At least the XL model, Google’s Pixel 4, became the favourite phone of the year thanks to its outstanding performance and excellent camera. But you can admit that there is a problem with this phone. A few months after launch, there are still a few issues that Google still needs to fix with Pixel 4.
Face unlock still works even if you close your eyes
Given that this is the company’s first attempt at proper face unlocking, the Pixel 4’s settings are actually very impressive. Most of the time is correct, but more impressively, it is one of the fastest options. But one reason it’s so fast is that Google skips over important security details.
As explained in detail when the phone was first released, Pixel 4’s Face Unlock feature works even if you close the eyes of an authorized user. With this in mind, many soon realized that this could unlock the phone if the user fell asleep or was somewhat morbid. Personally, I think this problem is somewhat exaggerated, but it’s still a big director from Google that needs to be addressed. Fortunately, it will be.
Google responded quickly to the issue and said it would fix this in future software updates. That year has been October and now the new year is coming. Google didn’t provide an update about when this update was needed, and the “coming month” wasn’t much known.
Google’s clever white balance trick is sometimes a gorgeous fail
camera is a selling point of the pixel lineup as a whole, and surprisingly much better at Pixel 4. But there is a caveat.
Google implemented a new software feature that uses machine learning on Pixel 4 to adjust the white balance of the photo to make things look natural. In the launch event, Google used an example to make white snow look really white, even if there was a blue tint in the sky or around it. It sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t really work well.
Sometimes this white balance trick causes the subject of the image to change colour significantly. In one popular example, the room in red turned yellow as above. Personally, I ran into a problem only once in a grocery store. While sending an image to my wife to make sure I’m buying the right thing, as you can see in the third image, the white cartridge with a fluorescent light turned yellow.
How can Google solve this problem? Frankly, I think it’s as simple as having a toggle to turn off this automatic white balance adjustment when needed. Google said the problem was solved but not solved.
Motion Sense still needs a bit of work
One of the biggest new features of the Pixel 4 is the ability to detect gestures using “motion detection”, which is powered by the Soli Radar chip and is very good in theory. But not everything works well.
With the Pixel 4 XL over the last few months, skipping songs only works about half an hour, but I really like the ability to ring the phone, pause the alarm, or turn off the phone. Google can’t fix much of the hardware that Motion Sense uses on current Pixel 4 devices, but we can add better new use cases. Simple features like the ones mentioned above are much more useful than skipping songs by making Pixel better aware of the surroundings.
Google is not enough to push face to unlock support in the app.
Another issue with unlocking faces on Pixel 4 is: It doesn’t work in many apps. Fingerprint support took quite a while to apply to most Android apps, and now we’ll go through the same process again to create apps that use face unlock.
At the time of launch, there were very few apps that support face unlocking, and after a few months, the list hardly grew. In my case both the password manager LastPass and the app controlling MySubaru, which is part of my car, have been updated to support face unlock. Beyond that, we’re looking forward to adding support from banks, BB & T, and many other financial apps like PayPal and Cash App.
In reality, this will all happen in the long run, but Google needs to do more to push support for face unlocks. The new biometric API is better because it supports both face and fingerprint. Also, the new API is a better experience for the user as the app uses a uniform UI for biometric unlocking.
How can I solve this problem? I’m not sure what Google can do to pressure developers to do anything else besides forcing an API for Play Store approval, but it seems harsh. Either way, at least in my opinion, you need to do something. This was one of the more frustrating Pixel 4 issues.
The update on my Pixel 4 is strangely slow.
The great thing about Google devices is that Android updates arrive quickly. Pixels generally get security updates and Android updates faster than all other Android devices, but so far not on Pixel 4. The November update was delayed for many, and the same was true for December. The December update was cancelled all week, compared to other pixels for unknown reasons.
Why is the update delayed on my Pixel 4? So far we haven’t really known it, but it’s a problem Google needs to solve. Updates are an important part of the Pixel lineup and delaying as if for no reason is bad. Hopefully, things will get better from January.
What’s the biggest Pixel 4 issue?
Since moving to the Pixel 4 XL, I’ve found it to be a great device even if battery life isn’t as impressive as the competition. Those who can score one of the Killer Black Friday deals are thought to have ended up with a thorough device.