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Style:Pixel 4 XL w/ $200 Gift Card
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Have been using Android over 10 years and carrying Pixels the last 4 years. Love stock Android. I don’t usually buy phones at launch, but I caved this year. Don’t care about the camera, but if this is important for you, look no further. Like it’s predecessors, this phone takes nice photos. Cool design, premium feel, and a modestly updated feature set. Android is still Android after all. The phone does feel good in your hand. Screen is very nice and the 90hz refresh is noticeably smooth. If you’ve been reading reviews, you’ve probably read all this elsewhere.
I do want to like this phone and am going to give it a chance, but I’m going to be merciless if the device doesn’t stand up to reasonable everyday use. What do I mean by this? We bought two phones but I’ve only opened one of them to evaluate. Set up was easy. Connect your devices and less than 10 min later, everything was transferred. Apps installed, then they updated. Ready for testing. WiFi and Bluetooth connection were fast and solid.
One thing I was quite impressed with was the sound. After using earlier pixels with front firing speakers I was a little worried. Nothing to worry about here. Sound quality is very good (full and rich), and the gesture navigation skip forward and back worked for me as well, boom! 4K videos looked good and so did ones shot in 1080p.
Face unlock. This was another “on the fence” item for me. Cool feature and it works, but now they have it all. Our fingerprints from the last generation of phones can now be linked with our faces. Works perfectly in pitch black darkness. Infrared wins.
I still have the same (major) concerns as others. The 2800mah battery is tiny. I am extremely skeptical here, but hope I can be proven wrong. No unlimited original res photo storage. I know Google is in business to make money, but what a chump thing to do. It’s right up there with them not including a headphone adapter or headphones this time around. So this is the price you pay or accessories you forego to have the latest tech. I believe this could have been done better or differently. It’s a flagship phone, or at least that’s what Google is calling it. Congrats Google, you’ve cut just about every corner you possibly could with this device.
What’s next. Let’s see how the device performs in real day-to-day usage. In the car, in a pocket with Bluetooth and the normal stuff we all do with our devices. The TINY subpar battery had better be good. Otherwise 2 of these phones are coming right back to you.
My suggestion, if you didn’t jump on the launch deal is WAIT. The phone is nice, but the potential for disappointment is there. Black Friday and Christmas are just around the corner too.
***Update Daily use
Call and audio quality is good, using a BT headset also good. Streaming music to the cars audio system working well.
Android 10 has a few quirks, but is working and very stable. I haven’t had any performance issues with the device or its OS. Although I had WiFi calling on my 3XL (AT&T) , it will not activate on this device. May I have to call them to see why.
***Update after 3 weeks of ownership
While I am fully sold on the Face Unlock feature, I still miss the finger print reader. Its just something you become used to after years of pixel ownership. I’ve only caught myself trying to unlock the phone about 3 times with my finger. I set up face unlock without glasses, but it works when I put on reading glasses, and also while wearing sun glasses (that one is amazing). One thing people and (google) haven’t thought of. Currently, Face Unlock works even your eyes are closed. Google has said they are going to release an update that addresses this. Ok, so what happens when I’m wearing sunglasses?
Trusted Devices or Places will probably address this. My phone stays unlocked in the car and at home or work. But if you are outside walking around and wearing sun glasses, you might have to PIN into the device or lift your sunglasses. This is still an unknown I guess.
I called AT&T and we determined the IMEI of the phone was not “whitelisted” on their network. Hence the reason why I couldn’t activate Wi-Fi calling. It took them 3 days, but they re-provisioned the SIM (remotely) and added the ID. Wi-Fi Calling works now. If you have this problem with a new phone (any brand) that is compatible with voLTE and Wi-Fi calling, but was not purchased through your carrier (subsidy) there is always a possibility that the phone will not be “whitelisted”. You have to call customer care and be really nice. I got lucky the first time I called, sometimes it takes more than one call. The second device (other P4) which is also with AT&T (but a different plan) will not allow Wi-Fi to be activated either, so this means another call to the carrier. Hand off between Cellular and Wi-Fi or vice versa works 98% of the time. I’ve had a few dropped calls say when I’m walking into work or the house and the phone transitions from Cellular to Wi-Fi. Mostly however, it works and is stable. For those who have had Google Fi, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. Wi-Fi calling capable devices attempt to switch aggressively whenever they can move voice calls to Wi-Fi.
The new Google Assistant is very good. The AI they have built into the core of the OS is impressive. Not needing a cellular or Wi-Fi connection to use it makes it extremely fast. For me, this is probably the most notable upgrade from a Android/hardware perspective.
BIGGEST concern >> the 2800mah battery. Remarkably, the phone lasts all day and well into the next morning without being charged. I had concerns about going to sleep with a low battery and having the phone die during the night and then no alarm in the morning. Well, it hasn’t been a problem. I typically have 17-30% percent remaining in the morning and can easily throw the phone on charge before leaving the house. I have the “always on” display turned on, and allow all notifications to display on my lock screen. I have gesture navigation enabled which keeps the soli radar chip active and looking for gestures above the device when its stationary. I stream videos and play music over Bluetooth in the car. I also use navigation when walking frequently. Normal use and the battery has held up well. This is really a matter of personal preference and your usage. Initial reviews said 3-4 hrs of screen time should be expected. I’m getting 5-6hrs. If you are on your phone for hours a day, or play games, get the XL.
