Hands On With Google Pixel 4 And Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 XL

I’m a little late with an article about the new Pixel 4 series. But seriously, you are not missing much. Don’t get me wrong; both devices are solid smartphones. However, they are outdone by either Samsung or Apple in almost every single aspect. Here are some of my impressions:

  • Both phones have a somewhat boring design.
  • The Pixel still feels like the “iPhone” of the Android world.
  • Double lens camera takes great pictures from what I can see. However, Google no longer stands out from the competition since the Galaxy Note 10+ camera is almost as good and the iPhone 11 Pro Max camera easily outdoes it.

The Pixel 4 screen has a 90Hz refresh rate.

  • The 90Hz refresh rate on the screen is noticeable (things move more smoothly), but it isn’t as big of a deal as I originally thought it would be.
  • The Pixel 4 and 4XL are water-resistant, not waterproof — very disappointing.
  • The stereo speakers sound great — just as good as they do on the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Galaxy Note 10.
  • The face recognition software is accurate, but not as fast (other critics disagree) as the software on new iPhones.
  • Soli motion sensing works better than motion sensing ever did on Samsung’s devices. Still, is feels more like a gimmick than something useful.
  • The screen looks good, but something is missing? Perhaps it’s the fact that the screen brightness only maxes out at 450 nits (compared to the 600-700 nits on the iPhone Pro and Galaxy Note 10+). The colors seem slightly off as well.
  • Google Assistant works perfectly on this — better than Siri works on Apple.
  • Android 10 finally has a built-in voice recorder, and you can search recordings.
  • As usual, Google made an excellent camera. Some of the darker shots in “Night Mode” look a little more fuzzy than they do on the iPhone 11 Pro.
  • 8x digital zoom works surprisingly well. Google’s image processing is fantastic.
  • I’m worried about the battery life. I used the 4XL for fifteen minutes, and it has already gone down to 88 percent. In 2017, that would have been great. Now, not so much.
I’m not sure if I’ll be receiving an actual review unit of the Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL. And you know what — I don’t care. It’s not that Google messed up with their new smartphone series. It’s just that they didn’t make anything that remotely stands out. Unfortunately, it’s a hard pass for me on this one. 

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected].
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