Elsewhere in the experience, I have two distinct issues with the Pixel 4 XL's display. There’s a baseline for “fast enough” on Android phones, and the Pixel 4 more than hits it. Once your phone hits that baseline, the most important performance spec is battery life. The best Google Pixel 4 cases you can buy. It’s also still a good camera, thanks in large part to Google’s software. For the most part, it's actually good — colors, viewing angles and that sweet 90Hz refresh rate are all just fine. The iPhone is noisy as hell and looks like the crop it is, while the Pixel is much more natural. The Pixel 4 XL’s radar tech is still hit-and-miss, with hand waves and swipes ignored as often as they are actually registered. But if it's on sale, it can still be a good buy in 2020. Apple, Huawei, and Samsung have all excelled in phone camera imaging in 2020, but few have come close to matching Google’s excellence in the field of computational photography. The corner radiuses on the screen are larger and actually come closer to matching the radiuses on the phone itself (they even subtly cut off 21:9 video, just like on the iPhone 11 Pro). The Smart Storage optimizations are nice, but it can’t magically extend the ROM beyond its paltry maximum capacity. For all the aforementioned inadequacies in the battery and storage departments, the Pixel 4 XL’s hardware excels in the finer details. The real bottom line is that you shouldn’t base your decision to buy one or the other phone based on the quality of their photos. 6 months in, the Pixel 4 XL doesn't command the same price it did at launch. The Pixel 4 has a new feature that lets you adjust the shadows of HDR+ along with the photos’ overall brightness. The other reason that using the Pixel 4 feels significantly better than other Android phones is the New Google Assistant. The beating heart of the Pixel is the “new” Google Assistant and the Pixel 4 XL makes sure it’s never far away via voice commands, gestures, and Active Edge — squeezable pressure points on the phone’s frame that are sadly missing from the Pixel 5. The second thing Motion Sense does is detect your presence. Google has an impressive knack of creating polarizing products. It's the absolute worst phone I have in terms of picking up fingerprints and gunk; it always looks and feels gross. I still appreciate Google's hardware, and its software has stayed fast and smooth while picking up new features through regular updates. And we know it isn't just about the capacity of the battery, though at 3700mAh it isn't particularly large. The current global pandemic has resulted in face biometrics becoming a feature non grata for smartphones, but there’s no denying that Google’s 3D face unlock system is the only true rival to Apple’s Face ID. The power button has a nice pop of color on it. The camera is still the best around, even without an ultra-wide lens. I know there are only so many things a company can focus on improving year-over-year, but at some point Google needs to move video to the top of that priority list. The reason the Pixel’s face unlock feels so fast is that when you pick up the phone, it simply jumps right into what you were doing before without requiring you to tap or swipe on the screen at all. Speaking of design, the overall look of the Pixel 4 XL remains cool and distinctly Google. I still lament the lack of an ultra-wide camera, and yes its zoom beyond ~3X is easily beaten by the Galaxy S20 series. And Apple caught up on that front. For its main shooter, the Pixel 4 XL relies on the same 12.2MP Sony Exmor IMX363 sensor found in every Pixel phone released since the Pixel 3 in 2018. I’m happy it’s there, but bummed that it’s not also getting applied to portrait mode shots. The Snapdragon 855 chipset is blazing fast, the Adreno GPU handles any game you can throw at it, and the 6GB RAM — finally, mercifully upgraded from 4GB after several generations — prevents apps from always closing in the background just when you need them. The Pixel has its look, and it nails it almost every time. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik. It’s not perfect and it’s not quite real time, but it’s more than enough to catch the gist of whatever you’re watching. But the Pixel 4 has at least five major new hardware-based features: face unlock, Motion Sense, the new Google Assistant, the new 90Hz display, and a second telephoto camera lens. It's a much more subtle gesture than the left-right wave to skip tracks, and a much more useful one for me — I'm far more likely to want to just stop or start my music or podcast than actively switch between tracks.
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