In closing, I have found myself >>inconvenienced<< more than once since the phone did not come with a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter. I have headphones, but have been left to work one handed because I don’t have my BT headset with me. Google > BIGGEST CHUMP MOVE EVER. Really pissed me off. I’ve ordered one. Tired of the inconvenience.
With that said, my original recommendation stands. If you cannot buy the P4 or XL at a serious discount, WAIT. It is not worth the full retail price, regardless of the new “features”. Its over priced for what you get, and Google has cut way too many corners seriously detracting from the value you receive vs. cost of the device at full price. Still 64GB of storage, small 2800mah battery, no adapters, no headphones, no unlimited full res photo storage.. Other people have said this too. Google has had several chances to build and release good devices. They just can’t get it right. You pay for a flagship and there is always a compromise. In the case of the P4, its one after another.
***Final Update 6 weeks of ownership.
I am enjoying the phone and it’s working as I intended. I had Android 10 on my 3XL so no surprises there. As usual Google continues to improve and refine it’s OS. Everything just works. This is why I buy Pixels.
While I like the phone, this years Pixels did not wow me like those of previous years. It’s a phone, it’s running the latest version of Android but that’s about it.
The new AI built into the Google Assistant remains the most noteable “feature” from an upgrade perspective for me. But like before, that’s it. The premium price tag is just disproportional to the value you are receiving.
I am a fan of Android, but this year Apple and OnePlus nailed it from a hardware perspective. Cost to value ratio. They came through where you (Google) failed.
The P4 isn’t even 2 months old and most carriers are practically giving them away. Not to mention Google has substantially increased trade in values for older devices to entice new buyers.
Which leads me to ask.. Google are you giving up on Pixel? Does this mean Samsung and OnePlus devices for everyone next year. Man you guys got some black eyes this year. All avoidable too.
I can say this. Nice phone, but I won’t buy your device at launch next year. Everyone, I urge you to heed these words. Do not pay full price for this device. I’m not saying don’t buy it, but don’t buy it at full price.
The phone is flimsy, under-engineered and not worth the high cost. There are no longer any deals regarding Google cloud storage. Google is only offering three years support for this phone, then they pull the plug. The battery life is a joke. The operating system needs fixes to be secure, especially critical face recognition. I can not imagine why anyone would spend so much for so little. I returned the two that I originally ordered.
October 26, 2019
Very poor battery life- expect about half a work day with moderate usage. Love the gestures feature, super loud speakers, and great camera, but the pixel 4 is just too wimpy. Also surprised at how small it is, since the screen is “bigger” than my last phone. The 16:9 aspect ratio makes the phone significantly narrower, which is a big issue for keyboard use when typing anything and holding the phone vertical. Going to try the 4xl and see how that works.
October 30, 2019
So I was lucky enough to use both phones for a while and here are my thoughts :
The thing you use the most really on any phone now is the screen, the note 10 has an amazing screen & I never expected any phone to have better screen to look at. Well, the Google Pixel did just that! I dunno if it’s the cleaner software or what, but the Pixel’s screen does feel a little nicer.
While the Pixel should have been the clear winner here, it really isn’t! Yes, the front selfie camera, at night or indoor is definitely better, but honestly it feels worse than last year’s Pixel 3 for some reason. The selfies feel a little fake, and the camera angles are weird. The back camera however isn’t much better than the Note, in fact I find myself missing the wide angle camera that I had on my Note, a lot!
On a side note, my wife’s iPhone 11 pro back camera also feels a little better than the Pixel’s, which is also unexpected
Half star off really, not for a bad camera, but for the disappointment, it’s just not as good as expected.
No need to bother comparing here, the Google software is much better, cleaner, smoother & more productive than that of Samsung, hands down the Pixel OS wins here.
Not that much of a difference, the Note 10 does tend to last longer. Both aren’t that great though but the Note will give you, may be, a couple more extra hours, which is appreciated really!
The Note 10 is beautiful! Very slick, all screen display, nice curvy sides, while the pixel does look good overall, specially the back, but the front design is ugly, and I don’t care if they have a radar on the front, it really doesn’t seem to be that much more functional and I would rather have the fingerprint scanner with an all edge to edge display, thinner phone, than the secure face ID with a big top hinge. Another half star off for a lazy design.
The face ID itself is worth mentioning, it’s surprisingly accurate and fast, but so many apps don’t support it yet and having to enter passwords for banks & stuff seems like something that we had left behind, but with the lack of fingerprint and the lack of face id support on so many Android app, there really are no other options, try not to forget those passwords, you’ll be in trouble!
Overall, I think I’ll be keeping my Pixel for a little while longer but I can’t say I’m fully happy with it really.
October 22, 2019
Just avoid the black phone. It is fingerprint magnet. Screen quality of the phone is not good. My pixel XL or pixel 2 XL is far far better. I am Google fan. So bought the phone on 1st day. Now I have to continue with the phone for next 1 year untill they release Pixel 5 XL. Only improvement is camera quality. I am not sure why YouTube reviewers are saying that screen quality is good or Phone is good. I don’t see any reason to buy this phone.
Luv camera bot others caught up with Google. Terrible battery life, low storage just 64 for $800 and no more unlimited cloud backup for your pics and videos on original quality.