Google Pixel 4 XL is the phone made the Google Way, with a camera that takes a perfect shot every time and the new Google Assistant. It also provides Motion Sense™ technology. Google Pixel 4 XL is built around Google software you know and love that's always getting better.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor
The octa-core 2.84GHz processor and 6GB of RAM deliver outstanding overall performance for opening and running applications, navigating menus and more.
16.0MP and 12.2MP dual rear-facing camera
The software along with optical and electronic image stabilization helps you take studio-like photos anywhere, day or night. It also includes an 8.0MP front-facing camera for self-portraits and videos.
When you're driving, cooking, or enjoying your favorite tacos, Quick Gestures let you get things done without having to touch your phone.
New Google Assistant
Enjoy easy way to control your phone and get things done, such as searching YouTube, sharing photos, and finding a perfect pizza delivery.
Offers new ways to control and customize your phone, including gesture navigation, dark theme, smart replies and much more.
Compatible with all major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Also works with prepaid carriers, such as Cricket Wireless, Google Fi, MetroPCS, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, Tracfone, Net10, Mint, and H2O.
Google Pixel 4 XL provides fast web connection for downloading apps, streaming content, and staying connected on social media.
6.3" QHD+ OLED touch screen
The extra-large screen is matched with a slim body to comfortably fit in your hand. Ensures 19:9 cinema-like screen ratio that's perfect for viewing videos, photos, and games.
64GB internal memory
Enjoy plenty of storage space for your contacts, music, apps and more.
The phone is protected from dust and can also withstand being submerged in 14' of static water.
Free, unlimited online storage with Google Photos¹
Save all your photos and videos with free, unlimited online storage at high quality with Google Photos. You'll never have to worry about storing, finding, or sharing your memories.
* SIM card not included.
¹Google Photos offers free unlimited online storage for all photos and videos uploaded in high quality. Photos and videos uploaded in high quality may be compressed or resized. Requires Google Account. Data rates may apply. g.co/help/photostorage
1 m USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0)
18 W USB-C power adapter
Google Pixel 4 XL with 64GB Cell Phone (Unlocked)
Quick Switch adapter
Quick start guide
Voice Assistant Built-in
CDMA, GSM, LTE
Phone Memory (RAM)
Google Pixel 4
Pixel 4 XL with 64GB Cell Phone (Unlocked)
Data Plan Required
Additional Hardware Included
18 W USB-C power adapter; 1 m USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0), Quick Switch adapter, SIM tool
Google Pixel 4
Voice Assistant Built-in
USB Type C
Wireless Charging Standard
Google Pixel 4 XL
SIM Card Size
SIM Card Slots
AT&T, Cricket, Google Fi, MetroPCS, Mint Mobile, Net10, Simple Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile, TRACFONE, Total Wireless, Verizon
The Google Pixel 4 XL is a great phone. If you are thinking of upgrading, my two pieces of advice: be weary of “professional” reviewers and think about how you use your phone. There’s no doubt that the new Pixel is pricey, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy upgrade, nor does it mean you should upgrade. It’s entirely up to you and how you use it.
I’ve read a lot of the “reviews” of the new Pixel and it gets a bad rap. No I’m not paid by Google, but everything needs to be put in perspective. How do you use your phone? What ecosystem are you in? These are both legitimate and unavoidable questions that only you can answer when deciding if it’s worth the money to get a new Pixel.
First, I’m coming from a Pixel 3 XL. I was on my 4th replacement device. My old phone stopped charging (through the port) at one point, the memory went bad (it kept going into a boot screen on its own) and it got wet, barely, and stopped working. While I love the Pixel experience, I was very weary of getting another one. Would I have the same issues? Luckily Google Support is amazing and probably the number one reason I stuck with the Pixel 4 XL (they replaced them at no charge and the return process was dead simple). So putting aside my specific hardware issues, I’m only going to speak about my experiences coming from the Pixel 3 XL when talking about the Pixel 4 XL. I also need to add that I am deep in the Google ecosystem, with several Google Homes, Google One, Google Photos, etc. So seamless integration with the products I own and services I use is important to me (as it should for anyone).
IN THE BOX
There’s not much, the phone, USB-C cable and charger. Much has been made of no Pixel buds included like the Pixel 3 XL. Well, my Pixel 3 XL buds are still in the original packaging. I’m sure there are people out there that use them, but I would imagine that most people who stay up to date on technology have their own Bluetooth headphones. I think the decision to omit the earphones was not just one of cost saving, but to save them from simply going unused.
I think the Pixel 4 XL is a sharp modern looking phone. Of course, the looks of a phone is a personal preference, but I personally wouldn’t make it THE deciding factor (an important one though). I can’t imagine anyone saying I’m not getting the Pixel 4 XL because it’s ugly. Design commentary on phones is SO overblown. I see people still lugging around older devices (mostly old iPhones) so I can’t say that having the best design is the end all be all. Plus, 90% of humanity puts cases on their phones for obvious reasons. To protect their investment. I didn’t care about the “huge notch” on the Pixel 3 XL. So I don’t care about the uneven bezels on the Pixel 4 XL. Yes, the top bezel is bigger than the bottom, but so? It doesn’t take away anything from the experience. The camera bump housing on the back? So what? I think it looks fine. This phone has a nice heft to it that feels premium. In other words, it doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic device.
