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Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL: Which One Should You Buy?

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Updated, Nov. 21: We've added results from our Pixel 4 testing.

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL share a lot of the same new features and specs, but they're not quite identical twins. Here's what you need to know.

Both Android phones sport new telephoto lenses that let you shoot farther than ever before (thanks to Google's Super Res Zoom software), plus tons of other photography upgrades, including dual exposure controls and the ability to shoot the night sky with an improved Night Sight mode.

In addition, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL both feature a faster new Google Assistant, Motion Sense gestures for controlling your phone without touching it, a Face Unlock that beats the iPhone 11 and smart new apps like Recorder than transcribes recordings in real time.

Even the core specs are the same, such as the Snapdragon 855 CPU, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. (That said, the Pixel 4 XL did turn in higher scores on several benchmarks that we ran on both phones.) But there's some key differences, too.

Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL: Specs

Pixel 4Pixel 4 XL
Display5.7 inches (Full HD+) OLED smooth display6.3 inches (Quad HD+) OLED smooth display
Rear cameras 12MP wide angle + 16MP telephoto (4K video)12MP wide angle + 16MP telephoto (4K video)
Front camera8MP (1080p video)8MP (1080p video)
Processor Snapdragon 855Snapdragon 855
RAM6GB6GB
Storage (starting)64GB, 128GB64GB, 128GB
Battery 2800 mAh3700 mAh
Battery Life (Hrs:Mins)8:039:42
Size5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches6.3 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches
Weight5.7 ounces6.8 ounces

Google Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL price

The Pixel 4 starts at $799 for 64GB of storage and goes up to $899 for 128GB. The larger Pixel 4 XL has a $899 starting price and costs $999 for 128GB of storage. If you're on the fence between the two versions, it's good to know that you can get double the storage on the regular Pixel 4 as the entry-level Pixel 4 XL.

Check out our Pixel 4 deals page to make sure you get the biggest discount.

Google Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL size and display

The Pixel 4 is designed for people who prefer small phones that are easy to operate with one hand. It features a 5.7-inch Full HD+ OLED display and weighs a fairly light 5.7 ounces. The device measures 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches, which makes it one of the more compact flagship phones on the market. 

If you prefer bigger screens, the Pixel 4 XL is the way to go. It sports a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ OLED screen inside a body that weighs 6.8 ounces. Although you'll probably have to use two hands to use this device, the Pixel 4 XL is significantly lighter than other big-screen phones, such as the iPhone 11 Pro Max (7.97 ounces) and Galaxy Note 10 Plus (6.9 ounces). The Pixel 4 XL measures a manageable 6.3 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches.

Even with the different screen sizes, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL both capture roughly the same percentage of the sRGB color gamut (130.1% and 131.7%, respectively). The Pixel 4 XL's colors are slightly more accurate based on a better Delta-E rating (0.26 to the Pixel 4's 0.34, with numbers closer to zero being more accurate on this test). Unfortunately, both screens proved equally dim, with neither phone reaching 430 nits of brightness on a light meter — one area in which Google's new phones really fall down on the job.

Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL battery

This could be a big deciding factor for your purchasing decision. The Pixel 4 comes with a relatively small 2,800 mAh battery. By comparison, the small Galaxy S10e has a 3,100 mAh battery. The Pixel 4 XL packs a larger 3,700 mAh battery, which is an upgrade from the 3,430 mAh battery in the Pixel 3 XL.

The bigger battery in the Pixel 4 XL translates to longer battery life, though not as much as we would hope for. The Pixel 4 XL lasted 9 hours, 42 minutes on our battery test, in which we have the phones surf the web continuously over T-Mobile's LTE network until they run out of juice. The Pixel 4 XL's average result was below what we typically see from smartphones. Still, it was better than the Pixel 4's anemic 8 hour, 3 minute average.

Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL: What should you buy?

If you're deciding between the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, it really comes down to one thing: How big a screen do you want?

If you prefer to use a phone with one hand, the smaller and cheaper Pixel 4 is the phone to get. However, the Pixel 4 XL should be worth the investment if you prefer a larger display and also want a larger battery that should last you most of the day. You just have to be willing to pay the $100 premium.