Winners & Losers: Google chokes and The Outer Worlds gets a helping hand from an unlikely source

Is it just me, or has it been a fairly quiet week in the world of tech? A rare thing indeed! A mammoth flagship launch season, which kicked off with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and finished with the Pixel 4, has come to an end − and it’s Google’s latest pair of smartphones that has attracted much of my ire over the past few days.

Loser: Google

Why, Google? WHY? I’d been so excited about the Pixel 4, but you found a way to screw it up. I might as well buy a Huawei Mate 30 Pro instead. Okay, I didn’t mean that last bit − but I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Google Pixel 4 may well be the most disappointing gadget of the year.

It’s got everything that many Android users look for in a new smartphone, including outstanding cameras, a pure UI and a 90Hz display. It’s probably the best-looking entry in the Pixel range too, but the decision to load it with a 2800mAh battery is unforgivable. It’s a deal-breaker for me.

Smartphone battery life has long been a source of frustration, but the Pixel 4’s stamina is just plain bad, and it’s not a particularly speedy charger either.

You might want to swerve the Google Pixel 4 XL too. That’s also got terrible battery life, but with a starting price of £829, it’s very expensive too.

What makes this all the more frustrating is that, thanks to Huawei’s troubles with Google and Samsung’s lack of spark, Google had an open goal for flagship smartphone of the year. It has missed that opportunity.

The OnePlus 7 Pro might not have as good a camera as the Pixel 4, but overall it’s a far better proposition.

The Outer Worlds Review

Winner: Obsidian Entertainment

Bethesda made a late but fairly spectacular bid to get onto Obsidian Entertainment’s 2019 Christmas card list this week, with the timely announcement of Fallout 1st, a subscription service for Fallout 76 players.

For the low, low price of £11.99 per month (or £99.99 a year), you’ll gain the ability to play in Private Worlds with up to seven friends, get a Scrapbook with unlimited storage for crafting components and a Survival Tent, receive 1650 Atoms per month… and not a whole lot else.

You have to pay for the game separately, and even the Private Worlds feature has a major drawback. It will shut down if its creator leaves and nobody else in the group is a Fallout 1st member.

Fortunately, Bethesda was very considerate, and made the announcement on the same day that The Outer Worlds launched. The same Outer Worlds that has earned critical acclaim pretty much across the board.

Related: The Outer Worlds system requirements: What you need to play on PC

It was a pretty spectacular misfire on Bethesda’s part, and the whole palaver has provided fuel for some highly entertaining social media gold (most of which was too sweary to embed here). We can all enjoy this one though:

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