I realize that this article has come to life a day after Google announced the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. So, some of you may wonder how we got around to testing the Pixel 4 series battery life already. Well, we did not, not yet, but Google managed to annoy me quite a bit in that regard, which is why we’re here now.
We do have the Pixel 4 XL in the house, and a full review will follow as soon as possible. In that review, you’ll be able to see how the battery is holding up. I can, however, already say, without hesitation, that the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will not offer great battery life.
Google Pixel 4 series batteries are on the smaller side
Google opted to include rather small battery packs in the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The Google Pixel 4 includes a 2,800mAh battery, while the Pixel 4 XL sports a 3,700mAh battery. On paper, the situation seems a lot worse with the Pixel 4, than it does for the Pixel 4 XL. That is true. However, the Pixel 4 XL’s battery is not that large either, not at all.
Even if the two phones had regular, 60Hz displays, these batteries would seem fairly inadequate. Considering they have 90Hz displays, those battery packs seem like a horrible idea on Google’s part.
Both iPhone 11s trump Pixel 4 in terms of battery capacity
We’re actually living in a world when Apple’s cheapest new flagships, both the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, have a larger battery than the Pixel 4. The iPhone 11 packs in a 3,110mAh unit, while the ‘Pro’ model comes with a 3,046. The iPhone 11 has a larger 6.1-inch display, with a slightly lower resolution than the Pixel 4. The iPhone 11 Pro, on the other hand, comes with a higher-res display, which is almost the same size as the Pixel 4’s (the difference is 0.1 inches).
Apple decided to considerably increase battery sizes for this year’s iPhones. Those batteries seem to work great with iOS 13 thus far, as both phones offer great battery life. Things are considerably different when it comes to Android. Android phones always had to include larger batteries than iOS counterparts, but Google decided to go the opposite route, at least with the smaller Pixel 4 phone. It is also worth noting that neither of the two iPhone flagships have 90Hz displays.
The Pixel 4 has a smaller battery than its predecessor, despite the fact it has a larger (90Hz) display
The Pixel 4 even has a smaller battery than its predecessor, the Pixel 3, despite the fact it has a larger display. The Pixel 3 includes a 5.5-inch fullHD+ display, while the Pixel 4 features a 5.7-inch panel. The Pixel 3 included a 2,915mAh unit, and its battery life wasn’t great at all. In fact, the Pixel 3’s battery life was mediocre, at best, even after the Android 10 update. So, by that logic, the Pixel 4’s will be even worse, right? Well, quite probably, yes.
Both of those phones are now running on the same software, and Google didn’t really mention any crazy battery tweaks for the Pixel 4 series. Well, unless you count Motion Sense. Motion Sense will disable 90Hz refresh rate when you’re not looking at the phone, and that sort of thing. That won’t really help all that much, though. The company did not mention anything during its press conference regarding actual battery tweaks. It also did not share anything of the sort on its official Pixel 4 page. That leads us to believe that the Pixel 4 series will have to rely on Android 10’s general battery optimizations, and will not be enough to compensate for the lacking battery capacity.
The Pixel 4 XL's situation looks a bit better, but not by much
We’re focusing so much on the Pixel 4, what about the Pixel 4 XL? Well, we’re not really expecting great battery life out of that phone either. The Pixel 4 XL is expected to be considerably better in that regard than the Pixel 4, though. The device includes a larger battery than its predecessor, despite the fact it has the same display size and similar resolution.
The Pixel 4 XL features a 3,700mAh battery, for its 6.3-inch QHD+ display. The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, features a 3,430mAh battery, and sports a 6.3-inch QHD+ display as well. The Pixel 3 XL does not have a 90Hz refresh rate, though, which will definitely impact the Pixel 4 XL’s battery life. We’re actually expecting similar results from the Pixel 4 XL, which means that it won’t be great in the battery life department.
The Pixel 3 XL was quite solid in that regard, at first, not great, but not bad either. Well, that changed soon after, as the battery stabilized, it was average at best. So we’re expecting something similar out of the Pixel 4 XL as well.
The Pixel 4 phones offer fast charging, but not fast enough
Okay, so what about charging, if battery capacities are what they are, do the two devices offer extremely fast charging? The answer to that question is… no, not really. They both offer fast charging, but Google decided to stick to the same 18W fast charging that was included with the Pixel 3 phones. That means that you’ll need to wait about one hour and 40 minutes in order for the Pixel 4 series to fully charge. As far as wireless charging goes, they will take around two hours to fully charge. Those numbers are not great at all, especially if you’ll need to top them off in the middle of the day.
Once again, this is not a battery life review, or anything of the sort. That will come with our full review of the Pixel 4 (XL). This is just something that needed to be said, as Google has seemingly dropped the ball in the battery department. It is possible that I’ll be way off, and that both phones will offer great battery life… but that’s highly unlikely, especially when it comes to the smaller Pixel 4 device.