Google explains the rationale behind the Pixel 4's lack of 4K60fps video recording

Best at still photography, lacking at video. (Source: The Verge)
Best at still photography, lacking at video. (Source: The Verge)
The Google Pixel 4 phones don't have support for shooting 4K60fps videos even though Android phones have been able to do that for well over a year. Google has now explained the rationale behind the decision but it's woefully unconvincing.

One of the Pixel's biggest deficiencies is its video recording capabilities. For one, the phones are unable to capture video at 4K60fps, even Android phones have been able to do that since the Snapdragon 845 was released. The company has now officially given its reason for not including 4K60fps video recording on the Pixel 4 phones and it's, well, almost nonsensical.

"...Pixel 4 supports 4k video recording on the rear camera at 30fps," Google's official statement on the issue reads. "We find that the majority of users stick with 1080p, so we focus our energy on improving our quality in this mode, versus enabling a 4k 60fps mode that could use up to half a gigabyte of storage every minute."

So, according to Google, the reason for not including 4K60fps recording is because most users prefer 1080p, and due to high storage requirements. That, of course, raises a few questions on the matter.

  1. if people mostly use 1080p recording, why bother including a 4K option at all? Having a 4k recording—albeit at 30fps—option acknowledges that users may want to shoot in 4K.
  2. Perhaps people shoot in 1080p because of the lack of a 4K60fps option? 60fps video is twice as smooth as 30fps, and people may just prioritize that smoothness over a higher resolution, making Pixel users choose 1080p at 60fps over 4K30fps?

There's also the matter of storage, as Google conveniently forgets that the issue with storage is only an issue in the first place because its phones start at 64 GB, with a market-high US$100 premium for an extra 64 GB.

Even if Google has sensible reasons for the lack of 4K60fps, surely it makes more sense to give users the option and allow them to choose whatever suits them? But then again, this is Google, and it's always been a bit hard to figure out the rationale behind the company's decisionsif any such rationale exists at all.

In any case, 4K60 recording capabilities can be implemented in a software update, since the hardware is already more than capable. Hopefully, Google does the right thing.


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Ricci Rox, 2019-10-21 (Update: 2019-10-21)
Ricci Rox
Ricci Rox - News Editor - @riccirox
I'm a freelance copywriter who lives and dies for tech. Android, ​especially. The smartphone market is one going through an impressive growth spurt, so I crawl the Internet with keen interest in a technological ecosystem that doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.