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Google Pixel 4 XL Review

After meeting it in New York City with the launch of Pixel 4, the Pixel 4 XL is finally in our hands, announced the new Google phone along with other products like Pixelbook Go, Pixel Buds and the new Nest Wifi and Nest Mini.



Although Pixel phones have become a trend, Google does not seek to compete with technical specifications or gross power as other companies do but rather aims to diversify through unique hardware and software on the market, such as cameras and security. Undoubtedly a feature on Pixel phones. Pixel 4 is no exception.

On paper, the Pixel 4 XL features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, combined with 6GB of RAM intended to solve Pixel 3 memory management performance issues, and incorporates a new telephoto rear sensors and many front sensors that allow for new features like Motion Sense and Face Unlock.

Does this depend on the iPhone 1

1 Pro? Let's see

Design


I have mixed feelings about the Pixel 4 design because, for the first time since the launch of Google phones, they left their signature dual-tone design line to switch to a single tone behind Pixel 4 and Pixelbook Go. I much prefer the double tone, it gives it a tactile touch with the company's products that we can find in devices such as Pixelbook, Google Home, and previous Pixel phones.



But leaving the above, the Pixel 4 is undoubtedly the best built Google phone to date, its design in matte colors both on the sides and on the rear glass gives it a sensitive and unique touch, as well as a sense of security when holding it in a very good hand. Weight is also good.


The edges in all versions are matte black, accompanied by a button with orange and the white back (bright orange and black are the other two colors), which provides a very nice contrast and seems to be the new design line of Google products.

On the right we have the power and volume buttons, on the left is the space for our nano sim, at the top there is a microphone and at the bottom is the USB-C port, one of the speakers and more microphones Yes, for Of course, only one of the holes sounds.

I consider the matte body, solid and firm in the hand, is a great change for the good within the high range, which in recent years has been characterized by being bright, shiny and a little oily. The back only had the camera module and the company logo, so they decided to remove the fingerprint reader.


Finally we have the front, leaving behind all kinds of notches to place an upper edge full of sensors that provide space for infrared for Face Unlock, radar for Motion Sense, the front camera, and speaker. The fact is that after 5 minutes of looking at the screen, I completely forgot the top frame, was it really necessary to remove it to favor the design of a device?

Screen and media

The early years for displays Pixel phones were poor, Pixel 1 and 2 suffered enough from having flammable displays and unusual colors, although the Pixel 3 solved these problems, Pixel 4 had them forgotten by incorporating a large 6.3-inch OLED display into a 19: 9 ratio, with excellent color rendering and a 90 Hz refresh rate, which they call Smooth Display - smooth display. Its resolution is 1440 x 3040 pixels, slightly higher than the rest of the current high range.

This technology basically allows the information on the screen to update faster when interacting with it, so we can see that everything is more fluid. This is the first OLED with these features that I've tested on a smartphone and I don't want to go back to a screen with a lower refresh rate. I assure you that the next iPhone Pro will include this feature.

Although it can reach higher levels of brightness, it is not a screen that we cannot see when we are in broad daylight and most of the time there will be no problem there. Initially, the 90Hz refresh rate only worked when the phone was 75% or brighter, but with the November update, the Smooth Display worked for hours.


We also have Ambient EQ, a display function that will adapt different shades to their colors depending on the ambient light in the area we are in, and yes, the intention is similar to what Apple offered the iPad and iPhone the True Tone. , but the result was a big disappointment because although there was, I didn't notice much difference, just noticeable changes between the natural or saturated color settings. Google has promised that this feature will be improved by a software update.

Multimedia

In terms of multimedia capabilities, the Pixel 4 XL screen is capable of reproducing HDR content that allows videos and images to be viewed as better, colors, and greater clarity. The default music player is Music Music, which in addition to being a streaming service allows you to play files stored on the device; while the local player for photos and videos was Google Photos, which unfortunately no longer offered us unlimited cloud storage in original photo quality as previous Pixel phones did, but now we offer only the "high quality" option as it does on all other phones.

What does "high quality" mean? That the photos have been compressed up to 16MP to offer unlimited storage, which means that Pixel will not have any problem since the photos of the phone will not exceed that number of megapixels, but here is the basic problem is in the videos, because if we record For 4K videos, Google Photos would only save a copy of your video in Full HD resolution.

