28 October 2019
0037: Pixel 4XL Ramblings
by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
It’s Halloween and in this episode I share my new Treat (or is that Trick?); the new Pixel 4 XL (I don’t have a Pixel 4, so I can’t comment on that scary battery life controversy). Afterward, I have a whole lot to share in the Addendum segment including my new nickname, the deal I received on my Pixel 4 XL, and another Pixel related purchase I’m looking forward to receiving in November. 👻🎃⚰
- I’m your host, Mr. Toasty Toes (more on my new nickname in the addendum)
- Everyone has Pixel 4 fever – well, at least three of us at the college
- I was going to wait until Black Friday to purchase my Pixel 4 but my mind was changed because I received quite the deal on my Pixel 4 XL (more in the addendum)
- Ad-hoc episode last time to cover the Made by Google 2019 event and some missed my episode on Gboard and some great tips to get the most out of this virtual keyboard application
Pixel 4 XL Review
I will do my best to focus on my thoughts on the phone and not Android 10 (see episode 0027.
- I chose white (orange was never an option), but with my case, you can’t tell (more later on the case)
- Square camera bump with two cameras, flash, and a sensor
- Almost exactly the same size as the 3 XL as is the screen without notch
- Power button is softer than Pixel 3 XL and taking time for me to get use to double-click to launch camera
- Volume up/down
- No finger printer reader (no notification swiping)
- No headphone jack - I’ve already adjusted and really like the USB-C buds
- Notchless design with a big forehead that you quickly forget about and I’m over the notch and the chin discussion
- USB-C connection
- Does NOT include USB-C headset (bummer) - for the price, it should
- Includes USB-C charger and transfer cable (took me about 2 mins to transfer data from 3→4 and about 5 more to download apps and updates)
- Thanks to eSIM, Google Fi service transfer from Pixel 3 to 4 was quick and easy (although there is a physical SIM slot with dual SIM support coming later)
- Stereo speakers have good sound for vocal audio, fair to good for music, and great for movies (depth)
- Three microphones for Google Assistant, phone, Duo, and other applications are working well for pick up and Google assistant
Processor and Memory
- I chose the 64 Gb model (I still had space left over on my 64 Gb Pixel 3 XL)
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon 855™ octo-core - snappy and no lag yet (time will tell with Android OS)
- Titan M Security Module - adding extra security to OS and Face Unlock
- Pixel Neural Core for AI powered image manipulation - more camera time needed to really see how this is working
- Adreno 640 handles the graphic processing - FAST and can’t wait to tryout some games
- Pixel 4 got slammed in reviews for battery life (I can’t vouch for those reviews)
- Pixel 4 XL is excellent and better than my year old 3 XL (so an upgrade from my now one-year old battery) - I usually have 75%+ after lunch
- I never leave my phone to charge overnight and try to top it off when I know I can remove it from charger
- Amazing 6.3” QHD+ AMOLED at a whopping 537 pixels per inch (ppi)
- No notch and I’m okay with that
- 90 Hz screen really ads to the fluidity of the swipes and scrolls
- HDR support for online video viewing
- Bright enough (no issues outside for me in regular use)
- Gorilla Glass 5 - I’ve heard some screen protectors are messing up motion sense and face unlock because they cover the forehead hardware, which is why I use a folio case (more later)
- Zoom up to 8x works really well (remember to not crop to zoom after shot, use pinch to zoom and click the shutter)
- Unlimited photo storage for high resolution (not original RAW)
- I’ve not had the time or the opportunity to really try out the camera, may be more in future episodes - initial photos seem great
- Quick setup (move your head around the camera as directed)
- Bypasses the lock screen
- Amazing recognition speed - lifting phone turns on cameras
- LastPass now works (in beta) - it appears if you select LastPass, you no longer have access to Android login (still researching)
- Controversy around eye closed (maybe you shouldn’t sleep around people you don’t trust?)
- Check out the settings to tailor your experience
- Minimal number of “Quick Gestures” that include music navigation and phone silence for calls and alarms
- Hopefully future updates will bring additional features such as gesture to show notifications and scrolling through documents (great suggestions from reddit user buckozdude)
- Is Google preparing us for a future without a touch screen and purely gesture UI?
- Voice activated, swipe from corner (Android 10), or squeeze the sides
- Just seems faster and more responsive due to more on device processing for requests that don’t require connectivity
- New colorful integrated design (not a pop-up card) - there’s talk that this is not available when phone is connected to G Suites account, but is working for my educational account
- Car accident detection - lets hope I never get to check this, but make sure to activate in settings
- Transcription is spot on and accurate (had fun with a co-worker trying it out)
- Show’s a general waveform tied to transcription
- Transcription words are highlighted as you listen to recording
- Search the text of a bunch of recordings to find the one you need
- I have Android Auto again and it works better on the Pixel 4 XL than it ever did on the 3 XL
- More responsive and it’s been so long since I used it, there have been some improvements
- Better Google Assistant recognition and response time
- Comes with three months of Google One with tech support and 100 Gb storage
- Feitenn Google Pixel 4 XL Wallet Case($10.00) – I purchased gray, but there are many colors available
- Protects screen when closed
- Protect camera bump from scratches
- Image at the top of the show notes
- I didn’t need a new phone
- If I wasn’t doing this podcast, I might have waited another year
- Upgrading my wife to a Pixel 3 XL helped my decision
- If you have a Pixel 3, XL, or a, I would recommend you wait one more year
- The Pixel 4 XL is going to serve me well
- Phone is evolutionary, not revolutionary
- I believe we will see more revolutionary features come via software and many of them may be exclusive to the 4
- Is it me, or can you always tell when an iPhone user reviews a Pixel device?
What’d I miss? Post your comments on the episode Subreddit post comments.
- I mentioned this episode would be 0036 – It is not, it is 0037 (changed because I’d forgotten I now include ad hoc episodes in the number count.
- While discussing Pixel Buds 2 I could not remember the name of Apple’s Bluetooth headphones. It’s Apple Airpods, of course!
- The big deal: $100 with Google Fi promotion and an extra $150 with long time subscriber reward brings the cost of the Pixel 4 XL to $649!!! First order was for 4 then after reviews about battery, changed to 4 XL.
- Pre-ordered Google Stadia Founders Edition while trying to decide on whether I would purchase the Pixel 4. Arrives November 7th and I snuck in.
- New special offers, check them out now (Duet Display and Photolemur).
- I mentioned a flag was causing Pixel Slate reboots – turns out it wasn’t the flag and a powerwash cleared it up for me.
- Made by Google Twitter responded to a recent tweet regarding unlimited storage of Pixel phone photos (see embed at the right).
- It’s Halloween season, read my latest blog post to learn how I used a $50 LCD projector to scare the Trick ‘r Treaters.
- Also for Halloween, let’s revisit the Google Graveyard - Killed by Google.
- About that nickname: I’m a level 7 local guide and this week I received my local guide socks – user radiantwave has given me the new nickname of Mr. Toasty Toes!
- Commodore 64 program found on a 1980’s Christian rock album.
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tags: pixel4xl - pixelphone