What's the difference between the Pixel 4 and 4 XL?
What the Pixel 4 and 4 XL are capable of is widely detailed, so I won't rehash all of their features here. It's a solid assumption that if you're choosing between the Pixel models, you're already interested in their core features — and everything Google has advertised regarding the Pixel 4 is applicable to both phones.
Unlike the Pixel 3 generation, there really are no discernable differences in the Pixel 4 and 4 XL experience outside of the physical size, screen size, and battery size. This really is the best example of "same phone, two sizes" — and that's a good thing because it reduces the number of compromises and choices involved with buying a phone.
|Pixel 4||Pixel 4 XL|
|Operating system||Android 10||Android 10|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Pixel Neural Core
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Pixel Neural Core
|Rear camera 1||12.2MP, 1.4µm, f/1.7, OIS, PDAF||12.2MP, 1.4µm, f/1.7, OIS, PDAF|
|Rear camera 2||16MP telephoto, 1,0µm, f/2.4||16MP telephoto, 1.0µm f/2.4|
|Front camera||8MP, f/2.0
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS||Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS|
|Charging||18W USB-C PD
|18W USB-C PD
|Security||Face Unlock||Face Unlock|
|Dimensions||147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2 mm
|160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2 mm
The most important differentiation is battery life. The Pixel 4 XL's battery shortcomings are well documented; it can make it through a day, if just barely, and really benefits from a midday top-up if you're going to use it hard or have late-day plans. That's mangeable, but the Pixel 4's battery is nearly 25% smaller, and its battery life is subsequently terrible. You will need to do some serious optimization to get the Pixel 4 through a normal day on a charge, and frankly that just isn't worth it for most people.
The only reason to consider putting up with this battery life is if you just can't deal with a big phone.
The only reason to even consider putting up with that battery life is if you really can't deal with a bigger phone. It's true there aren't many "small" phones out there nowadays, and there are even fewer high-end small phones, so the Pixel 4 will be the phone many people gravitate toward because it's so compact. It's refreshing to use a phone that's extremely capable and has an incredible camera, but slips in a pocket effortlessly and can be used in one hand without issue. However, the Pixel 4 XL is no larger than any other modern flagship phone, and you may be surprised by how easy it is to use.
Which should you buy?
We'll take it as a given that if you're looking at a Pixel 4 or 4 XL, you see value in the phones at their respective prices and have already narrowed it down to one or the other. That makes this decision pretty simple.
Frankly, there's only one reason to buy the Pixel 4: you just love small phones. You love small phones so much you're willing to be hamstrung by charging it midday on most days. Yes, you also save $100, but that's of little consequence here. The size difference, and more importantly battery life difference, are considerable enough to be far more important than the money savings.
Strongly consider getting the Pixel 4 XL instead. You may prefer small phones, but the battery life difference really will impact your daily use of the phone.
The one to get
The better Pixel 4 that's worth the extra money.
It may be $100 more, but the Pixel 4 XL also has acceptable battery life. It also has a bigger display to give you more room for work and play.
Compact lovers only
A small flagship with terrible battery life.
The Pixel 4 does everything the 4 XL does, which is a boon for small phone fans. However, its battery life is so bad that you need to think twice before buying for its size.
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