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Pixel 4 XL in the test: Google's radar phone with top camera and update warranty

Pixel 4 XL im Test: Googles Radar-Phone mit Top-Kamera und Update-Garantie

tl; dr: The Pixel 4 XL is in many ways a successful Android smartphone, in other areas, however, comes back through the typical Google mindset, which is not always understandable. The bottom line is the camera, update warranty, face unlock and the 90 Hz display. There are also several criticisms.

Pixel 4 start 100 euros cheaper

Google's new smartphones Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL tested here come on October 24 in Germany at prices from 749 € on the market, Google orders already since the announcement contrary. This is 100 euros less than was still called for the Pixel 3 a year ago. For the Pixel 4 XL the price difference is 50 Euro compared to the Pixel 3 XL (test). Price-performance hitters like the Nexus smartphones, the Pixel 4 are not yet, but at least they move a bit closer to a reasonable price range. If you require more than 64 GB of memory, you get both versions for 100 euros extra charge with 128 GB – there is not more.

Technical data of Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL at a glance

Stormtrooper or Panda design?

Google offers its new smartphones in a total of three colors, with only the 64-bit model of the small pixel 4 being able to choose between all three colors. There you can choose from “Just Black”, “Clearly White” and “Oh So Orange”. With 128 GB and generally valid for the Pixel 4 XL, you can only choose between black and white.

The color selected by the buyer has an influence on the surface finish of the back side. Orange and white use matt glass for the back, while the black version comes with glossy glass. The two matte finishes have a clear advantage over the black model in terms of fingerprints. On the white test device no fat streaks or other impressions are recognizable even after several days of use.

With its always matte frame of aluminum, the white back, the black camera and the logo-free, black front, the Pixel 4 looks like the smartphone of a stormtrooper or a phone mutated Panda. Not quite into the picture wants to fit the orange power button. The black pixel 4 is white, the orange model is pink. Nevertheless, the design remains reserved, for one or the other, who prefers the design of Huawei or Samsung, perhaps even too reserved.

In terms of workmanship, the Pixel 4 XL can only be praised, very much like the integration of buttons, camera, display and other components. Where gaps are present, they are uniform. The smartphone works perfectly with high quality materials. The smartphones are also dust-repellent and water-resistant to IP68. The footnote states: “Water resistance is not a permanent condition because it can be affected by normal wear and tear, wear and tear, repair or disassembly.

Flat OLED display with up to 90 Hz

Google refuses to follow the trend of many smartphone manufacturers and focuses on flat displays without curvature in the frame. Rounded-off display corners with large radii also offer the pixels 4. In the comments on the reporting to the Pixel 4 were mainly the wide display edges in the focus and in the criticism. In the new Face Unlock section and in Radar handling, ComputerBase explains why a lot of space is needed above the display.

At first glance, the display is not larger than the Pixel 3 XL on the 6.3-inch Pixel 4 XL. By adjusting the aspect ratio from 18.5: 9 to 19; 9 it is longer. Therefore, the resolution had to increase from 1,440 × 2,960 pixels to 1,440 × 3,040 pixels. Despite the OLED-typical Diamond Subpixelmatrix with different numbers of subpixels, the Pixel 4 XL offers a razor-sharp typeface and a first-class presentation. Who is panel supplier of the new generation, can not say yet, so far, Google has shopped at LG and Samsung.

In the Android settings, you can switch between three color profiles in the area of ​​the screen, which of course cover the sRGB color with “natural” and the DCI P3 color space with “intensive”. By default, the mode is “Adaptive”, which makes the color representation based on the content dynamically. Google has opted for a pleasantly natural vote, without exaggerated color saturation.


6.3-inch display with rounded corners
6.3-inch display with rounded corners

3,040 × 1,440 pixels provide a fine representation
3,040 × 1,440 pixels provide a fine representation

Screen brightness at the lower end of the scale

On the quality of presentation, there is nothing to moan about the OLED screen. The only criticism is again the brightness. Once again, a Google smartphone bobbed 428 cd / m² at the lower end of the scale. A higher maximum brightness can not be retrieved even if the white portion of 100 percent is reduced to 20 percent, even a high-brightness automatic mode does not exist. With incident sunlight it comes so well to problems with the readability. Too bad that Google in the fourth year on this point again delivers a below-average performance, which diminishes the otherwise good impression.

Also in the regulation of the brightness Google does not prove a lucky hand. Because the controller in the settings covers the first 85 percent 2 to 200 cd / m², before then suddenly on the last 15 percent, the display is significantly lighter. Finding the right brightness in manual mode will be a test of patience.

Smooth Display is optionally always active

The fact that Google once again falls well behind the competition in terms of brightness overshadows two other features that significantly enhance the screen. On the one hand, the “Ambient EQ” screen provides a dynamic adjustment of the white point, comparable to Apple's True-Tone display, by evaluating the ambient light, and on the other, “Smooth Display” provides a refresh rate of 90 Hz offered, as it was most recently at Asus and OnePlus. On Google, the screen works dynamically and only changes to 90 Hz when operating, otherwise it is 60 Hz. In the developer setting, you can define that the screen should always be addressed at 90 Hz.

Developer option for permanent 90 Hz
Developer option for permanent 90 Hz

The operating feel of the Pixel 4 profits enormously from this change. Even if the actual load times of applications or when switching through the various menu levels are not accelerated, 90 Hz have the subjective effect that this is the case. Swiping gestures, scrolling through menus, websites or apps, multitasking, or the simple process of opening the Quick Settings are much more comfortable at 90 Hz than a fast processor would. Good that Google has recognized this trend comparatively early and not just with the “Pixel 5” follows. Here Google has an advantage over Apple, Huawei or Samsung.

On the next page: Face Unlock and Motion Sense

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