SOFTWARE AND GESTURES
If you’ve owned a Pixel before, the software and gestures should be familiar (it’s Android 10). If not, it can be a little daunting at first. Personally, I like the gestures, although it feels very much like an iPhone copycat. Gone are the back, home, and app menu buttons (although you can put them back in the settings). I prefer it, although it takes a little getting used to. Sometimes I miss my back button when the swipe from the sides don’t work (you have to swipe from the edge at a certain height on the phone). But all in all, I like the experience.
The software itself as you probably know is pure Android, no custom interfaces. And frankly I love it, which is why I keep coming back to Pixels. No unnecessary apps come with the phone. It’s snappy and highly customizable. New with the Pixel 4 XL is the ability to change the style of your phone including font and icon shapes. It’s easy to find by holding on the home screen to bring up the menu. For me, I like changing this from time to time to get that “new” phone feeling.
Honestly I could go on about the software, but that would take up too much space here. Bottom line is that pure Android is a clean and intuitive experience. Maybe not as much for iPhone users.
Much to do has been made about the new features including the Soli radar (facial recognition and touch free motions, limited for now), the smooth display and the new cameras. I would also add in the transcription recorder. All of these are smart additions, and while they don’t necessary land with a big splash, they’re features that make sense to a majority of users. Facial recognition is super quick (although there’s times where you might have to hit the unlock button to activate the sensors, like when you’re holding your camera in your hand for some time and lift it to your face). Changing songs with your hand gestures is cool, but novel. It worked for me virtually every time, but I’m more interested in what developers do with it in the future. The smooth display is what I love. Scrolling is super smooth. Is it necessary, no, but it does improve the experience. Much to do has been made with the phone deactivating the smooth display under certain conditions, but firmware improvements are on the way. I found with the display brightness up, it worked fine. It was only when the screen is dim when it didn’t seem to activate.
I don’t normally use transcription apps, but I gave it a try and I love it. The ability to search through your transcripts by text on your device is amazing. I’m an attorney and don’t use it all the time, but when I need to record a conversation or dictate something, it’s been invaluable.
I’ve read a lot of complaints about no wide angle lens. To that I say so what? Maybe if you previously had a phone with three cameras you would be disappointed (but in that case you likely aren’t reading this review since you’ve recently upgraded), but if you’re coming from a single lens camera it doesn’t matter because you don’t know what you’re missing.
The thing I’ll say about the cameras is that they’re awesome. The picture taking experience is amazing. Live HDR is awesome, where you can adjust the shadows and brightness on the screen before you even take the picture. Portrait mode is even better. Inside or outside, you won’t be disappointed with these cameras. The telephoto lens is surprisingly good. The detail captured in telephoto shots is pretty remarkable. But the true gem is the night mode. I know, it’s been around, but taking pictures of the night sky is something to behold. I included a picture of the sky at a bonfire and everyone was amazed at the quality of the shot. And all I did was hold the phone for 15 seconds.
I’ve also heard complaints about the battery and I have to say I don’t know why. This battery beats my Pixel 3 XL. And I keep the smooth display on, the motion sensor (Soli radar) on, location and Bluetooth. Now, if you’re someone who needs a battery that will last a long long time, without charging, then yes, this phone won’t be for you. But for the average joe like me, who sends texts, uses Maps, makes some calls, surfs the web for a bit, streams audio in the car this battery is more than enough. If you consume hours and hours of media with the screen on, then it might not make it a full day for you, but I consider that type of person the outlier. Again, it goes back to how you use it. I found with my daily usage and around 4 hours of the screen being on, this battery is around 30-40% at the end of the day. I’m the person who charges my phone every night, so for me, I just need a phone to get to the end of the day. And the Pixel 4 XL does the job and better than my Pixel 3 XL.
The iPhone 11 Pro will certainly best the Pixel 4 XL in terms of performance. I’m sure based on the silicon inside the phone alone, the iPhone is a “better performing” phone. But those types of benchmarks don’t translate to how most people use their phone in the real world. Sure, maybe other phones open an app a fraction of a second faster but when it comes to just using the phone, the Pixel 4 XL performed admirably. I have zero complaints with its performance regardless of the Snapdragon chipset and RAM. It’s speedy and has never hung up. I just caution readers of any phone review to keep real world performance in mind. Just because someone says one phone has better specs than another, doesn’t translate to a better user experience. Again, it might for some, but I think for the majority of people it doesn’t.
WHO THIS PHONE IS FOR
This is the ultimate question when deciding to get the Pixel 4 XL. If you are married to the Apple ecosystem, like I am to Google’s, I don’t think I could recommend the Pixel 4 XL to you. It would be a difficult switch with a learning curve. But if you are an Android user and you use Google services, I think this is the way to go. The Pixel 4 XL cares first and foremost about phoneography (I don’t want to disparage professional photographers). This is the best camera experience you can get on an Android (or at least one of the top, I haven’t used major Chinese brand phones). The performance is great and easy to use and the interface can be as customized as you’d like. When it comes to just being a phone that takes great photos, you can’t do much better than a Pixel 4 XL. (not to say other phones aren’t great. Again a lot is personal experience and preference). This is a great phone that warrants a look from anyone looking to upgrade.
