iPhone 11 Pro vs. Pixel 4 XL: Which should you buy?
Pixel 4 XL(opens in new tab)
Google didn't play it safe with the Pixel 4 XL. It used the phone to introduce a 90Hz display, a new face unlock system, dual rear cameras for the first time, and more. Save for lackluster battery life and storage options, this is one of Android's best phones.
Pixel 4 XL
iPhone 11 Pro(opens in new tab)
The iPhone 11 Pro looks a lot like Apple's past two generations of handsets, but it makes upgrades in all the right places. It has excellent battery life, blazing-fast performance, and one of the best camera packages available on any smartphone in 2019.
iPhone 11 Pro
The iPhone 11 Pro and Google Pixel 4 XL are just as alike as they are different. Both phones have glass designs with a matte finish, jaw-dropping cameras, great performance, and the best software experience their respective ecosystems have to offer. As with any iOS vs. Android comparison, the ultimate decision comes down to which platform works best for you.
More similar than you might think
You might think that the iPhone 11 Pro and Pixel 4 XL would be drastically different devices, but in reality, these two handsets offer very similar experiences.
Starting first with the design/hardware, both Apple and Google have opted for a glass back with a matte finish. The iPhone 11 Pro has more of a frosted aesthetic that still feels like glass, whereas the Pixel 4 XL's back almost feels like a premium plastic. No matter which one you prefer, both look and feel great in day-to-day use.
Also shared between these phones is the use of an OLED display. Both panels are razor-sharp, have vibrant colors, and wonderfully deep blacks. Where the Pixel 4 XL pulls ahead, however, is with its 90Hz refresh rate. This makes everything on the Pixel's display move with much more fluidity compared to the traditional 60Hz screen on the iPhone 11 Pro, and it's a feature that's hard to live without once you experience it in person for yourself.
|Header Cell - Column 0||iPhone 11 Pro||Pixel 4 XL|
|Operating System||iOS 13||Android 10|
2436 x 1125
3040 x 1440
|Processor||Apple A13 Bionic||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|Rear Camera 1||12MP wide|
|Rear Camera 2||12MP telephoto|
|Rear Camera 3||12MP ultra-wide|
|Front Camera||12MP selfie camera|
|8MP selfie camera|
|Video Recording||4K @ 24fps, 30fps, and 60fps|
1080p HD @ 30fps and 60fps
|4K @ 30fps|
1080p HD @ 30fps, 60fps, and 120fps
|Battery||Up to 18 hours of video playback||3,700 mAh|
|Security||Face ID||Face unlock|
|Water Resistance||IP68 (4 meters up to 30 minutes)||IP68 (1 meter up to 30 minutes)|
|Dimensions||144 x 71.4 x 8.1mm||160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2mm|
Flipping the phones over, you'll be met with the star of the show for each one — the cameras.
On the iPhone 11 Pro, you get a triple-camera setup consisting of 12-megapixel wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses. Comparatively, the Pixel 4 XL is equipped with a 12-megapixel wide camera and 16-megapixel telephoto camera. Looking at camera-count alone, the iPhone 11 Pro offers more possibilities with the types of photos you can take thanks to its inclusion of an ultra-wide camera. Whether you're trying to take a picture of a tall building or a looming mountain, the 120-degree field of view on the iPhone's ultra-wide sensor allows you to capture images that simply aren't possible on the Pixel.
Ultra-wide sensor aside, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pixel 4 XL take gorgeous photos. Whether you're shooting in broad daylight or in a dim restaurant, each phone pulls through to kick out a picture that looks stunning.
There are little discrepancies with how each camera works, such as the Pixel's mind-boggling astrophotography mode and the iPhone's smooth transitions between all three sensors. At the end of the day, you're getting one of the best camera packages available no matter which phone you ultimately buy.
Rounding out the similarities, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pixel 4 XL are equipped with loud stereo speakers, powerful face unlock systems, great haptic feedback, and wonderfully clicky buttons. They also come with guarantees of long-term software update support, ensuring you can buy either phone today and know it'll keep getting the latest features and security patches for years to come.
Where things start to differ
With all of that said, it's now time to dive into the things that really set these two phones apart. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pixel 4 XL do share a lot in common, but there are a few big differences you should also be aware of.
Perhaps the biggest thing worth mentioning is battery life. The Pixel 4 XL has a decently-sized 3,700 mAh battery, but in our testing, it results in pretty lackluster performance. Most people should be able to get through a full day of use before needing to throw the Pixel 4 XL on the charger, but just barely so. Should you find yourself doing a lot of video streaming, navigation, or other intensive tasks, expect to be looking for a power source at some point during the afternoon.
Comparatively, the iPhone 11 Pro has insanely good battery life. Apple doesn't disclose the exact capacity of the phone's battery, simply stating that it gets "up to 18 hours of video playback." In reality, this is a phone that can easily get through more than a day before you need to seek out a charger. Use the phone sparingly, and we wouldn't be surprised if you manage to pull out two full days of use on a single charge.
Another big win for the iPhone 11 Pro is its video-recording capabilities. On the iPhone, you have a wide array of 4K shooting options, including 4K video at 24, 30, and 60 frames per second (FPS). On the Pixel, you're limited to 4K at 30 FPS — that's it. If you plan on recording a lot of video with your phone, the iPhone is the undeniable winner.
As for smaller differences, the iPhone 11 Pro is still using Apple's aging Lightning port, whereas the Pixel 4 XL has a trusty USB-C one. The iPhone also has better water resistance, with it rated for up to four meters of water up to 30 minutes while the Pixel is limited to just one meter.
Then, of course, there's the difference in operating systems. The iPhone 11 Pro runs iOS 13, whereas the Pixel 4 XL runs Android 10. By now, you know which of these you prefer. Android is much more customizable, but it doesn't benefit from things like iMessage and AirDrop on iOS. Each platform comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, with one not necessarily being better than the other.
Two great phones, two different ecosystems
Comparing an iPhone against an Android phone is always an interesting task. Apple's iPhones are among the most popular on the planet, and as such, it can be a lot of fun to pit them against competing Android options. However, chances are you already know which phone's respective ecosystem you prefer — iOS or Android.
And you know what? That's totally fine. If you're drawn to Camp iOS and like what it has to offer, the iPhone 11 Pro is a phenomenal phone that you're bound to love. If Android is more your cup of tea, the Pixel 4 XL is a damn enticing package.
Neither phone goes out of its way to sway folks from one operating system to the other. Instead, they both focus on providing the best experience possible for customers that prefer the software they run. No matter which one you end up choosing, you'll be in for something special.
Remarkable cameras meet disappointing battery life.
For the most part, the Pixel 4 XL stands out as one of the most appealing handsets in the Android space. Camera performance is next to magic, and the 90Hz display is a very welcome addition. Google's Motion Sense gestures and face unlock system also work way better than you might expect! All that goodness makes the disappointing battery life all the more irritating.
A premium smartphone that's worth every penny.
Boring design aside, the iPhone 11 Pro is a marvelous phone that does just about everything right. It takes some of the best pictures out there, battery life is ridiculously good, and Apple's OLED display continues to impress. Add that together with speedy performance and all of the treats that come with iOS 13, and the 11 Pro more than justifies its steep price.
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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.