Google Pixel 4 XL Review: Streaks Of Brilliance, Pure Android

Google Pixel 4 XL Battery Life And Review Summary

Futuremark's PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Battery test takes workloads from the benchmark itself (image and video editing, email and web browsing) and scripts them in a loop that runs until battery levels drop below 20 percent. This test is more real-world in terms of its setup, because we calibrate display brightness on all devices to 200 Lux with meters, and the test then locks that display brightness in for the duration. In these tests, Bluetooth connectivity and Location services are disabled, though Wi-Fi and mobile data is left enabled as part of a traditional use case workload.

Google Pixel 4XL Battery Life Test
You may have heard that the new Google Pixel 4 (the smaller version with 5.7-inch display and 2800 mAh battery) has battery life issues, but the Pixel 4 XL with its 3700 mAh battery does not. Though we re-ran this test multiple times, it was surprising actually how well the Pixel 4 XL held up versus other flagship Android phones, and this was with its 90Hz refresh forced on for testing. Display brightness was still calibrated to our standard requirement to level the playing field, but regardless, the Pixel 4 XL hung tough, pulling down our second best battery life score in this test. We had technical issues with getting the Galaxy Note 10+ to finish this test unfortunately, but you can see the Note 9 in the top spot. We would offer anecdotally that the Pixel 4 XL holds up well in real-world use cases as well, offering day-long up time and then some, with its 18 Watt fast charge capability making for very quick top-offs as well. The Pixel 4 XL may not charge quite as fast as the OnePlus 7 Pro or 7T but it's still satisfyingly quick.

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Google's new Pixel 4 XL ticks many of the check boxes that most mainstream smartphone consumers and even some power users look for in a top tier device. It's powered by a robust Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile processor platform, sports a clean, lightweight operating system that is also easy to navigate with one hand; and yes gesture control and Motion Sense gestures work well if you give them time to get used to. These are not just gimmicks. The Pixel 4 XL is also IP68 water and dust resistant and finally supports wireless charging, as well as snappy 18 Watt fast charging. Finally, as has been the case with previous generation Google Pixel phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL sport what's arguably the best smartphone camera setup in the business currently, especially in Portrait and Night Sight modes. 

However, all of this technological refinement and innovation comes at a cost. The Google Pixel 4 XL starts at $900, and that's with only 64GB of storage on board. We had a 128GB model in for testing that, now that it's well lived-in, has 56% of its storage capacity consumed. We might be power users here, but a lot of mainstream consumers are shutter bugs and social media share-crazy types. So the question may also be, at $1K for the 128GB variant of the Pixel 4XL, will 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM be enough? Or if you opt for the $799 - $899 smaller Google Pixel 4 (64 and 128GB pricing, respectively), will battery life and storage suit you enough for the price. We can't comment definitively on battery life of the Pixel 4 (just the 4 XL) since we didn't test it, but at least you still have 18 Watt quick charging at your disposal there for convenient, fast top-offs. 

google pixel 4 family
Find A Google Pixel 4 XL or Pixel 4 On Amazon

Ultimately, there's a lot to love about Google's new Pixel 4 XL and the smaller Pixel 4 as well, but like most things in life there are trade-offs to consider here. Hats-off to Google for continuing to innovate with Motion Sense, great new camera features and technology (as well as shot quality), and top-notch general performance as always with a whistle-clean Android 10 OS setup. And there are further refinements and features forthcoming for Pixel 4 / 4 XL early adopters as well. As is typically the case with Google Pixel devices, you'll also get the latest Android software and platform innovations before virtually any other Android device manufacturer, if you decide to rock a Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL.

There's a lot of upsides here with the new Pixel 4 family and they're really great new Made by Google devices. Just make sure to check our Hot/Not rundown below to see if anything from your personal priority list might be missing at these premium price points. 
hothardware recommended

  • Pure Android Refined
  • Great Performance
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Fantastic Camera Performance
  • Good Ergonomics And Design
  • Beautiful 90Hz Display
  • Wireless Charging And IP68
  • Pricey @ $899 For Only 64GB
  • Only 6GB Of RAM
  • No Fingerprint Sensor
  • No Headphone Jack
  • No Ultra-Wide Camera
  • Video Limited To 4K30

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