This is my first Pixel and I must say this has been a pleasant experience especially since I have been deeply rooted in the Samsung ecosystem. I've taken a few days to fully integrate it into my daily life before writing this review. I won't discuss the physical design because that's pretty standard and I'm sure someone else has covered it. I will however go into interesting features and general performance.
First off, I must address motion sense along with the front facing camera and sensors. I think the motion sense feature is an awesome idea and despite it being a little gimmicky at times I have to say I like it. Basically, it allows another layer of interacting with the phone and specific apps without having to touch it, such as swiping your hand over the phone to skip tracks in the music app. I have seen a lot of people bashing this feature and for some I get it, but others I don’t. It's a feature you can turn on or off and it has no real impact on your battery life so use it or turn it off. For example, I don't really view motion sense as something that I would be using while the phone is actually in my hand, it's more for cases like your hands are dirty, you don't want to touch your phone but you want to change your currently playing song without getting your phone dirty. Google is primarily a software company so I am sure they will continue developing this and it will become better over time. With that being said I must point out a software feature and an app that I was impressed with. First is the Live Caption feature which can be turned on and off by the toggle at the bottom of you volume menu. What this feature does is that for most media playing on the Pixel it will pop out a text box that captions whatever is currently being shown on your screen in real time. I really like this feature.The other is the Recorder app that not only records audio , but it also transcribes it in real time. What’s more impressive is that you can search the file by text, meaning you can enter specific words that were recorded and find out exactly where in the recording that occurred. This is infinitely useful in a classroom setting, which was where I tested it a few times.
The front face camera along with face recognition is one of the best I have ever experienced. It is really quick and I'm sure this works in tandem with motion sense which primes the camera as the phone senses you are about to pick it up. Like others, I have experienced unlocking the phone with eyes closed but I'm sure this oversight by Google is already being addressed. I do miss a physical fingerprint scanner, especially for apps that utilize biometric data but I checked a couple apps and they have already integrated using your face as a form of security measure so that's no longer a concern. I'm not really a photo taking person but both the front camera (especially with portrait shots) and the rear cameras are fantastic. The is very good detail in every shot and I found my pictures very sharp and true to life. The photo app also allows for a lot control to the camera setting as well, so I am sure the photo fanatics will definitely appreciate that. Another camera feature I really liked was Night Sight. This mode is optimized for taking pictures in low light and I have to say the pictures I took at night came out much better when I used other android phones. This feature is really superb and you will definitely appreciate all your night shots.
When it comes to battery, I must preface this by saying I am a power user. I typically have Bluetooth and location on for most of the day and there are times I have the screen on consistently, whether I am reading notes, watching a video or responding to messages. The Pixel 4 XL hand no problems lasting my entire day, in fact I am almost sure it got a little better over time. I think this was possibly because of battery management software running in the background that optimized the phone as it became accustomed to my usage habits. I was able to get around 5 hours of on-screen time and that was fine with me. The phone charges very quickly when plugged in and it also has wireless charging which was a pleasant and welcomed surprise.
My greatest dings against this phone come from a few areas such as the lack of expandable storage. At this price having only 64gb of storage was a head scratcher for me, especially when I consider you no longer get unlimited photo storage like previous Pixels. The lack of a headphone jack and especially the failure to include any earphone/earbuds at all was a letdown for me. I do understand that this is the current trend in phone design but I was still a little disappointed.
So, who is Pixel 4 xl for? Honestly, it's for the person who understands what Google is trying to do. You don't pick this phone if you want the best specs on a phone, you pick this phone if you want the purest and the best optimized experience for an Android phone. It's for the person who doesn't get caught up on specs but instead cares about how useful and pleasant it is to have this phone and it's features in your life.
I have been a google phone fan since before the Nexus so I was very excited to get their newest flagship, the Pixel 4 XL. I got even more excited when I got the iPhone 11 Pro Max as my work phone so this review will compare the two flagships.
In the box is the phone, charger, USB C cord and a USB C to USB B adapter which is needed to transfer data from your existing phone to the Pixel.
The device is beautiful, shiny black glass on the back and the OLED screen on the front. I recommend getting as case for it as the phone is slippery and slides easily on most surfaces. The Pixel feels lighter than the iPhone. It is a bit narrower which makes it easier to hold, especially if you have smaller hands.
Initial setup was simple and the Pixel walks you through it. Answer a few questions and select some options, then transfer your data from your old phone, which can be done from either another android or iPhone. Using a cable to transfer data requires using the included adapter. My existing phone, an Essential PH1 also USB C, but using the charging cord didn’t work for data transfer, I had to use another cord and the included adapter. The transfer went smoothly and most of my settings and data transferred fine. The phone did have to download all of my programs from the playstore again, which took several hours.
The face ID is fast and works well. It uses motion detection to begin the process as soon as your hand approaches the phone and I love that it goes right to the home screen, unlike my iPhone which requires an additional swipe after recognition. Like you may have read in other reviews and in the text at the bottom of the Face ID setup page, the phone DID unlock with my eyes closed so I’ll have to update that setting.
Size wise, the Pixel is as tall as and not quite as wide as the iPhone 11. Unlike the 11, the Pixel has a bezel on the top rather than the screen going all the way up, there is no camera bump since it's in the bezel, the actual screen size is about the same minus the camera bump. It took a minute to get used to the large bezel but i've grown to like it just as I have with previous bumps.
