Pixel 4XL

I got a new Pixel 4XL phone a week ago and it took me most of the week (it was a busy one) to migrate over to it. I wrote a bit about how I’m careful about the migration last week.

I like to upgrade to the new Pixel flagship phone every fall when Google tends to ship them. It generally means longer battery life, better camera, and some other nice things.

Last year, we got fingerprint biometrics.

This year, we got face recognition, something iOS users have had for at least a year now.

Face recognition is super nice. I already love it.

This new Pixel 4XL also has something called MotionSense which allows a user to control the phone without actually touching the screen. You wave across the phone with your hands.

For now, MotionSense only silences interruptions and skips songs on many popular music apps. Hopefully, Motionsense can be incorporated by third-party apps. If that is the case, I can see this becoming a really useful thing.

The Android UI has changed a bit on the Pixel 4XL and it has taken me a few days to get used to the new ways to get around the phone but I am quickly getting there.

I’m glad I made the upgrade even though the migration was a real effort. Many readers suggested better ways to do 2FA with easier migration. I got the message and that is on my to-do list now. Thanks.


Comments (Archived):

  1. obarthelemy

    Congrats on your new phone.It’s a bit frustrating seeing you going from Pixel to Pixel: I rarely ever recommend those to regular people, the more frequent updates are not worth the extra cost, and several features are iffy or missing (jack, FM radio, IR blaster, SD card, Dual Apps, Second Space, and now even solid battery life…). Phones from pretty much anyone else (Xiaomi, BBK ie OnePlus/Oppo/Vivo/Realme, Samsung, and Huawei if they ever make peace with Trump) are much, much better value for money and much less flawed, unless you’re either a trogolodyte photographer or a potentially-targeted individual.

  2. kenberger

    Best phone ever (no surprise, from me).Don’t really prefer the bigger forehead; got used to the 3XL’s notch.Make sure to check out the all-gestures navigation instead of the 2- or 3-button– takes a day to get used to it, but it’s excellent (and iPhone-like).Now we just need the Pixel Buds 2 — super frustrating that they’re only teasing the specs, and worse that they wave at “sometime in Spring”, but I predict will have some great googley features, and nothing like the garbage the original Buds were.For now, these earbuds are the best: https://www.sony.com/electr…Plus I recommend this watch (Fred- ignore since you hate watches): https://www.fossil.com/us/e

    1. jason wright

      Are those headphones ‘tap’ to mute et.c.?

      1. kenberger

        Yup- press and hold the left bud, to quickly speak with the cafe barista, etc. It’s an awesome feature.This compares them to the airpods pro. The sound is so superior for one thing, although the carrying case is much bigger. https://www.whathifi.com/ad

    2. William Mougayar

      So, are these earbuds and watch better than the iphone ones?

      1. kenberger

        great question:IMO, the Sonys are amazing because the sound quality and noise cancellation are MUCH superior (than airpods), plus I love the tapping features (they have clever tiny tap pads on each), and they work great on both Android and iPhone. Biggest downside is the case takes up more room in your pocket than the “dental floss” case of airpods (I simply carry the buds without a case if they have to stay in pants pockets.)Watch: apple watch is in class by itself, although far from perfect, and doesn’t support Android. The Fossil Watch I linked to has most all of the AWatch features, albeit with less pretty screen and an under-updated OS– I don’t care so much about the watch screen because it’s mostly just a notifications extension of my phone. Exception is Google Pay (watch version), as good as Apple Pay, and neither have to look pretty at all.

        1. William Mougayar

          But the new Apple earpods will have more serious noise cancellation I hear.

          1. kenberger

            If you mean the “Pro” that is now out, the Sonys seem to beat them in testing. If you mean a future product… you never know until they exist.

          2. William Mougayar

            Yes I meant the Pro.

