The Google Pixel 4 XL has been my daily runner for three weeks, after trading in my Pixel 3 XL. What follows are my first impressions after three weeks with the new device.
I can now call myself a Pixel veteran; with this Pixel 4 XL I’ve been through all the iterations of Google’s smartphone series. And they were all XLs. I personally don’t think I’m capable of fully going back to a small screen now; I have a work iPhone SE and all I could say when I got it out of the box was “aaaw, how cute is that!”. I only use it for calls, as anything else seems tedious.
So here are my five main conclusions after three weeks with the Pixel 4 XL (coming straight from the Pixel 3 XL).
I thought the Pixel 3 XL was pretty good in terms of speed. It did lag from time to time for maybe a fraction of a second but hey, it was a one-year old phone, abused by yours truly. What would you expect?
The Pixel 4 XL is lightning fast. I opted to start from scratch and not transfer all my apps. I am a rather messy user and it was about time I actually did something about all the stuff I wasn’t using.
I haven’t done any tests (yet), but the phone is incredibly quick, everything loads up instantly and feels very quick. All in all, you can definitely feel the newer CPU and the 6 GB of RAM.
That screen, though…
The 90Hz screen was one of the main reasons why I bought this. I used one for a few minutes, then used the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 next to it and the Note’s screen felt somehow dated next to it.
The screen has great colours, looks vibrant no matter what it’s showing and contributes a lot to the experience. More than that, while the 2 XL was horrible in terms of viewing angles and the 3 XL was a bit better, there was still room for improvement in that department. Well, things are much better this time around; the screen looks awesome no matter where you look at it from.
As for the 90 Hz, I have to admit to not really playing with content that would properly use it yet. I will do some gaming soon – I have, in fairness, played Football Manager 2020 and Junkyard Tycoon, but that’s hardly relevant. To be continued on that one…
The new Pixel Case
I caved in and bought a Pixel fabric case again, after going for a Spigen one for my Pixel 3 XL. In all fairness, the Spigen case has done an excellent job protecting my device for a year. I recommend their cases if you’re looking for pretty affordable protection for your device.
I liked the look of the new Pixel Fabric cases so, as mentioned above, I paid the £35 for it. It does look great, it’s very grippy and the inside surface will make sure that your precious device won’t get scratched.
Camera and Astrophotography Mode
The first thing I will mention is that I miss the second selfie cam on the Pixel 3 XL. I barely take selfies, but it was very nice to be able to make them wide. I do like using Radar to snooze my alarm and to skip to the next track (and yes, it works great), but I probably would have traded it for that feature.
The main camera setup is, as expected, great, and zoom works very well. You can check out a bunch of examples, as always, on my Instagram page.
In terms of the new astrophotography mode, all I can say is that you need to buy a tripod now. I bought a cheap one from eBay and tried it one evening. The result is below, and that’s just one attempt. It’s a fabulous feature to play around with.
This is the one I was pretty afraid of. I even spoke to my bank to ask them if the feature would be supported on their app – “yes, of course”, HSBC said. No, it isn’t, because I tried. Luckily LastPass does support and a quick way around it is just to unlock the password manager and allow AutoFill for it.
I will admit to the fact that it is extremely quick and, in 90% of the cases works flawlessly. I presume it will start to get supported by more and more apps in the future. Where it does work, I absolutely love it.
These are the first conclusions of the first weeks with the Pixel 4 XL. As things unfold, I will keep you updated.