Google made the unconventional (by 2019 standards) decision to skip the notch on the Pixel 4 in favor of an old-fashioned top bezel in order to fit in all of the advanced face unlock and Soli radar tech. But thanks to iFixit’s traditional teardown, we finally got a better idea of just how small those systems are. There may not be a notch, but the fact that Google managed to fit all of this stuff into the bezel in the first place is impressive.
The image below shows the whole chunk of the bezel: the left is an ambient light sensor, the middle is the top earpiece, and that small green / gray rectangle is the entire Soli radar assembly. There’s plenty of other hardware in the bezel, too, including the camera and IR face unlock system, but it’s all so compact that you get the sense that Google might have almost been able to offer a notched display of some kind while still packing in all this tech.
The teardown also reveals that the fancy 90Hz display is almost impossible to take out. According to iFixit, you’ll have to take apart almost the entire phone to get it out, and the edge-to-edge display and huge amounts of adhesive used to hold it in place mean it’ll be tough to get it out in one piece. (Although, if you’re replacing the screen, it’s probably already broken anyway.) Curiously, the display is also made by Samsung, which has yet to offer a 90Hz refresh rate on any of its own phones. But this might be a hint of what to expect from next year’s Galaxy S11.
All told, the Pixel 4 isn’t the most repairable phone for the average consumer: iFixit ranks it at a numerically coincidental 4 out of 10 on its “repairability” scale, meaning that you’ll likely still want to let a pro handle your next broken screen. Check out the full teardown for a deeper dive into what makes the Pixel 4 XL tick.