There is no longer the home and back buttons, these have been replaced with gestures which took a few days to get used to but after a few days I’m navigating like a champ. Adding to the navigation is Google's Motion Sense and allow you to just wave your hand over the phone to move forward and back, like changing music tracks. It worked as expected most of the time. You can see a little wave of color at the top of the screen moving in the direction of your hand so it would appear that the few times it didn't work may have been due to the app that was running rather than the hardware not sensing the motion. You can also use this feature to snooze and silence alarms rather than having to pick up the phone and fumble with finding the right buttons.
Speaking of cameras, there are two forward facing and one selfie and there are multiple modes, Camera, Portrait, Night Sight, Video, Panorama, Photo Sphere, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, Playground which lets you put emojis and other stickers in your pictures, and Lens which uses AI to recognize what's in the frame and find it on the internet for you. You can adjust the exposure and HDR on screen before you take the shot. The phone takes great pictures in every environment. I found the unedited color does not seem as saturated as my iPhone but the sharpness of your subject is a bit cleaner. Portrait mode does a great job of separating the subject from the background. Video offers 1080 at 30 or 60 fps and 4K 30 fps (enabled via settings menu). All looked good in normal light but seemed a little grainy in low light, but all very useable. One downside, Google has stopped unlimited storage of your photos unless you opt for a compressed version of them. You can till store full quality to your Google drive until you run out of storage. You can also purchase additional storage as needed.
Speaking of AI, the Pixel 4 offers live view in Google maps which overlays the directions which is really cool.
Hey Google works as expected and you can access it just by saying it or you can quickly squeeze the phone and it comes right up.
The OLED screen is crisp and clear and with 90hz refresh, scrolling is smooth as silk and phone apps are responsive and fast.
Since this is a phone, calls sound crisp and clear, volume is good both in the earpiece and via the speaker. Callers on the other end can hear you and you sound just as if you were on a wire-line phone.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve seen is the battery life. I will say my iPhone does last longer but I have been able to get through an entire day on a single charge. The phone charges quickly with the included charger and it also has wireless charging which I love. It’s charged without incident on several wireless charging pads I have and if you don't have one, I highly recommend getting one.
Long gone are the days when a phone only had numbers, a send and end buttons and you only got them from your wireless carrier at a heavily subsidized price. Now it seems you almost need to mortgage the house to afford these technological achievements. When you consider the technology and how well the OS interacts with the hardware, the Pixel 4 is definitely a winner in my book. While most people will make their phone buying choice based on their existing ecosystems, the Pixel 4 holds its own on every level and I highly recommend it to everyone!
Unlike other phones this one gets better over time
Camera, Photo quality, Screen quality
Buttons, Use with apps
If you are anything like me, then you are someone who uses smartphones on a daily basis for a lot of different tasks. For making calls, texting, web browsing, navigation, online shopping, taking pictures, streaming videos, checking bank statements, the weather, and you know the list goes on.
And priorities are lined up like this: responsive and fast, long battery life (at least a full day with no charge), big screen with vibrant colors, decent camera for taking pictures and shooting videos, and water resistance.
My last 3 phones were Google Pixel first edition, Huawei Mate 9, Huawei Mate 10 Pro respectively.
The best experience was by far the Google Pixel, not because it was superior in hardware or software but simply because of the constant updates that you would get them at least 6 months before any other Android phone, and because of exclusive apps and features like the Google assistant that was exclusive for Pixel phones for a period of time. Also you get a guaranteed 3 years of support for the phone which is impressive.
Now it was time to get a new phone and although there are other Android options that have better hardware with better price, I chose to get the Pixel 4XL Just Black with 64GB of storage because hardware isn’t everything. Quick patches and software updates are as important as solid hardware, and I don’t need the 128 GB storage since I already have a Google 1 subscription for added storage space across my google services.
The phone comes in a nice minimalist package the contains: the phone, sim removal tool, usb type C to USB type C charging cable, USB type C 18 watt charger, USB type C to USB adapter, and user guides.
Design: I have to say that this phone is beautiful. Its classic, simple, and clean, like a Rolex watch. It's not the best out there, but you know it's going to be great!
The Just black has Aluminum frame with matte finish coating, Glossy black Gorilla Glass back, and Gorilla Glass class 5 front. The power button is super light grey on the right side of the frame, and the volume rocker is in black just below the power button.
The phone has stereo speakers and at the bottom of the phone.
The screen is a 6.3 inch with a screen to body ratio of 83.99% which is decent, but the feature really worth mentioning here is that the screen is now an OLED display with 90HZ refresh rate which is a huge factor when it comes to streaming videos, and scrolling through apps, and gaming if your game does support 90HZ refresh rate. The upper notch isn’t very thin but its still acceptable and way better that the Pixel 3, and the bottom chin is actually not bad at all and it is fairly thin.
The sim card slot is closer to the upper left side of the phone, and there is a tool in the packaging that helps you open the slot.
Camera: the back camera design is similar to the one on the new IPhone 11 with a square bump that has 2 cameras lenses, not 3 and no ultra wide angle lens. Instead a standard lens, a telephoto lens with 2 times optical zoom.
Setting up is pretty straight forward, you power up the phone after you put your sim in.it walks you through the steps from setting up wifi and checking for updates, then asking if you would like to copy your apps and date, if you chose to do so, you need to connect the new and old phones with a calble ans start the process. Google data copier will look up your Google account on your old phone and sign in on the new one to get your settings/ sync options and then will ask you what do you want to copy from the old device.
