DisplayMate puts the displays on new smartphones under the microscope with objective analysis, and the Pixel 4 XL's results point to a truly excellent display. In almost every test, it managed to go toe-to-toe with the class-leading Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.
The device sports a 6.3-inch flexible OLED display that utilizes a diamond sub-pixel matrix. This display is set at a resolution of 3,040 by 1,440 pixels for an eye-popping 537 PPI. This high-end display boasts support for two different color gamuts, including the vast DCI-P3 Digital Cinema Color Gamut that's often seen in premium 4K content.
None of those excellent metrics would matter if the display became unusable in ambient light or when viewed from an angle, but that's thankfully not the case. The Pixel 4 XL's display performed admirably in both tests. It achieved maximum and minimum brightnesses of 444 nits and 2 nits, respectively. Angle viewing presented only a small to medium shift in color and brightness. Compare this to 560 nits with very small to medium angle viewing shifts in the Galaxy Note 10+.
Color accuracy and calibration received some of the highest marks a smartphone display can get in testing. Reflectance, meanwhile, is 5.7 percent, barely beaten out by DisplayMate's record low of 5.4 percent. Taken altogether, these tests point to a display that's second only to the class leader, and doesn't trail by much in any regard.
The display's slight inferiority to Samsung's class-leading option is great for those on the fence about which type of phone to buy. Those who already own a Pixel 3 or even an older Pixel device, however, have a clear winner. The Pixel 4 XL completely blows its predecessor out of the water in PPI, color accuracy, and angle viewing. The Pixel 3 XL does manage to beat its younger sibling in glare, and evens out in power efficiency and brightness.
The Pixel 4 has a display that's largely similar to the Pixel 4 XL, aside from being smaller. The ratings across the board look about the same, painting a picture of a class-leading phone for its size. Essentially, no matter which Pixel 4 family member you choose, you're getting a display that's second only to the best that market leader Samsung has to offer.
As to the design, these stylish devices have a tame and consistent notchless design up front. The excellent display has a very conservative bezel up top, and while the sides aren't curved, the bezels there are extremely tiny. Around back, you'll find a flat glass panel with a protrusion for the innovative camera array.
These back panels are where the phone's splash of color lives, while the front of the device is black no matter what color you choose. The two basic color options are Just Black and Clearly White, and there is also a limited Oh So Orange edition available. If you don't like any of those colors, of course, you could just grab a stylish case.
The Pixel 4 series sport flagship displays, to be sure, and the rest of the spec sheet echoes that sentiment. The two devices have large batteries, 6GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of internal storage. All of this is powered by Qualcomm's powerful Snapdragon 855 chipset, a vast improvement in just about every meaningful way over 2018's Snapdragon 845.