Camera Comparison: Google Pixel 4XL vs. iPhone 11 Pro Max

Google last week announced its newest flagship smartphones, the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4XL, both of which are meant to compete with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, Apple's newest devices launched in September.

In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with a Pixel 4XL and an iPhone 11 Pro Max to compare the cameras in the two devices to see how they measure up against one another.

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Both the Pixel 4XL and the ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ have impressive cameras, and when it comes to standard shots taken with the rear-facing image, there's little difference in quality. Both smartphones are producing some great images, though the ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌ tends to create images with a cooler tone while the Pixel 4XL has a warmer overall tone.


Each smartphone does well with highlights and shadows, but the Pixel 4XL has a feature for adjusting these settings in real time while they need to be post processed on the iPhone. The iPhone does have one edge - a third ultra wide-angle camera lens. The Pixel 4XL is limited to two cameras, a standard wide-angle and a telephoto lens, so it can't quite match the capabilities of the ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌.


Google pioneered Night Sight (the equivalent of the iPhone's Night Mode) last year, and the feature continues to be impressive this year. Night Side and ‌Night Mode‌ are quite similar, and it's tough to pick a clear winner for low-light photos. The ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌ tends to produce photos that look a bit more natural, while the Pixel 4XL offers up sharper, more vibrant night time images that sometimes have blown out highlights.


When comparing Portrait Mode, the Pixel 4XL seems to produce sharper images and it has superior edge detection in most cases. It's imperfect and there are times that the iPhone wins out, but in most of our test images, the Pixel 4XL does a better job with Portrait Mode photos.


For the front-facing camera, the Pixel 4XL has a new wide-angle lens that can capture more around you, plus it produces some super sharp photos, especially in Portrait Mode. There's an option for a wider-angle field of view with the iPhone's camera too, but the images from the Pixel 4XL appear to be just a bit better even though they have a warmer tone.


The Pixel 4XL has a Night Sight option for the front-facing camera, which gives it an edge over the front-facing camera of the ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌ as it can take better selfies in low lighting conditions.

When it comes to video, the ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌ wins. Google appears to have focused more on photo quality than video quality, and both the front and rear-facing cameras are a bit lacking. Both phones can record 4K video at 60 frames per second and both have stabilization capabilities, but the ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ has a preferable color profile and look compared to the Pixel 4XL.


All in all, both of these smartphones have high-quality cameras capable of producing some impressive images, which makes it difficult to choose a clear winner. Preference is generally going to come down to platform choice and small aesthetic differences between features like color profile.

Which smartphone's camera do you prefer? ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌ or Pixel 4XL? Let us know in the comments.


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Google Working on Software Update to Bring Eye Detection to Pixel 4’s Face Unlock

Google has said it will release a software update "in the coming months" that will let Pixel 4 owners require their eyes to be open for the phone's Face Unlock security feature to work.

Image via NextRift

The acknowledgement follows last week's discovery that the Pixel 4's facial authentication system isn't currently capable of distinguishing a face with eyes open versus eyes closed. The finding immediately sparked concerns that the phone could be opened by anyone simply by waving it in front of its sleeping / dead owner.

Google's Pixel 4 Face Unlock feature replaces the fingerprint sensor and works similarly to Apple's Face ID, which is found on iPhones and iPads that have a TrueDepth camera system. However, Face ID requires by default that the user's eyes are open, although users can turn off this Attention Aware option in settings.

Previously, Google said that Face Unlock "is designed to get better over time with future software updates," but stopped short of committing to deliver the "Require eyes to be open" toggle that was spotted in pre-launch leaks of the Pixel 4's features. Now though, it wants customers to know that the setting is on its way. The company gave the following statement (via The Verge):
We've been working on an option for users to require their eyes to be open to unlock the phone, which will be delivered in a software update in the coming months. In the meantime, if any Pixel 4 users are concerned that someone may take their phone and try to unlock it while their eyes are closed, they can activate a security feature that requires a pin, pattern or password for the next unlock.
Despite the security implications of Face Unlock working even if your eyes are closed, Google still claims the feature "meets the security requirements as a strong biometric, and can be used for payments and app authentication, including banking apps. It is resilient against invalid unlock attempts via other means, like with masks."


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Google Pixel 4’s Face Unlock Feature Works With Eyes Closed, Sparking Security Concerns

Google has ignited security concerns over the facial authentication system in its new Pixel 4 smartphone by admitting that it will unlock the device even when the user's eyes are shut.


