Phone Comparisons: Google Pixel 3 XL vs Google Pixel 4 XL

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It's time to compare two Pixel flagships, last year's and this year's, the Pixel 3 XL vs Pixel 4 XL. The Google Pixel 4 XL was announced a couple of days ago, as of writing this article. That device was announced alongside the Pixel 4, its smaller sibling.

The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, launched a year ago. Can the Pixel 3 XL still compete with its successor? Is it still worth buying? Well, that is what we're here to find out, as you can save some cash by getting the Pixel 3 XL… at least in most regions.

The Google Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 4 XL are similar in some ways, of course, but there are quite a few differences between them. That is, of course, not surprising considering they were introduced with a full year between them. In any case, let's see how these two phones compare, shall we.

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Specs

Google Pixel 3 XLGoogle Pixel 4 XL
Screen size6.3-inch fullHD+ display (P-OLED)6.3-inch QHD+ Smooth Display (flexible OLED, 90Hz)
Screen resolution2960 x 14403040 x 1440
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 845Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM4GB6GB
Storage64GB/128GB; Non-Expandable64GB/128GB; Non-Expandable
Rear cameras12.2MP (1.4um pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, 76-degree angle lens PDAF, OIS, EIS)12.2MP (1.4um pixel size, f/1.7 aperture, 77-degree angle lens, PDAF, OIS, EIS)
16MP (1.0um pixel size, f/2.4 aperture, 52-degree angle lens, OIS, EIS, PDAF)
Front cameras8MP (f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, 75-degree angle lens)
8MP (f/2.2 aperture, 97-degree angle lens, ultrawide)
8MP (1.22um pixel size, f/2.0 aperture, 90-degree angle lens, fixed focus)
Battery3,430mAh, Non-Removable,  18W Fast Battery Charging (USB-PD 2.0), Qi wireless charging3,700mAh, Non-Removable,  18W Fast Battery Charging (USB-PD 2.0), Qi wireless charging
Dimensions158 x 76.7 x 7.9mm160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2mm
Weight184 grams193 grams
ConnectivityLTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-CLTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
SecurityTitan M moduleIR-based facial scanning, Titan M module
OSAndroid 9 Pie (upgradable to Android 10)Android 10
Price$599 / $699$899 / $999
BuyAmazonAmazon

Google Pixel 3 XL vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Design

There are quite a few design differences between these two phones. In fact, the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 4 XL do not even look similar. Both phones have an understated Google logo on the back, and a rather noticeable power / lock button, due to its color. You will also find physical keys on the right-hand side of both devices. That is about it as far as similarities go.

Both phones are made out of metal and glass, but they both look different, and feel different in the hand. The Pixel 3 XL offers a bit more curves on the back, compared to the Pixel 4 XL. Speaking of the back, the Pixel 3 XL has a single camera back there, in addition to a fingerprint scanner. On top of that, two-tone design is applied here.

Google Pixel 4 Hands On AM AH 5

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That is not the case with the Pixel 4 XL. The device does not have a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, or a fingerprint scanner in general. It has a single color on the back, with a differently-colored camera module. The Pixel 4 XL has two cameras on the back, and those two cameras protrude quite a bit.

The two phones differ on the front side as well. The Pixel 4 XL has a rather tall display notch, and a beefy "chin". That's not the case with the Pixel 4 XL. That phone has a really thin "chin", and a forehead that is thicker than that chin, but still not as thick as the Pixel 3 XL's notch. All in all, it's hard not to give this category to the Pixel 4 XL, the phone simply looks much sleeker, at least in our opinion.

Winner: Google Pixel 4 XL

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Google Pixel 3 XL vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Display

Both the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 4 XL have QHD+ OLED displays. To be more accurate, The Pixel 3 XL uses a P-OLED panel, while the Pixel 4 XL utilizes a flexible OLED Smooth Display. These two displays are the same in size, we're looking at 6.3-inch displays in both cases.

The Pixel 3 XL's panel comes with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, while the Pixel 4 XL offers a 19:9 display. Both panels are protected by a sheet of Gorilla Glass 5, and both support HDR content. The Pixel 4 XL's panel comes with Ambient EQ, unlike the Pixel 3 XL's.

Google Pixel 4 Hands On AM AH 6 1

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The Pixel 4 XL's display offers a 90Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 3 XL's is stuck at 60Hz. Both displays are plenty sharp, though the Pixel 4 XL's looks better to the eye, the colors are a bit punchier. That, in addition to its refresh rate, makes the Pixel 4 XL's display a winner here.

Winner: Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 3 XL vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Performance

It's not exactly a secret that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL had their fair share of issues with performance at first. Some of those issues were related to Android 9 Pie (at the time) optimization on the two devices, while others were hardware-related, due to lack of RAM, for the most part. Google amended those issues via updates, that brought further optimization.

