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Google Pixel 4XL review
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Google Pixel 4XL review

by Matthew John AlexOctober 28, 2019
Overview
Display

5.7-inch OLED

Processor

Snapdragon 855

GPU

Adreno 640

RAM

6GB

Storage

64GB/128GB

Battery

3,700mAh

Front Camera

8.1MP

Back camera

12.2MP + 16MP

Software

Android 10

Headphone jack

No

SD expansion

No

Finally, we have the 2019 Flagship by Google to wrap up the year as usual but fans are not really happy. The Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL came out as leaked over the months with no changes in design and we are expecting Google to give us a booming smartphone of the year to stand out from Samsung S10, NOTE 10, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, iPhone 11, and lastly the OnePlus 7T.

The devices are great looking with the simple design adopted which looks natural and comfortable to hold, the things missing out on the Google Pixel 4 and 4XL are still the same issues found on its predecessors and we were really hoping for Google to do something about it on the Pixel 4 and 4XL this year but it appears that this isn’t the year for changes and to state a fact, Google has the best engineers in the world but I don’t seem to get what’s happening.

Google are meant to have the best smartphones in the world because its Google.

On the Google Pixel 3 and 3XL was a problem of poor battery performance, the Pixel 2XL had an issue with its display and the first had a not so good build quality, so it appears that Google is used to producing smartphones with at least an issue every year which is bad because while others manufacturers are stepping up their game in the market with good battery life, Google is happy about the low battery performance and maybe, just maybe, they don’t care about customers feedback.

let’s get to the full review of the Google Pixel 4XL

Google Pixel 4XL DESIGN                         

The design is quite very simple and that’s what makes it better with the matte finish back cover which feels very comfy when held and safe from slippery issues like its predecessors. The majority carries the vote as the saying goes, so many love it and others feel it sucks. The camera bump design has been adopted by some manufacturers on their flagship device and now we have it on the Pixel 4XL and Pixel 4.

Google Pixel 4XL review 32

Google Pixel 4XL is covered with a Gorilla Glass 5 on both ends of the device and the rounded matte black aluminum rail makes it look so…. you know what I mean. The matte finish frame is perfect for grip and the design makes it less slippery, Pixel 4XL weighs 193g and 75.1 x 160.4 x 8.3mm in dimension, there is IP68 dust and water-resistance, and an active edge for google assistant. The devices are coming in three color designs; white, orange and black with a glossy back.

To the front, the big forehead is the first thing you are going to notice about the Google Pixel 4XL and Pixel 4 which you may like if you are not a fan of notch screen, for me, I am a big fan of notch. The Pixel 3XL had a notch display with big chin and now it there is no notch and we have a bigger forehead, that’s weird of Google and their reason will be understood later in this review.

The back is clean and smooth, with no special design and goodbye to physical fingerprint nor is there a hidden sensor beneath the screen to unlock the devices.

Google Pixel 4XL DISPLAY

Google has worked on the display and has given us the “all good” 90Hz refresh rate QHD+ OLED display, a screen size of 5.7-inch, 2280 x 1080p resolution with ~444ppi (pixel density), 19:9 aspect ratio, HDR supported, and always on display just what we have on Samsung flagship devices.

Google Pixel 4XL review 33

The display is one of the good things the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL has to offer, with 90Hz refresh rate, users get a premium display experience but it drops to 60Hz when playing games that don’t support or require that level of display.

Well, I know you might have a question about the power life when on 90Hz, well I feel it should be turned off in the settings as battery performance is always an issue with Google phones, so when turned off, the device doesn’t consume as much battery as it would when on 90Hz display.

Another feature is the Ambient EQ which lets users adjust the color and brightness of the Pixel 4 and 4XL display to fit the environment they find themselves. There are up to three color settings for both devices; boosted, adaptive and natural. The display doesn’t really raise any concern like the formal, so it a pass for Google Pixel 4 and 4XL.

Google Pixel 4XL PERFORMANCE

Google has finally decided to add extra RAM (2GB) to make it performance higher but to be honest, I don’t know if I should congratulate Pixel lovers or just zip it up but I really can’t, like I feel it should have been an 8GB of RAM, not 6GB. The Pixel 4XL is a flagship and it android, not IOS, I mean all the android flagship are equipped with at most 8GB of RAM and Google is giving its users 6GB for that price, I’ll say not cool.

