The Google Nexus 6P was an excellent phone, until it developed severe battery issues when it was about a year old. Google did me the courtesy of replacing it with the Pixel XL, which was a reasonably good phone until two years in, when it developed moderate battery issues which were worsening rapidly.
The Google Pixel 4 XL was unveiled last week and… it did not impress me. For about the same amount of money, I acquired a OnePlus 7Pro – and a spare charger, and a protective case, and a 24 month nearly-no-questions-asked warranty. I’ve had it for a few hours now: this is the first impressions review.
- Phones are now too big. I am 6’5" tall and have big hands. This phone is excessively large.
- There is effectively no speed difference between state-of-the-art from 3 or 4 years ago and the current champions.
- The curved edges are a gimmick, reducing usability slightly. I would trade them in an instant for a pair of notification LEDs, one on the upper left corner and one on the lower right corner.
- Charging times, however, have improved. Though some of that is likely subjective and due to the deteriorating battery of the Pixel.
- If you ship a phone made of glass, it is unconscionable not to put a protective case in the box. OnePlus supplies such a thing.
- The glory of a headphone jack is that you can unplug your music device and plug in your phone so you can have a private conversation in a noisy environment. Whoops, no more headphone jacks. Jerks.
- I wish Google had imposed a requirement for specific button positioning on phones. But only a little; I’m sure I will eventually get used to it.
- The automatic transfer between Android phones of package information is pretty good, but not perfect.
My general advice: don’t buy a flagship unless somebody else is paying for it – and is also paying for insurance.
Not a bad phone. Very pretty.