Google unveiled the Pixel 4 this week to mostly positive reviews, many of which praised the phone for is super-fast new face unlock system, which replaces the fingerprint sensor and works much the same as Apple's Face ID on iPhones, except for one key security feature.

The BBC has discovered that the Pixel 4 can be unlocked even with the user's face even if they're sleeping (or pretending to be asleep). That contrasts with Apple's Face ID system, which engages by default an "Attention Aware" feature that requires the user's eyes to be open for the iPhone to be unlocked. Attention Aware can be disabled for convenience, but the Pixel 4 lacks an equivalent security feature entirely.

To its credit though, Google isn't hiding this fact. A Google support page reads: "Your phone can also be unlocked by someone else if it's held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed. Keep your phone in a safe place, like your front pocket or handbag."

To "prepare for unsafe situations," Google recommends holding the power button for a couple of seconds and tapping Lockdown, which turns off notifications and face recognition unlocking.

In early leaks of the Pixel 4, screenshots revealed a "require eyes to be open" setting for face unlock, so it looks as if Google tried to implement a similar feature to Apple's Attention Aware, but couldn't get it working in time for the device's launch.

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Speaking before the launch, Pixel product manager Sherry Lin said: "There are actually only two face [authorisation] solutions that meet the bar for being super-secure. So, you know, for payments, that level - it's ours and Apple's."

Cyber-security experts disagree.

"If someone can unlock your phone while you're asleep, it's a big security problem," security blogger Graham Cluley told the BBC. "Someone unauthorized - a child or partner? - could unlock the phone without your permission by putting it in front of your face while you're asleep."

In a statement given to the BBC, Google said it would "continue to improve Face Unlock over time."


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Google Event Highlights: Pixel 4, Pixel Buds 2, Pixelbook Go, and More

Google today unveiled several new products at its Made by Google event in New York, including the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones, Pixel Buds 2 wireless earphones, Pixelbook Go notebook, and new Nest devices.

Pixel 4

The new Pixel 4 and 4 XL were widely rumored ahead of their release, to the point that Google even shared teaser photos of its own, and now the devices are official. Key features include 90Hz displays, a new rear-facing 16-megapixel telephoto lens, facial authentication, motion sensing, and more.


The Pixel 4 sports a 5.7-inch OLED display, while the larger Pixel 4 XL has a 6.3-inch OLED display. Both displays are 90Hz for a smoother experience, compared to 60Hz for the iPhone 11 Pro and most other smartphones.

With the Pixel 4, Google says you can fine-tune the brightness and amount of detail in the shadows, helping with difficult shots like sunset portraits. And with a new astrophotography capability, Night Sight on the Pixel 4 can capture shots of the night sky, the stars, and even the Milky Way when visible.

Google has moved away from both the notch and rear fingerprint scanner of the Pixel 3, with the Pixel 4 and 4 XL instead featuring a sizeable top bezel housing an earpiece, front camera, and sensors for a facial authentication system similar to Face ID. Google says the Pixel 4 has the "fastest face unlock" of any smartphone.


Google says face unlock on the Pixel 4 is aided by a new Motion Sense feature that uses a miniature radar sensor to detect movement around the phone. The same sensor allows for quick hand gestures for snoozing alarms, dismissing timers, and silencing an incoming call, all without picking up the device.

The Pixel 4 is powered by a 2,800 mAh battery, while the Pixel 4 XL has a 3,700 mAh battery. Other tech specs for both devices include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, Adreno 640 graphics, 64GB or 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM, Bluetooth 5.0, IP68-rated water and dust resistance, and stereo speakers.

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL start at $799 and $899 respectively, with pre-orders beginning today ahead of an October 24 release. Google will be selling the devices through all the major U.S. carriers for the first time. The devices come in three colors, including Clearly White, Just Black, and limited edition Oh So Orange.

Pixel Buds 2

Unlike the original Pixel Buds, the new version unveiled today feature a truly wireless design like AirPods.


Google says it scanned thousands of ears to create a design that is comfortable for as many people as possible. The new Pixel Buds feature a low-profile look that sits flush in your ear, with a so-called stabilizer arc and interchangeable ear tip ensuring a secure fit, even while exercising.


The ear tip gently seals the ear to isolate outside noises, but a spatial vent below the ear tip lets through a moderate amount of environmental sound so you can stay aware of the things around you. Pixel Buds can also dynamically adjust the volume based on the loudness of the surrounding environment.

Like Siri on the ‌AirPods‌, the Pixel Buds have built-in Google Assistant.


