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From the Editor's Desk: Dropped to $600, the Pixel 4 XL is now a compelling mid-range phone

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL
Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL (Image credit: Android Central)

Google cut the prices of the Pixel 4 and 4 XL on the Google Store (opens in new tab) by $300 each this week, down to $500 and $600; and Amazon's price dropped to match (opens in new tab). Short-term sales and certain retailers had dropped the Pixels down to these prices before, but with Google setting its own store prices there, it shows this is the new ceiling for the Pixels until they're replaced later this year.

The combination of this $300 price cut, and a swath of 2020 flagships coming out at ever-higher prices, have created an interesting situation: the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are now compelling mid-range phones.

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

The Pixel 4 XL, in particular, offers surprisingly competitive value with its larger screen and slightly more acceptable battery life. (I still wouldn't recommend the Pixel 4, due to its poor battery life, unless you're dying to have a small phone.) Flagship phones now hover around the $1000 price point, which is an entirely different ballpark than where the Pixel 4 XL is now playing.

We all have different definitions of what "mid-range" is, and it certainly has changed over the last few years. But when you look at the data of what phones sell for, anything in the $350-$650 is now considered mid-range. A broad segment, indeed, but anything higher starts to be considered a flagship while anything lower is purely focused on budget buyers.

Expectations change dramatically when your phone is only $600 in 2020.

The important point of putting the Pixel 4 XL in this price range is that the expectations change dramatically. For hundreds less than proper flagship phones, you know you aren't going to get everything. For $600, every phone you can buy is going to be missing features, specs or certain capabilities — and individual standout feature matter a whole lot more. And I'm sure this will muddy the waters when the Pixel 4a is announced soon, probably at $400, but that's another discussion to have in a couple weeks when it's official.

Think about it: now the Pixel 4 XL, Google's best phone and arguably still the best smartphone camera available, is now $100 less the OnePlus's cheapest phone, the OnePlus 8. Yes the OnePlus 8 has a better screen, longer battery life and newer specs, but it isn't a guaranteed winner here. The Pixel 4 XL has dramatically better cameras, more unique hardware, Google-exclusive software features and wireless charging.

You can forgive many of the Pixel 4 XL's flaws at this price, and put more weight on its strengths.

At $600, you can probably forgive its slightly dim screen and last-gen spec sheet; and you might even be okay with its weak battery life. And you also know that in giving up a few things there, you're getting incredible camera quality. It's interesting what a difference the price can make — when you're saving hundreds of dollars, you get dramatically more lenient about what you accept in a phone. In my 6-month on review of the Pixel 4 XL I found it still has a whole lot going for it in its software, camera and overall experience — and despite its specs, its performance has continued to be great.

Even though we know the Pixel 4 XL can't compete head-to-head anymore with the Galaxy S20+ or even the OnePlus 8 Pro, it absolutely can compete in the middle tier of phones focused on value and price. We should stop looking at the Pixel 4 XL as a flagship phone, and look at it where Google itself sees the phone: in the mid-range.

