Pixel 4 XL vs. Pixel 3 XL Full Comparison!

Today, we do a full comparison between Google’s new Pixel 4 XL vs. last year’s Pixel 3 XL.  For those of you stuck choosing between the two, this comparison should help you decide.

Display

Pixel 4 XL and 3XL both use OLED displays with 1440P resolution(resolution is slightly different but pretty much 1440P for both).  Both 4 XL and 3 XL have 6.3-inch displays but the 4XL is slightly taller and narrower while the 3XL is slightly shorter and fatter.  You won’t see too much difference between the two from your naked eyes.  Of course, Pixel 4 XL has “variable” 90hz display that will adapt to whatever app or activity you are doing and give you very fluid experience.  If you tend to play a lot of games, you will be able to take full advantage of the 90Hz that the Pixel 4 XL has to offer but if not, your UI might be just running at 90Hz and rest at 30 or 60Hz.

CPU & RAM

Pixel 4 XL has the latest Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB of RAM while the Pixel 3 XL has last year’s Snapdragon 845 processor with 4GB of RAM.  With extra 2 gigs of RAM, the Pixel 4 XL performance is actually pretty darn awesome with scores of 415K on Antutu, which is higher than any other stock Android flagship smartphone with Snapdragon 855.  This means Google has really optimized the OS and the RAM to work together and give you great performance with minimal hardware.   Pixel 3 XL with 4GB of RAM can bring some havoc at times when playing graphic-intensive games or RAM-intensive apps(such as uploading gigs of 4K YouTube videos from your phone).  If you are a power user, you may want to opt for the newer Pixel 4 XL as 6GB is sweet spot for making everything run smooth and lag-free.

Battery

Pixel 4 XL has 3700mAh battery capacity while the Pixel 3 XL has 3430mAh.  There’s little difference in battery capacity but the Pixel 4 XL may get a tad more battery life thanks to more efficient processor and operating system(as Android 10 is built for Pixel 4 XL).  For normal users, you will do fine on both phones.  For power users, you may want to consider another smartphone with bigger battery capacity.

Front Camera

Pixel 4 XL has one camera while Pixel 3 XL has super wide angle and a standard camera on the front.  There’s not a huge difference between the standard cameras but the fact that 3 XL has an extra wide-angle makes it very useful for super-wide selfies/videos.  For front camera, I definitely prefer the Pixel 3 XL which gives you more options.

Back Camera

Pixel 4 XL has standard and 2X telephoto camera along w/ software 8X zoom while Pixel 3 XL has standard camera with software zoom also.  While Pixel 4 XL has an excellent camera, it is slightly better than the Pixel 3 XL camera, not a ton better.  Google did an excellent job with Pixel 3 XL camera last year and there’s just not too much to improve upon.  You will still get better photos with Pixel 4 XL but the difference isn’t too huge and you would probably do fine with Pixel 3 XL in most lighting situations.   In other words, people probably won’t be able to tell whether you took photo with 4 XL or 3 XL in most cases unless they zoom in.

While the 2X telephoto camera is pretty awesome on the Pixel 4 XL, I personally find it unnecessary since digital zoom on the Pixel 3 XL is already excellent.  Rather, Google should have opted to put a wide-angle camera, that would have brought more value to the phone.

Security

Pixel 4 XL has radar 3D facial recognition while the Pixel 3 XL has rear fingerprint sensor.  I love the rear fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 3 XL and it was disappointing to see Google remove it for the Pixel 4 XL.  While the new 3D facial recognition works well, it still isn’t perfect and there are situations where having fingerprint sensor is more ideal.  Also the facial recognition works so well, you can unlock it with your eyes closed, meaning thieves can easily unlock your phone while you sleep.  Google will probably work on an update and fix this issue but having fingerprint sensor is so much easier to deal with and Pixel 3 XL may actually be more secure at least until Google fixed the issue.

IP Rating

Both phones have IP68 rating meaning you can dunk it in water or go swimming with it.  I have swam with all my IP68-rated phones in a pool and have never broken a single phone.

Wireless Charging

Wireless charging is great for both phones and it is compatible with most wireless chargers out there.

Sound

Both phones have stereo speakers, Pixel 4 XL has slightly richer sound.  Not a huge difference but definitely you can’t go wrong with either of them.

Overall, Pixel 4 XL brings some new features like Astrophotography, slightly better camera, 3D facial recognition but they fail to bring enough value over last year’s Pixel 3 XL.  In fact, in my opinion most Pixel smartphones are over-priced out of the box because Google launches their phone so late in the year.  If you want the best value on Pixel phones, always wait for a great deal like on Black Friday or even just buy last year’s Pixel 3 XL, which is just half the price.  While I love Pixel smartphones, I do always feel the same every year that Google is not competitive with other flagships on the market that go for much cheaper.  E.g. You could buy a Galaxy S10+ with much more features for around $750 on eBay, still much cheaper than Pixel 4 XL.

I think once Google solves timing issue of launching their Pixel phones earlier in the year or setting the price right in relation to other flagships, they will be more popular.

Which one are you buying?  Let me know reasons in the comment box below, thanks!

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.