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Google Pixel 4XL Smartphone Review - Performance

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Google Pixel 4 XL Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Google Pixel 4 XL Sample Photos

Sample Photos - One thing we do have to praise Google for is the cameras they build into Pixel smartphones as they are great. Colours pop, there's good dynamic range and photos just look, genuinely, impressive. For a smartphone, the image quality is truly excellent and you don't even have to put much effort into capturing the photos either. 

You can use Dual Exposure to adjust the dynamic range in the photo live which is a nice touch and even though it's called 'Portrait mode', really, it's a bokeh introducing mode which you can use to capture anything you want to have a bit of bokeh in. Most of the time, the Pixel 4XL did a great job separating background/foreground but on occasion, it did clip edges or got confused with where out of focus areas needed to be. When it does work, it works really well with subjects 'popping' from the frame.

Portraits have good colour reproduction and, again, the clever technology makes creating bokeh backgrounds a breeze. When you switch to 'Portrait mode' the smartphone automatically switches lense to the new 16MP f/1.7 telephoto lens for better framing but it's worth noting when you're using this mode to capture anything but portraits. 

Night Sight has always been good and on the Pixel 4XL, it delivers detail and sharpness to shots. 

Overall, the camera on the Google Pixel 4XL is a very impressive thing and even with the lack of modes, it doesn't let you down. 


Google Pixel 4 XL Lens test images

Lens Performance - The Google Pixel 4XL has a new telephoto lens which means zoom is improved as it uses a combination of optical zoom (2x) from the second rear camera with Super Res Zoom software (originally launched in the Pixel 3). For anything up to 2x, quality is good, and, you can even say that 3x zoom is useable but detail starts to fall off from 4X onwards, with a more noticeable loss in detail occurring between 6x-8x zoom. 


Google Pixel 4 XL ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - You can use an app such as Lightroom to adjust ISO but when you do, you don't get the benefit of Google's noise reduction and clever modes so it's not really a fair test. When using the main camera app in our studio and adjusting the light levels, the Google Pixel 4XL did handle noise levels well when left in Auto mode. 


Google Pixel 4 XL White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - The camera performed well under most lighting situations in Auto mode but you'll need to download an app if you want to adjust the white balance manually which, again, doesn't use Google's clever technology. 


Google Pixel 4 XL Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are no effects or filters available in the default camera app at the time of taking the photo, however, you can apply effects to images after you've taken them, or use any other app to take photos, some of which are shown above. 



The panorama is, generally, stitched well and detail levels are good. However, towards the right side where the sun was positioned, there is a slight loss in detail and in the bottom panorama, there's some blurring top-right. The panorama mode is also really easy to use and works as any standard panorama mode does on smartphones. 


Video - Video is captured at 1080p @ 30, 60, or 120fps, high-speed video is recorded at 720p @ 240fps and 4K UHS video is recorded at 30fps. The front camera also records at 1080p @ 30fps. A mixture of OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) and Electronic Stabilisation is used when shooting video which helps keep footage steady and overall, it's pretty impressive. 


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Paul E 17 23
30 Oct 2019 3:36PM
Not sure you are actually really reviewing with a phone as this has a bigger battery than my 3XL and the battery on that lasts all day easily, and I use mine. You say "it drains quickly; you only have to glance at the battery icon to see the gauge emptying" has to be absolute rubbish. Google with Android have done a great deal to make the battery power last longer they would not compromise their flagship phone in this way. Lets see some proper data rather than an opinion based on the specs. Then I look at your iPhone reviews and I can clearly see what's going on here....if Apple say it's okay it must be so. Not impressed.

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joshwa Plus
9 908 United Kingdom
31 Oct 2019 8:40AM
Hi Paul,

We're not the only site finding the battery life of the 4 XL lacklustre:

Yes, the 4XL has more mAh than the 3XL, but that does not mean that battery life is going to be better, particularly if the screen (or other components) use more power. (The Pixel 4 has less mAh than the 3).

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