Based on materials from Android central
Google is not a company that gives users big updates every year, and generally doesn't want to impress with a set of features, but there are many improvements to be expected as you move from the Pixel 3 XL to the Pixel 4 XL. Speaking of specs, the upgrade will get you the new, faster and more efficient Snapdragon 855 platform, coupled with 6GB of RAM, which will help you multitask now and in the future, as opposed to the 'leaner' variant. 4 GB on 3 XL model. The battery has also been increased to 3700 mAh, which will allow the device to live a little longer away from the power source.
The hardware remains typical of Google, with only minor changes from the 3 XL. You are offered new colors and metal frames, which should affect the comfort of the grip – the device looks and feels great in the hand, but the same could be said about the 3 XL. More dramatic changes have been made to the display, which has kept the same size, but got rid of the unsightly notch. And more importantly, it added brightness, colorfulness and smoothness due to the refresh rate of 90 Hz, which allows running applications to look even more impressive on the screen.
Above the display sits the Project Soli sensor, which allows for Motion Sense gestures that were not present in any of the previous 'pixels'. At the time of the release of the device, there are very few opportunities for using this technology, which so far only allows, by waving your hand over the device, to control calls, alarms and playback of media content. But in this area, Google has the potential to make additions and improvements in the future. This is not to say that this particular feature could be the reason for buying the Pixel 4 XL, but it certainly has a novelty effect.
In terms of camera specs, the main camera looks familiar, but Google has made significant headway in improving the quality of shooting. The Pixel 4 XL's camera outperforms the 3 XL in most scenarios, even just in auto mode, and that's impressive. There is also a telephoto module, due to which improved shooting using zoom and portrait mode is available. Of course, with software updates for the camera, the Pixel 3 XL may and will certainly have some improvements, but the Pixel 4 will always be ahead of its predecessor in photography.
|Google Pixel 4 XL
|Google Pixel 3 XL
|6.3 '' OLED
3040 × 1440 (19: 9)
|6.3 ‘’ OLED
2960 × 1440 (18.5: 9)
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Pixel Neural Core
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Pixel Visual Core
|Main camera 1
|12.2 MP, 1.4 μm, f / 1.7, optical stabilization, phase detection autofocus
|12.2 MP, 1.4 μm, f / 1.8, optical stabilization, phase detection autofocus
|Main camera 2
|16 MP, 1.0 μm, f / 2.4
|Front camera 1
|8 MP, f / 2.0, fixed focus
90 degree lens
|8 MP, f / 1.8, autofocus 75-degree lens
|Front camera 2
|8 MP, f / 2.2, fixed focus 97-degree lens
|Capacitive fingerprint scanner
|18W USB-C PD
|18W USB-C PD
|160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2 mm 193 g
|158 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm
Despite all these improvements, there are areas where Google has stayed in place or perhaps even lost ground. The options for the amount of internal memory remained the same – 64 or 128 GB, the speed of regular and wireless charging did not change. Instead of a pair of 75 and 97-degree lenses, the front-facing camera has one 90-degree, and this lonely camera has no autofocus.
And perhaps the biggest user experience change with the Pixel 4 XL is that the fingerprint sensor is gone. The new face unlock system is safe and fast, but in order for it to allow your apps to be unlocked, their developers need to update to the latest biometrics-enabled APIs, while the vast majority don't. It can take weeks or even months for all of your most used apps to face unlock. In turn, the Pixel 3 XL continues to use a standard fingerprint sensor that supports any app. And this is already a serious argument against the upgrade to the Pixel 4 XL.
So, should you upgrade to the Pixel 4 XL?
An annual update within a single line of phones usually looks pretty straightforward. Pixel 4 XL has new features, updated specifications, an improved display, and a redesign of the device. But the philosophy behind the new Pixel has remained the same, maintaining the same user experience in software with the addition of a few completely new features. If you love the way your Pixel 3 XL looks and works, and you enjoy pure Google software but feel a little dated, then the 4 XL is for you.
But since you will have to pay a lot of money for a new experience, it makes sense to think about whether the spending is justified. The new face unlock system, improved camera, new hardware and improved features are all good, but, for example, the problem with the face unlock system can be a powerful argument against buying. The bottom line is how much you enjoy the current Pixel experience and how much you are willing to pay to keep it, while receiving relatively minor improvements in many features.
- Improved display with a refresh rate of 90 Hz
- Main camera with telephoto lens
- Bigger battery
- New processor and more RAM
- Improved way to unlock by face
- Same memory options as 3 XL
- Large bezels around the display
- One front camera
- Face unlock is not compatible with all apps
- Works great on Android 10
- Will be supported for several more years
- Decent 'iron'
- Still current processor
- Cameras still capture great
- Battery is weak for this size
- 4 GB of RAM – which means performance will drop
- Display does not meet Late 2019 standards