Google Pixel 4XL review 34

Another disappointment is the Snapdragon 855 when they could have done better by equipping the Google Pixel 4XL with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ which has a higher performance than the 855, the + sign is something but don’t misquote me, I didn’t say it bad that they equipped the devices with Snapdragon 855, I just felt they could have done better. The RAM upgrade and the processor should help the Pixel 4XL and Pixel 4 run smoothly than it formal that often experiences a bit of lag when gaming and multitasking.

There are two versions of the devices when it comes to storage; 64GB and 128GB and there is no room for expansion using an SD card, an additional $100 (35,000 Naira) has to be paid to obtain the 128GB version and mind you, there is no RAM upgrade like what we have on other flagships that come in pairs, users are stuck with 6GB, and according to Androidauthority, Google guarantees updates for at least two more years.

Why the big forehead on Google Pixel 4XL and Pixel 4

The forehead was specially designed to house a series of sensors including the front camera and the big one among the sensors is the radar and infrared which functions is are called motion sense

Google Pixel 4XL review 35

The Motion Sense lets users navigate and perform simple functions on the Pixel 4XL and 4 without having to touch the devices, like snoozing of alarms, skip a song and picture, silence an incoming call and all you have to do is just swipe your palms on top of the devices. The Motion Sense is also responsible for the face unlocking feature and Google is pretty confident in it as they ditched the physical and in-display fingerprint sensor just to push it to the crowd.

And according to Google, it is the fastest and best unlocking feature in the market and yeah, it seems so. The phone senses when it is picked and before you know it, your Pixel 4 or Pixel 4XL is unlocked without having to press the power button or position your face well which is really cool. The swiping of hands to perform simple tasks like the ones mentioned above can be quite frustrating as there is no short tutorial as to how users are supposed to do it right, and it not accurate so you might want to forget they ever included something like that.

Google Pixel 4XL CAMERA

The Google Pixel 4XL camera layout looks just like that of the iPhone 11 PRO with a bump that houses the cameras but the only difference is the dual-camera setup not triple like the one on iPhone 11 PRO. Google smartphones are always about photography, and they have maintained that even with a single camera and pushing it using their software engineering to make the best out of it.

Google Pixel 4XL review 36

We have a primary camera of 12.2MP sensor with f/1.7 large aperture, 77-degree FoV, OIS + EIS and PDAF which makes it stand out among other flagships like the iPhone 11 PRO. The camera surpassed that of Apple iPhone 11 PRO but lacks In the area of having the third camera which is the ultra-wide lens, the ability of not being able to get full-scale picture or take large group picture is turn off and when fans complained about not including the ultra-wide lens on the devices, Google response was that the 2x Telephoto lens is fun but many feels the third camera could have made the photography experience on the Pixel 4XL and Pixel 4 better.

The 2x Telephoto lens is a 16MP sensor with f/2.4 aperture, 52-degree FoV, OIS, EIS, and PDAF. All this is to lets users zoom in-out on objects without shading off much quality, it also helps in taking a long distant shot, and finally, it helps achieve better portrait shots.

Another incredible feature is the ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY, this feature is designed to bring out the best out of night shots. I’ll give Google a big thumb up for this feature like this is another level of photography that will blow your mind “Davido’s voice”. The astrophotography takes up to 16-15-seconds-long exposures and then merges them to create pretty cool photos of the galaxy, and when I say galaxy, I meant the sky but let’s think of it, wouldn’t it be better with the presence of the wide-angle camera to take the full content of the sky that you wish to cover in your shots? Well, am just saying.

Google Pixel 4XL review 37
Sample photo: not edited

Another fantastic feature is the HDR+ which lets users see what their photo will look like before even taking the shots. Confusing right? Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL will show its user the processing before actualizing it which is something that can’t be done with a native camera found on other smartphones.

This feature gives access to users to edit or tweak the look of their shots before taking t, in a lame man’s language, it lets you edit the shot before taking it. We have a machine learning algorithm on both devices that enhances the output of the lens of the by maintaining white balance, HDR improvement, producing detailed selfie-and yes, it makes the portrait shot look so good using the 2x telephoto lens.