I had 34 GigaBytes that needed to be copied from the Huawei Mate 10 Pro and it finished it in 15 minutes.
Also worth mentioning here is that if you have an Active Google Authenticator and or a domain controlled by Google apps, the file copier will move any security certificates from the old phones to the new one with ease.
Once the copy starts the phone will give you the option to continue setting up the phone while its copying from the old phone.
The next step is agreeing to the terms & conditions and then setting up your security pin, then face unlock.Then it asks to setup your Google assistant with your voice. Also worth noting is that if your voice is already recognized using another Google device or account, the phone wont ask you to recertify your voice. It will tell you that your voice is already registered and you can move on to the next step.
The phone then will show you how to use the SQUEEZE gesture to launch assistant, then it will ask you to use the quick gestures that Google added a radar chip for.
Finally, the phone setup is over.
Using the phone:
Its an optimal clean Android version with no junkware whatsoever. Scrolling through the menu is super fast & responsive. Double tap the power button and your camera app comes up. A small squeeze on the body of the phone and the new Google assistant comes up.
Picture quality is so much better than my Huawei Mate 10 Pro, videos are 4K quality @30fps.
Things I loved:
Pure Android Experience.
Quality built phone.
Very responsive face unlock feature.
New exciting features exclusive to the Pixel 4 (for now).
IPS68 water resistance rating.
Guaranteed updates from Google for at least 3 years.
Enhanced Google assistant.
Amazing voice recorder with transcribe feature even if you are 100% offline.
The ability to have a personal & work profile if you have a domain service controlled by Google apps.
Google hand gestures (will be testing them more extensively later)
The amazing quality OLED screen with 90 HZ refresh rate.
Good quality stereo speakers.
Things i didn’t love:
Face unlock works even when your eyes are closed (really Google?!)
No finger print security option.
No Ultra wide lens camera sensor.
The battery could be bigger.
Finally, I think there is so much negativity & hate towards this phone because it was over hyped and over leaked before the official release date. The phone is amazingly good and very simple and easy to use. It can serve both a simple user and a complex one at the same time.
This phone isn’t great in any one feature, but it does everything good.
This October Google launched its latest flagship phones the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL. But models are essentially the same save for the screen size wherein the Pixel for has a screen size of 5.7” and the Pixel 4 XL having a screen size of 6.3”. Also the Pixel 4 XL has larger battery with 3700 mAh with the Pixel 4 having a 2800 mAh battery. I am reviewing the Pixel 4 XL but my thoughts can also apply for the smaller Pixel 4.
The main highlights of both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are that both are run by Android Q or simply Android 10 and being Pixel phones are guaranteed by three of updates so updating to Android 12 is a guarantee. Both are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor (though I’ve read there is already the 855+). It has a dual rear camera system wherein the wide angle camera has 12 MP and the zoom has 16 MP. It’s front camera ha 8 MP.
Both have USB C and have an 18 W charger for rapid charging. And Qi charging is also possible but the Qi charger is preferred to have 10 W or more for normal charging times. Aside from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options, the Pixel 4 has NFC capabilities which enables Google Pay and pairing with NFC enabled devices such as headsets and speakers.
As mentioned earlier the Pixel 4 has Android 10 out of the box giving you a pure Android experience minus all the bloatware other Android phones offer. (This review is not about Android 10 though.) But what stands out from the Pixel 4 is that it has motion sensors which enable the user to control the phone by using hand motions and gestures without even touch the phone. But do note that this is fairly new technology so the potential is still unreached. As of the moment, motion gestures include the phone screen activating when you are reaching for it. This is a nice but not an essential feature but handy if you just want to check on the time and if there are notifications on your phone. Also motion gestures can also can control which music tracks to play. Google has a list of apps that are motion enabled on its website. But like what I mentioned before, this technology is still in its infancy so for now these are nice features to have.
The Pixel 4 boasts of a POLED screen using Gorilla glass which boasts of rich and warm colors and runs at 90 Hz. It can run video and games smoother which gives the user a better visual experience. But unfortunately these result to diminished battery life to the point of being abysmal as per my personal experience and that these are moreover flagship Android phones. One way to increase battery life though is to use dark mode and disable smooth mode meaning you reduce the screen refresh rate to 60 Hz. For the most part disabling smooth mode would have no significant impact on performance but will have one on battery life. And do note this is the most serious complaint about the Pixel 4. But so far in the first few days of having my Pixel 4 XL, battery life has improved quite a bit.
Following its competitors, the Pixel 4 ditched its fingerprint sensor which is found in the back of the Pixel 3 and replace it with its Face Unlock feature. In essence, this is a “me too” feature. But unlike its competitors, the Pixel 4’s Face Unlock feature is blazing fast. This is due primarily to Google’s Project Soli. (Google it to know more.) And though it works with either your eyes closed or not looking at the phone (I have tried this myself.), privacy concerns have been raised by others as the phone can be unlocked by someone else if you are sleeping or have been rendered unconscious say from an accident. Hopefully, Google will fix this issue on a future update.
An improved feature also included in the Pixel 4 is Google’s next generation Google Assistant. While not many people may notice it, but Google claims the next generation Google Assistant is up to 10 times faster. To top this, Google added Driving Mode which enables the user to use better navigation by using only voice commands. And I’ve read that Google commands will be incorporated too in Google enabled car navigation systems in the future.