The new Pixel Buds will be available for $179 in spring 2020 in four colors: Clearly White, Oh So Orange, Quite Mint, and Almost Black.

Pixelbook Go

Google's latest Chromebook is the Pixelbook Go, a slim and light notebook that is 13mm thick and weighs just over two pounds.


Tech specs and features include a 13-inch touchscreen, 8th-generation Intel Core processors, up to 16GB RAM, up to 256GB flash storage, up to 12 hours of battery life, a backlight keyboard with soft typing, two USB-C ports, and a headphone jack. Like other Chromebooks, the Pixelbook Go runs Chrome OS.


Pricing starts at $879, with pre-orders starting today in the U.S. and Canada, followed by the U.K. in January.

Nest Mini and Nest Wifi

Google also unveiled the Nest Mini, the successor to the Google Home Mini, with key new features including stronger bass and faster response times. Also under the Nest umbrella is a new Nest Wifi router, which builds upon the Google Wifi router with two times the speed and up to 25 percent better coverage.

MacRumors will have a hands-on overview of Google's new devices later today.


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Google’s Upcoming Pixel 4 Smartphone Features Face Unlock and Gesture Recognition

Ahead of the launch of its new flagship smartphone, the Pixel 4, Google has been sharing details on the device to get ahead of leaks.

The design of the Pixel 4 was unveiled in June, and today, Google offered up a look at some of the features that will be included in the new smartphone, including Face Unlock and Motion Sense.



Face Unlock is designed to unlock the Pixel 4 much like Face ID unlocks modern iPhones, and the Pixel 4 is even using a 3D sensing camera similar to the iPhone X and later.

There are two Face Unlock IR cameras, an ambient light/proximity sensor, a Soli radar chip that powers Face Unlock and other features, a dot projector, and a Face Unlock flood illuminator.

The Face Unlock feature on the Google Pixel 4 will support secure payments and app authentication, which is unique as most Android devices do not have a secure enough facial recognition system to allow it to be used for payments.



Google says that it is designing its facial recognition system differently than Apple’s, making it a more fluid experience that works in any orientation.

According to Google, when you reach for the Pixel 4, the face unlock sensors are activated, recognizing that you want to unlock your phone. If the face unlock sensor recognizes you, the phone will open as you pick it up, all in one motion.

Google suggests this is superior to other methods such as the Face ID unlocking sequence on iPhones. “Other phones require you to lift the device all the way up, pose in a certain way, wait for it to unlock, and then swipe to get to the homescreen,” read’s Google’s blog post on the feature. “Pixel 4 does all of that in a much more streamlined way.”

As with Face ID, Face Unlock works on device, so no facial recognition data is shared with Google or Google services. Google says that face data is stored in the Pixel’s Titan M security chip, which sounds similar to the Secure Enclave used in Apple’s iPhones.

The aforementioned Soli radar chip is designed to sense small motions around the phone, which enables the sensors to activate when you reach for the device and also powers a new Motion Sense feature. Motion Sense will allow users to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls by waving a hand in front of the phone.

Rumors have suggested that Apple is also working on iPhones that will incorporate touchless gesture controls for release in the future, though we’ve heard little about the feature and it’s not known when iPhones with this functionality might launch.

As with Google’s Motion Sense feature, rumors about Apple’s work on gesture-based controls indicate that iPhone users would be able to navigate the operating system by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it.

There’s no official word on when Google will launch the Pixel 4, but past Pixel devices have come out in October, so it’s likely that this year’s launch will also be in October. That’ll allow Google to release its new flagship device approximately a month after Apple unveils its new 2019 iPhone lineup in September.

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Google Confirms Pixel 4 Will Feature Square-Shaped Camera Bump

Google today confirmed that its upcoming Pixel 4 devices will feature a square-shaped rear camera bump, a feature also rumored to be coming to the 2019 iPhones.

A case maker's mockup for the Pixel 4 smartphones leaked earlier this week, and today, Google confirmed the news itself in a tweeted image showing off the new design.


Google's rear camera setup appears to include two lenses, a microphone, a flash, and a "spectral sensor" at the top that accounts for things like light flicker when filming an LCD display.

Apple too is planning to use a square-shaped camera bump for its 2019 devices, based on leaked rumors, renders, and cases. Just this week we checked out some cases designed for the 2019 iPhone lineup that have large square cutouts to accommodate the new camera arrangement.

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Apple's square-shaped camera bump is expected to house triple-lens camera setups for the iPhone XS and XS Max successors, along with a dual-lens camera setup for the iPhone XR successor.


