They may have been released last year, but Google’s latest phones are still the best the company has produced yet: relatively fast and affordable, with plenty of power, slick software, and awesome cameras. But which one should you go for? Is the regular Pixel 4 the best option or should you go large with the Pixel 4 XL. We’re here to help with a detailed breakdown of the differences between these two phones, so read on to find out exactly how the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL measure up.
The Google Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL both have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB of RAM. That gives them plenty of processing power to run the latest Android games and apps, and makes for seamless and swift multitasking.
Since the Pixel 4 XL has a bigger screen to power you’d expect it to boast a bigger battery and it certainly does. The Pixel 4 makes do with a paltry 2,800mAh capacity, less than last year’s Pixel 3, while the Pixel 4 XL has a 3,700mAh capacity. Even taking the screen sizes into account, the Pixel 4 XL has a bit more stamina than its smaller sibling. Both support fast wired charging via the USB-C ports and Qi wireless charging.
Winner: Google Pixel 4 XL
Design and durability
Google has tweaked its design for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, but they look virtually identical apart from the fact that they’re different sizes. On the front, there’s a sizeable bezel at the top of the screen, but thankfully no notch. The bezel below the screen has been shaved down compared to the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. You’ll still find the power button and volume controls on the right edge and a USB-C port on the bottom. The glass back is now a single color, though the rounded frame is a slightly different tone to provide contrast. The camera module is a rounded square at the top left, which sticks out just a little. There’s no fingerprint sensor as the new Pixels support face unlock. They come in white, black, or a new orange color.
As glass phones with scuffable metal frames, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL are both begging for a protective case. They are IP68 rated, though, which means rain, spills, and even accidental submersion will not cause any lasting damage.
The Pixel 4 screen is 5.7 inches, compared to 6.3 inches in the Pixel 4 XL. Both have a higher than usual refresh rate of 90Hz which makes everything look that little bit smoother. They’re also both OLED screens offering great contrast and good legibility in most conditions. But the other advantage that the 4 XL has is a higher resolution, which translates to 537 pixels per inch, compared to 444 pixels per inch for the Pixel 4.
Winner: Google Pixel 4 XL
Perhaps the biggest upgrade for the Pixel 4 range is the move to a dual-lens setup. The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL combine a 12-megapixel, 28mm wide-angle lens with a 16-megapixel, 14mm telephoto lens in the main camera. There’s a single-lens, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens on the front. The new telephoto lens enables you to zoom in on subjects with far more clarity than before. It offers 2x optical zoom, but using a hybrid approach combined with Super Res Zoom on the software side it can go further.
Google is also offering Live HDR+, so what you see on screen is an accurate representation of the final image. There are also new Dual Exposure controls, so you can manipulate brightness and shadows with different sliders, White Balancing for truer colors, and a dedicated Astrophotography mode for shooting the stars. You’ll also find improvements to existing modes in the Pixel 3 camera, such as Night Sight and Portrait Mode.
The Pixel 4 and 4 XL have exactly the same camera setup front and back, so there’s no separating them here.
Software and updates
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You’ll find Android 10 with a Google touch running on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL and it’s the slickest, most elegant version of Android around. It’s easy to use, packed with useful features, and it feels refined.
Naturally, both these phones will get updates and new software features from Google quickly, before other Android phones. If you’re the sort that installs beta software, that means the latest developer build of Android — right now that’s the first beta of Android 11. No, it won’t have a fun name like Jellybean or Gingerbread, but it will bring new features. We’ll learn more at Google I/O shortly; for now, you’re fine with the existing OS.
Nevertheless, Google continues to update these phones. In a December 2019 “Pixel feature drop,” Google improved some of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL’s best features, including the A.I.-powered Call Screen, background blur in photos, and Duo video calling. It’s nice to see these features continue to improve. They’re also guaranteed to get swift and regular security patches.
Google Pixel 4 | (Don’t) hold the phone: new features coming to Pixel 4
Both the Pixel 4 and the 4 XL come already loaded with several new features that’ll leave you feeling excited. Some of them include things like audio assistance—users can turn the volume down on their device by using a specific hand gesture. A person could also stop an alarm or even answer a call through the Motion Sense feature. This technology allows users to open their smart device without punching in a passcode or waiting for the phone to read their fingerprint. Instead, the device employs facial recognition software to recognize a user and unlock for them. The newest update for Google Assistant comes with some new features; The virtual assistant can now react to several commands in a row, without users having to say “Hey, Google” for every single command. The phone also utilizes tech called “Active Edge,” which allows users to squeeze both sides of the Pixel to talk to Google Assistant.
Price and availability
When the phone launched, the Pixel 4 reached about $799, while the 4 XL was about $899. After releasing several discounts and deals, Google dropped the price for both devices; the Pixel 4 has a price tag of $499 and the 4 XL costs $599. That said, in the smartphone industry, this price drop is actually a relatively small amount. You’ll save $100, but that’s pretty much it. Both phones are available from Google or any other popular provider.
Overall winner: Google Pixel 4 XL
Side-by-side, the Pixel 4 and the 4 XL function very similarly. They have a superior processing power, exciting features, and comparable software. The biggest differences you’ll notice are the 4 XL’s larger screen and extended battery life. For that reason, we chose the Pixel 4 XL as our winner, although the Pixel 4 is still an excellent phone and a fantastic choice for anyone who likes a smaller phone or wants to save an extra $100.
The Pixel Watch is Google's answer to the Apple Watch. Taking Google's distinctive design ethos and applying it to the smartwatch, it flaunts a Zen-like minimalistic form that looks almost like the archetype of a traditional circular watch. Yes, it may not be the most adventurous wearable out there in terms of its aesthetics, yet it has a cleanness and simplicity that comes across as highly tasteful.
Of course, not everyone may appreciate this kind of safe classicism. However, for those who want something a little more striking there's a simple solution: a new band. To this end, we've compiled a list of the best Google Pixel Watch bands and straps you can buy right now. With examples veering from the comfortable to the sporty and luxurious, there should be something for nearly every taste.
One of the most head-spinning aspects about buying a new smartphone is choosing the right case to keep it safe. The Google Pixel 7, fresh off the assembly line, is no exception. When choosing a case, be sure to take your lifestyle into consideration. Generally, you'll try to balance protection with a slim form factor that does not add bulk or weight to your phone. If you're into active sports, hiking, or cycling, you might consider a more rugged case that offers extra protection against drops and impact.
If you mainly move your smartphone out of the house for routine shopping, walks around the neighborhood, and commuting to the office, a lighter and less obtrusive case might be more appropriate. Don't forget about style. Perhaps you love the color and exterior look of your phone so much that you're loath to cover it but rather prefer a transparent case. Or conversely, you may seek a decorative or eye-popping design. All those options are available by themselves or in combination. We've chosen a few cases from our favorite brands to help you get started.
Now that the Google Pixel 7 is finally here, fans who rushed out to pick it up are looking for accessories for it. While it's plenty of fun to find a case that matches your personal style, it's incredibly important to pick up a screen protector for it to keep the display safe from potential cracks and chips. Smartphones have gotten increasingly more durable over the years, but their screens are still some of their most vulnerable areas, so grabbing a screen protector can be the difference between needing a replacement device and simply changing out the protector.
The Pixel 7 is uniquely sized, so unfortunately, you won't be able to use screen protectors that are compatible with other Pixel models. Here are the best screen protectors for the Google Pixel 7.