Category: Reviews

[Review] Hands on with the Pixel 4

I’ve been a proud card carrying member of Team Android for several years now. I’ve always wanted to try out a Google Pixel because of the amazing camera. I finally got my hands on a Pixel 4, and I’ve been using it as my daily phone for a month. Here’s what I think! Please note that while this phone was provided to me from Google, my thoughts and opinions remain my own.

What’s inside?

  • 128 GB of storage
  • 2800 mAh batterry
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • Snapdragon 855 processor
  • Dual cameras
  • 5.7″ inch screen
  • AMOLED QHD+ 90 Hz display
  • Gorilla Glass 5
  • Smooth Display (up to 90 Hz)
  • See the full specs here
  • $1,129 ($999 for 64 GB)

Look and feel

The new Pixel 4 comes in Just Black, Clearly White and Oh So Orange. I have the orange version, a matte tangerine colour with black matte edges. The phone itself feels good in the hand, and has a nice weight to it. At 5.7, the screen is a little on the smaller size.

New features

Motion Sense is a new feature and uses radar to sense motion. You can do a few actions while your hands are busy (exercising or eating) without touching your phone. You can using a swiping motion to skip music, or you can use it to snooze your alarm or silence your phone. I love using it to snooze my alarm.

Another less practical (but fun!) use is the Pixel only Pokemon Sidekick Wallpaper. Using the same Motion Sense technology, you can get a live background featuring Pikachu, Evee and a few other Pokemon. You can wave to them and pet them, all using hand motions. It’s very cute. At night they curl up and fall asleep!

Face Unlock

The Pixel 4 doesn’t have a fingerprint reader. Instead, it opts for a secure Face unlock using a custom Titan M5 security chip. The Face unlock is blazing fast, and can even be opened if your eyes are closed, or if you aren’t paying attention. I like this feature, but this could open up some security risks. Google is working on an option where you would have to be paying attention to unlock you phone. Face unlock date is encrypted end-to-end. Right now, uses are limited, but eventually you will be able to use this in place of a fingerprint reader for payments.

Recorder

I love, love, love the new Recorder feature. It’s hands down my favourite feature, and the most useful as a writer. You can record live audio, and the app transcribes everything into searchable text. It’s quite accurate, very fast and is impressive. This is rolling out to other Android devices, and I’m so glad that it is!


Camera

The Pixel 4 is the first Pixel to feature a dual camera. On the front, you’ll find a 8 MP camera. On the rear, dual lenses include a 12MP 2x telephoto lens and a 16MP lens. I’ve been using the camera for all sorts of things, and overall I’m impressed!

Here are some examples of portrait mode:

Here are some photos using Night Sight.

Looks pretty good, right? I’m excited to take this phone on vacation. There’s an amazing Astrophotography mode that I haven’t had the chance to try yet. When used correctly, you can capture the stars. I want to use that next time I go camping.

Battery life

The Pixel 4 has a 2800 mAh battery, and charges up using a USB C. The battery life is average. I can usually get through a full day from 8am to 10pm off one charge. It has died on me a couple of times in the evening on heavy use. The phone has fast charging which is helpful for topping up.

Accessories

The Pixel 4 has a custom Google case ($50), available in 4 shades. It has a unique soft knit weaved fabric texture that’s lined inside with microfibre. In the case, you can squeeze the phone to activate Active Edge and turn on Google Assistant. You can also wash the case if it’s dirty, and it fits with Pixel 4 like a glove.

Pros

  • Pure Android without any bloatware
  • Excellent camera
  • Guaranteed Google software updates for 3 years

Cons

  • No headphone jack.
  • Doesn’t have expandable memory
  • No fingerprint reader

Overall, this is a solid phone with a fantastic camera, good software and some unique features. I think it’ll only get better with the updates that Google will be pushing quarterly. I’m excited to see what’s in store!

Hunting for dragons at Casa Loma’s newest escape game: the Dragon’s Song

There’s nothing quite like hunting for dragons in a Gothic castle. I was invited to play the newest escape room from Secret City Adventures. Casa Loma Escapes executes my favourite escape room in the city. You can’t beat the location, and the story is always epic and fitting for a castle. The Dragon’s Song is their newest adventure. It brings together elements of fantasy, puzzle solving, teamwork and technology into one hands-on action packed game. (more…)

The Canadian Opera Company brings a season of dark fairy tales to Toronto

This fall, the Canadian Opera Company is putting a chill in the air with two very different, dark fairy tales.

Rusalka Oct 12 To Oct 26, 2019

The mermaid Rusalka leaves behind her watery home to be with her prince charming. Will he stay true to her sacrifice? Based on The Little Mermaid’s original tale, this romantic opera stars Met sensation Sondra Radvanovsky.Gorgeous sets, costumes, and choreography make this production a fairytale spectacle reminiscent of ballets Ondine and Giselle and films like The Shape of Water.

Turandot Sept 28 – Oct. 27

Princess Turandot knows that marriage can be a dangerous commitment. That’s why all her suitors must answer three riddles – and if they get even one wrong, they face the executioner’s blade. Despite the mortal risk, the exiled prince Calaf is determined to try and win her heart.

I haven’t been to the opera in several years, and I’m very excited to see these performances!

Take a peek at the new season from the Canadian Opera Company. If you’re under 30, you can get tickets to the opera for only $22.

[ Picture This ] Cirque du Soleil’s revamped Alegria is pure magic

There’s something oh so magical about spotting the Cirque big top tent in Toronto. It always fills me with anticipation for a new Cirque du Soleil. I was invited to a preview of the revamped show, Alegria. It’s been 25 years since this iconic show was performed. I didn’t see the original, but I loved this rendition. It’s been updated with new costumes and set design, a renewed acrobatic vocabulary, and new musical arrangements.

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Your Dose of Summer Chick Lit Reads

Summer is finally here, and I’ve been busy devouring books. I love reading chick lit and quirky novels in the summer sun. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately, and what you should pack for your next pool side vacation or beach chair read.

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

Wonderfully addictive, I loved the multicultural characters, and the strong female lead focused on her career.

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules. Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears. Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk… Buy it here.

 

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Living the Lug Life in Sri Lanka

I’m back from an amazing whirlwind trip across Sri Lanka. I visited 7 towns over 14 days and explored tea estates, beach towns, jungles and cities. Throughout my entire adventure, I partnered with Lug Life to test out a couple of their popular items. I’ve been a big fan of Lug for years. I constantly travel with their transparent pouches and use Bento to house all of my toiletries. This time, I took along Tango for my travel wallet, and Scoop as my trusty sidekick.

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[ Read it ] I Owe You One

I love Sophie Kinsella, and devour everything she writes. This winter, she’s released a charming novel to warm you right up until spring.

In I Owe You One, Fixie is trying to live up to her namesake by desperately fixing everything in her life, and the lives of her family and friends. Unfortunately, she’s doing anything but.

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” And since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will?

It’s simply not in Fixie’s nature to say no to people. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, she not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, an investment manager, scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

But then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life, and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. As always, she wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. No sooner has Seb agreed than the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants? (more…)

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