And now for the gist of the Pixel 4 – the camera. Google’s Pixel series have known to the one of the best if not the best camera in a smart phone. With that in mind, Google is late in having a rear multi-camera system incorporated in its Pixel line. Moreso with most of its competitors having three or even four rear cameras, Google came out only with two. Which is a letdown since the ability to take ultra-wide is zilch. That said the Pixel 4’s dual camera still has some tricks up on its sleeve.
First, the Pixel 4’s dual rear cameras offer Live HDR+ thereby giving you real time HDR images. Add to that dual exposure controls which results in pictures which are vibrant. I have attached a picture for reference. And truth be told the picture is even more vibrant compared to a similar shot take with my micro four-thirds camera.
The Pixel 4’s 2X telephoto lens may also be a disappointment for some. But combined with a digital zoom and Google’s “magic” results to 8X zoom and having more details than camera phones with a 3X optical zoom and added digital zoom. The “2X limitation” here becomes moot for me.
Lastly, the Google Pixel’s phone offers Night Sight which enables you to take pictures without a flash. And while other smartphones also have a similar feature, the Pixel 4 takes the cake because its Night Sight is also capable of astrophotography. While admittedly this is a niche feature, it just shows the capability of the Pixel 4’s camera capabilities.
In conclusion, the Google Pixel 4 is a great phone overall at the same time offers a pure Android experience. The lack of an ultra-wide lens, mediocre battery performance (Actually the Pixel 3 has a better battery.), and (I almost forgot) the lack of earbuds or at least a dongle, makes me remove one star for this phone. Still I’d recommend this for someone who wants a phone that performs in spite of some lacking features.
Google - Pixel 4 XL with 64GB.
There are several new features exhibited in the new Pixel XL, and Google is showing off it’s technical excellence. For example, ff you’ve learned a set of strategies to avoid the frustration of night-time or low-lighting photos, you are going to need to UN-learn them. This Pixel will capture anything like it’s daylight PLUS there’s now an even higher resolution telephoto lens. Along with the beautiful, brilliantly colorful, smooth scrolling screen, you’ll be reluctant to ever turn this Pixel 4XL off. It is really pretty along with lot’s of practical functionality.
Setup: Out of the box, the Pixel in “just Black” is like holding a solid slab of glass with a slightly rubberized frame to protect the edges. Yeah, yeah, but fingerprints!? I hear ya’. None of this paragraph is terribly relevant because we’re all going to get a protective case and screen film, no matter what color Pixel you buy. In the ‘just Black” (and other two colors?) we’ve got a very slick, slippery phone. But, it’s still all rich looking while you’re encasing it in armor. Sigh. Don’t hesitate. Get a case. Because the Pixel 4XL starts out relatively light, it’s not a big deal.
Phone Setup is flexible. I didn’t have my new carrier SIM card available for initial setup, but I wanted to play with the Pixel. I skipped by the carrier info requests (look for prompts at bottom of each page) and simply proceeded to setting up my phone on my Wi-Fi, only. There was nothing I couldn’t do other than make calls and message. [Yep, phone setup on Sprint was easy and I could go into settings and get the same level of help to complete that task when I was ready, easily.] When I eventually got around to using the phone, it was comfortable in my hand, easy to adjust so that both ends of a call were easy to hear.
I did a quick test to see how effectively the Pixel 4 interacts with Wi-Fi. I’ve included a picture of the speeds. My Google Fiber wireless achieved on test 1: 167Gb UP; 275Gb DOWN. On test 2 tested speeds were 139Gb UP; 331Gb Down. The Pixel Phone has some settings to make accessing community Wi-Fi easy, reliable and secure.
Android 10 installation on the Pixel 4XL is really clean and unencumbered by useless stuff. I see nothing that is wasteful or unnecessary (Advertising or teaser software). I immediately added a few Apps I use. Lightning fast. I’ve simply never witnessed such rapid app installation. In fact, everything is smooth. Android(10) enabled phones are operating at exceptional speeds. I’m really impressed.
During the setup process I learned about Face Unlock as well as Motion Sense. The former is so transparent and effective there is no reason to avoid it. I love this type of security; it disappears in everyday use. (You can even disable it in places, like home, by declaring it "safe." I’ve yet to be asked for my PIN. Motion sense, is fascinating, though I'm not entirely sure how much it enhances the experience. I’ll decide if I’ll leave it on as I use it. It appears to be anticipating my actions by turning the screen on or off as I approach or depart. More magic.
I also tried and completely embrace (literally) the Google Assistant which requires you to squeeze the phone to enablel. It will be interesting to see how camera case manufacturers deal with this bit of magic, but it’s a great feature that is sensible.
The CAMERA: There are a number of shooting modes. not all readily apparent, that fully exploit the two rear cameras (plus front facing.There’s Night Sight, Video, Slow Motion, Portrait, Panorama, Photo Sphere, Time Lapse, and Lens (does some trick, not sure what, yet.). The appearance of the images on the screen is often over-enhanced for my taste. But, the easy-to-use and access Google photos software gets a natural looking image or enhanced printout to meet any owner’s preference. Night Sight initiates long exposure pictures for wonderfully detailed and colorful night images. If you can see it, you can photograph it. In fact, some of those modes result in photos your eyes can’t imagine.
