’t tried an ultra-wide camera phone like the HUAWEI P30 Pro, OnePlus 7T, or Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, I implore you to do so before pre-ordering a Pixel 4. You might just love it.

Funnily enough, Google directly addressed the omission in its keynote, stating that wide-angle cameras “can be fun,” but the team prioritized zoom. We could’ve had both, Google. These are $800+ phones.

Soli radar might be a pointless gimmick

Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects team doesn’t have the best track record for bringing ambitious concepts to market (RIP Tango and Ara), but Project Soli — technology that uses radar to sense gestures — is meant to change all that.

Soli has received a lot of hype since its reveal at Google I/O 2015 (yes, 4 1/2 years ago) and the Pixel 4 marks the debut of the tech as part of the phone’s Motion Sense suite. However, it could just be another half-baked smartphone gimmick that fails to catch on — remember the LG G8 ThinQ‘s Hand ID and Air Motion gestures? That, basically.

Read more: Google Pixel 4 Motion Sense explained: What it can (and can’t) do for now

The subtle gestures we’d been told Soli was capable of recognizing seem to be a distant cry from the broad hand waves necessary to merely skip music tracks on the Pixel 4. Google says it’ll add more functionality after launch, but it’s worth keeping the lukewarm early reactions in mind if you’ve got high hopes for the Pixel 4’s big, unique new feature.

Black Friday is just around the corner

It’s almost November and that means the biggest shopping event of the year is almost upon us. Black Friday is a great time to grab a deal on smartphones and Google usually gets involved by discounting its own wares.

Last year, Google slashed $150 off the Pixel 3 and $200 off the Pixel 3 XL just over a month after the phones launched, leaving early adopters reeling. If you can hold on for a little longer, you might save yourself a decent chunk of change.

Pixel 3/Pixel 3a are still great alternatives

Pixel 3a standing up on table

Speaking of saving money, the Pixel 4 has some strong competition from Google’s existing Pixel phones — which are much cheaper.

The Pixel 3 series may have less RAM, a last-gen processor, and, if you want the larger version, an ugly notch, but they’ve both still got that stellar main camera, a potentially better selfie camera setup, and don’t come at such a high premium.

If you want to save even more cash, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are the best mid-range phones out there for photography fans. Bonus, they have headphone jacks.

That’s it from us. Will you be pre-ordering a Google Pixel 4?