The Pixel 4 isn't for everyone, but it does have its appeal in several specific use cases. Thanks to Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms, the fitness industry and smartphone world are now intertwined like never before, and it appears Google's aware of this.
We recently tested the best phones for getting fit and working out, and somewhat surprisingly, the Pixel 4 came out on top. There were several factors that led to this ranking, but the five features we'll highlight below were where it stood out the most as a great workout companion.
As of the December 2019 Android update, the Pixel 4 now supports dual-frequency GNSS. To put it simply, this is like having two unique GPS connections working together to get a more accurate depiction of your location.
This has obvious implications for fitness. It's much better in cities with tall buildings when compared to regular GPS, so you'll be able to track your runs more accurately. And if you should ever get injured while working out, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your Pixel 4 can guide help to your precise location.
The Pixel 4 has Google's Soli radar sensor built in, which means it can detect movement near the phone and activate specific functions because of it. This is a niche feature, but it's definitely useful when you're working out.
If you use liquid chalk at the gym, you know how awkward it is when you need to switch tracks on your playlist, but you don't want to leave your phone all chalky. Really, the same goes for just sweaty hands. But with the Soli-powered Motion Sense features on the Pixel 4, you can switch tracks just by waving your hand past the phone. It works with every major music streaming service and the vast majority of local music players.
Another use for Motion Sense in the Pixel 4 is to enhance the new secure 3D facial unlock feature. Google's face unlock is even more handy for working out than Apple's implementation, as it unlocks as soon as it recognizes you without having to "Swipe Up to Unlock" first.
In the gym, the less you have to touch your phone, the better. Motion Sense recognizes when you're reaching for the phone and immediately starts scanning for your face. So, most of the time, by the time you could even touch your Pixel 4 with sweaty or chalky hands, it will already be unlocked and waiting for you.
As a gym-goer who keeps my phone on me during my sessions, this perfect for checking something real quick, whether it's a message or just looking up a quick thought that plagues me.
Always-on display is an exceptional tool for the gym. If you're like me and you leave your phone next to where you're working out, this feature helps you quickly see any new alerts without your phone becoming a distraction.
Each time you unlock your phone, there is a chance you might get sucked in. I can't tell you how many times I've picked up my phone for one thing, but something else grabbed my attention. With Always-on Display, I can avoid this by seeing exactly what new alerts come to my phone. Instead of checking each time the phone vibrates, I can easily see the notification icon and ask myself, "Is this more important than my workout?"
Small dimensions relative to the industry average, textured back glass in a sea of phones with glossy, slippery backs. Gorilla Glass 5
Believe it or not, the Pixel 4 is one of the smallest flagship phones to come out in 2019. At 5.78 x 2.71 inches, few phones are shorter and narrower. This smaller physical size makes it a lot easier to strap to your arm on a run or stick in the pocket of some tight gym clothes. Its 0.32-inch depth is also on the low end, so resting in your hand shouldn't be a problem either.
It's also a very light phone — a mere 0.11 oz heavier than the lightest phone on our list. This means runners can keep the phone on them without feeling bogged down by its weight. Both the front and back cover are Gorilla Glass 5, which can survive 5.25 ft (1.6 m) drops on hard, rough surfaces 80% of the time. And finally, the back glass has a velvety soft-touch finish that makes the Pixel 4 so much easier to grip than most of its glossy-backed contemporaries.
This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' annual Health & Fitness special coverage. Read all of the Health & Fitness series.