Google Pixel 4XL
The Pixel 4XL is larger counterpart to the Pixel 4. It features the same core hardware as the smaller phone, including an upgraded camera that universally impressed reviewers, but similarly shares its poor battery life.
- Excellent camera
- Simple design with easy-to-grip body
- 90Hz screen refresh rate offers a smooth experience
- Inadequate battery life
- Low storage options
- No ultra-wide camera
The Google Pixel 4XL: In more detail
The Pixel 4XL’s camera is its standout feature. It’s seen an upgrade in both hardware and software, universally impressing reviewers. TechRadar called it ‘a casual photographer’s dream’ and Trusted Reviews found it ‘a pleasure to shoot with’. It also has an upgraded screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, which provides a smoother viewing experience, a simple, clean Android 10 interface and a powerful processor that offers solid performance. Google has done away with the fingerprint scanner in favour of facial recognition, enabled by new radar technology. This nifty feature also enables gesture controls, allowing you to do things like skipping a track by waving your hand. These new features are let down somewhat, however, by less-than-adequate battery life. With its bigger battery, the 4XL fares better in this department than its smaller sibling, but reviewers were still unimpressed.
With the Pixel 4 and 4XL, Google has added a second lens to the rear camera setup for the first time. It now features a 12MP main sensor combined with a 16MP telephoto lens. The new lens enables a better zoom, improved low-light photography and enhanced portrait shots. Trusted Reviews called its portrait photography ‘sublime’ and thought ‘the way it manages to cut around hair is unmatched and the results are smooth and sharp’.
As with previous models, Google has focused on software rather than hardware to give its camera the edge over the competition. The Pixel 4XL has an upgraded AI chip for improved image manipulation, enabling features like ‘Dual Exposure’, which allows you to adjust background brightness and foreground shadows independently.
Google has improved its ‘Night Sight’ mode this time around, which gives bright, clear photos even in ultra-low light. TechRadar found these shots ‘outclass nearly every other phone’s night-time shots’.
Pocket-lint thought the camera’s performance was ‘stellar’ and found it gave ‘a great photo in pretty much all conditions’ but was disappointed by the lack of a third, wide-angle lens. CNET thought pictures were ‘sharp, colourfully rich and had great contrast’ and that the digital zoom was excellent.
The Pixel 4XL is essentially the same size as its predecessor, the Pixel 3XL. It’s done away with the camera notch found on that phone, and replaced it by hiding the camera in a black top bar.
The phone has an aluminium frame with a black rubberised coating, which makes it easier to grip. It has a glass back that comes in different finishes depending on which colour you choose. The orange and white versions of the phone have a matte, ceramic-esque finish, while the black version is glossy.
The screen is one of the areas in which the Pixel 4XL differs from the Pixel 4. As well as being bigger, the 6.3-inch display also has a higher pixel density. The resolution has been upgraded from Full HD+ to QuadHD+, which makes it a little sharper than its smaller sibling.
Like the Pixel 4, the 4XL has an OLED panel, making it rich and colourful. The highlight of the screen is its higher-than-usual refresh rate. At 90Hz (rather than the typical 60Hz) it refreshes 1.5 times faster than most phones, resulting in a smoother experience when playing games or scrolling through social media.
TechRadar described the display as ‘gorgeous’. Trusted Reviews found it ‘‘well calibrated’ with ‘punchy colours’, but also thought it was ‘far from the brightest screen around’.
Like the Pixel 4, the Pixel 4XL is powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM - an upgrade from the 4GB that came with previous Pixel models.
TechRadar thought the phone was ‘plenty fast enough for all tasks’ and found it powered games with no problem. and found in its tests that it was ‘good but not great’ compared to other top-end phones. Pocket-lint found it ‘fast and smooth’ and ‘a great phone for consuming media and playing games’.
Reviewers were generally disappointed with the Pixel 4XL’s battery life.
Trusted Reviews found it marginally better than the Pixel 4’s battery life, thanks to its larger 3,700mAh battery, but found it regularly ran out of battery by 8-9pm. Pocket-lint called the battery life ‘far from class-leading’, finding it would only just last the day. TechRadar thought it was ‘barely adequate’ and ‘the biggest drawback of the phone’, finding it would last about or just under a day.
It comes with an 18W fast charger in the box, which will charge it fully in around 1 hour 40-50 minutes, and also has wireless charging capability.