Telephone announcements are usually released after months of speculation. However, with Google, you usually know everything about the phone before it shows up in the store. Such is the case with the Pixel 5, the company̵
Let’s start with the Pixel 5. After years of complaining that the Pixel line has gotten too expensive, Google seems to be listening and is shipping this year’s premium Pixel phone with absolutely no top-notch specs. There’s only one model (as opposed to each generation of Pixels, 1-4), and it’s only $ 700, $ 100 cheaper than last year’s base Pixel 4.
The phone looks a lot like the Pixel 4a, borrowing the tiny bezel and pinhole camera combination on the front, and ditching the Pixel 4’s face-scanning technology and Soli radar in favor of a more conventional fingerprint reader on the back. The material is aluminum, with a hidden hole filled with plastic for wireless charging.
The differences are mostly internal and appropriate. The Pixel 5 uses the Snapdragon 765G system on a chip that contains a slightly faster processor than the 4a and has 5G radio functionality. The Pixel 5 also has 8 GB of RAM, two more than the Pixel 4 and 4a. It uses the same 128GB of internal storage as the base model, but has other features reserved for the Premium line: IPX8 water resistance, wireless charging (and reverse wireless charging, a new feature this year), and Gorilla Glass 6 on the screen .
Speaking of the screen, it’s 6 inches diagonally, which is just a hair larger than the 5.8-inch Pixel 4a and a hair smaller than the Pixel 4a 5G (below). The screen is a 1080p OLED with a refresh rate of 90 Hz, the quality of which is comparable to that of the smaller Pixel 4.
It uses the same camera setup as last year’s flagship, with two 12.2 MP / 16 MP wide angle sensors on the back and one 8 MP sensor on the front. The battery is 4080 mAh, which is roughly what we would expect from a phone in size. Considering the 4a’s significantly improved battery life over the 4, the Pixel 5 should last a lot longer than previous high-end Pixel phones.
You can pre-order the Pixel 5 from today on Google in sparkling black or sage green colors. It’s October 31st.
Pixel 4a 5G
What about the Pixel 4a 5G, the cheaper alternative that isn’t as cheap as the other alternative and has most of the same specs? Branding is hard. For Google anyway: I’ll repeat that the Pixel 5 has a 5G radio despite the missing name.
Oddly enough, the Pixel 4a 5G is bigger than the 4a from earlier this year and the Pixel 5 with a 6.2-inch screen with the same resolution but limited to 60 Hertz. Oddly enough, that extra size in screen and body is paired with a smaller Battery, at 3885mAh.
Otherwise, the Pixel 4a 5G is almost the same phone as the 5, minus some premium features. It uses the same Snapdragon 765G processor with 6GB of RAM instead of 8, the same 128GB of storage, the same fingerprint reader setup on the back, and just a single 12.2MP rear camera. Like earlier, lower-cost Pixels, this one also has a headphone jack.
The Pixel 4a 5G costs 500 US dollars and is priced between the Pixels 4a and 5. Strangely enough, it cannot be pre-ordered today: Google is offering a waiting list instead. According to Google’s presentation, the phone will ship on October 15th, at least in some countries. A carrier variant valued at $ 600 will be pre-ordered from Verizon on October 29th. According to Android Police, the 4a 5G will be launched in the US on November 19th.
Both phones will receive software updates from Google for three years, starting with Android 11. This includes the Titan M security chip and new software features such as Hold For Me, which allow you to call again on hold. Purchases come with additional extras such as free trials of Google Stadia and Play Pass and 100 GB of Drive storage.
A new direction
All in all, the Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, and Pixel 4a 5G represent a significant shift in Google’s phone strategy. They are moving away from more expensive devices that directly compete with the high-end Galaxy S and iPhone models and are looking for a broader one Middle to capture area market. Customers should focus on more practical features like longer battery life. Based on our previous experience with the cheaper Pixel phones, this should give them the sales boost they have wanted for years.