While most flagship Android phones now support 4K video recording at 60 frames per second, the Pixel 4 doesn’t. Why? The answer, according to Pixel camera product manager Isaac Reynolds: “nobody needs those things.” OK, Isaac.
Reynolds spoke at length about the Pixel 4’s camera in an interview with The Vergecast. It’s a surprising reason, a la “you are holding it wrong," which basically translates to “we know better than you." Obviously, other manufacturers don’t agree with Reynolds and Google’s opinion. Samsung, Xiaomi LG or OnePlus all support it. Heck, you can even record at 4K/60fps in a phone like the $550 Nubia Z20.
The result of this “nobody needs those things” belief is that the hardware in the Pixel 4 simply can’t pull this trick off. Not limited by software — but hardware. Reynolds claims that the Pixel 4 has the memory bandwidth to support 4K recording at 60 frames per second (or 24fps, which is what film cameras use). However, according to him, it lacks other components needed to capture that 4K/60fps footage.
What really thickens the plot is that, in a recent XDA developers post, Mishaal Rahman found code that clearly shows that the Pixel 4 was going to support 4K/60fps recording. Rahman speculated that it may be due to storage concerns: recording at that quality would obliterate the 256GB SSD in the Pixel 4 in minutes.
Perhaps this is for the best, as we have seen that the Pixel 4’s performance may not be up to spec in recording 4K/30fps either.