Based on leaked information, the three lenses in Apple's camera arrangement are set into a triangle shape. There are two lenses at the left as on the current flagship iPhones, along with one lens in between them set off to the right and a flash above that.

Google's setup, meanwhile, has the two lenses for its camera arranged horizontally with a flash at the bottom. Both of these setups provide more space between the flash and the lenses and there may be other benefits to square-shaped arrangement that both companies are taking advantage of.

Apple is expected to launch its 2019 iPhones in September, while Google's are also rumored to be coming in the fall. Historically, Google's new Pixel phones have come out in October, so while Google has beaten Apple to the punch officially showing off a square-shaped rear camera design first, Apple's 2019 flagship smartphones should launch first.


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Google Pixel 4 Leaks Suggest Punch-Hole Selfie Camera and Total Lack of Physical Buttons

Google may have only just announced its Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones, but rumors about this year's forthcoming Pixel 4 are already appearing, and the latest alleged leak suggests the search giant's redesigned handset will lack physical buttons.

MacRumors render of Pixel 4 based on leaks

This information has been shared by Jon Prosser's Front Page Tech YouTube channel, which last year was the source of several accurate details about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL over a month before they launched, and also confirmed the Pixel 3a devices' existence before they were formally announced.

According to Prosser's source, the Pixel 4 will use capacitive touch areas on the sides of the aluminum handset in lieu of clickable physical power and volume buttons. Prosser suggests these touch-sensitive areas may use an extended version of Google's existing Active Edge technology currently found in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 that lets users squeeze their phone to launch Google Assistant or silence incoming calls and notifications.

In addition, Prosser's source corroborates other recent rumors, including the presence of punch-hole front cameras embedded in the display – akin to those seen in Samsung's Galaxy 10 Plus and other smartphones this year – and either an optical or ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor.

The rear of the device is expected to feature a new dual-lens camera setup including either a telephoto zoom or super-wide-angle sensor, and they may be aligned horizontally in the upper left corner of the handset rather than the more typical vertical orientation seen on other dual-lens smartphones.

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are expected to be 4G LTE devices and will likely be announced during the second week of October – or just a few weeks after Apple is expected to launch its flagship successors to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

(Via PhoneArena.com)


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Google Pixel 3 ‘Lite’ Shows Up in Video Leak

Google's answer to the iPhone XR appears to be close to launch in the form of a more affordable version of its flagship Pixel 3 smartphone, if a new video leak is accurate.


Andro News apparently got hold of a pre-production unit of the upcoming mid-range phone, which is dubbed Pixel 3 "Lite". The device closely resembles Google's high-end Android phone from the front, but the big difference is its plastic rear, which is likely more durable than the metal and glass chassis on the Pixel 3.

The upcoming phone is said to use a 5.56-inch 2,220 x 1,080 LCD display instead of an OLED panel, along with a Snapdragon 670 processor, 32GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, and a long-life 2,915 mAh battery. Notably, the device also includes a headphone jack, something that was removed for the Pixel 3.

Perhaps the bigger news though is that the "Lite" model uses the same 12-megapixel camera and optically-stabilized lens as the Pixel 3, which has received high praise across the board for its photographic capabilities. (Regular MacRumors readers may recall our Google Pixel 3 XL vs. iPhone XS Max comparison found that the devices offer comparable camera quality overall, with only a few differences between shooting modes.)

Andro News claims the new phone takes "the same quality photos as the Pixel 3," although given that much of Google's image-processing is software based, it's impossible to say how the cheaper model's mid-range Snapdragon SoC will affect real-world camera performance.


There's been no word on the exact pricing for Google's upcoming Pixel phone, which is expected to come in two sizes, but considering the Pixel 3 starts at $799, there's a good chance the smaller model will undercut Apple's iPhone XR, which starts from $749.

In other differences described in the video leak, the "Lite" model has only one front-facing camera whereas the Pixel 3 has two, the additional autofocus sensor on the back is missing, and there's no additional front-facing speaker on the "Lite".

Google usually makes its big hardware announcements during Google I/O which is held in the spring, so we'll probably have to wait until then for more information unless the leaks keep coming.


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Google’s Upcoming ‘Night Sight’ Mode for Pixel Phones Captures Remarkable Low-Light Photos

At a media event in New York City earlier this month, Google previewed a new low-light camera feature called "Night Sight" that uses machine learning to choose the right colors based on the content of the image. The result is much brighter photos in low-light conditions, without having to use flash.

Google showed a side-by-side comparison of two unedited photos shot in low light with an iPhone XS and its latest Pixel 3 smartphone with Night Sight, and the photo shot on the latter device is much brighter.


