Tech

Google announces Pixel 4, Nest Wifi, Nest Home Mini and more

At their event in New York this morning, Google has taken the wraps off what is possibly one of the most leaked phones ever, the Pixel 4. We’ve also seen the new Nest Wifi and Nest Home Mini which are coming to Australia, and the Pixelbook Go, and Pixel Buds 2, which aren’t.

Pixel 4
To start with the Pixel 4 is heading to Australia in two sizes, the Pixel 4 with a 5.7-inch FHD+ resolution display, and 2,800mAh battery, and the larger Pixel 4 XL with a 6.3-inch QHD+ resolution display and 3,700 mAh battery.

You can pre-order the phone from today with the Pixel 4 priced from RRP $1,049, while the Pixel 4 XL starts from $1,279. It will be available in three colours, including Clearly White, Just Black, and a limited edition, Oh So Orange – each with that tasteful splash of colour on the power button.

The phone are arriving in-stores from October 24 at Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, JB Hi Fi, Harvey Norman & Officeworks and the Google Store.

Both phones have an improved display which refreshes at 90Hz, a boon for gamers and making Android appear to run even smoother.

Under the hood you’ll find little different between the two, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM and options for either 64GB or 128GB of on-board storage.

The much vaunted Pixel camera has been improved, with a now dual camera array (12MP + 16MP sensors) on the rear. Google has included Live HDR+ on the viewfinder, allowing you to see in real-time what your shot will look like. You also get an improved White Balance, and dual-exposure controls allowing you to change the contrast, balance and more with sliders in the app.

Google has of course brought their amazing Night Sight technology back, and added on an astrophotography mode which will let you capture the Milky Way in the background on a clear night – and it looks good.

Google is using a combination of long exposure and computational photography to achieve the above image. They’ve allowed for a full range of lighting conditions, and there’s more coming from the tease given by computer graphics researcher and Googler Marc Levoy.

Google has also laid out more information about their new hands-free gesture control on the phone which uses the Soli Radar chip near the front-facing camera. Google says:

‘Quick Gestures let you skip your music when you’re doing something else: cooking, running on the treadmill or even when you’re in another app or if your display is off. Just wave your hand to snooze alarms, dismiss timers, or silence your phone.’

The Quick Gestures will also sense when you pick up your phone, and activate the new Face Unlock feature. The improved face unlock goes beyond Google’s previous efforts taking a big note from Apple’s Face ID and incorporating IR technology to map your face to better secure your device.

Lastly, of course there is exclusive apps for Pixel 4, and this time around you’ll get exclusive access to the new Google recorder app, which automatically transcribes your audio recordings using Artificial Intelligence. You’ll also get tags for sounds like music, applause, and more making it perfect for musicians.

Google will also bring the new Google Assistant to the Pixel 4 later this (Summer) year. The new assistant does more on the device, and can multitask across other apps, search your phone, and more.

Lastly, of course the phones run Android 10, and you can expect to keep them up to date for at least three years with security and feature updates promised until 2023.

Nest Home Mini
Google’s smart speaker strategy was very much bolstered by the launch of the Google Home Mini in 2017. In 2019 they’ve taken what they learned from that speaker, and made it better.

For a start the speaker now sounds better with improved Bass which Google says is twice as strong as the original Google Home Mini, for a fuller sound with more low end. The microphone has also been improved to help the Assistant hear you in noisy environments.

Google has also added ultrasound sensors to the Nest Home Mini. The new sensors detect your hand moving towards the top of the speaker and light up LEDs to show where the volume controls.

The Nest Home Mini can be added to Speaker Groups for a massive whole home audio setup, and Telstra customers can also make calls to any contact, business or even 000 when your hands are full.

There’s even support for moving your music or video streams from one device to another with Stream Transfer. You can transfer music to another speaker by saying “Hey Google, move the music to the living room speaker.” or move your YouTube stream from the Nest Hub to a Chromecast by tapping on the cast button on the display or saying “Hey Google, play it on living room TV.”

Just like the Nest Hub, Nest Home and other Google Assistant enabled speakers you also get a hard switch to stop it listening in.

Google has also added a dedicated machine learning chip in the Nest Mini allowing Google to move some Assistant experiences from the cloud, down to your device. Google says Nest Mini will also, in the US to start, learn your most common commands and process them locally for a much faster response time.

The good news is that you can pre-order the new Nest Home Mini from today for $79 in Chalk, Charcoal, Coral and a new colour, Sky, which Google says was inspired by Lake Como in Italy.

The speaker will be available on October 29th from the Google Store, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys.

Nest Wifi
For anyone in a larger house or apartment, getting Wifi into all corners is a massive problem that a series of new ‘mesh’ style routers, including Google Wifi, has been aiming to fix for a couple of years now. Google has updated their Wifi options and rebranded it under the Nest umbrella, adding in some neat new features, including Google Assistant support.

The new Nest Wifi consists of a single Nest Wifi router, and then expands with Nest Wifi points to expand coverage to the rest of your home.

The Nest Wifi points include a microphone and speaker — the same one as in the Nest Home Mini — turning them into Google Assistant speakers so you can talk to the Assistant almost anywhere in your house. The speaker can also be included in any audio groups you have, or want to create to really pump up the volume.

The integration of Google Assistant into the Nest Wifi Points also include new custom commands including “Hey Google, pause the Wi-Fi for Dylan’s device.”, allowing you to get the kids attention when you want it, or simply get more info about your Wi-Fi network by simply saying, “Hey Google, what’s my internet speed?”

Don’t worry though, for privacy you can also flick a switch and you can stop the Google Assistant listening in.

Google included support for IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, as well as WPA3 for improved wireless support, and Nest Wifi also includes support for Thread for a better Internet of Things experience.

The design, which features soft rounded edges and unobtrusive lighting, is such that you’ll be encouraged to keep the units out in the open rather than tucking them away, and thereby smothering the signal – and in three great colours, it looks good.

Google is bringing the Nest Wifi to Australia on November 5th, but you can pre-order from today. The two-pack, which includes one router and one Wifi point, is priced at $399, while the three-pack, which includes one router and two points is priced at $549. You’ll be able to pick up these packs from the Google Store, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and more retailers in the coming months.

As expected, Google also announced new Pixel Buds 2 and Pixelbook Go. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like either are headed to Australia, though like their predecessor, the Pixel Buds 2 may arrive here at a later date.

New Pixel Buds
The new Pixel Buds are truly wireless, but include a big sound, and 5 hours of battery life in the buds themselves and up to 24 hours in the charging case.

Google has put a lot of work into the design to make the final product minimalist, while also maintaining function. Google says you can go further away from your phone — 3 rooms inside, or a football field outside — and still maintain connection,

When they arrive in ‘Spring’ (That’s Autumn here in Australia), they’ll cost USD $179 which will translate to a hefty price if they arrive here in Australia.

Pixelbook Go
The Pixelbook Go is their latest high-end Chromebook, with a 13.3″ touch display which has either 4K or FullHD resolution. There’s an Intel CPU inside with Core m3, i5 and i7 configurations, and options for either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and options for 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage.

The Pixelbook comes in two colours: Black, and Pink, from USD$649 but has only been announced for the US, Canadian and UK market.

Google’s Pixel range has been gaining traction here in Australia, and their Nest Home Mini and Nest Wifi look set to continue the great reception the original models received. To check them all out you can head to the Google Store now.

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Google announces Pixel 4, Nest Wifi, Nest Home Mini and more
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