-Andrew

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

35 Comments
  • This 599.oo for the 4xl compelled me into buying? No regrets at this price. Should have been the release price. They would have sold many more?
  • Do you not understand how a question mark works? You us a question mark (the "?" symbol) at the end of a question. Maybe you're just typing in an Australian accent lol.
  • Hey grammar police, where is your "e" after "us"???????????
    Lol
  • If the battery life on the 4a is dramatically better, the 4 will be a hard sell, especially if they are supposed to give the same experience. I don't know if I want face unlock, especially since my apps may not support it. I don't see the extra camera really swaying me. Maybe their custom silicon makes it worth it. But, that battery life...
  • I've seen so many commenters say battery life on the 4XL is way better than reviewers gave it credit for probably because of some learning time. All day without going into warning zone is all that I really need. Plus, most people are all home now or close to home around a charger, not traveling.
  • That might be true, but beware of bias. The reason we have reviewers in the first place is it's really hard for people to give genuine opinions on things they've paid for.
  • I have pixel 4XL since November. And I always do one day. All futures are turn on plus Smartwatch. I really don't understand why everybody pointing weak battery. How I said. Not problem at all. The Tech chab added 2 weeks ago video on YT with battery drain test. And S20 ultra died 5 minutes earlier.
  • That is what it should have been at launch. 
  • Love the pixel 4 xl and started using it again when i got the pixel buds. Such a more enjoyable experience compared to using my S20 Ultra. I’m hoping google continues to make flagship phones and don’t listen to all the tech forums and bloggers on how they shouldn’t make a high end phone. They already have the budget phones with ‘a’ series so hopefully continue to make the higher end phone at higher price option. Yes sure there are many things they can improve but they shouldn’t give up.
  • This might now be priced to compete with mid-range phones, but is by no means a mid-range phone. Top end specs, screen, cameras, service and updates. All of those elements are top-end. This is now probably the best deal on a top end phone that can compete price wise with the better mid-range phones.
  • Exactly! I have a Pixel 4 and aside from battery life not being the best it's an awesome phone. I wouldn't trade it for a Samsung. The camera, the software optimized to work well on the hardware and all of Google's software tricks make this phone well worth it.
  • It's a mid-range to flagship but it's not like top of the line like S10, iPhone 11 pro, note 10 plus etc... It's a step below that.
  • ❤ ing the camera & 90hz display at 599.oo? Night sight is also great. Some say the design is boring, I kinda like it?
  • To me this means that the upcoming 4a model has to be cheaper than $399. If it is $399 I don't see it selling well compared to these and the iPhone SE 2020.
  • IMO, removing the fingerprint scanner was a large contributing factor for why the Pixel 4/4xl didn't sell well. Price won't really change that, unfortunately. Hopefully, they will add it back in the Pixel 5.
  • The face unlocked worked for me about half the time before the pandemic and now that I have to wear a mask in public it doesn't work at all.
  • This. After using the fingerprint sensor on the Nexus 5X, Pixel and Pixel 3, its omission makes the Pixel 4 and 4XL an impossible sell for me.
  • Does this mean that Google is finally starting to see their devices as proper midrange phones like their Nexus lines back in the day? They have been chasing apple by pushing the premium brand image for a few years now including purposely jacking up the price of the pixel and it clearly hasn't translated into the desired amount of sales.
  • Agreed. The nexus line was great and where Google needed to be playing. The pixel line has always been overpriced and I hope they are getting back to the nexus business model of selling phones, whatever they are called.
  • If you think about it Google is a new player to the premium smartphone market, the Pixel 4 is only their fourth generation device so sales are increasing more and more. Of course the sales numbers aren't going to be the same as Samsung which is MUCH more established. Also just because the Pixel 4/4XL got a price cut doesn't mean Google is seeing their own devices as mid-range phones.
  • That color, mate finish, and camera are the only things they got right on that phone
  • I am wait to see the price of the 4a. I have been on a 3axl for the past 10 months. The phone is just a tad too big for me. My wife's 3a is about perfect size
  • It's the only rational way to buy any flagship phone from any manufacturer : wait at least a year for price cuts.
  • Yeah, no. Sorry.
  • It's still a ridiculous $1259 for the XL in Canada!! Hasn't been on sale since Black Friday!!!
  • Heyyy, could care less. No headphone jack? Nope
  • Dropped to $600, the Pixel 4 XL is now *what it should have been priced at launch* FTFY
  • Seems like the US is the only place with the price drop? certainly none in the UK, Google still looking over £829 for a 64gb Pixel 4 XL 😂
  • They should reduce the price, how much support do these phones have left? The price of Android phones should reduce month on month based on their short support life... Business people need to use phones with the latest patches and Apple's business model which includes 5 years of support is a compelling alternative...
  • Um, Pixel phones get at least two years of software updates and at least three years of security updates, more than other Android phones (certainly more than Samsung). Pixel 4 is the latest Pixel phone so it'll be good for a while on updates.
  • The fact that the writer of this article flat out calls the Pixel 4 & 4XL mid-range devices based only on the price cuts is off-putting. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL are not mid-range phones. They're flagship phones. Samsung tries to make their phones look like spec beasts by jam-packing lots of RAM, storage, etc. to make their phones look better on paper and gain favor with reviewers.
    In reality they're full of bloat and slow down over time, the software isn't buttery smooth like it is on Pixel phones, not to mention the lack of timely software updates and security updates. Pixels are better in that they're much more optimized to work with the software and don't have the bloat that Samsungs and other Android phones have. Samsung sells you on specs alone.
  • Not being funny but when was the last time you used a Samsung phone for a long period of time? the days of the slowing down of their phones has long gone! 100% used to be the case but since about the S7 this is no longer a issue.
  • Darth, I agree with you, I don't know WHY someone would call the Pixel 4 XL anything but a flagship phone. It's not just about the hardware specs, there's a lot of software specs behind this phone. Let me ask you this and if you could please post something, I'd appreciate it greatly; do you think that the lack of 5g there's any reason NOT to buy this model and hold off until the Google Pixel 5? The price point of 33% off the original price is very tempting and maybe 5 g is not all that populated yet for this to be a real show stopping reason to hold off. -Mark
  • The 765processer will be fine in the pixel5. But why not make another model with the 865, just saying?
  • Stateside only. Price in Canada is still $999