To the front is an 8MP sensor with f/2.0, 9, and 90-degree FoV, we also have the ultimate super face unlock system which uses NIR flood emitter, NIR dot projector and 2 x NIR cameras which makes it the fastest in the market at the moment. The facial data collected by the sensors are not sent anywhere in the cloud but rather stored locally on the Titan M chip pixel security.

While stating that it is the fastest out there, even faster than the highly praised iPhone 11, it is also the worst security measure to be taken by Google and here is why? Google has designed the face unlock system in such a way that it can be unlocked while the user’s eyes are closed, meaning if you are asleep or unconscious, your Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL can be unlocked.

Another issue that we found out is the inability of logging into apps that requires biometric authentications like your banking apps (Zenith Bank, Access bank, etc.), and social app like WhatsApp which supports biometric security, so, therefore, users are left with imputing their PIN at all time until developers update their apps to work with face unlock system using the catch-all API for biometric authentication which is based on Android 10.

Google pixel 4xl

Google Pixel 4XL BATTERY

We are here again, it actually tiring to keep facing the same issue every year with the Pixels which are expected to be the best mobile phones ever because Google made them. Google has shown that they don’t care about what their fans want and are not planning on improving on that arear but rather build the kind of smartphone that want.

The power efficiency is always poor with the Pixels and we thought it would be worked on in the Pixel 2, and here we are with the Pixel 4 and 4XL with nothing done. Google Pixel 4XL comes with a 3,700mAh which is considered a low battery capacity because of its 90Hz display that consumes battery life and let’s still say it can be overlooked because it can be changed to 60Hz in the settings but what about the radar which is always at alert for fast face unlock.

The fault doesn’t just end there people, Google has made it  their primary objective or goal to always ship all their devices with an 18W/2A charging adapter where all other manufacturers have upgraded to shipping their flagship with 25W, 30W, 40, 50W and even some went extra length of giving their users a whooping 65W charging brick to enhance battery life.

There is actually an adaptive battery feature that learns about the way a user uses the Pixel 4XL and then tries to improve battery automatically but the result doesn’t guarantee a good battery life in the long run. There is a Qi wireless charging with 10W through the Pixel stand and a USB Type-C with USB-PD 2.0.

Google PIXEL 4XL SOFTWARE

The devices are running on the Android 10 OS with a promising 3 years OS and security updates which sound like a good one but who knows where hardware would have taken us within those 3 years when users are stuck with a second choice processor, 6GB RAM and 64GB/128GB internal storage with no room for expansion forcing users to stream everything and save everything in the cloud.

Google Pixel 4XL review 38

There is a new Google assistant with a language processing feature which needs to be worked on ASAP because if you are business person or a student who uses G-suite, well it sad to break it to you that the new Google assistant won’t work with the G-suite on board and the three Nav key on, i.e. it can only work when you are on gesture navigation mode and without the G-suite app but the issue of the G-suite has been announced to be worked on.

The most interesting part of the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL software is the recorder app that uses the language processing feature to transcribe a user voice or speech, sounds cool right? Yeah, I know. This is close to being 100% accurate and it is also searchable, i.e. a user can record his/her voice as a note and then search for a particular phrase or words to get where it was being said in the voice record.

Seen this before, so what’s the big deal?

Well, the big deal is that this feature is done locally without internet connection and the transcription is done as you are recording and it pretty fast, plus the content can be saved on Google Drive as a text or audio. The experience of operating on Android 10 is great and smooth on the Pixel 4XL.  

Google Pixel 4XL PRICE

Google Pixel 4XL price in Nigeria is 325,000 Naira for the 64GB internal storage version, Google also charges 36,000 Naira extra for the 128GB ROM version.

Bottom Line

Google Pixel 4 and 4XL are great phones to have with several functions to offer but the persistent issue with the battery is a total turn off and with the price, so much more could have been done. The cameras are great but an ultra-wide lens could have made it better.
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About The Author
Matthew John Alex
I am the founder and CEO of Naijatech360 and Naijanews360, I am a computer scientist with passion and love for blogging (Mainly Tech). I love publishing and discussing new technological innovations with friends so I decided to tell the world too.
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