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Well, it seems like Google learned its lesson with the Pixel 4 (XL). Both phones come with 6GB of RAM, compared to 4GB on the Pixel 3 (XL). Android 10 also seems to be well optimized on the Pixel 4 (XL), at least based on initial usage. The Pixel 4 XL also seems to be smoother, which is not only because of its software, RAM, and powerful SoC, but because of its display as well.

We already talked about the Pixel 4 XL's 90Hz display, and it really shines in usage. OnePlus more or less popularized high refresh rate displays, and now you can enjoy that smoothness on the Pixel 4 XL. Don't get us wrong, the Pixel 3 XL is now an excellent performer, but it cannot measure up to the Pixel 4 XL. Both will be able to handle pretty much everything you throw at them, but the Pixel 4 XL will be smoother along the way.

Winner: Google Pixel 4 XL

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Google Pixel 3 XL vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Battery

The Pixel 3 XL and its successor have the same display sizes, and quite similar resolutions. Are their battery packs the same? The answer is no, they're not. The Pixel 4 XL does come with a larger battery than the Pixel 3 XL. the device includes a 3,700mAh unit, compared to a 3,430mAh battery on its predecessor.

The Pixel 3 XL really did not shine in the battery department. Battery life seemed okay at first, but that didn't last long. That battery is simply too small for that display and device in general. What's the case with the Pixel 4 XL? Well, we did notice a slight improvement, at least based on initial usage. The Pixel 4 XL is definitely not a road warrior in terms of battery life.

The device has the same display and similar resolution as the Pixel 3 XL, but it also comes with a 90Hz display. Higher refresh rate displays consume more battery, which is obvious on the Pixel 4 XL. In fact, it is even possible that the Pixel 4 XL's battery will get worse in the near future, and sit at the Pixel 3 XL's level. We don't really feel comfortable selecting a winner here, as they're on almost the same level.

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Winner: Tie

Google Pixel 3 XL vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Cameras

Google's Pixel devices are well-known for camera quality at this point. Those phones have been at the very top of the food chain in the camera department for several years now. Truth be said, both of these phones will provide great pictures, and most people will be more than happy with either one. That being said, the Pixel 4 XL is the better option.

The Pixel 3 XL comes with a single camera on the back, while the Pixel 4 XL offers two. In addition to the main camera, you're also getting a secondary telephoto lens. Google's software is still the main feature of these cameras. The company's processing manages to create really great images in pretty much all lighting conditions.

Google Pixel 4 Hands On AM AH 3

The Pixel 4 XL's Night Sight is better than ever, and now it even offers an Astrophotography mode. That will come in handy if you're planning on taking some images of the starts, or something of the sort. The Action Shot mode is also really useful for shooting fast-moving objects. These are only some additions to the Pixel 4 XL's camera.

Truth be said, the Pixel 3 XL will get all the software features of the Pixel 4 XL, but at the moment, the Pixel 4 XL is the better choice, for sure. Chances are that it will stay a better choice even after the Pixel 3 XL update. Mainly thanks to that secondary lens. At the moment, the Pixel 4 XL a bit ahead in terms of photography.

Winner: Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 3 XL vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Audio

It seems like Google did not really focus all that much on audio this time around. Don't get us wrong, the Pixel 4 XL is well-equipped in that regard. The phone comes with front-facing stereos speakers, Bluetooth 5.0 and supports aptX HD.

The thing is, the Pixel 3 XL also had those features, and when listening to them side by side, they sound almost identical. We're not seeing much difference, and that goes for both their loudspeakers, and earphones when you plug them in. The same goes for sound via Bluetooth earphones. Your mileage may vary depending on the earphones, of course.

All in all, the Pixel 3 XL's and Pixel 4 XL's speakers are really good. The two devices can also provide really good sound via earphones, though they're not the best in the market.

Winner: Tie

The overall winner

Google Pixel 3 XLGoogle Pixel 4 XL
Design
Display
Performance
Battery
Cameras
Audio

The Google Pixel 4 XL is a clear winner of this comparison. The device may not offer great battery life, and its audio may be extremely similar to that of the Pixel 3 XL, but in all other aspects, it is ahead.

The Pixel 4 XL offers a gorgeous QHD+ 90Hz display, and the phone looks better than the Pixel 3 XL. The device also offers better cameras, and better camera features as well. Thanks to its specs, software, and that display, the Pixel 4 XL's performance is also a step above the Pixel 3 XL's. All in all, the Pixel 4 XL may be worth spending extra, even though the Pixel 3 devices are now heavily discounted in the US (at the time of writing this article).

Winner: Google Pixel 4 XL