The Pixel 4 is finally landing in owners’ eager hands but, just as it was during the announcement, reception of Google’s latest premium flagship is turning up to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, it delivers the usual serving of an excellent and pristine Android experience. On the other hand, some of its novel features are giving users concern which, in turn, is causing Google to promise more updates than it regularly does.
The first complaint about one of the Pixel 4’s new features appeared when it was discovered that its face recognition works even if the owner’s eyes are closed. It still won’t be enough to fool it using masks and photos but some users feel rather uneasy about the lack of an added requirement for security. Especially when the phone lacks any other form of biometric security, like a fingerprint scanner.
The Pixel 4’s second “bug” is more a nuisance than a major deal-breaker. Google has made the phone’s 90 Hz refresh rate, a.k.a. Smooth Display, a headline feature which, when left to its own, should be smart enough to switch between 90 Hz and the regular 60 Hz depending on certain conditions in order to help preserve battery life. Apparently, those conditions aren’t as predictable as first thought.
Users have observed that Smooth Display goes down to 60 Hz when the screen’s brightness is below 75% or when there is bright ambient light around the phone. Coupled with Smart Auto Brightness, this could make the experience a bit less predictable. It could also lead to more battery drain because of switching back and forth.
Google has already acknowledged the issue in a statement to The Verge and promises a software fix in the coming weeks. Not months like the eye detection patch for face recognition. How much that will improve performance or impact battery life is still unknown until the patch does roll out so, until then, users will have to decide whether they want to stick to 60 Hz for good or let Android continue deciding for them as the case may be.