Firstly, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL, ‘let’s just call them Pixel for the rest of the article.’ So, Pixel doesn’t have 5G like the 2019 iPhone 11 series but unlike the S10 and Note 10 series. However, I am yet to meet anyone who can hold a credible argument that here in the UK they have noticed a material difference in comparison to us penurious 4G users.
Pixel have finally caught up with facial recognition, thanks to the new Google Soli radar chip, which powers facial unlock and introduces Motion Sense.
Motion Sense is arguably the headline feature of the Pixel as it is new technology. It is basically radar built into the phone. Google say it will know when you’re reaching for your phone so knows to switch on face unlock to speed things up, it knows to lower the ringer volume as it understands you’re picking it up. Gesture controls will also be augmented to include a wave to dismiss apps, or swipe back and forth to skip music, or images, without having to actually touch the screen. I think the jury is still out on whether this will be useful, evolutionary functionality or a gimmick ‘àla force touch’.
The Pixel comes in three colours, black which looks like the iPhone 7 Piano black of 2016, white ‘pretty standard’ and what they call ‘EasyJe…’ kidding, it’s ‘Oh So Orange’. Unfortunately, we haven’t been hands on with this colour and nor do we have any intention to do so and do not see why anyone would. The good news is that you hopefully would cover it in a TORRO case so nobody would see the Halloween pumpkin Pixel.
The Pixel 4 has a Full HD+ resolution with a pixel density of 444ppi, while the Pixel 4 XL has a Quad HD+ resolution for a pixel density of 537ppi. Both have a 19:9 aspect ratio and both support HDR. First impressions are that the screens are brighter and more vivid than even the iPhone 11 Pro Max but the fine detail in the iPhone makes the iPhone screen a winner. Although, the Pixel screen probably edges out the iPhone XR and comes out on par with the iPhone 11.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is the chipset of choice for the Pixel devices, with 6GB of RAM support which does beat the 2019 iPhone 11 series which all manage to chug along with 4GB of RAM. The Pixel is a very quick handset, but we found this comes at the compromise of battery life. The battery seems to disappear far quicker that any of the new iPhones with like for like usage. We doubt it could last a full day being heavily used.
The first thing to say about camera is no ultra-wide. This has definitely been the ‘on-trend’ in 2019. The Pixel camera does win on a few other fronts, the images come out more vibrant, with better colour balance and more natural exposure. The detail on the telephoto lens for zoomed images proves to beat the iPhone and Galaxy, and is the best zoom lens on a smartphone. The Pixel ‘Night Sight’ camera also seems to just edge the iPhone ‘Night Mode’ the images again seem to have better exposure and white balance in comparison to the yellow hue on iPhone.
If the camera on a smartphone is your thing then it is hard to look past iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max but the Pixel 4 definitely gives you something to think about with superior telephoto and low light imagery. The Pro and Pro Max iPhone wins hands down on videography however and the image stabilisation is much more fluid. In fairness, the Pixel doesn’t seem to be competing with the Pro iPhones but rather the XR or iPhone 11 and from this perspective the Pixel comes out on top.
The traditional reason Apple fans original defected from iPhone was price, over the years iPhone Killers have become more and more expensive, the Pixel has decided to be aggressive this year and come in cheaper than last year.
The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max will cost you from £1049 and £1149 respectively.
Again, we don’t see the Pixel as competition for the Pro iPhones but more likely the iPhone 11 which comes in from £729 and the XR is still on sale from £629.
This year they have boldly priced the Pixel 4 and 4 XL at a very competitive £669 and £769.
This puts the Pixel right in iPhone 11 range and proves our hypothesis that this is not iPhone Pro competition and comparison isn’t really fair. The iPhone 11 vs the Pixel 4 is a no brainer for those looking for an alternative to iPhone, unless colour is your thing as we still don’t know what Google were thinking. Millions of people flocked for the iPhone 11 and gushed over the pastel colour options, parting with their hard-earned cash for a device that was only slightly, incrementally upgraded from the XR, the reason being colour and aesthetic. We think Google missed a trick here, as the new Pixel is the real deal when it comes to genuine iPhone 11 competition. The Pixel 4 is £140 less destructive on the wallet compared to the Galaxy S10 and coincidentally bang on the RRP of the S10e without being a compromised ‘lite’ version of a handset - well played Google. The XL should appeal to those craving screen real estate and due to the device speed and camera enhancements this should definitely be the smartphone you turn to if iPhone XR or iPhone 11 was your next upgrade and due to operating software i.e. Android software integration by Google, it would also make sense that this be the next logical choice for Galaxy users looking for an upgrade.
In conclusion, defect from iPhone for the Pixel 4 / 4 XL - a big yes if you are considering iPhone 11 or XR but a no if you are going for a Pro.
- Camera for photography is superb especially telephoto and low light mode
- Motion Sense has huge potential and is a very cool feature
- Price, price, price, price and price
- Battery life is pretty terrible
- Videography doesn’t live up to photography
- Colour choice is not going to make this appealing to the masses