I knew I was buying the Google Pixel 4 XL from the second I saw it. I was ready to get back to a Pixel first and foremost, but it also just looked like a phone that met all my requirements for my “perfect” phone. There were many groups of people that nitpicked it for not having the wide-angle camera, not having a massive battery or only having 6gb of ram. What I saw was a phone with a reasonable 90hz display, face unlock that worked, great cameras, and nice sounding speakers. What I also saw though was the project soli that didn’t seem up to the task and the over the top price. It wasn’t a perfect phone but it was my perfect phone and this is why I’m using it one year later.
What I still enjoy about the Pixel 4 XL:
I need to get this out of the way early. Orange is my all-time favorite color. Many people mocked the color and said it was ugly. My eyes immediately lit up when I saw it. It was bright, joyful, and fun. I have a completely clear case on the phone that shows off that beautiful color. I truly think it stood out and hope Google brings out a bright, fun color to the Pixel 5 because that “kind of sage” is “really boring”.
That 6.3 inch 1440p display is still gorgeous. The 90hz is just smooth enough for my uses. It makes scrolling through text nice and smooth but it doesn’t destroy the battery. I’m not a big mobile gamer so I’m not using it to get an advantage in Call of Duty Mobile or PUBG mobile. The only aspect I wish about the display was that it got a little brighter (450 nits would have been really nice), and that I could decrease the resolution. I really don’t think I’d notice a 1080p vs the 1440p display but even so, the option would be nice.
Not only do I love the Pixel experience but I also love software update speed. It’s nice to have security updates early and software updates right as they come out. I also love the small software additions Pixel brings with it. What I’m not loving is the lack of polish in the updates. I’m finding Android 11 to be buggy in some places and some aspects like floating bubbles aren’t polished. Pixels really need to consistently be about polish. Thankfully though the 3 full years of updates mean things should at least continue to be fixed for a while.
Google’s photo processing is still second to none. When I had a non-pixel phone the first thing I would be thinking whether there was a Gcam mod available for my device. I couldn’t install one because I tended to be reviewing the device, however, I always missed the Pixel camera software. The Pixels always took consistently good pictures and the software is easy to understand. Sure it doesn’t have wide-angle, but I enjoy the zoom, and overall, the pictures never disappoint.
What I don’t enjoy about the Pixel 4 XL:
On paper, a 3700mah battery doesn’t seem bad. Once you add in a Snapdragon 855, 90hz 1440p display, and software that isn’t always battery friendly, it’s easy to see why this battery capacity isn’t great. I think the Pixel 5 strikes a good balance of specs to performance. Having a 1440p display isn’t super necessary, the Pixel 5 has a bigger, 4080mah battery, and not to mention a more power-efficient display. I just really wish they had made better choices with the Pixel 4 line.
This phone is just a little too big for me. Honestly, I wish it had been around 6.1 inches. That way it would be more pocketable and not as unwieldy. The weight is nice, and the materials aren’t super slippery without a case (but I still use one). With that being said though the device is just way too tall for my liking these days. I’m glad Google is making a great smaller phone again.
I’m incredibly glad Google is taking this out of the Pixel 5. I turned off the gestures after almost the first month of using the device. I could never get the air gestures to work on purpose and when they did work it was by accident. I use the screen wake up feature which I guess is nice, however, it’s just not that useful. It brings up the price and makes the bezzles bigger. I just wish it had been more polished before rolling it out.
I still love my Pixel 4 XL. Through the ups and downs I’ve had with it I will be keeping it for the time being. I’m not upset I paid $1000 for it (OK, I am a little mad). With that being said though I love this phone. It still serves me well to this day and I have not been tempted to buy a new one for a while.
I’m not saying other companies don’t have really nice devices. Samsung and Oneplus are honestly doing a great job. I’m just not ready to go back out and buy anything. If anything the midrange has my interest right now! I wish the Pixel 5 the best of luck this year. I think it’s a phone that will cause a lot of talk with consumers. I just consider myself fortunate to own this one. Unless Google sends me one, I will probably not be checking out a Pixel 5 this year.