Google said Night Sight will be available next month for its Pixel smartphones, but an XDA Developers forum member managed to get the feature to work ahead of time, and The Verge's Vlad Savov tested out the pre-release software on a Pixel 3 XL. The results, pictured below, are simply remarkable.

Without Night Sight

With Night Sight



Without Night Sight

With Night Sight



Without Night Sight

With Night Sight

Google and Apple are both heavily invested in computational photography. On the latest iPhones, for example, Smart HDR results in photos with more highlight and shadow detail, while Depth Control significantly improves Portrait Mode. But, Night Sight takes low-light smartphone photography to a whole new level.


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Google Pixel 3 XL vs. iPhone XS Max: Which Camera Reigns Supreme?

Google's newest flagship smartphones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are officially launching later this week. With their high-quality cameras, fast processors, and other improvements, the new devices are direct competitors to Apple's newly released iPhone XS models.

We were able to get our hands on the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL ahead of their debut, and in our latest YouTube video, we compared the Google Pixel 3 XL camera to Apple's iPhone XS Max camera to see which one reigns supreme.

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Both the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL are equipped with a single-lens 12-megapixel rear camera system, while the iPhone XS Max uses a dual-lens camera system that features a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens.


The two camera system allows the iPhone XS Max to do things like capture Portrait Mode images with an adjustable depth of field and a blurred background, but the Pixel 3 XL has much of the same functionality enabled through software.


Like the iPhone XS Max, the Pixel 3 XL features a Portrait Mode. With its newest devices, Apple introduced some improvements to Portrait Mode with the A12 Bionic chip, and that gave it the edge over the Pixel 3 XL in our image tests. The Pixel 3 XL won out when it came to edge detection in most cases, with less blurring in areas we didn't want blurred, but iPhone XS Max Portrait Mode images were sharper.


Google advertises a new "Super Res" zoom in the Pixel 3 XL, but the single-lens camera system can't compete with Apple's telephoto lens.

With the iPhone XS Max, Apple introduced a new Smart HDR feature that takes multiple images at different exposures and combines them for one ideal shot. Google's Pixel 3 XL has a similar HDR+ mode that does the same thing to eke out more detail in photos with a lot of variation in lighting.


In our testing, we preferred the Smart HDR on the iPhone because it was able to preserve more detail without blowing out bright areas like the sky, but the Pixel 3 XL was not far behind.

Google's Pixel 3 XL uses a Night Sight feature that's designed to create brighter, clearer photos than the iPhone XS Max can produce. Night Sight isn't available at launch, but will be coming to the Pixel phones later and could give the devices a serious edge over the XS Max.


In our low light photo tests, both performed well, but the Pixel 3 XL demonstrated more noise and grain than low-light photos taken with the iPhone XS Max. In Portrait Mode, though, the Pixel 3 XL outperformed the iPhone XS Max.


While the Pixel 3 XL has a single-lens rear camera, Google has implemented a two-camera system at the front of the device with two 8-megapixel cameras for taking selfies. The iPhone XS Max, meanwhile, has a single-lens 7-megapixel front-facing camera and TrueDepth camera system that allows it to capture the same Portrait Mode photos as the rear camera system.

Because Google is using two cameras, there are front-facing features not available on the iPhone XS Max, such as a wider-angle lens that captures 184 percent more of a scene to enable group selfies.


When it comes to front-facing camera systems, the Pixel 3 XL definitely beats the iPhone XS Max. Front-facing Portrait Mode photos look great on both devices, but the group selfie mode is something Apple can't compete with.

The camera systems in the iPhone XS Max and Google Pixel 3 XL both have their strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes down to it, both are so good that determining which one is better is a matter of preference.


Photos from the iPhone XS Max, for example, tend to be a bit more even in color than the overly cool or warm-toned photos coming from the Pixel 3 XL, which some people prefer and others don't. iPhone XS Max images also come out a bit darker due to the Smart HDR feature that preserves detail, which is another visual difference that may influence opinion towards one camera or the other.

Bottom line, though, both the iPhone XS Max and the Pixel 3 XL produce impressive images that are better than both the previous-generation iPhone X and the Pixel 2 smartphones, and both are closer than ever to overtaking more traditional handheld cameras.

You can see all of the full resolution photos that we took with the Pixel 3 XL and the iPhone XS Max in this Imgur album that we created. Do you prefer Pixel 3 XL photos or iPhone XS Max photos? Let us know in the comments.

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