Battery Life: I completely understand my phone usage isn’t the same as yours. I’m not likely to sit for hours watching videos. (But, I tested battery life with two complete movies and hours of downloads and App installations.) Also, battery life for me isn’t much of an issue with a phone charger near every place I sit for lengthy periods. and in my car, and in more and more public locations or hotel rooms. For an average, or minimal phone user, after a complete charge, my phone still had 50% juice 8 hours after I began my serious, continuous use. I left battery saver OFF, brightness at 56% and Adaptive brightness on, and never used my ubiquitous chargers until the next day.
Movie Watching (and Games): Wow! I’ve got “Alita: Battle Angel” playing in 4K on the Pixel as I write this review. The image looks amazingly detailed and colorful. Brightness and contrast are a proper level for a cinema experience. It’s stunning. I love OLED screens with their black-as-night capability.This phone is going to be amazing with the best games you can get your hands on. I’ve commented on battery demands in that section of my review, but I would find a way to extend phone usage if I knew I could regularly view at this quality. [I was surprised to discover that Google Play had my complete movie collection available for playback. I guess I was already linked through my Google account to Movies Anywhere. Very nice surprise. Now I only have to download my iTunes Music library.]
SUMMARY: The PIXEL XL is a perfect phone for a significant number of end users. Google has created a compelling family of products that interact simply and reliably. Some features are at the head of the class, and all features add to a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Pure Android is nice; I've missed it. I’ve bounced between Samsung & Google Nexus Devices for the past 8 or so years, so I’ve seen the transformations in the Operating Systems. I love change in technology, I adapt to the new styles, menus, options and the like without hesitation. This new OS is definitely different when it comes to navigation.
I made the changeover from a Samsung Galaxy S10+ with native 128GB of storage, plus another 128GB via a microSD card. One thing I noticed right off the bat, is that I miss the soft buttons more than anything. Swiping from each edge of the screen to go ‘forward’ or ‘back’ is OK, until you’re swiping through photos and realize you went too far off the edge and swiped yourself right out of the App. It’s something that’s going to take some serious getting used to - even after the better part of a week.
I didn’t have any issues with Apps or compatibility and this device is running Android 10.
Google Pay worked just fine after the typical ‘have the bank OK the mobile wallet change’ procedure that comes with getting a new phone. It worked at a bunch of places, including Best Buy and my grocery store, without issue.
Face detection is good. It’s so good that I can have a hat, sunglasses and my toothbrush in my mouth … and it still knows who I am. Maybe it’s not so good? At least it doesn’t let my 9 y/o unlock it.
When setting up face detection, it warns you that “… someone can hold it up to your face - even with your eyes closed”... to unlock it. Not sure I’m a big fan of that. Maybe the Apple people that use face unlock will say it’s “OK” - but not for me.
It’s lacking a fingerprint reader, I found out when trying to set up my prints. Then I looked all over the phone and didn’t see anywhere that would read it. I’ve been using my fingerprint as an unlock method since the S8+, so it’s become the norm for me. Opting out of “face unlock” leaves me to PIN, or Pattern or Password; I prefer to use those methods as a last resort, not as my main method of unlock.
When there’s a still subject and the lighting is right, this does take great photos. It seems to have deeper colors than my S10+ when holding up both phones next to one another and taking the same photo. Vertical mode has a wider view in the Pixel, where portrait mode seems to be wider on the S10+.
I did manage to get a few good shots of my kid jumping into some leaves, but I’m left wanting more.
Other than that, the camera is … fine. It has the “night” mode which does make stars pop, but it lacks in shutter speed in ‘decently’ lighted conditions, which led to blurry photos. When they left off a 3rd camera, they also left out “wide” angle -- and that’s so disappointing. The optical zoom is really good, but it realllly needs some great lighting, else it does get pixely (no pun intended).
I’ve become accustomed to “burst” photos, something that the Samsung devices have had forever. Google went the Apple route of an ‘animated’ photo option, where it records a bit before & after. To me, they backed the wrong pony with that choice. When the pictures are uploaded to Google Photos, they’re animated. I can’t seem to pick out the actual “still” photo that I took in the first place.
I’m apparently the only person with the 4+ that doesn’t have awful lag issues. I also set up the phone as “new” and didn’t import Apps/settings, etc from my S10+ -- that may have something to do with it.
The swipe up to see Apps is instant and the swipe up + hold to see open Apps is also something that I didn’t have an issue with. Popping into & out of Settings (even with developer mode on) was never an issue. Battery life was just fine as I never thought to myself “man, what have I been doing that I’m at X% already?!”
The Pixel 4+ with 64GB would be a great phone, if it wasn’t at 64GB and allowed for external storage (microSD card, for example). In today’s world, 64GB isn’t realistic for an adult - especially with the ability to record in 4K.
To combat the storage limitation, there is a feature to “delete backed up photos from the phone.” While this is all fine and good, if you opt for uncompressed/original photos to be backed up, they aren’t part of the Google Photos “unlimited free photos” capability and you’ll start to quickly draw from your Google Drive space.
I’m a 100GB user, so it’s not a big deal to me (yet), however those with 15GB will soon see that it’s not nearly enough, then you get to $2/mo (or pay it all up front for a year) to go to 100GB.
