iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Pixel 4 XL (2020): Whose Cameras Come Out On Top?

Updated 22 March 2020: A slew of extra large smartphones hit the market before 2019 ended, with the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Google Pixel 4 XL releasing only a month apart. If you aren’t a devoted iOS or Android fan, we’ve put together an extensive side by side comparison to see which large screen smartphone comes out on top. We’ve now updated the earlier version of this post to reflect actual specs information.

iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Pixel 4 XL Comparison Chart

ModeliPhone 11 Pro Max 64GBGoogle Pixel 4 XL 64GB
Simple Mobile Prepaid - Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB) - Silver [Locked to Carrier – Simple... Google Pixel 4 XL - Just Black - 64GB - Unlocked 
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Display6.5″ OLED Super Retina XDR6.3″
Resolution2688 x 1242 pixels3040 x 1440 pixels
Pixel Density458 ppi540 ppi (TBC)
Maximum Refresh Rate60 Hz90 Hz
Height6.22″6.31″
Width3.06″2.96″
Thickness0.32″0.32″
Weight226 g195 g
System ChipApple A13 BionicSnapdragon 855
RAMNot disclosed6 GB
Internal Storage64GB, 256GB, 512GB64GB, 128GB
Front Camera12MP with Face ID8MP
Rear CameraWide 12MP, Ultrawide 12MP, Telephoto 12MPWide 12.2MP, Telephoto 16MP
Video4K at 60fps4K at 30fps
Fingerprint SensorNoneYes
ColorsSilver, Space Gray, Gold, Midnight GreenJust Black, Clearly White, Oh So Orange
Water ResistanceIP68IP68
Battery Capacity3,969 mAh3,700 mAh
Fast ChargingYesYes
Wireless ChargingYes (with separate purchase)No
PortsLightningUSB-C
ReleaseSeptember 2019October 2019

Design

Both the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Pixel 4 XL look gorgeous and have many design aspects in common.

iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Pixel 4 XL Design
Notice the black band around the edges and the rectangular bezel around the cameras. (Left: iPhone 11 Pro Max / Right: Pixel 4 XL)

There’s no denying that the minimalist aesthetics of both phones look sleek, modern, and definitely premium. Apple has done well to evolve the iPhone’s look ever since the iPhone X entered the stage, and their newest flag-bearer is easily one of the most beautiful gadgets you can get your mitts on. Google did away with the two-tone glass back of the Pixel 3 and it’s easy to say that the Pixel 4 XL looks all the better for it.

You should notice several similarities in the design of both phones, though. They both heavily favor a matte finish with a black band around the sides, which give off an almost industrial vibe. Their edges are gracefully curved so expect them to feel nice and snug in your hands. A curved rectangular bezel also houses both sets of rear cameras, which are located on the top-left of each device. They both slightly stick out but it shouldn’t cause any issue during everyday use.

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Nowhere will you find a fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, as Apple has completely done away with the feature. From screenshots taken of the Pixel 4 XL’s settings, it looks like Google still placed one somewhere on their new phone though it’s not easy to tell based on the leaked photos.

Both will have face unlocking technology though, and it seems the Pixel 4 XL will save you a bit more time since the screen will automatically unlock once it recognizes your face, whereas you need to swipe up first on the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Google also says that it will work in almost any orientation, a big difference over the iPhone working only mostly in portrait position.

Display

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has thinner bezels, but the Pixel 4 XL has a higher resolution and faster refresh rate.

iPhone 11 Pro Max Display
Except for a notch for the front camera, the iPhone 11 Pro Max uses up nearly all of the space available for its display.

Apple has kept the ultra thin bezels of the iPhone Xs Max as well as the notch for the front-facing camera. Actually, it’ll be easy to mistake the iPhone 11 Pro Max for last year’s iteration. It’s just a smidge thicker and heavier but almost all other dimensions are similar, including the display size of 6.5 inches, resolution of 2688 x 1242 pixels, and pixel density of 458 ppi. However, Apple touts its Super Retina XDR display as its best ever, as it’s brighter, smarter, and more power efficient.

Note that Apple has never added the “Pro” tag to any iPhone prior to this one, saving it for iPads and MacBooks with significantly better displays and processors. Though all iPhone 11 versions use the same A13 Bionic chip for its processing needs, the two Pro models feature the aforementioned Super Retina XDR OLED screens. A side-by-side observation reveals the considerable upgrade that is over the iPhone 11’s Liquid Retina LCD.

Meanwhile, Google isn’t jumping on the edge-to-edge display bandwagon just yet. The Pixel 4 XL sports bezels similar to the Samsung S9, where it’s thicker at the top and bottom edges of the display. With a smaller display size of 6.3 inches, there’s less real estate available overall, but the Pixel 4 XL makes up for it by jamming more pixels in your eyes. It has a resolution of 3040 x 1440 pixels, putting it on par with Samsung’s current large flagship model, the S10+. Even more impressive, it has an impressive pixel density of 540 ppi.

In addition to display resolution, the Pixel 4 XL ups the ante with a much higher maximum refresh rate at 90 Hz, similar to several Android flagships. That’s going to make scrolling around feel buttery smooth.

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Performance

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is more powerful than the Pixel 4 XL.

iPhone 11 Pro Max Performance
Featuring the new Apple A13 Bionic chip, the iPhone 11 Pro Max takes mobile processing power to a new level.

