The Pixel 4 and larger Pixel 4 XL follow Google’s tradition of high-end flagship phones that run the absolute latest version of Android without any other software getting in the way.
The Pixel 4 models are the first to be available from sources other than Google. You can buy them from every major wireless phone carrier and electronics stores like Best Buy. This review is on a Pixel 4 XL from AT&T.
There have been reports of poor battery life and a lag in opening settings and apps. This reviewer did not experience any.
There also were no wow moments, but it was a solid phone and an improvement over the Pixel 3 XL. The Pixels overall are among the best, and the design changes (no notch, losing the fingerprint reader, single color rear cover) worked, although the Just Black model really picked up fingerprints easily.
The Pixel 4 and 4 XL start at $799 and $899 for the 64GB version. Add $100 to each to double the storage to 128GB.
Other manufacturers have been slow in rolling out new versions of Android, as they have to make sure their own software is compatible before they can release the upgrades.
The biggest design change from the 3 XL was losing the screen notch. Instead, Google dropped the screen down on the face of the phone about a quarter-inch so the selfie camera is now above the screen. Users are missing out on the dog ears (the tiny bits of screen on either side of the notch), but it gives the Pixel 4 XL a much cleaner look.
Google eliminated the fingerprint reader in favor of facial unlock, and after a few days, you get used to it.
Alongside the selfie camera on the phone’s forehead is a new Motion Sense radar sensor that is used to sense approaching hands to wake the phone before you pick it up, which seriously speeds up the face unlock feature. This is easily the favorite feature of the Pixel 4 XL.
Pixel phones have been ahead of the curve when it comes to cameras and the Pixel 4 XL keeps the tradition as well, but what really makes them stand out is very good software behind the lenses to help process the pictures, including Night Sight, which uses long exposures and multiple photos to lighten very dark scenes.
You can also preview Live HDR+, (high dynamic range) photos on the screen before you shoot the picture.
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