As competition in the smartphone space intensifies and the gap between features on other flagship devices from the likes of Apple Samsung and Huawei narrows, Google has recently launched its Pixel 4 XL. How does this device fare in comparison to the phones being offered by its competitors. Well if you are thinking about purchasing a new smartphone and intend to pony up the money to buy a flagship , here is a full review of the Pixel XL.
Design and hardware
The Pixel 4 range of smartphones now comes with a dual camera set-up. This means a telephoto lens and on the left-hand corner of the rear of the device there is a square camera bump. The Pixel 4XL looks very similar to the Pixel 3 XL but is less narrow and a bit taller and thicker. Unusually there is no notch and the Pixel 4 XL opts for a thick forehead instead. This compromise was made in order to add Google’s Motion Sense radar technology sensors that detect the gestures and motions of nearby owners. It also comes with the sensors necessary for infrared-based face unlock. There is no fingerprint reader or dual front-facing camera.
The aluminium chassis with matte finish is solid and will not slip in the hands. Gorilla Glass 5 covers 6.3-inch QHD + OLED display as well as the rear of the device. The Google Pixel 4 XL is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor 6GB of RAM and a 3,700mAh battery. The phone is dual SIM though the second SIM needs to be an eSIM since it ships with a single physical nano-SIM slot.
Software and features
The face unlock feature is well designed and easy to use and it is fairly straightforward to register a face but you will need to key in a PIN. Whilst some may be troubled by lack of a fingerprint reader, Google has fully integrated the new facial unlock feature on the Pixel 4 range of smartphones. When you reach for your phone after unlocking it with your face Motion Sense detects that movement and once again activates the feature. There is a new recorder app which allows users to record and transcribe conversations in real-time
Performance and battery life
The Pixel 4 XL runs on Android 10 which is faster and more responsive than previous versions of Android. There is a single front facing camera that may disappoint some and only offers a 90-degree vision less than previous versions of the Pixel. If you haven’t used a Pixel before this is easily the best Android experience possible and like the previous version of the Pixel, the rear facing camera on the Pixel 4 XL is outstanding. It comes with the Super Res Zoom feature which is able to take complete advantage of the new telephoto lens and achieve high-quality zooms.
The battery life on the Pixel 4XL is decent and will get a user through an average workday though if you use battery intensive apps like Google Maps then you will need to maintain a close eye on the battery by about 8PM. The estimated time to complete a full charge may be a bit optimistic and this is achieved through either a standard USB-C Power Delivery charger or the bundled Pixel 4 charger. The device does heat up under certain conditions such as multiple app installation.
Google has been laser like in its focus on the user experience with the Pixel 4XL and its setting the standard with well-integrated features including Motion Sense and face unlock. There are plenty of use features and it is hard to claim Google has not succeed in creating a smartphone that is a joy to use. There are however a few things to quibble over including a front facing camera than only records in Full HD and the lack of curved screens and slim bezels. If you are not using a Pixel device and want the best Android experience possible however, this is the best phone on the market.