Google’s Pixel phones have consistently appeared in our annual list of the best smartphones. In fact, the Pixel 3a is our choice for the best budget smartphone, while the Pixel 4 and 4 XL are our top picks for best Android camera phones. Renowned for their amazing photographic performance, the Pixel lineup has plenty of other things going for it as well, including stunning displays, premium build quality, and lightning-fast processing. They’re practically perfect, save for Google’s baffling decision to remove their headphone jacks. Right now, you can get the Google Pixel 2 XL, 3 XL, and 4 XL on Amazon at incredible discounted prices ahead of Presidents Day. Save up to $329 when you get them today.
– $145, was $160
The Google Pixel 2 XL sports the same gorgeous two-tone glass and aluminum back that has become the Pixel series’ signature look. Its 6-inch OLED screen has an extremely high pixel count – 2,880 x 1,440 – which makes images appear even more finely detailed and spectacularly vibrant compared to other phones of a similar size. Unfortunately, there is no headphone jack, which can be a dealbreaker for many people. Underneath its hood, the Pixel 2 XL is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor. Being a Google phone, the company worked extra hard in its software and hardware integration. The result is a blazingly fast performance with virtually zero lag. The Pixel 2 XL runs better than most Android phones, though not as well as the iPhone.
Google’s version of the Android software for the Pixel 2 XL is simple, uncluttered, and bloat-free. Getting used to its interface will take you no time at all. An excellent new addition is the Now Playing feature. It can identify the song that’s playing in your surroundings and display its name and artist even when offline.
Another high point of the Pixel 2 XL is its cameras. Its 12-megapixel rear camera can capture images with precise colors and outstanding sharpness regardless of light conditions. The 8-megapixel front camera is equally impressive. Selfies taken with it are finely detailed and DSLR-like. Honestly, we couldn’t ask for a better camera on a smartphone.
The Pixel 2 XL is IP67-rated for water resistance. It will sustain no damage if you submerge it in meter-deep water, even for half an hour. Finally, this phone can be locked and unlocked using fingerprint recognition.
Right now, renewed units of the Google Pixel 2 XL are on sale on Amazon for $145 instead of $160 – a cool $15 off.
– $570, was $899
Google got so many things right with the Pixel 3 XL, starting with how great it looks. Sticking with the same two-tone look as the rest of the series, this one is unique because its rear is made entirely of glass instead of a combination of glass and metal. Despite the material, its surface has a matte finish so it isn’t slippery and it effectively hides fingerprints.
Much like the Pixel 2 XL, the 3 XL’s 6.3-inch display is packed with more than the standard number of pixels, resulting in a more strikingly detailed and boldly beautiful picture. Paired with bottom-firing speakers with the volume loud enough to fill a room, this phone is perfect for watching movies. However, there’s no denying that the notch on top of the screen is ugly and obnoxiously large. Oh, and there’s also no headphone jack. Thankfully, the unit includes USB Type-C earbuds that sound great. There’s also a 35mm headphone jack adapter so you can still use your favorite wired headphones.
Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor with 4GB of RAM, this phone is quick to load, and multitasking is a breeze. And just like the Pixel 2 XL, this phone’s camera system is the primary reason why you should consider buying it. Its single 12.2-megapixel rear camera can capture incredibly detailed and sharp photos that look great in any environment, well-lit or not. And there’s a good reason why the notch in front is so big: There’s a second telephoto lens for taking portrait shots with a beautiful bokeh effect.
The Google Pixel 3 XL is enjoying an even bigger discount of $329, letting you snag one for $570 instead of $899. And if you pay via the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and it gets approved, you’re entitled to an additional $50 off, cutting the Pixel 3 XL’s price down to $520.
– $699, was $899
Finally, we’ve got the Google Pixel 4 XL, Google’s latest flagship phone alongside the Pixel 4. Just like the Pixel 2 XL and 3 XL, this phone stands out in terms of camera quality, although it’s more than just a great device for photography. Let’s start with how good it looks, which is something we’ve come to expect. When most phones strive for a sleeker and glossier look, the Pixel 4 XL opts for a simpler curved geometry, with a frosted Gorilla Glass 5 backside that’s clean instead of the previous dual-tone look. It comes in three colors, cutely named Just Black, Clearly White, and Oh So Orange. On the bottom is a USB Type-C port flanked by immaculate sounding speakers. Looking for a headphone jack? Sorry, but it’s still merrily absent, and here’s another serious letdown: The Pixel 4 XL doesn’t come with wireless earbuds or a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter.
Thankfully, Google got rid of the hideous notch found on last year’s Pixel 3 XL. This time, there’s a sizeable bezel at the top and a slimmer one on the bottom. It isn’t terribly modern, but it’s infinitely preferable to a notch display. The screen has a resolution of 3,040 x 1,440, boasts HDR10 support, and packs plenty of details and beautiful contrasts, although colors don’t pop as much, especially compared to Samsung’s stunning AMOLED screen. The display’s spotlight feature is the 90Hz refresh rate, and it’s fantastic. This means you’re seeing 90 frames per second (FPS), which is more than the traditional 60FPS on most smartphones.
Google certainly didn’t skimp on features. The new Motion Sense function lets you use gestures to control music playback and snooze alarms, while Google’s Face Unlock works even faster than Apple’s Touch ID. You don’t need to swipe the screen up in order to activate Face Unlock as the phone senses when your hand is approaching. Android 10 is an utter delight as it’s incredibly easy to use and filled with lots of fun features. Now Playing is still present, so the phone can tell you the name of songs playing in your surroundings (even without an internet connection). It also has Call Screen, which screens potential robocalls so you don’t have to talk to a telemarketer. A personal favorite of ours is the Recorder app, which provides a real-time transcription of your audio recordings.
Google continues its legacy in photography by having the Pixel 4 XL double as a miniature DLSR camera. This phone’s 12.2-megapixel main lens with an f/1.7 aperture is paired with a 16-megapixel telephoto lens (f/2.4) and offers up to 2x optical zoom. The photos it captures are stunning, a further testament that you don’t need 48-megapixel lenses, a direction many Android phones have veered toward.
The Google Pixel 4 XL normally comes with a hefty $899 price tag, but right now you can get it on Amazon for $699. That’s a whopping $200 worth of savings.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
- Google Pixel 4 XL vs. Pixel 3 XL: Should you upgrade?
- Google Pixel 4 vs. Pixel 4 XL: Is it best to go big or stay small?
- Android 10’s Live Caption is coming to phone calls. Here’s how to use it
- Google Pixel 3a XL is down to just $299 at Amazon for Cyber Monday
- Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL heavily discounted for Prime Day