Before we get into the most exciting hardware improvement in the new Pixel 4 and 4XL, let’s get the base specifications out of the way. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL have what is considered standard fare for a 2019 flagship. Each have a Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor, 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and come in 64GB or 128GB varieties. The only notable hardware difference between the two is the battery, with the Pixel 4XL able to house a 3700 mAh thanks to its larger size, whereas the Pixel 4 sports a 2800 mAh battery.
The major hardware revision comes in the form of the new 90hz smooth display. The Pixel 4 features a 5.7” 440ppi OLED screen, while the 4XL has a larger 6.3” 537ppi screen, both running at 90hz. This means that the image on the screen is refreshed 90 times per second, and for many, this feature is something they’ve never heard of, since most smart phones feature screens that run at 60hz, but this improvement brings buttery smooth motion to the screen whenever you’re scrolling, swiping between apps, and dragging items across the screen.
While this can be dazzling to look at, it does come at a cost of accelerated battery drain. For this reason, the Pixel 4 and 4XL will actually shift the screen down to 60hz when there is no motion detected, and then ramp the refresh rate up to 90hz once things start moving. At time of writing, this has proven to be a bit buggy, with the screen sometimes not boosting the refresh rate when needed, but Google has already stated that a software fix for this issue is coming.
One other part of the screen that stands out is the much larger bezel at the top of the screen that houses the front facing cameras and speaker. With the last generation of Pixels, this was mostly eliminated and replaced with a notch where the front facing camera lived, but suddenly with the 4 and 4XL, the bezel is back, but that’s because the phone is actually housing some entirely new phone tech.