          3. kenberger

            and the thing is: with earbuds of any kind, there’s only so much that any noise cancellation can do– it’s almost a joke to have noise cancellation if they don’t cover your entire ears…For flights, these headphones version of those earbuds are amazing and I really LOVE them: https://www.sony.com/electr

  3. jason wright

    Project Ara was Google acknowledging that ‘fractionalism’ serves the consumer interest. All of the brands out there that ship phones with Android OS, that is fractionalism. We each of us get to choose the phone we think will serve our needs (and wants). I get the idea that Pixel is ‘the source’, but the only compelling reason why i have Pixel it is for the guaranteed and timely monthly software updates. Photos and Lens are nice to have, but only ‘nice’, and not ‘necessary’.

  4. awaldstein

    ios user.love face recognition. thought i’d dislike it, i was wrong.

    1. Banet

      Agreed. And FYI to Fred, iPhones have had face recognition for 2 years, not 1.

  5. OurielOhayon

    Apple has Face ID since iPhone X, so that is at least 2 years agoAnd Pixel does not work with “attention detection” meaning it will unlock eyes closed which is very bad for securityThat said it works super fast.

    1. jason wright

      Why would eyes being open be better for security?

      1. OurielOhayon

        Because someone can unlock your phone while you sleep

        1. jason wright

          You mean the special someone next to me in bed? 🙂

          1. OurielOhayon

            Not necessarily. Hotel. Nap in park. Beach. And so on

          2. jason wright

            I’m choosy about where i sleep.

          3. Banet

            Police while you’re unconscious. Or police while you’re sleeping in a cell and refuse to unlock your phone.

        2. Pete Griffiths

          You sleep with some very suspicious people.

          1. OurielOhayon

            has nothing to do with that. you could be taking a nap in a park or beach without having to “sleep with anyone”. you could leave alone and forget your door open. you could be blind too or suffering for poor sight. i can go on with examples. there is a reason “attention detection” exists and even google has aknowledge it was missing and should be added!

          2. Pete Griffiths


    2. jason wright

      I have a solution. Tongue recognition. The tongue must be sticking out for face recognition to work.

  6. Adam Parish

    Many readers suggested better ways to do 2FA with easier migration. I got the message and that is on my to-do list now. Thanks.^ Fred, Can you write about this one when you implement it? I’d be curious to learn about best practices. Also, what is your go to to-do list?

  7. gmalov

    My take: Looks and feels like a low budget iPhone/the facial unlock feature with eyes closed is kind of creepy/bend tolerance is a concern/google can do better.

  8. sigmaalgebra

    I do NOT get it:(1) No ending struggles with setup, security, and system management.(2) If do nothing important with it, then why have it? If do some thing important with it, then losing it is a heck of a problem from data loss, security, etc.(3) Can’t expect that the darned thing really can be good for hardly any of the general purpose work that PCs are now so good for.(4) Screen is too small; a mouse would make a better pointing device; and the keyboard is laughably absurd.(5) I don’t want to take or make significant phone calls away from my office with it’s usually crucial main collection of my information.(6) Can use it for a watch, calendar, still camera, video camera, voice recorder, music player, GPS navigator, but who the heck really asked for some such thing to carry around? I’d want to be paid to carry around such a thing.(7) I know; I know; a person, e.g., some real estate agents, who spend much of their working hours in a car likely could have good uses for one. At Walmart, some of the staff carry these and have some search software that can say where things are in the store.(8) I know; I know; the Apple devices are amazing and very pretty like jewelry. In particular, the screen is actually sapphire. Why do I want to carry around jewelry? I don’t.Maybe here is some of why people use them: PCs remain a total pain in the back side from poor to no documentation, application software design frequently just awful, system management a black art with poor tools, poor to no documentation, and usually neglected. While a PC can do much more for computing, but not GPS, …, jewelry, for most people some e-mail, voice-mail, and Web browser access are enough from PCs to get them partly or fully away from PCs. That people put up with the horrible substitute for a good keyboard indicates how frustrated people are with PCs.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      Who invited the Grinch? 🙂

  9. Stephen Bradley

    Please remind again why you skip Samsung in your Android<>IOS bounces? I’m no big brand promoter but it does seem everything you mention is at least 2 years’ old news on the Galaxy.