Google takes aim at Apple with Pixel 4, Pixel Buds and more

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Google
Google has a bunch of new hardware coming down the pipeline.
Photo: Google

Google is gunning for Apple with a wave of new products designed to compete with everything from the iPhone to AirPods.

During its hour-long event this morning, Google revealed its best smartphone ever in the Pixel 4 and we must say, it actually looks pretty awesome. Google also came out with new smart speakers, WiFi routers, a new MacBook competitor and much more.

For a company that makes most of its money off of search engine ads, Google’s hardware game is finally looking like a worthy Apple challenger.

Pixel 4 and 4 XL

The new Pixel 4 and 4 XL smartphones are probably the best iPhone-rivals Google has ever made. Armed with 5.7-inch and 6.3-inch displays, the phones pack some cool tech the iPhone doesn’t even have. Pixel 4 is the first smartphone with a radar sensor. It’s used to power the new Motion Sense feature that unlocks your phone and lets you control the device with gestures.

Powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor, Pixel 4 comes with 6GB of RAM. The display has a 90Hz refresh rate that adjusts based on what you’re doing to preserve battery life.

Where Pixel 4 really shines is in the camera department. Google leapfrogged over the iPhone last year with the Pixel 3 camera, especially when it comes to low-light photography. Apple caught back up with iPhone 11’s Night mode only to see Google take another leap forward today.

Pixel 4 only has two camera lenses on the back (no ultra-wide like on the iPhone 11), but the software powering them is mighty impressive. Google’s updated Night Sight technology is now capable of taking astrophotography shots and other long night-time exposures. I’ve played with the Pixel 3 camera in the past and was blown away with its ability to shoot the night sky. Now it has gotten way better. Google also added a feature called Live HDR+ with dual exposure controls so you can set the exposure at two separate points of the shot.

The biggest drawback of the Pixel 4 is that they run Android 10 instead of iOS. There are three color options: black, white and orange. The cheapest model starts at $799. Preorders open today with units shipping on October 24.

Pixel Buds

PixelBuds
Pixel Buds won’t launch until next year.
Photo: Google

Google is going after AirPods with its first set of truly wireless earbuds. The new Pixel Buds look kind of like a smaller version of the ugly Surface Buds Microsoft revealed earlier this month.

Pixel Buds come with Google Assistant baked in so you don’t have to grab your phone to ask questions. Battery life is rated at 5 hours on a single charge and extends to 24 hours with the charging case. Google also added long-range Bluetooth. The company claims the buds can stay connected to your phone through three rooms if you’re inside and up to 100 yards if you’re outside.

With adaptive sound, the buds can automatically lower or raise volume based on your environment. There’s also a cool real-time translation feature that looks great for travelers. Pixel Buds will cost $179 when they launch in early 2020, which is right around the time we expect Apple to come out with new AirPods too.

Pixelbook Go

Google finally made an affordable Chromebook with its new Pixelbook Go. The new laptop is powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 processor and comes with 8GB or 16GB of RAM. It’s basically designed to be a Chromebook you can take anywhere because it’s super light and has 12 hours of battery life. Think of it as the closest thing to a MacBook Air made by Google.

The 13.3-inch display is also a touch screen. It doesn’t fold all the way back into a tablet form-factor though. Google also added a textured bottom that makes it easier to grip.

Weighing just 2.3lbs (compared to 2.75lbs on the MacBook Air), Pixelbook Go packs a 2MP front-facing camera for videos. Keyboards have been the MacBook’s greatest weakness over the last few years so Google is offering an antidote with its new Hush Keys. Storage options are available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variants. Pricing starts at $649 with units shipping on October 28.

Nest Wifi

Now that Apple’s out of the Wifi router business Google is ready to try to take over with its new Nest Wifi routers that double as smart speakers with Google Assistant.

Starting at $169, the mesh routers link together to blanket your home in Wifi. You can buy just the single Nest Wifi router if you have a small home, or add extra Wifi points to extend coverage. Each Nest Wifi point can handle being connected with up to 200 devices at once. The routers and points come in three color options too so they’re not an eyesore in your home. Units will start shipping in November.

Nest Mini

Nestmini
Nest Mini has a tiny price tag.
Photo: Google

Google’s tiny speaker that connects to Google Assistant got a big update today. The Nest Mini is basically just a sequel to the Google Home Mini speaker that came out two years ago. Think of it as Google’s version of the Echo Dot. Nest Mini has 40% more bass than the original Mini. It comes with a new wall mount allowing you to hang it around the house and it’s so cheap you’ll probably want to buy multiple units. Nest Mini will cost $49 and ships on October 22.