If you are a 64GB phone user and you have room to spare, then this is a good score for you - although the price tag of $900 (or sometimes $800 on sale) is a bit of a stutter maker.
Given the ‘fine’ camera with a somewhat gimmicky ‘night’ mode, the lack of a fingerprint reader, no ‘wide angle lens’ and the overall price tag .. I’m going to have to pass on this device for a recommendation.
If you are a hardcore Vanilla Android user, you’ll love it - but if you’re coming from a Samsung device, you’ll have a learning curve ahead. I say skip the 64GB model if you take a lot of photos and use a bunch of Apps, as it will fill up quickly.
I was a little worried about lack of fingerprint reader, but I must say that the face unlock on this phone is one of the fastest I've ever come across.
The raised to wake to unlock is seamless.
My fears of not having a fingerprint reader are out the window with how great this faced unlock works.
The added soli chip I feel has a huge part to play with how efficient and quick the face unlock is. Speaking of the soli chip, I want to speak about motion sense while there isn't a lot that it can do in this current stage. However, I have a lot of expectations and hope for the future that this technology will be utilized in a great way.
In just a short time I can say that it becomes second nature now to just wave my hand at my phone when I want to snooze my alarm or if I'm at work with music playing on my phone and my phone laying on the desk instead of disrupting my work by picking up my phone picking the next song, it's just an easy swipe of the hand and go to the next song that I want to listen to.
Another extreme positive for this phone is the 90 hz display.
As someone who has owned previous devices with 90 hz screens. I must say that Google hit it out of the park with this one. Not only is the screen gorgeous vibrant and clear but the latency on the touch is almost non-existent. The phone swipes so smooth you won't be able to use a phone again without it .
Now on to the cameras. What more is there to say? Pixels are always known as having the best cameras in the market and with competitors stepping up their game this year, Google still nailed it and lead by example. The continue to have the best cameras on the market.
A lot can be said about not having a wide-angle lens, but personally, the telephoto lens is a better option in my personal use and opinion. I don't tend to find myself using wide-angle lenses on other phones that I've had, what I did find is that I would zoom in specifically at events or my kids off playing in the distance, I find that I used zoom more and I would lose quality with other phones in these situations, however with the Pixel 4 XL I still remain to get that clear quality when zooming in with the telephoto lens.
Night sight continues to be one of best in the camera phone market for getting night shots.
I personally can't speak of the astrophotography feature seeing as though I don't have a tripod and where I live I don't tend to have clear skies to see stars or Milky Ways. But based on what I've read, I know that this is a huge feature for those who do get to experience those kind of sites.
I look forward to one day being able to travel to utilize this specific feature.
The live HDR dual exposure controls are extremely useful. In lighting situations to have the ability to control the lighting and the environment live as you're about to take the picture has become a great benefit.
This allows you more control over how you want your photo to look before you take it instead of editing the photo afterwards and not really being happy with the shot that you got.
I say the battery life on this phone is pretty good. It should get you through the day depending on your usage. I have 90 Hz being forced and I could get through an entire day with the phone. It's not the best battery life, but it's also not the worst which is good enough for me.
The benefit of the battery though is that it charges extremely fast and I feel that this is not a feature that Google has pushed or let consumers know about as much as they should.
Google has also updated Google Assistant to be more accurate faster and also utilize continued conversations, which I feel is great. Because you don't have to constantly ask Google the same question. Instead you can continue on from the first question that you asked until you get the answers that you like.
I also want to note that this entire review was done using the new voice recorder, that is on the pixels. None of this review was typed. It was all transcribed using the app.
As I've said, Ignore the blog sites. Ignore the tech youtubers. Ignore the reviews. You can even ignore this review. Give this phone a chance , give this phone your own opinion by using it yourself. I wasn't sold on this phone until I had it in my hands . The moment it was in my hands , the moment I started using it, the moment I started taking advantage of all the updated features that it has did I realize that this phone is much better than I expected.
Get yourself a Pixel 4XL. Enjoy the much improved and needed updates and continue to be the designated photo taker during the holidays and family events.
The analysis of all aggregated expert reviews shows that the reviewers are positive about durability, usability, screen and performance. Editors are less positive about battery and price and have mixed opinions about portability. Using an algorithm based on product age, reviewers ratings history, popularity, product category expertise and other factors, this product gets an alaTest Expert Rating of 94/100 = Excellent quality.
CNETRating, 4.3 out of 54.3Lynn La on July 2, 2020
The big-screen Pixel 4 XL is nearly identical to the Pixel 4, which includes the excellent camera, secure face unlock and expensive price.
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A:AnswerAll I can say is you probably got a regular Pixel 4. You can go to the settings on the phone, and scroll down to ' About Phone' where it would clearly state either Pixel 4 or Pixel 4XL. Did you purchase it refurbished? Either way I recommend contacting Best Buy.
A:AnswerI beta tested Android 10 and the dual standby dual SIM capability was pulled from the pixel 3 line up. It was never supported when launched as well. It started with the 3a line and as an owner of the unlocked 4, it supports DSDS just like the iPhone 11 series when purchased unlocked whether from Google or best buy. If your planning to use dual SIM on the pixel, do not carrier finance it. For example, even iPhones financed by Verizon (if bought from Verizon not apple) can only use an esim and a nano SIM FROM Verizon until the 60 day lock is up.