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Google Pixel 4 hands-on details Face Unlock, refresh rate settings, matte finish

New hands-on details the Pixel 4 XL's Face Unlock functionality, its matte finish, and the display's refresh rate settings.

Published onSeptember 23, 2019

Google Pixel 4 top bezel

As if the Google Pixel 4 hasn’t been leaked enough, a new hands-on with the device made its way into the wild. This time, we get a better look at Face Unlock, the back of the device’s matte finish, and the display’s refresh rate settings thanks to another Google Pixel 4 XL hands-on.

Google Pixel 4 XL design

Pixel 4 Clearly White Back

Today, Nextrift showed off the Clearly White Google Pixel 4 XL running pre-release software. In its hands-on, we got a better idea of what to expect from the “light matte finish” on the back of the device.

This finish strikes a balance between the slippery glass found on devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and the very matte glass of last year’s Pixel 3. This also has the added benefit of resisting fingerprints, which will be a nice touch on the Just Black variant.

The dynamic display

Google Pixel 4 Smooth Display

The display of the Pixel 4 XL doesn’t disappoint either. As expected, the 6.23-inch 3,040 x 1,440 display competes with other flagships and sports deep blacks and rich colors.

The most exciting thing about Nextrift’s hands-on is the Smooth Display setting in the device. This option allows the display to dynamically adjust the device’s refresh rate between 60 and 90Hz, presumably for apps that don’t support the higher refresh rate.

Read also: Here’s a first proper look at the Google Pixel 4 camera features

Unlike the auto-brightness feature in devices today, Smooth Display is expected to use more battery life. Turning Smooth Display off should lock the display at 90Hz.

Goodbye fingerprint scanner, hello Face Unlock

Google Pixel 4 Face Unlock

We also got a better look at the Pixel 4 XL’s Face Unlock functionality. Google’s implementation seems to work quite similarly to Apple’s, which isn’t a bad thing.

Even on pre-released software, Face Unlock seems to work great in most circumstances. Unlocking the device is quick, it works well in low-lighting, but it didn’t seem to do well when the device was flat on a table.

Read also: Google Pixel 4 hands-on video shows off the phone’s gaming skills

It also appears Face Unlock will be the only biometric unlock functionality in the device. Google is almost certainly saying goodbye to the fingerprint scanner (at least for now), and it is banking that its Face Unlock feature is reliable enough to satisfy users.

What’s missing?

Google Pixel 4 Clearly White Front

Nextrift also put the Pixel 4 camera through its paces, but it appears that Google still has a long way to go before the device’s October 15 release. Given the Pixel line’s amazing camera performance in the past, we believe Google will work out these issues before the device launches.

It’s also disappointing that Nextrift wasn’t able to get a look at Google’s Project Soli functionality yet either since it wasn’t baked into its pre-release model. But, given all of the leaks so far, we wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another Pixel 4 hands-on that highlighted Soli before the announcement event.