There’s a rising mountain of proof that the Pixel Four was saddled with a battery that is simply too small, and Google’s highway to a suitable runtime concerned slashing the telephone’s skills with software program limits. The latest discovery comes from XDA Developers’ Mishaal Rahman, who discovered an unused excessive brightness mode hidden within the Pixel 4’s code.
A “high brightness mode” has change into a typical characteristic of smartphone display panels. Rather than a devoted toggle, producers normally allow a high-brightness mode when the consumer pegs the brightness slider all the best way to the max or when the ambient brightness sensor detects daylight. This normally negatively impacts battery life, however when the selection is between seeing your telephone or not seeing your telephone in direct daylight, the runtime tradeoff is a welcome choice.
The Pixel 4 display is just not that brilliant, with a full-screen peak brightness of round 450 nits. The Galaxy S10, however, has a peak full-screen brightness of 800 nits, and a giant distinction appears to be the dearth of this boosted brightness mode. Rahman discovered the Pixel 4’s excessive brightness mode hidden within the Pixel 4’s kernel, however it’s not a mode regular customers can freely change into. It would not activate through the slider or with excessive ambient brightness.
As typical, Rahman discovered a technique to toggle the characteristic on and off with root entry, which is able to enable the Pixel Four to hit a extra acceptable peak brightness of 610 nits. It feels like flipping the change makes the characteristic work identical to it does on a Samsung telephone—it simply uncaps the brightness slider, permitting the max setting to pump out extra gentle.
This is the second massive discovery across the Pixel 4’s completely wonky display implementation. Pixel Four is marketed as having a “Smooth display,” which is a reference to the panel’s 90Hz capabilities, however not like each different 90Hz telephone available on the market, the Pixel Four would not run at 90Hz mode on a regular basis. Instead, Google tied the refresh price to the display brightness and the ambient gentle, with the end result being that the “90Hz” Pixel Four runs in 60Hz mode more often than not. Google stated the 90Hz mode was restricted to “preserve battery,” so it is doubtless that the brightness caps had been put in place following that very same line of reasoning.
The battery on the Pixel Four has been a serious concern for the reason that telephone was introduced. The smaller Pixel Four has solely a 2800mAh battery, a downgrade from the 2915mAh battery on the Pixel three and lots smaller than the equally sized Galaxy S10’s 3400mAh battery. For a Samsung flagship with a battery akin to the Pixel 4, you’d have to return to the Galaxy S6, which is 5 years previous now. The Pixel Four XL is a bit higher however nonetheless not aggressive, with a 3700mAh battery in comparison with Samsung’s 4100mAh battery. Keep in thoughts that these telephones are the identical value when evaluating like-for-like storage choices.
After the 90Hz mode’s limitations had been found, Google shipped a November patch that allowed 90Hz to work in barely brighter circumstances, however testing revealed the Pixel Four nonetheless runs in 60Hz mode the overwhelming majority of the time. Maybe we’ll get a brightness-uncapping patch quickly.