Google Pixel 4: the camera phone you’ve been waiting for?

There are plenty of reasons for buying a new phone, and often one of the most pressing questions is how well it can take photos. We can help you out with our guide to the best camera phones, but right now that's all up in the air with the announcement of Google's new Pixel 4.

It comes with plenty of cool features; we're intrigued by its built in radar – yes, radar – that you can use to control your Pixel 4 by waving your hand around, and it also features face unlock, voice control and a new and improved Google Assistant.

What we're really excited about, though, is the camera. Google's big claim is that it can take studio-like photos, but without the studio, and it definitely boasts some impressive tech. There are two lenses doing the business, and thanks to a roughly 2x telephoto lens you should be able to take some razor-sharp close-ups without having to crop.

(Image credit: Google)

The hardware's pretty cool, but Google's particularly proud about what it's doing in software. The Pixel 4 has a Live HDR+ feature that captures and combines multiple images to create a single, better picture, and also allows you to adjust the exposure in the viewfinder so that you can get just the right balance of highlights and shadows. 

The Pixel 4 also has a Portrait Mode, designed to give you DSLR-style shots with artfully-blurred backgrounds, plus a Super Res Zoom that let you take quality shots from far away. 

There's also a learning-based white balance to help you get the right colours every time, and for low light situations there's an improved Night Sight. It's designed to help you take photos at night without having to use a flash, and Google claims you can use it can take photos of the Milky Way (and it's provided a shot to prove it.)

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image (Image credit: Google)

And if all that tech wasn't enough to get you excited, what about a celebrity endorsement? Legendary American photographer Annie Leibovitz took to the stage at Google's event earlier to discuss a year-long project involving the handset. 

"I just let the camera do the work, in all honesty, and I really enjoyed myself," she said. How's that for a bucket-load of credibility? If it's good enough for Annie, it's good enough for us. 

Add all of the above up and the Pixel 4 looks to be a serious smartphone contender for creatives. The technology and features running this device make pro photography tools accessible to everyone, potentially opening new doors for some that remained, up to this point, firmly shut.   

(Image credit: Future)

There's no doubt about it, the Pixel 4, its camera in particular, looks very impressive. We'll have a full review on the new handset very soon, so stay tuned to see just how powerful the new smartphone really is. 

The Google Pixel 4 is available to pre order now, however if you're not bothered about having a shiniest new Google device, you can currently get a great deal on the also highly capable Pixel 3:

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.