For starters, its camera records excellent video and it has a faster processor than the Pixel 4. It also has things like Wi-Fi 6, keeping it poised for future technology. Read our Apple iPhone 11 review. The Pixel 4 is a first-rate phone in and of itself. Nifty software features like Soli motion sensing and live audio recording prove useful and the phone's display has a high refresh rate that keeps things looking smooth. Its camera is also excellent. But the Pixel 4's higher price tag, limited storage options and underwhelming battery life mean the iPhone 11 is the clear winner here.
Read our Google Pixel 4 review. Neither the iPhone 11 nor the Pixel 4 flaunt radically different looks from their predecessors.
Google Pixel 4 XL review: Half great, half-baked
Despite their familiar designs, the phones are at least comfortable to navigate with one hand the Pixel 4's smaller frame make it the slightly more comfortable phone to hold , and they're both water resistant. Aesthetically, the iPhone 11 looks better. Its glossy glass backside is elegant and refined. The phone comes in a variety of colors besides black and white, including lavender, mint and red.
And while both handsets have noticeable camera bumps, I like how Apple handled the iPhone 11's dual-camera setup in a neat, translucent layout, compared to Google's unseemly black square, stamped so severely on the Pixel 4's back. The Pixel 4 does have a trick up its sleeve, however, and that's its display. It has a higher pixel density, so it's technically sharper, and it's an OLED screen, which makes black hues a tad inkier and deeper than the iPhone In the same vein though, whites look more "pure" on the iPhone 11 than on the Pixel 4.
Overall though, colors are as vibrant and highly contrasted on both phones, and you won't notice much of a difference between the two unless you held them both side-by-side. Lastly, the Pixel 4's display refreshes at a rate of 90 times a second, while most phones, like the iPhone 11, refresh 60 times a second.
By refreshing more often, things like playing games and scrolling through web pages and apps feel fluid, as if there's a spring in the Pixel's step. Winner : The Pixel 4's 90Hz display makes viewing content liquid smooth. But the iPhone 11's refined design and cheerful colors make it more attractive of the two. Both phones are equipped with excellent cameras and you'd be rightly satisfied if you chose either device for all your picture-taking needs.
But there are certain aspects where one phone edges out the other. The Pixel 4, for instance, takes sharp and vibrant pictures with a strong HDR effect, making some photos appear more cinematic and dramatic. It's digital zoom is also excellent, closing in on faraway objects while keeping them sharp. At the same time though, colors aren't as true-to-life as on the iPhone 11 and images can end up looking overly processed. The iPhone 11's portraits also look softer than the Pixel 4, which can look digitized.
It handles the fallout between the fore- and background more naturally. Skin tones are warmer and more flattering. That being said, the Pixel 4's portraits comes off more crisp and detailed -- so it really is a matter of personal preference. In addition, both phones have specific night modes for low light situations. Again, the HDR effect makes photos from the Pixel 4 appear hyper-real, but it does an amazing job at lighting up dark scenes.
The phone's nifty astrophotography mode also takes impressive shots of starlit skies.
Read more: Night photos on iPhone 11 and Pixel 4: Which is the best low-light camera phone? The Pixel 4's brightness and ambient light requirements for the 90Hz mode are very high, and this seems to require bright overhead light. Just keeping the display on and wandering around my house in the daytime is enough to have it ping-pong between 60 and 90Hz. The very brightly lit bathroom with the overhead lights? That's good enough for 90Hz. The moderately lit bedroom with the lamp in the corner and light coming through the window?
That's going to drop to 60Hz. Even just something like my head casting a shadow over the light sensor from an overhead light is enough to have it drop to 60Hz. You know how auto brightness is totally crazy and unreliable? Now imagine that technology being used to control the refresh rate of your device. It is just all over the place based on the tiniest light fluctuations. It really is detrimental to the experience. It's great that you can turn all these half-measures off, but the overwhelming message from Google is that its 90Hz phone doesn't have a big enough battery to support 90Hz mode all the time.
The display on the Pixel 4 XL looks great in indoor lighting, but it's not very bright, and you might have issues in sunlight. There's actually a hidden high-brightness mode that was recently discovered by XDA. The display has a sunlight mode, but Google chose not to expose it to users.
I would guess this is because it would use a ton of the device's limited battery. This year the Pixel 4 supports "Ambient EQ," a display white balance adjustment that changes based on the surrounding light. It's basically the Google version of Apple's True Tone. Ambient EQ previously appeared on the Google Home Hub , which came with a special hardware color sensor and aggressive automatic brightness and white balance controls.
I was a big fan of the Home Hub implementation, which was so aggressive that it allowed the display to blend into the environment, completely removing the glaring, blasting light that normally comes out of a display panel. The Pixel 4 doesn't have the special color sensor and only lightly tweaks the display based on the surrounding light. It's subtle enough that it doesn't make a huge difference, and I could take it or leave it.
My $1, mistake: Here's why I’m returning the Pixel 4 XL to Google | ZDNet
I'm still very interested in seeing what a Home Hub-style implementation would look like on a smartphone, though. You must login or create an account to comment. Skip to main content. Ron Amadeo. We have the white version, which looks great with the contrasting black accents. In the right lighting conditions, you can begin to make out the components hidden in here.
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Most cutouts are for the 3D face unlock system. Does the display look That's the ambient EQ display mode in action.
Google camera block has two cameras, a 12MP main camera and a 16MP telephoto. In the right lighting, the camera block looks like a surprised robot. The majority of testing was done over the past week on a Pixel 4 XL, which offers better specifications and battery life, although the difference between the devices is mostly just the physical size. Whether you feel that the handset is worth the price will be based on a your love for the Google ecosystem and b how much you are willing to compromise for that experience.
Yet despite having some shortcomings, the new handset is not without its charms. Far from it, in fact. Like previous Pixels, Google's camera technology, which still largely takes place on the back-end thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence, continues to impress. The Pixel 4 series has a premium feel in the hand, haptic feedback is top notch and the latest Android 10 software is super responsive. While some will criticize the basic design, I prefer the simplistic color approach.