The "solution" they offered us was three months of Google One, which gave us 100 GB of storage in Google Drive, Photos, and Gmail, which meant that our 4K photos and videos would start to take up that space.

Oh, I almost forgot, the Pixel 4 had stereo speakers one located at the bottom and the other at the front, which sounded great. The maximum volume is high and the clarity of the sound, both low and high, is very good. No one criticized the decision to remove the Pixel 2 and 3 front speakers.


Software

Android fragmentation and slow updating have always been a problem for manufacturers and especially users, but as you should know, Google is the company responsible for the Android operating system, so Pixel phones are always the first to receive updates. .

Android 10 is responsible for moving the Pixel 4 and, of course, it has all the new features introduced in this version, such as gesture navigation, which works very smoothly and consistently in animations and the new Dark Mode, which converts the entire interface. and compatible apps in a completely dark color. Unfortunately, the dark mode cannot be programmed and can only be actively activated, which does not make sense, since the idea is to automatically change according to the brightness or the time of day.

I wonder if Google has mishandled the implementation of Dark Mode and Ambient Equalizer considering that its own smart display, Nest Hub, works incredibly well in detecting ambient brightness.


One of the novelties presented by Google in Pixel 4 is exclusive to Live Caption, an accessibility function that allows you to automatically display subtitles and without Internet connection of any video or audio that we play. Live Caption can be activated from the quick settings menu or via the volume button, what do you have if you want to know what you are talking about without having to listen to it? Unfortunately this only works for English content.

Another new feature in which this same transcriptional system is used in the recorder. The new application to record audio from Google allows you to see the transcript in real time if we speak English and I assure you that when writing in Spain it would be crazy, for example, to record an interview and then record everything in the text and even search within that Text will be useful to many professionals and students.

The same situation occurs with Google Assistant, of the new version, which works in instant transcripts, continuous dialogue, and a completely redesigned interface. Only available if the phone is set to English. The good news is that we still have Active Edge, a feature that allows you to literally press the phone to activate the wizard right away, and it's very convenient.

Face Unlock

As I mentioned earlier, the sensors that enable 3D facial unlocking are located on the top edge of the front, consisting of IR cameras, a spotlight projector, and an illuminator. These sensors are the same as for iPhone 11, so face unlock works similarly.

In Chile, when we pick up the phone, the screen turns and starts scanning our face to unlock the phone immediately. This unlock can work in two ways.

The first was without going through the lock screen automatically to switch to the application we use. If we enable this option, which will come by default, the lock screen will change, without showing the notifications about what always happens, but it will show a version of the Always show color, along with the icons the clock is synchronized and there is no possibility, for example, change the music, which makes sense because we skipped this screen when using Face Unlock.


The second option is the traditional one, which does not skip the lock screen and shows all the screen notifications, without showing content if it does not recognize it, and to unlock we need to swipe, just like in iOS.

Face Unlock works great, but it's not perfect. I missed the gesture of showing the fingerprint sensor notification bar on Android phones and on the other hand, although Google has promised an update to fix this, face unlock doesn't require you to open our eyes to unlock it for a person fun I can pick up your phone at night, put it in front of your bed and unlock it.

Oh, and I told you that it worked in Chile that way due to the countries where Motion Sense was enabled, the facial scanning started even before we launched Pixel 4, so here it works a little bit that's slow, but don't panic, still good.

Sense of movement?

Motion Sense is the name given to the Project Soli radar placed on the front of the phone and allowed, by proximity, to control certain aspects of the phone using our hand's movement without touching the pants.

What Motion Sense does is create a "bubble" around the phone that detects how close we are to the phone and allows three functions. I cannot verify it, because Motion Sense does not work in Chile due to the regulation of radio frequency-radio broadcast and where Google Request all countries where the phone is officially sold. The three basic functions of radar are:


  1. Find out if we're close to turning the always-on screen on or off and accidentally see if we'll make the phone run Face Unlock before opening it.
  2. Calls, alarms, and timers keep coming.
  3. Change songs that are played from any application by running your hand backward or forwards.


We can only wait for Google to apply the relevant radar regulations to work in countries that are not available, as the first of these functions contributes a lot to the user experience. Unlock the phone faster and save battery by turning off the screen completely. 19659047] Camera

It has a lot to talk about, as the camera has been one of Google's top phone selling points over the years, so they brought this feature to the Pixel 3a, its mid-range phone. At first glance, and the most notable improvement is the inclusion of a second rear lens that will allow you to capture better photos using the zoom and yes, including the Super Res Zoom technology that they do a great job with but we all know where it comes from. the camera is largely through its software.