This new generation of iPhone devices features the latest Apple A13 Bionic chip, which the company claims is the fastest ever on a smartphone. Early benchmark tests seem to confirm this, with the iPhone 11 phones posting significantly higher single- and multi-core scores than even the newest Android flagships, like the Note 10+. It’s also considerably more powerful than the previous A12 chip. Apple says that the A13’s CPU and GPU are up to 20% faster and consumes up to 40% less power than last year’s iteration.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 4 XL’s Snapdragon 855 provides a proper boost over the Pixel 3’s Snapdragon 845, but it’s fairly unimpressive when compared with other Android flagships as well as the latest iPhone 11. It’s also likely to have 6GB of RAM, or 50% more than the Pixel 3, putting it on par with the wide range of top Android phones.

It might still be too early to be definitive but iOS phones have been historically speedier and more responsive than same-generation Androids, purely because of how Apple has streamlined its operating system compared to Google’s sometimes-clunky, sometimes-cluttered OS. If you prefer one platform over the other, you’ll be happy to know you’re getting one of the beefiest mobile devices this year with either the iPhone 11 Pro Max or Pixel 4 XL.

Cameras

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has more cameras and better video recording resolution than the Pixel 4 XL.

Pixel 4 XL Cameras
Google added a second telephoto camera to the Pixel 4 XL.

Aside from the Super Retina XDR display, the biggest reason to get a Pro model over the regular iPhone 11 is the third telephoto rear camera, which offers a 2x optical zoom to get up close and personal with your subjects. All three cameras feature 12 megapixel sensors and they’re designed to work seamlessly together to calibrate each shot you take. It’s like taking three raw images from different camera modules and processing them into the final photo.

The 120-degree field of view afforded by the ultrawide lens lets you take some pretty spectacular landscapes and creative studies with perspective. Shooting in Night mode is particularly impressive, and the difference in detail and colors when it’s on or off is like, well, night and day. Apple also built video editing tools in the iPhone 11 Pro Max so you can capture 4K videos, trim it, crop it, add filters, and enhance it before finally sharing it with the world.

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Google’s latest flagship now gets an additional telephoto lens with a 16 megapixel sensor. The Pixel 4 XL can close in with up to 8x zoom, and features new modes for astrophotography and quick action shots. The main camera still sports a 12.2 megapixel sensor but has a slightly faster aperture of f/1.73 than the Pixel 3’s f/1.8. On the flip side, there’s a lot going on under the top bezel of the Pixel 4 XL’s screen (more on this below) but among them is a single 8 megapixel camera with an f/2 aperture.

There’s no doubt that the image quality of both the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Pixel 4 XL are among the best you can get with a phone right now. Still, the iPhone 11 Pro Max ekes out by a small margin as it’s equipped with more sensors and can record smoother 4K videos on 60 fps with both front and rear cameras.

Storage, Battery, and Other Features

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has larger storage and battery capacities than the Pixel 4 XL.

iPhone 11 Pro Max Features
Storage can go up to 512GB on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, plus it’s water and dust resistant.

All of these enhanced photography tools mean that a lot of storage is imperative, and Apple dutifully provides. You can choose to get as much as 512 GB of internal storage for your iPhone 11 Pro Max, easily trumping the Pixel 4 XL’s maximum of 128 GB. Of course, the additional cost is just as stunning, and might only make sense for those who will be looking to shoot a lot of 4K videos with their new iPhone.

The iPhone 11 Pro models mark the biggest jump in battery life between new releases. It features a 4,000 mAh battery that can last up to 4-5 hours longer than the iPhone XS. Apple achieved this by not just squeezing in a bigger battery, but also by making the entire device more energy-efficient. Google isn’t slouching either, as the Pixel 4 XL has a 3,700 mAh battery, which is also a huge leap from the Pixel 3’s 2,915 mAh battery. There’s concern over how much its higher 90 Hz variable refresh rate will impact battery life, but based on other Android flagship phones with up to 120 Hz displays, it should still be sufficient to keep the device powered for a full day.

We’ve already discussed how the Pixel 4 XL will now also employ face unlocking technology, but Google is going one step further by adding a built-in radar into the front top bezel. They’re calling this motion-sensing technology Soli, and it’ll let you control the Pixel 4 XL with a wave of a hand. The phone lights up when you reach for it without touching it, and how you can skip songs, scroll through your gallery, or silence alarms and calls by waving at the screen. Google has been developing this tech for several years now and it’s exciting to see what else we can do with it.

Verdict

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is simply better than the Pixel 4 XL.

There’s no other way to put it, but if you can splurge on a brand new premium smartphone, we’d recommend going for the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max. It’s the first time that Apple felt that an iPhone has enough power to be called Pro, and we’d agree. Its battery life has received a huge upgrade, and its photography and video recording prowess has risen to match Google’s. With the new A13 Bionic chip powering it, you’re guaranteed to have one of the, if not the, fastest smartphones today.

Despite the significant upgrades over its predecessor, the Google Pixel 4 XL seems to be outshined by its competitors in nearly every regard. Perhaps its biggest saving grace are its cameras, as they can take more detailed and accurate shots than the iPhone 11 Pro Max in many lighting conditions, but particularly at night. If you’re after a spectacular mobile photography weapon, the Pixel 4 XL should be among your top Android choices.

Last update on 2020-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Categories Phones
Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.