Google Pixel 4 vs. Pixel 4 XL: Is it best to go big or stay small?

The latest Google phones are the best the company has produced yet, 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.

Specs

Google Pixel 4 Google Pixel 4 XL
Size 147.1 × 68.8 × 8.2 mm (5.7 × 2.7 × 0.3 inches) 160.4 × 75.1 × 8.2 mm (6.3 × 2.9 × 0.3 inches)
Weight 162 grams (5.71 oz) 193 grams (6.8 ounces)
Screen size 5.7-inch AMOLED 6.3-inch AMOLED
Screen resolution 2,280 × 1,080 pixels (444 pixels per inch) 3,040 × 1,440 pixels (537 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 10 Android 10
Storage space 64GB, 128GB 64GB, 128GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM 6GB 6GB
Camera Dual 12-megapixel and 16-megapixel telephoto rear, 8MP front Dual 12-megapixel and 16-megapixel telephoto rear, 8MP front
Video 4K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 120 fps, 720p at 240 fps 4K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 120 fps, 720p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor No No
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 2,800mAh

Fast Charging (18W)

Qi wireless charging

3,700mAh

Fast charging (18W)

Qi wireless charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon
Colors Just Black, Clearly White, Oh So Orange Just Black, Clearly White, Oh So Orange
Price $799 $899
Buy from Google Google
Review score 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Pixel 4 and 4 XL Hands on" width="720" height="480" />
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

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 pixel 4 xl features price specs release date hands on 2019 event
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

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.

Winner: Tie

Display

Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL Hands on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

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

Camera

Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL Hands on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

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.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL Hands on
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. They’re also guaranteed to get swift and regular security patches.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Google has included some really interesting special features in the Pixel 4 and 4 XL. The Motion Sense camera allows you to wave your hand at your Pixel to skip tracks when playing music, turn the volume down, or gesture to stop an alarm or incoming call. There’s also a new secure face unlock feature, which makes it quick and easy to unlock your phone simply by showing your face. The new version of Google Assistant is capable of responding to back-to-back commands without you having to say “Hey, Google” every time, and both phones also have the Active Edge feature which allows you to squeeze your Pixel’s sides to launch the Google Assistant. While there’s a lot here, it’s exactly the same on both phones.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The Google Pixel 4 starts at $799, while the Pixel 4 XL starts from $899. You can buy them unlocked directly from Google or from any major U.S. carrier. They’re available for pre-order now, and ship on October 24.

Overall winner: Google Pixel 4 XL

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are essentially the same phone, just in two different sizes. They boast the same processing power, the same special features, and the same slick software. What wins the comparison for the Pixel 4 XL is the extra screen real estate and the extra battery capacity. If you prefer a smaller phone, or you don’t want to shell out an extra $100, then the Pixel 4 may be the better choice for you, but we would pick the Pixel 4 XL.

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