The telephoto lens is 16 MP and includes a 12.2MP wide-angle lens that cannot be missed on any phone. Unfortunately, Google decided not to include an ultra-wide-angle lens, as almost all high-end smartphones of 2019 already have and allow to capture fun images of places, for example, tourists. It is still true that people tend to prefer taking an occasional zoom image rather than a super wide-angle and the second built-in lens is a perfect definition for "mobile photographer" as it allows you to capture urban or artistic photos in better shape.

One of the things I liked about Pixel 3 is its two front cameras, which have a different field of view to capture better group selfies. , but this year we only have an 8MP front camera with a 90 ° field of view, which is not bad, but come on! How will there be room to integrate them into the massive upper frame?

But hey, nothing to do, beyond the hardware updates, Google has introduced the Pixel 4 a series of new features through software that promise to keep the Google throne in mobile photography, it is the automatic white balance, Live HDR + with dual-screen control, Night Sight astrophotography and an improved photography mode.

Live HDR + will allow us to see in real-time, while using the camera, how to see the final image, controlling light and shadows independently; while AI will use automatic white balance to determine what is in the image to give it a more realistic color, such as the sky, snow or sea. This balance was incorporated into Night Sight on previous Pixel phones, but Google decided to include it in all modes with Pixel 4.


If we are talking about portrait mode, I would not see it 19199013] big difference from Pixel 3, which captures a very good image, and in terms of astrophotography mode, I cannot prove it because in Santiago it is not possible to see a star, although I promise I update the review when I go to a family home in the north of the country.

But hey, let's take a look at some photos I took with the Pixel 4 XL in recent days in the capital.

All good with the photos, but what about the videos? Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of good news here, although the good video quality and stabilization are harsh, Google has not included some features we see in the competition such as 4K front recording and 4K 60fps rear camera, although its processor is clearly capable of doing it. Based on Rick Osterloh's answer to a question, they don't know why they don't enable these features. , which is equivalent to the rest of the high-end Android performance.

Ultimately, Pixel 2 and 3 performance issues were left behind due to 4GB of RAM including these phones, because Pixel 4 apps are kept in memory, when no system should reload them when you come back to them afterward to take a photo or listen to music, well, since it is always essential on a phone with these characteristics. I thought that the 12 GB of RAM that some phones bring is completely absurd.

The optimization done by Google and the feel of the phone is extremely smooth, and if we add that Smooth Display does a great job of capturing our perspective, the experience is absolutely enjoyable.


Battery

The Pixel 4 XL has a 3700 mAh battery, which should be one of the weakest points of the device, especially when we consider that the competition has already put batteries of more than 4000 mAh. in its range it is high.

But the fact is that it is not as bad as one might think, it is clearly superior to the Pixel 3 XL battery and I managed to end the day with no problems during the week I used the phone. The Pixel 4 is charged via USB-C or wireless charging, the included charger is 18W and is compatible with the 45W charger that comes with Google Pixelbooks.

My days generally start at 10 a.m. and end at 2 a.m., and I usually get to that point with a 15% battery, but as you should know, the battery life depends on each user's usage and how and how much this user moves in a day since an LTE connection consumes more than a Wi-Fi connection.

The use that I give to the device is quite a few social networks, video and music streaming, many photos, and, of course, I am always connected to a Fitbit or Wear OS watch.

Conclusion

The Pixel 4 is a high-end phone that is different from the competition in Android, as it does not focus its efforts on a design that falls in love with the specifications or specifications that drive users crazy, but instead focuses on offering an excellent user experience through unique software.

Its design is different, matte finish without excessively curved edges. It provides great stability at hand and its 90 Hz display is fun to use, although it can be a bit brighter.

But without a doubt where it stays mainly in the camera section, there are features provided by software developed by Google that simply is not in any other phone and forgets the decision made by the company not to offer a third lens to get better panoramas.

Of course, it's not a perfect phone, maybe you can find a stronger one or one on the screen with perfectly worn edges or another with a better battery, but the Pixel 4 still feels like the only Android phone that can better compete against Apple. thanks to its camera, guaranteed updates, and very intelligent software that only has room for improvement, and that as a whole offers a very solid and fun Experience.
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